Where do roaches come from? Any time you have a problem, the first thing you do is wonder, “what caused it?” It’s no different when it comes to cockroaches because they are a BIG problem. Some may argue they’re just bugs, but I bet they haven’t had to deal with a real roach problem before. I’ve had to turn the light on at night to find at least one hundred roaches all over my kitchen. That certainly left me wondering what caused it and where exactly they came from.
If you didn’t have roaches before and you suddenly saw some after a vacation, or a trip to Grandma/Grandpa, then there’s a good chance you had some hitch hikers that made their way back with you. They might have crawled into your suitcase, or some other belongings with enough space for them to hide in. Cockroaches can easily squeeze into many small objects, so this is very possible.
If you didn’t recently get back from a trip, then they might have hitch hiked in box from something you recently purchased. Maybe the location you bought it from, or the plant where the item was made had roaches and one (or a few) made their way into the box. I once stood in line to pay for my groceries and noticed a cockroach run out from a box on the conveyor belt. It was a small appliance. The poor soul who purchased that small appliance also got a bonus gift she didn’t want. You can indeed get hitch hikers from products you buy—especially small appliances.
Hitch hikers aren’t always just adult, or even juveniles. Hitch hikers can also be eggs. Some roaches like to place their eggs in “safe locations”. The inside of a dark cardboard box, or small appliance are perfectly “safe” for cockroaches. If the timing is just right, they could hatch before you throw out the boxes. If you waited a bit before opening what you bought, well that just made things worse.
Stopping hitch hikers
To stop these hitch hikers from settling into your home, you can try this easy solution. Place your belongings in large black garbage bags and leave them outside. If it’s warm out, let the sun and the summer heat cook them for a few days. This method also works if it’s winter and temperatures are below freezing. You can also just leave them in the garage, or shed for a few days.
If letting your stuff sit out in the elements isn’t something you want to try, then your best option is to empty them outside. Thoroughly shake them out and check for roaches. If you’re unpacking washables, immediately throw in the washer and run it on the hottest cycle. Make sure to use plenty of detergent and add in some Borax.
Those Dang Neighbors
Your house may be roach free, but your neighbor’s might be infested with them. That’s their problem and not yours right? Wrong! If they should ever decide to deal with their problem, then their problem will likely become yours. If they spray their house with pesticide, the roaches may very well move into your house. This is very possible if your neighbor just had an exterminator visit them not too long ago.
The above applies if you live in a single home. If you live in an apartment building, duplex, or any multi-unit building then they’ll likely just wander in. You can keep your place as clean as possible, but if your neighbors don’t (because there’s always that one neighbor who doesn’t) then they’ll find their way into yours sooner or later. You can definitely fortify your place and take counter measures, but it’s likely to be a never ending battle unless all causes are removed.
Read the next section to find out how to stop more from coming in.
From the Outside
Yes, from the outside. Cockroaches are naturally outdoor bugs (some have just adapted to living inside with humans). You may be living in a neighborhood where cockroaches are common. If you are, then they will definitely find their way in eventually. They’ll enter through obvious openings like vents/doors/windows and not so obvious locations like small cracks and gaps you don’t know about.
Locking the doors & setting up a barrier
To stop them from entering, you need to spray a persistent pesticide like DemonWP around the perimeter of your house. Using a sprayer, spray right along the base where the walls meet the ground. DemonWp and similar synthetic pesticides stay effective for months, but I recommend spraying about once a month for maximum protection.
As for small gaps and cracks, you will want to use an expanding pest stopping foam. They come in a can and will typically come with a straw that allows you to apply the foam into small openings. Read the instructions on the can carefully. Generally, you just need to shake the can for about 30 seconds to a minute, place the straw over the opening and press the cap on top. The foam will squirt inside the opening and quickly expand to fill it up. These are best used on days above 45 degrees Fahrenheit for proper curing.
Common places that may have gaps/openings include:
- Garden hose pipe (in the wall where it leads outside)
- Dryer vent
- Openings for outside cables (cable tv/internet)
- AC (check where the pipe & cables enter the house)
Now you don’t have to scratch your head and wonder, “where do roaches come from?” You’ve got the answers and the solutions now. The next step is to get rid of them yourself, or make it easy and call in a professional exterminator.
Photo credit: Luke Jones