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Cockroaches may like dark spots and only like to come out at night. But that doesn’t mean you can’t detect their presence. Different species may have different shapes, sizes and appearance but they do share some distinct behavioural patterns that you can use to your advantage. It is crucial that you spot a cockroach infestation before it can spread further and minimise the health risks that it causes.
Here are some signs of a cockroach infestation that you need to watch out for:
Unusually musty and unpleasant smell
Cockroaches stink. They produce a musty and unpleasant odour that gets worse as the infestation gets more severe. The pungent smell is actually one of the ways they communicate with other cockroaches.
The scent that they excrete use chemicals called cuticular hydrocarbons and can be found in their bodies, feces and the skins they shed. These roach chemicals transmit messages to fellow cockroaches and inform them about food locations or if they are looking for mates. It also allows them to group up in one place. This unpleasant odour lingers and can even affect the taste of your food.
Cockroaches poop. A lot. They have one of the biggest appetites as they could eat everything from your food to plant matter, dead skin cells and garbage. They also have a high rate of metabolism which means they produce a lot of droppings. (READ: Cockroach Nightmares You Need Know)
The appearance of cockroach droppings varies between species. They can be small, pepper-like specks to oval or cylindrical pellets that can measure up to 2 mm. Check spots that are usually hidden from sight like behind your fridge or under the sink. If you find a substantial amount of cockroach droppings, then you may have a cockroach infestation.
Cockroaches have a huge rate of reproduction. These insects are aggressive breeders and their population growth can be exponential. Cockroaches produce a singular egg casing called ootheca which contains several roach eggs. A lot of cockroach species hold onto these oothecae until they hatch or put them in nooks where they are harder to reach by predators and pesticides. Each ootheca can hold 10-20 baby cockroaches but some species like the German cockroach can go up to 40 eggs. If you find an ootheca in your home, there’s a high chance that you have a cockroach infestation.