how to know if roaches are in walls

How To Know If Roaches Are In Walls?

Last Updated: February 5, 2024By

The uncomfortable presence of cockroaches within a home’s walls can result in several structural and health issues. Early discovery is crucial for controlling infestations and slowing down their quick spread. This article digs into critical information to assist homeowners in how to know if roaches are in walls.

People can respond quickly by identifying typical indications, including feces, stains, eggshells, and strange odors. This guide equips readers with tools like bait and traps and nighttime observations so they may spot infestations and actively protect their living areas.

How Do Roaches Get Into Walls?

Cockroaches are resourceful insects that can find shelter and food sources in walls, using various methods to infiltrate hidden spaces within homes, including through wall cavities and other hidden spaces.

  • Cracks and Openings: Roaches can squeeze through incredibly small spaces. Even tiny cracks or gaps in walls, such as those around windows, doors, or utility lines, can provide an entry point for roaches. These insects have flattened bodies, allowing them to fit through narrow openings.
  • Vents and Ducts: Roaches can access wall voids through ventilation systems, air ducts, or exhaust vents. These openings are potential entry points and provide roaches with a network of pathways to navigate through the building.
  • Plumbing and Utility Openings: Another common way roaches enter walls is through gaps around pipes, drains, and utility lines that pass through walls. These openings can be found in bathrooms, kitchens, or utility rooms. Roaches can crawl along the pipes or use them as bridges to access wall spaces.
  • Electrical Outlets and Switches: Roaches can exploit the small gaps around electrical outlets and switches to enter wall voids. These openings, though small, can provide enough space for roaches to squeeze through.
  • Construction Gaps: During the construction or renovation of a building, small gaps or openings may be left behind. These gaps can exist in wall cavities, insulation gaps, or unfinished spaces. Roaches can discover and utilize these gaps as pathways to move within the walls.
  • Adjacent Infestations: If there is an existing roach infestation in other areas of a building, roaches can travel through wall spaces to seek food, water, or shelter. They may follow scent trails or explore new areas, potentially leading them into wall voids.

How To Know If Roaches Are In Walls?

Detecting if roaches are present within your walls requires careful observation and attention to specific signs. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to determine if roaches have infested your walls:

Visual Confirmation

The most straightforward way to determine if roaches have infested your walls is through visual confirmation. Take the time to carefully inspect your walls, paying close attention to areas near baseboards, corners, and wall openings. Look for signs of roaches crawling along these surfaces. Roaches are typically nocturnal, so conducting inspections at night with a flashlight can increase your chances of spotting them. Observe their size, color, and distinctive shape to confirm their identity as roaches. Remember that there are different species of roaches, so familiarize yourself with the characteristics of the specific species commonly found in your area.

Fecal Droppings

Roaches leave behind fecal droppings, which can serve as a clear indication of their presence. These droppings are often small, dark, and cylindrical. Inspect areas near wall cracks, crevices, and corners where roaches will likely travel or hide. Look for accumulations of fecal droppings, as a significant infestation may result in a noticeable buildup. Use gloves and a flashlight to carefully examine these areas, as roach droppings can also resemble other pests’ waste.

Musty Odor

Roaches emit a distinct, musty odor that can become noticeable, particularly in areas where their infestation is significant. Detecting a persistent, unpleasant smell near your walls could indicate roach activity within the wall voids. The odor may be stronger in enclosed spaces or areas where roaches congregate, such as behind appliances or hidden wall cavities. Take note of musty smells that seem to originate from the walls, as this can help confirm the presence of roaches.

Shed Exoskeletons

As roaches grow, they shed their exoskeletons, leaving behind lighter, translucent skins known as exuviae. These discarded exoskeletons resemble the shape and size of the roach itself. Check for these shed skins near wall crevices, cracks, or other hiding spots where roaches may molt. Examine the exuviae closely to differentiate them from other debris or insect remnants. Finding multiple exoskeletons can indicate an active roach population within your walls.

Noises and Movement

Roaches can produce audible sounds when they move within walls. Listen attentively for rustling or scuttling sounds from behind the walls, especially when roaches are most active at night. These noises may be more noticeable in quiet environments. Pay close attention to areas where plumbing pipes, electrical conduits, or other structural elements penetrate the walls, as roaches often use these pathways to navigate between wall voids.

Types Of Roaches

There are thousands of species of cockroaches, but only a few are commonly found in and around human habitats. Here are some of the most notable types of roaches:

German Cockroach (Blattella germanica):

Among the most common and problematic roach species. It bears two black stripes on its pronotum (head region), and is tiny and light brown. German cockroaches thrive in warm, humid conditions and are frequently seen in restrooms, kitchens, and other places with food supplies.

American Cockroach (Periplaneta americana):

The American cockroach, sometimes called the “palmetto bug,” is one of the biggest species. Its color is reddish-brown, and the figure-eight design on its head is distinctively yellow. Sewers, basements, and moist locations are frequently home to these roaches.

Oriental Cockroach (Blatta orientalis):

Oriental cockroaches are lustrous and dark brown to black, sometimes called “water bugs.” They frequently inhabit basements, sewers, and crawl spaces because they enjoy chilly, wet surroundings.

Brown-banded Cockroach (Supella longipalpa):

These tiny, light brown roaches have two distinct bands running across their wings. The warm, dry environments that brown-banded cockroaches love are common in living spaces, closets, and behind picture frames.

Smoky brown Cockroach (Periplaneta fuliginosa):

These roaches have a smoky look ranging from reddish to dark brown. They frequently live outside, in attics, and on roof spaces where it is warm and humid.

Asian Cockroach (Blattella asahinai):

The Asian cockroach, which resembles the German cockroach in appearance, is a native of Southeast Asia but has now been brought to other regions. It is difficult to tell it apart from the German cockroach, although it tends to fly more often and is drawn to outside lights at night.

Australian Cockroach (Periplaneta australasiae):

The pronotum of these reddish-brown roaches has a characteristic pale yellow border. They may be found outdoors and indoors in places like garages and crawl spaces and are frequently seen in warmer climates.

Wood Cockroach (Parcoblatta spp):

These roaches are outdoor creatures that frequent forests. Compared to species found inside, they are often bigger and lighter in color.

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach (Gromphadorhina portentosa):

In contrast to most roach species, they are frequently maintained as pets and distinguished by the hissing sound they make as they exhale. They are indigenous to Madagascar and stand out due to their unusual appearance, tough exoskeleton, and distinguishing prenatal horns.

How To Get Rid Of Roaches In The Walls?

how to know if roaches are in walls

Removing roaches in the walls can be challenging, as these pests are skilled at hiding and reproducing quickly. Here are steps you can take to eliminate roaches from your walls effectively:

Inspection and Identification

Start by thoroughly inspecting your home to confirm the presence of roaches and identify the extent of the infestation. Look for signs of roaches in areas such as kitchens, bathrooms, utility rooms, and other spaces where they are commonly found. Use the methods mentioned earlier, including visual confirmation, fecal droppings, musty odor, shed exoskeletons, and trapped roaches, to determine if they are present in your walls.

Seal Entry Points

To prevent further roach infestation, seal any cracks, gaps, or openings in your walls. Pay close attention to areas around windows, doors, utility lines, plumbing pipes, and electrical outlets. Use caulk, weatherstripping, or appropriate sealants to fill these gaps, denying roaches access to your walls from the outside.

Eliminate Food and Water Sources

Roaches are attracted to food and water, so removing their sources within your home is crucial. Store food in airtight containers, promptly clean up spills and crumbs, and regularly empty trash cans. Fix any plumbing leaks or sources of excess moisture to eliminate water sources that might attract roaches.

Use Roach Baits and Insecticides

Apply roach baits or gel formulations near areas where roaches are likely to travel, such as cracks, crevices, and baseboards. These baits contain pesticides that roaches consume and carry back to their nests, killing the entire colony. Follow the instructions on the product label for proper placement and usage. Additionally, consider using insecticidal sprays or dusts labeled for roach control in wall voids or other hidden areas where roaches may be present. Be cautious when using insecticides, and strictly follow the instructions to ensure safety.

Employ Roach Traps

Strategically place sticky traps or glue boards along walls, particularly near suspected entry points or areas of roach activity. These traps can help capture roaches that are already within the walls. Check the traps regularly and dispose of any trapped roaches. This method can complement other forms of treatment and provide insights into the effectiveness of your control efforts.

Seek Professional Assistance

If the infestation persists or you prefer professional expertise, contact a licensed pest control professional. They have the knowledge, experience, and access to more potent control methods to eliminate roaches from your walls effectively. Pest control professionals can perform targeted treatments, including insecticide applications, fumigation, or specialized equipment to access and treat wall voids.

Monitor and Maintain

After implementing control measures, continue monitoring your walls for signs of roach activity. Follow good sanitation practices, remove potential food and water sources, and maintain a clean environment to discourage roaches from returning. Regularly inspect and seal any new cracks or openings that may develop in the walls to prevent reinfestation.

Where Cockroaches Live Apart From Just Walls

Due to their high adaptability, cockroaches may sometimes survive outside of barriers. These resilient insects look for areas with a favorable balance of heat, moisture, and food accessibility. In addition to living on walls, they typically inhabit bathrooms because of the humidity and kitchens because crumbs and food waste serve as food.

Furthermore, roaches are typical in basements, crawl spaces, and attics where moisture accumulates. Outside, garbage cans, wood piles, and garden debris all have roach infestations. Furthermore, they may hide in the cracks and crevices of furniture, putting homes, workplaces, and even cars at risk of infestation. Since they may adapt to many habitats, careful pest control techniques are necessary for their efficient elimination.

How Long Does It Take To Get Rid Of A Cockroach Infestation?

The time required to eliminate a cockroach infestation can vary depending on the severity of the infestation and the effectiveness of the control measures implemented. It can take several weeks to months to completely eliminate cockroaches. It may be possible to resolve the issue within a few weeks for smaller infestations caught early. However, larger or more widespread infestations may require a longer time to eradicate.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approaches, which combine sanitation, exclusion, baiting, and insecticide treatments, yield effective and long-lasting results. Persistence and professional assistance from a licensed pest control expert can expedite the process and ensure thorough cockroach eradication despite the duration of the process.


Can a roach infestation go away on its own?

Roach infestations are unlikely to go away independently and usually require proactive measures for effective eradication.

Does one roach mean infestation?

While a single roach may not necessarily indicate an infestation, it’s essential to investigate further as it could be a sign of a hidden problem.

What do roaches in the wall sound like?

Roaches in the wall may produce rustling or scurrying sounds, especially at night, as they move and communicate within their hiding spots.

How long does it take to notice a roach infestation?

The time it takes to notice a roach infestation varies, but signs like droppings and stains might become noticeable within a few weeks to a few months, depending on the level of infestation.

Does one roach mean infestation?

While a single roach may not necessarily indicate an infestation, it’s essential to investigate further as it could be a sign of a hidden problem.


To maintain a safe and comfortable living space, it is essential to identify and treat roach infestations quickly. Homeowners may successfully avoid, manage, and get rid of roach issues by being aware of the warning signs of an infestation and taking proactive steps, including cleanliness, closing access sites, and hiring professional pest treatment when necessary. Vigilance, preventative measures, and prompt action can result in a roach-free house and provide residents peace of mind.

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Monique Valeris

Monique Valeris is a prominent house editor with a keen eye for design and a passion for creating warm and stylish interiors. With a wealth of experience and a fresh perspective, she blends contemporary trends with timeless elements to create aesthetically pleasing and functional spaces. Valeris's editorial contributions extend beyond the printed page, engaging with her audience through various platforms to share insights and tips. Her ability to effortlessly blend different design styles and her dedication to promoting inclusivity within home aesthetics set her apart as a leader in the field.

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