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Why Do I Only Find Dead Cockroaches In My House?

In the wild, cockroaches live in forests, caves, and brushes. They feed on and dispose of organic waste. They also live in and travel through unsanitary locations, and many of them favor living in the warmth of our homes. Not only is it unpleasant to think of roaches living in our homes, but they carry bacteria, which they leave behind when walking across work surfaces and in cupboards with food and dishes.

It isn’t uncommon to see one or two dead roaches, but if you see a large increase in the number of dead ones in your home and you rarely, if ever, see any living roaches, it is likely to be a bad sign. Often, seeing a large number of dead cockroaches in your home means that you have a sizeable infestation, but it could also mean that the roaches are being killed by predators, including fire ants or lizards. In any case, further investigation and steps are required to eradicate the bugs from your home.

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Cockroaches In The Home

Photo Credit By: Poravute Siriphiroon, Shutterstock

Cockroaches prefer dark and safe spaces to live. In houses, they live in the cracks and crevices of walls. They can reside in unused drawers and are regularly found behind the fridge, especially if there is a collection of crumbs and other food debris to be found there.

Roaches are tricky to spot and notoriously difficult to kill. They have a flexible exoskeleton, which means that they can squeeze through tiny gaps and run the equivalent of 50 body lengths in a second. Even if you spot one and it doesn’t get away, a cockroach can survive pressure equivalent to 900 times its body weight.

Typically, a cockroach will enter a house looking for shelter, food, or water. They feed on organic material, which can include leftover food, but even the most fastidious of housekeepers cannot always prevent an infestation. However, you can reduce the likelihood of an infestation by cleaning dirty dishes, wiping down worktops and units, and cleaning around and behind appliances.

Pay particular attention to fruit bowls, perishable goods in the pantry, and pet food that is left in open bags or bowls overnight. At the same time, look for signs of cockroaches. Typical signs include small droppings similar to those of a mouse, egg sacks shaped like small purses, and shed cockroach skins. Although unlikely, it is possible that you will see a cockroach when you turn the light on at night and catch them unaware.

Causes Of Dead Cockroaches

If you see a large number of dead roaches, there are several possible causes:

  • Mice Or Rats – Mice and rats don’t necessarily prefer a cockroach diet, but both will eat them as a food source if hungry enough. While a rat infestation may eliminate a cockroach infestation, it just leaves you with another problem to deal with.
  • Lizards – Pet owners who keep lizards know that roaches are a good source of protein for their pets. If you don’t keep lizards as pets, but you do have several lizards or geckos residing on your property, they could be eating the roaches, but with rats, mice, and lizards, you are unlikely to find too many leftovers.
  • Fire Ants – Fire ants are predatory insects, and they will attack any insect that they find on what they perceive to be their property and land. They will eat cockroaches and may leave small parts of the body and the wings behind.
  • Playing Dead – Cockroaches have some excellent defense mechanisms to help them elude capture. One technique is playing dead, so the dead roach you see may not actually be dead but simply biding its time to make an escape. You are unlikely to find large numbers of cockroaches playing dead at the same time, however.
  • Cockroach Infestation – Unfortunately, the single most common cause of multiple dead cockroaches in your home is that you have a considerable cockroach infestation that has gotten worse. More cockroaches mean more competition for water and food, and this ultimately causes more of them to die. If you see a marked increase in the number of cockroaches you have, it may be time to call in a professional disposal service.

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Cockroaches at home
Photo Credit By: RHJPhtotoandilustration, Shutterstock

Cockroach Eradication

There are a few methods you can use to eliminate cockroaches if they have nested in your home:

  • Baking Soda – Baking soda is used for a seemingly endless list of home remedies, including eradicating roaches. When roaches consume baking soda, it creates gases in their stomach that cause them to explode. You will have to make the baking soda more inviting, however, which you can do by rubbing it into onions or fruit and then placing the laced organic material in a shallow bowl to make the clean-up easier. Just remember to keep onions out of the way of dogs and cats because they are toxic to pets.
  • Citrus – Another readily available solution that you might already have is citrus. Humans love oranges and lemons, but cockroaches aren’t fans of them. Add lemon juice to your cleaning solutions to treat the floor and countertops.
  • Boric Acid – Boric acid is safe for dogs and people but not for cockroaches. As well as sticking to their legs, it kills them quickly, causing their nervous and digestive systems to stop working. You can create a trap by placing a food source in the middle of a shallow bowl and then surrounding it with a layer of boric acid.
  • Borax – Sodium tetraborate has the same base compounds as boric acid; you may know it by its more common name, Borax. The laundry product will cause roaches to dehydrate and die quickly. You may have to locate the bodies afterward.
  • Peppermint Essential Oils – Peppermint essential oil works similarly to citrus. The roaches do not like the smell, and they will avoid it. Place it around cracks and entry points while using other methods to kill off the roaches already in your home.
  • Glue Strips – Glue strips can be purchased online and from retailers. Those specifically designed to capture and kill roaches are coated in a substance that has an appealing smell, and once the roach steps on the glue strip, it is caught. You will need to monitor the strips and change them regularly.
  • Bait Stations – Bait stations, or bait tubes, are another commercial solution that can work well. As the name suggests, they contain a bait that attracts roaches. They also contain poison, and once the roach gets in the tube and eats the poison, they will die. Take care using bait stations if you have children, however.

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Cockroaches are unappealing and can be dangerous, spreading bacteria and causing illness. They are also difficult to find, challenging to catch, and equally difficult to kill. Seeing an increase in the number of dead roaches in your home should not be considered a positive sign, either. Yes, it means they are dying, but it also likely means that you have a sizeable infestation and must take action to eradicate the problem as soon as possible.

Featured Image Credit: Nicholas_Demetriades, Pixabay


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