Why do cockroaches come inside? Here’s how to keep them out of your Mississippi home

Cockroaches are common in the Mississippi heat, and with a scorching summer ahead, these creepy crawlers are coming out to play.

According to Reader’s Digest, a study examined the cities with the worst roach infestations and New Orleans made the top of the list. Over 40% of New Orleans residents reported cockroaches in 2015.

And according to Pests.org, Memphis, Tennessee is the number 10 most roach infested city.

Yikes, good luck, Mississippi.

So, as the summer heats up, here’s some roach 101 tips to help identify the pests and keep them away.

How to identify roaches

While there are several different kinds of cockroaches, these are the most common to Mississippi:

American cockroach

  • Color: Light brown color with light yellow bands around the shield

  • Length: 2 inches

  • Where: They can be found in kitchens, bathrooms, pipes, sewers and basements.

German cockroach

  • Color: Tan with dark brown parallel stripes

  • Length: Smaller, around 1/2″ to 5/8″

  • Where: They can be found in kitchens around appliances and food.

Oriental cockroach

  • Color: Glossy with cherry to black coloring

  • Length: Large, measuring 1 to 1.25 inches in length

  • Where: They are usually found outdoors and active at night.


  • Color: Brown/tan with dark colors on back

  • Length: 1.5 inch

  • Where: You’ll find them inside cabinets or the pantry.

Pennsylvania Wood cockroach

  • Color: Deep dark chestnut brown color and wings are outlined in a whitish-yellow color.

  • Length: around 1 inch

  • Where: around decaying matter outside

Australian cockroach

  • Color: brown overall, with lateral pale stripe

  • Length: 23–35 mm

  • Where: in yards and moist areas including drains and sinks

Surinam cockroach

  • Color: dark black or brown with olive green or dark brown wings

  • Length: around 1 inch

  • Where: you can find them in warm, humid places

Why they come inside

Although many think roaches are a sign of an untidy house, roaches enter homes to find four things: food, shelter, water and heat.

Makes sense, right?

According to the website of Northwest Exterminating: “While dirty or cluttered houses can provide an ample supply of food and shelter, clean houses can provide many of these necessities for roaches, as well. Appliances offer a source of heat so roaches are often found under or behind them. Leaky faucets or pipes can provide a water supply no matter how clean your home is.”

Of course, dishes piled up in the sink, an overfilled garbage can or a leaky bathtub faucet can be appealing to the little crawlers, so it is best to keep kitchens and bathrooms clean.

How to protect your home

Here are some tips from the National Pest Management Association, to help keep cockroaches away from your home:

  • Seal cracks in walls and gaps near electric sockets

  • Keep counters, sinks, tables and floors free of clutter and crumbs

  • Don’t let dishes pile up

  • Avoid leaving food out in the open and store it in airtight containers

  • Vacuum at least once a week to remove food particles

  • Ventilate crawl spaces to prevent moisture buildup

Cockroach infestations can pose a harmful risk, especially for those with asthma. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, the feces, saliva and shedding body parts of cockroaches can be trigger sources for people with asthma.

Cockroaches have also been known to carry Salmonella typhimurium, Entamoeba histolytica, and the poliomyelitis virus, according to the CDC.

These are the signs you have an American cockroach infestation, according to the National Pest Management Association, and you should call pest control:

  • Droppings in dim areas of your home

  • Presence of egg capsules, which are about 8 millimeters long and dark-colored

  • A musty smell around

Have more questions? Comment below or email me at cmadden@mcclatchy.com