Why do roaches come out at night? Waking up before sunrise to make coffee, one of your least expectations is clearly not bumping against a roach in the cabinet by your coffee grounds. You’re likely in a pre-caffeinated state and your reactions aren’t yet normalized so your kitchen visitor can quickly scurry off before you could kill it. You could have sworn if someone asked that you had no bug challenges, especially cockroaches.
However, you’re also aware that you normally don’t find any of these insects unless the lights are off.
Roaches have evolved to feed on water and food in dark environments, as such places help them evade their predators. In this article, we examine details of roach activity patterns and show you actionable ways of keeping these pests out of your property.
Are roaches nocturnal?
Although Texas has many cockroach types, like in other Southern states, most roaches that infest our properties are mostly night crawlers. These bugs emerge once the sun is out to feast on virtually all forms of organic material available, from human foods to your dog’s feed, and even soiled garments, leather, and glue in your bookbinding.
When the sun is out, they hide in wall crevices and cracks in our houses, often stealthily without detection until there’s an infestation in the home. At this stage, the chances are high that you’ll find one or two cockroaches during the day.
Many people think roaches scurry off because they’re scared of light, but it’s far from the truth. Let’s examine some other common questions property owners pose about these unwelcomed guests.
Why do cockroaches run from light?
Roaches don’t hate light a bit. Studies show that roach species that live in the wild that don’t have as many human predators tend to move towards the light. Even regular household roaches move toward a lit television screen at night, for instance.
So why do they scurry away when you turn on a light?
That’s because they’ve learned their lessons. They’re aware that a switched-on light means a human has found them. And that identification often implies very awful consequences. So, these ferocious bugs don’t hurl into cracks and other hiding areas to get away from light when you turn on the lights. Instead, evolution has taught these bugs that you could kill them if they don’t move quickly.
Do cockroaches sleep at all?
If cockroaches are more awake at night, then do they ever sleep? Certainly, they do. Cockroaches, like most other animals, have a circadian rhythm. A circadian rhythm is the name of a sleep-wake cycle that switches alternatively between inactive/sleep and active/wakeful times.
When in its active/wakeful times, animals are normally awake and consciously search for mates, water, and food. Most roach pests at home are usually awake and active during the early night hours as soon as the lights turn off.
Therefore, roaches are most active during these hours. Typically, these couple of hours are enough for them to mate and feed. However, roaches might have to spend longer times scavenging if food sources are scarcer because you have a high-density infestation at hand and the cockroach population is large.
That is, if you find cockroaches early in the morning at home, then you likely have a bigger challenge at hand.
How do roaches sleep?
Many scientists have conducted research to study exactly how roaches sleep. A study explained that cockroaches have three activity states. Following is a brief explanation of each state:
a. The first state is a state of locomotion, and mostly occurs during the night when the bugs are most awake.
b. The second state sees antennae and limb movements alone, without any locomotion. In this phase, only the antennae and some limbs move. The roach is essentially not active.
c. The third phase is one of total immobility when the roach makes no movement whatsoever. This phase is akin to humans’ sleep.
A roach spends most of the daytime in phases two and three. When the night falls, it becomes awake and switches to phase one.
Although this rarely happens, you don’t want to make light of a roach infestation. Immediately you notice a roach, you might wonder about the severity of the challenge at hand. We now go on to examine some red flags of a possible roach infestation you want to look out for.
Signs of a cockroach infestation
Locating a roach is the most apparent indication that you may have an infestation, which increase your chance of accidentally stepping on them, especially at night. Here are some red flags you have an infestation in the home:
- Cockroach egg casings
- An eerie smell in the house
- Roach shed skin
- Roach droppings (resembles coffee grounds)
Cockroaches prefer warm, humid environments, as we earlier stated. That’s why kitchens, drains, basements, (if there are any in your home), bathrooms and laundry rooms are the most common areas for an infestation. Although these areas are the most common spots for an infestation, you’re often better off inviting a professional to investigate the property on your behalf.
Locating the roach neat yourself could be difficult and time-consuming, especially if you don’t have the roach nest identification experience.
How to keep cockroaches away at night
You must remember that seeing one or two roaches implies that there are likely many more unseen cockroaches in the house. Even worse, roaches breed aggressively and quickly reproduce, that is, you may soon have cockroach eggs all over the place. Except if you implement the proper control techniques, these bugs could soon overrun the entire home.
Female German cockroaches, for example, move around a light beige egg case, about 1/4 inch long, until 1-2 days before hatching, when it drops it. In some cases, the egg case hatches while it is still being carried by the female roach. According to the UC IPM, Each egg case contains about 30 young, and a female may produce a new egg case every few weeks. Thus, a single female German roach and her offspring can produce more than 30,000 individuals in one year.
So, how can a property owner keep cockroaches from invading their house at night (and at other times)? Following are some nuggets we commonly share with homeowners who want to handle an infestation themselves.
1. Cut their access to food and water
- Make sure you store all food in insect-proof vessels with tight-fitted covers or in the fridge.
- Clean all counters from food crumbs and other dirt before retiring to bed.
- Clean all dishes, utensils, and pans as soon as you’re done using them.
- Clean away all dropping foods or drinks that spill over surfaces in the home such as sinks, floors, tables, and counters.
- Vacuum all floors to eradicate all remaining food debris.
- Clean beneath appliances – particularly microwave ovens, stoves, refrigerators, and toasters.
- Ensure you don’t leave water or food overnight in pet feeding vessels.
- Fix all leaking pipes and faucets.
- Empty the waste bins and garbage containers regularly.
2. Remove their hiding and breeding places
- Eliminate any unneedful clutter, such as bags, newspapers, corrugated cardboard boxes, and other items that could pile up.
- Make sure you have enough space between items when you’re storing them (wire shelving can help in this area).
- Seal all cracks and spaces that could harbor roaches with caulk.
- Employ steel wool or other similar items in sealing spaces caused by plumbing or electrical wiring activities on walls.
3. Block roach entry into your home
- Store debris piles and firewood adequately and far from the property.
- Tighten the lid of your compost bin.
- Clean any fruits or fallen vegetables in your yard.
- Seal trash can covers.
- Install weather stripping on the doors in the home.
- Install mesh over vents.
- Ensure that pine straw and mulch are safely kept far from the house.
Keep roaches away with pest exterminators
Suppose there are roaches in your house; you want to take active steps to prevent them from multiplying. When self-efforts fail, which often is the case, consult an expert to investigate the case and come up with the best cockroach prevention and control plan for you and your property.
Professional commercial services are versed with roach infestations and know particularly where these evasive pests tend to hide. Because roaches are experts at hiding during the daytime, it could be challenging for homeowners to locate the source of the situation by themselves. Let experts handle your pest problems so you don’t have to entertain any worries about subsequent roach infestations.
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