There's nothing worse than the first time you spot a cockroach in your kitchen. The creepy critter catches you off-guard while it's lounging on the bread you left out—or, worse yet, landing on you from above. Experts say there are also more subtle signs that cockroaches are hiding out in your kitchen, and you should call an exterminator the moment you spot one. Where there is one cockroach, there are likely many. Keep reading to learn what signs of an infestation you should keep an eye out for, and for more bugs you'll want to avoid, If You See This Terrifying Insect, Call the Authorities Immediately.
Reddish-brown smear marks
Cockroaches tend to congregate in areas near water, like your bathroom or kitchen sink, according to Official Pest Prevention. Often the pest leaves behind a trail of evidence that they've been lurking. "Cockroaches that live in areas with high humidity usually produce dark matter and smear it as they crawl," says professional pest control specialist and entomologist Nicholas Martin. He notes that the marks are usually found on horizontal surfaces. According to Official Pest Prevention, if you start to notice reddish-brown smear marks on your tiles, counter, or other kitchen surfaces, you likely have a cockroach infestation and should contact an exterminator. And for ways to detect another pest, If You Smell This in Your Bedroom, You Might Have Bed Bugs.
"Roaches are very good at playing hide and seek," says Martin. "However, they can’t hide their feces." Smaller cockroaches produce droppings that look similar to ground pepper, while the adults leave cylindrical feces, he explains. Martin warns that even a sparse amount of droppings could be a sign of a large infestation. And for more signs you need to know, If You See This in Your Yard, Prepare for a Bug Invasion, USDA Says.
Cockroach egg sac cases are often found in the nooks and crannies of your kitchen. Martin says you're unlikely to spot these cases if you don't know where to look for them. According to Prevention, the eggs are often laid "in a sheltered location like the cracks and crevices in your kitchen or bathroom where they typically live." If you see an egg case, you'll want to destroy it. Each case contains between 30 to 50 eggs, per Official Pest Prevention. And for more useful information delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Cockroaches will nibble on almost anything. Large infestations can leave behind chew marks on a variety of items in your pantry, including food packaging, Martin says. If you notice something has been gnawing on things in your cabinets, it's time to call an exterminator. Even if you don't have cockroaches, you certainly have another visitor on your hands. And for more insects to keep an eye on, These Awful Bugs You Forgot About May Soon Come Back, Exterminators Warn.