Mosquitoes flying around

How Do Cockroaches Get Into Your Home?

November 01, 2022

By Daniel Baldwin, BCE, CCFS, CP-FS

Cockroaches can be found across North America. The good news is that there are things you can do to reduce the chances of having cockroaches in your home. Follow our guide to learn how roaches get into houses, where they hide, and for tips on how to make your home as cockroach-proof as possible. 

What attracts cockroaches to your home?

Cockroaches are simple creatures; they’re always looking for food, water, and a place to reproduce. If your home has safe and desirable conditions for them, they’ll set up camp. It can be very tricky to get them out once they’re established. 

Roaches will eat nearly anything, so any crumbs on the floor or dirty dishes in the sink are likely to provide incentive for cockroaches because a food source is nearby. Cleaning up standing water puddles in the bathroom or the sinks also helps eliminate water sources for roaches inside your home. (Find more clean-up and prevention tips below!) 

Close-up image of cockroach in house on background of water closet

Why do I have roaches when my house is clean?

If all the visible areas of your home are regularly clean from food scraps, crumbs, and dirty dishes, but you still have cockroaches, there’s a good chance that they’re finding food in other places, but attracted to your drain pipes as a place to live. 

Kitchen drains, in particular, provide a very hospitable environment for cockroaches, and are out of sight so they can stay protected from predators. Your home could be clean, but even small pieces of food that are washed down the kitchen drain can be enough for cockroaches to thrive. 

To prevent roaches from setting up nests in your drain pipes, try using an approved pipe-cleaning chemical regularly to dissolve bits of food and clean out your pipes.

How do roaches get in the house?

While cockroaches do have wings, you’ll more frequently find them crawling instead of flying. This means that the most likely way they’ll enter your home is at the ground level.

Cracks in a foundation

This is a common way that cockroaches will invite themselves in, taking any small gap as an invitation to set up shop in your basement and explore the rest of your house from there. 

Make sure you routinely check your foundation for even hairline cracks, as they can easily get bigger over time if they’re not properly patched. 

cockroach crawling by cracked wall

Gaps around doors

Door frames often shift over time, leaving small spaces that slim cockroach bodies can easily wiggle through. 

Weather stripping your doors is a great way to keep roaches out, and, as a bonus, you’ll save money on heating and cooling costs, too!

Drain pipes

These small openings provide a perfect entry point and home for cockroaches, with plenty of water and food to sustain them and a nice, dark spot to call home. 

It’s important to make sure that your bathroom and kitchen sink drains are sealed properly. If you need a quick fix, duct tape will do for short-term patches, but pipes that have gaps and cracks should be repaired by a plumber. If you’re in an area where cockroaches are common, it’s good practice to use drain covers, especially at night when roaches are most active.

Where do cockroaches hide?

Most cockroaches like to lurk close to the floor, in dark, damp places. Here are some of their favorite places to hide in your home.

Under appliances

Large appliances like refrigerators and ovens are common places to find these insects. Since large appliances are not regularly moved, they provide a perfect home that is undisturbed for cockroaches. A lot of crumbs often collect under large appliances, too.

Drain pipes

In addition to coming into your home via drain pipes, cockroaches will often live and reproduce in there, too. With bits of food washed down the drain with warm water, drain pipes are prime territory for cockroaches to feast and hide. 

Bookshelves or behind wall art

The brown-banded cockroach actually prefers to hide in warm, dry places, like refrigerator motor housings. They will harbor in storage areas like pantries, cabinets closets, and furniture.. High bookshelves or behind paintings hung on walls are popular places to find the brown-banded cockroach.

How to get rid of roaches in your apartment or home

It takes some preventative steps and a keen eye to keep cockroaches out of your home (and to notice them if they do find a way in). 

cockroach being killed with aerosol poison spray

Sealing cracks

Sealing up any gaps and cracks at the ground level of your home and making sure your drain pipes are sealed and clean are the best ways to prevent these unwanted critters from invading your home. 

Cleaning up grease and crumbs

Because roaches will eat nearly anything, it’s important to eliminate food sources by sealing up any food items in a container or storage bag. Clean any crumbs off of countertops, around the microwave, toasters, floors, and inside sink areas. Frequently clean grease from stovetops and floor areas. 

Even small pools of water should be eliminated

Eliminate any sources of collecting water in kitchen and bathroom areas (think sinks, countertops, dishes, containers, and floors). Even leaving wet dishcloths in or around the sink area at night can serve as a water source. If you have a cockroach infestation, use paper towels that you can dispose of instead of a dishcloth. Dry out the area inside the sink with a dry towel or cloth after the last time you use the sink at night.

Your best option for addressing cockroaches in your home is to call a professional pest control company. At Hawx, we send an expert to determine where the cockroaches are coming from and put together a comprehensive plan to help you oust these unwelcome guests.

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