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Signs of a Cockroach Infestation

Cockroaches are the world masters of disguise. Because cockroaches are only active at night time, they usually remain undetected in homes for quite some time. If you have a suspicion that cockroaches are wreaking havoc in your house, you should know the typical signs to look for, which indicate a cockroach infestation.

By understanding what to look out for in determining whether you have a cockroach infestation, you can put in place measures to get rid of cockroaches in your home. 


The most common cockroach species found in the home are:

Image of German Cockroach (Blatella germanica) | Rentokil Pest Control
  • German Cockroach: This cockroach is 12-15mm in size, brown in colour, with 2 dark stripes on its thorax. Their wings are as long as their body or slightly overlapping in both sexes. Despite this, they prefer to run or climb.



Image of Oriental Cockroach (Blatta orientalis) | Rentokil Pest Control
  • Oriental Cockroach: This cockroach is 20-30mm in size and is dark brown to black in colour. The wings of females are underdeveloped, whereas the wings of males cover ¾ length of the abdomen. Both sexes prefer running or climbing to flying.

Both these types of cockroaches are found predominantly in the kitchen or where food is stored.

Other cockroaches found in Uganda:

  • Brown Banded Cockroach: This cockroach is commonly found in homes. You can easily spot this cockroach species by looking at its colour which is yellow brown. Its is 12-15 mm in size and both males and females have wings (although the males wings are longer). Although have wings, they prefer to run or walk. These cockroaches can be found hiding in humid, heated areas in buildings and because they are omnivorous, will eat almost anything - including paper, leather and food scraps. 
  • American Cockroach: This cockroach species is larger in size than the aforementioned cockroaches (28-44 mm) and are glossy brown in colour. This cockroach also has wings, and in the male, the wings are longer than the body, whereas in the females, the wings only overlap the abdomen. The American Cockroach also prefers to run, and will fly at high temperatures. You will find these insects in pipe ducts, drains and basements inside buildings.

Do you think you might have a cockroach infestation?

Look out for the following signs of a cockroach problem in your home:

  • Seeing live cockroaches: as cockroaches are nocturnal, you will most likely see them when turning on the kitchen light at night. A high level of cockroach infestation is noted when they are visible during the daytime, indicating a high density of hidden cockroaches.
  • Egg cases and cast skins: cockroaches shed their skin 5-8 times as they mature.
  • Droppings: cockroaches leave a dust of black droppings, which look similar to coffee crumbs and are around 1mm wide and of varying lengths. Cockroach droppings are usually found in the vicinity of the cockroaches preferred hiding areas.
  • Odour: an established cockroach infestation generates an unpleasant, musty stench that rises with the size of cockroach infestation. The reason for this is that cockroaches produce pheromones, acting as a signal for cockroaches to find each other
  • Damage: cockroaches are omnivorous and will eat just about anything; from organic goods, to leather, books, cardboard and paper. Did you know that cockroaches even eat their own kind?

Where to look if you have a cockroach problem:

Identify a cockroach infestation

Cockroaches have the shrewd ability to hide in every conceivable environment. This includes small cracks in kitchen appliances, walls, ceilings of preferred most, warm environments where mainly water and organic - preferably protein-rich - food is available. 

If you have a concrete evidence that you are the victim of a cockroach infestation, you should know exactly where cockroaches like to hide most often:

  • Humid environments: A cockroach will find optimal living conditions in warm, humid environments such as kitchens, bathrooms, saunas and swimming pools. A cockroach infestation can be found around heat producing appliances such as stoves, refrigerators, ovens, or in small appliances such as coffee machines, microwaves, etc. Humid areas satisfy their high demand for water. Ideal hiding places are often near water pipes, pipes, drains, especially if these have joints or crevices.
  • Furniture :Virtually all furniture areas are in question; this includes kitchen drawers and shelves, table drawers or bookshelves, joints and grooves of guide rails for cabinet or drawer units, under seats, etc.
  • Walls, cracks and crevices: Wall and ceiling edges, near floor drains, floor cracks and baseboards should be taken into consideration as a cockroach infestation source. Joints between the bathroom or kitchen and adjoining rooms, such as pipe or cable ducts must be checked. Channels for the air supply and exhaust ventilation in the bathroom or in kitchens are equally suspect. Hollow walls or ceilings should be checked as well.
  • Wall or floor tiles: Cockroaches love to hide under loose plaster, wallpaper, paneling, damaged tiles, moldings and frames. They further enjoy seeking refuge in joints and cracks that often occur in the area of wall or floor tiles.

Learn how to get rid of cockroaches that infest your home and how cockroach poison and bait can deal with cockroaches effectively.

Email or call the Rentokil pest control specialists on +256 414 287 160 / +256 414 694 494 to if you have ticked the above signs of a cockroach infestation. 

Read more about our professional cockroach control service.