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How to Find a Cockroach's Nest

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If you're dealing with cockroach infestation, you know the creatures are living in your house. You see them skedaddling everywhere. Finding out exactly where they nest is another issue, but you can do it and try to eradicate the bugs yourself before calling in a professional exterminator.

Types of Cockroaches

Different types of cockroaches prefer various nesting areas. The German cockroach, among the most common, likes moist, warm areas. It might nest in tight cracks in bathrooms and kitchens. The brownbanded cockroach nests throughout the house, often in appliances and high spots. The much larger Oriental cockroach generally nests below ground level, in basements and crawl spaces. The American cockroach, also called the palmetto bug, is more likely to infest commercial buildings than houses. It likes warmth, so it might be found in heating ducts and sewer pipes.

On the Hunt

Probably the easiest way to figure out the general area of a cockroach nest is by flipping the light on in a dark room and see where the creatures run. That gives you a general idea of a nest location. The University of Nebraska at Lincoln recommends drawing a diagram of every room before starting an inspection. Using a small mirror and flashlight, look underneath and behind cabinets, furniture and appliances. Take pictures off the wall to see if roaches are nesting behind them. Have a vacuum cleaner at the ready to suck up live cockroaches.

Nesting Signs

Besides live roaches, you'll also find signs of cockroach nests in what these pests leave behind. While dead roaches are obvious, look for feces -- small black spots resembling pepper. If you find a lot of feces, figure you've got a lot of roaches. Large numbers of roaches give off a bad, musty scent. You also might find oval egg casings and the skins roaches left behind when molting.


Putting out sticky traps, the so-called "roach motels," near a suspected nest can give you an idea of how many roaches are in the vicinity. If your trap fills up quickly, you're in the right area. Get to work by filling in gaps and crevices with caulking. Don't leave any food or crumbs out, and store food in containers, rather than leaving a box open. Clean up spills immediately, so roaches don't have a water source. Get rid of any clutter -- this provides hiding and nesting space. If your efforts don't make a dent in the roach population, call in a professional exterminator.