Roach Droppings – SIMPLE steps to identify them and next actions

Photo by Jesper Aggergaard on Unsplash

In this article I’ll walk you through exactly what you need to know in order to identify roach droppings quickly and give you tips on the most likely places to find them.

I’ll also show you how to discern the difference from them and other insect droppings.

Finally I’ll also suggest several things to do immediately if you find roach droppings.

So let’s get into it…

Are All Roach Droppings the Same?

You need to understand that the size of the feces has a direct correlation to the size of the cockroach. This means that bigger roaches will produce larger droppings and the vice-versa is also true. But before you experience a full-blown insect infestation, the droppings will be minimal.

Generally, the droppings are usually black or dark brown pellets. Besides that, they can be oval-shaped or simply appear as roundish shaped chunks. In some instances, you can simply come across dark stains and smears on surfaces that the roaches have been crawling across.

As stated above, larger roaches normally excrete larger droppings. Some of the larger species include the oriental, smoky-brown, and American roaches. They usually measure more than one inch long. These species of cockroaches produce solid and cylindrical feces that can be as big as a grain of rice.

A close analysis of the fecal matter reveals ridges and that’s why some people associate the droppings with fennel seeds. It should be noted that roach droppings are quite different from mouse droppings. The latter is usually smooth and doesn’t have ridges. Besides that, mouse droppings are usually pointed on both ends and may have small body hairs stuck to them.

The German and brown-banded species are the ones that produce small droppings often. If they have infested your home, you will simply come across tiny black or brown specs that look like coarse black pepper or ground coffee beans.

Can Roach Droppings Be On Walls?

Absolutely. You can find roach droppings on the walls. In fact, most of the time the presence of roach droppings stains on the walls is the chief alarm that alerts other roaches to come and congregate.

Cockroaches tend to defecate everywhere they are. These scavenging insects will leave brown or black fecal stains that are raised. However, sometimes the fecal stains appear as smears.

Roach poop contains pheromones that are used to signal other roaches to come and gather. Well, this means that if you don’t handle the infestation as quickly as possible, then more of them will be attracted to that area.

Where Should I Look in Each Room of the House for Roach Droppings?

Generally, you are likely to find these insects close to their food sources. Besides that, you can find them in plenty in nesting regions or congregation areas. So, if you are looking for roach droppings in you’re, here are some of the places you are highly likely to find them:

  • In food storage areas such as the pantry, shelves, and cabinets
  • High objects that provide hidden passage such as doors and windows
  • Along the baseboard area and warm, dark corners
  • Underneath machines or appliances such as washers, refrigerators, dryers, stoves, and sinks
  • Inside closets and drawers
  • Organic storage areas with materials such as papers and cardboard boxes
  • Walls and floors with crack openings

Why Do You Need to Look for Roach Droppings

Well, roach droppings are highly toxic and, therefore, you need to find and eliminate the insects before they spread to other areas. Research studies indicate that the smell of the feces can enhance the severity of asthma.

It’s worth noting that this stance is supported by EPA which recognizes that cockroach feces are asthma triggers. Besides that, you and your family wouldn’t like to come across roach poop every time, everywhere.

Do More Droppings Mean a Larger Infestation?

At first, you might find that the droppings are actually scattered and it may not be easy to even see them. However, a full-blown infestation means more visible droppings.

It’s impossible to miss seeing these feces because they will be all over. Besides the fecal matter, you will also come across some body parts, discarded shells, and egg cases.

Note: in some instances, you might actually find droppings but there are no cockroaches. Well, they are usually fecal matter from the roaches that once lived inside your house. However, they might have left or somehow died. Generally, the larger the amount of droppings, the larger the infestation. In order to tell if the infestation is active, try and clear some of the droppings and then monitor if there are more. In case there are no new droppings, then the infestation is not current.

What Are the Signs of Cockroach Manifestation?

By kulmalukko - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

It’s very easy to spot the signs of a cockroach infestation before you even spot the actual insects. This is because these insects are usually nocturnal. They love to hide in crevices, cracks, and dark spaces during the day and mostly come out at night to eat. Signs of a cockroach infestation include:


These insects usually leave behind visible dark droppings. They are normally similar to black pepper or ground coffee. The size of the droppings usually varies depending on the size of the insect. If you spot droppings and you suspect that they come from cockroaches, cautiously clean them. This is because they can easily spread bacteria through their droppings.

Smear Marks

In case you live in a place that’s humid or has a high moisture content, then these insects will produce irregularly-shaped smear marks when they move across walls or when they are resting. The smear marks are usually prevalent near wall-floor junctions as well as areas near crevices.

Other Signs of Cockroach Infestation

Apart from large visible droppings and smear marks, there are still other signs that you can look out for. You can also check out for:

Unusual odor

Cockroach droppings usually have pheromones that usually produce odor. To human beings, this musty smell is usually lingering and has an unpleasant effect. It should be noted that as the infestation grows, the smell will also continue to become intense.

Cockroach Eggs

Roaches normally lay numerous egg capsules and each capsule usually has multiple eggs. However, the capsules appear differently depending on the cockroach species. The brown-banded cockroach usually has 8 segments while the German ootheca has 18 segments. Meanwhile, the American and Oriental cockroach ootheca don’t have clear segmentation.

Property Damage

These insects will eat anything that they come across. You will find that they have destroyed books, boards, leather, and wooden materials among others. If there is an infestation, you will definitely notice property damage.

Skin Remnants

These insects usually shed their skin between 5 to 8 times in their lifetime. This process usually occurs during different life cycles and as the insects grow into adulthood. In case there are infestations, you are going to see varying sizes of shed skin around your home.

Live Cockroaches

Since these are nocturnal animals, the best way to monitor manifestation is at night. If you are suspecting that the savage insects have infested your property, turn on the light at night and you will see them scattering into the darkness.

Generally, roaches are good climbers and that’s why they easily move across walls, floors, and glasses. Their feet comes with sticky pads that allow them to easily navigate through smooth surfaces.

You can find them in areas such as the bathroom, especially the German roaches which love warm and humid environments. Oriental cockroaches tend to reside in cool and damp areas such as drains and the basement area.

What to Do if You Find Droppings?

When you come across roach droppings, here is what you should do:

i. Clean

This is the first and most important step that you should consider in order to prevent further infestations. These droppings leave stains and odor that makes any property less appealing. Additionally, they may contain viral or bacterial pathogens. So, proper hygiene is important.

  • Walls, tiles, and cabinets: use a disinfectant that can effectively kill the bacteria on the feces and also protect these materials. Simply spray the disinfectant on the affected area and then leave it on for a few minutes. Remove the droppings first and then use a cleaning material to get rid of the stains and remaining dirt.
  • Carpets: these are hidden areas where roaches also love to reside in because of warmth. Start by vacuuming the tips of the carpets in order to remove most of the pellets. Thereafter, get the appropriate carpet detergent and then spray it on the area. In order to get the detergent effectively into the carpeting, scrub and then leave it to dry before you start to vacuum again.
  • Mattresses and clothes: remove the clothing and wash them to remove the stains. When washing, using a mild detergent and warm water in order to eliminate bacteria. If you want to clean the mattress, spray some detergent on it and let the mattress air dry.

ii.Seal gaps and cracks

Roaches use cracks and gaps as entry points and hideaways. So, the best way to limit them is by sealing anything that they can use as nests. This, consequently, can help to reduce the potential of these pests in transmitting organisms that cause diseases.

Note: make it a habit to frequently inspecting your property and seal any gaps with expanding foam or any other relevant material.

iii. Practice Good Hand Hygiene

To reduce the chances of transmission of roach-borne disease, make it a habit to wash your hands regularly. But even without an infestation, good hand hygiene is very important. Use warm water and soap to wash your hand in order to eliminate the viruses, bacteria, or germs that are spread by cockroaches.

  • Wash your hands before, during, and after touching or preparing food
  • Wash your hands after touching contaminated surfaces
  • Wash your hands before and after eating or after using the washroom

iv. Look for Professional Exterminator

If the nuisance is getting out of hand and you can’t effectively manage it, then it’s best to seek the help of a professional exterminator. They have the right skills and equipment that can help you to permanently eliminate these harmful and disease-causing insects that contaminate products.

Are Roach Droppings Full of Diseases

Cockroach droppings are harmful and they can make you sick. The negative effects are usually as a result of allergen proteins found in the feces that cause allergic reactions in both adults and children. Research studies indicate the allergens can trigger asthmatic symptoms.

Besides that, the insects naturally carry pathogens in their bodies which get excreted through fecal matter. They carry some pathogens such as Salmonella typhi that causes Typhoid and Poliomyelitis that causes Polio. It’s worth noting that eating food that’s contaminated with roach poop can lead to diarrhea.

If you’ve seen a single cockroach or a few then I recommend reading my article on I’ve Seen One Cockroach Should I be worried? As it’ll walk you through the next steps you should take.

How to Cockroach Transmit Diseases through Their Droppings

There are several ways that a person can contract diseases after coming into contact with the harmful roach droppings. The most common ones include:

1.Drinking or eating contaminated food:

these insects poop everywhere they go. Additionally, they love to eat and, therefore, you can easily find them in places where there are food droppings. In case they poop on the food and you eat it like that, then you are at risk of suffering from diarrhea, digestive discomfort, and others.

Note: Apart from contaminating food, these insects can also contaminate cutlery and if you use them while they are dirty, you will still consume the harmful raw pathogens.

2.Touching contaminated items:

these organisms tend to deposit their fecal matter everywhere. This means that if there is an infestation, then it’s very easy to touch the contaminated surfaces.

The risk of infestation usually arises when you touch a contaminated surface and then touch your mouth, nose, eyes, or even an open wound. These are some of the open routes that the pathogens can easily use to enter your body, thereby causing infections.

3.Inhaling the contaminated air: the pheromones in the droppings usually contaminate the surrounding air. If you inhale it, you might end up suffering from respiratory complications including asthma.


Generally, roach droppings are a nuisance. They make surfaces dirty, produce an unpleasant odor, and transfer diseases. You can easily spot the droppings since they are usually distinct stains.

However, it’s important to clean the droppings as soon as possible to eliminate germs and prevent infestations. This is because roach droppings are normally used to attract other insects. If the infestation is severe, then seek the services of an exterminator.

If you want to learn more about various insects, then checkout our site categories, we have a bunch of articles there that are totally worth reading:






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All the best


Steve Foster

Mad about bugs and wanting to publish as many articles as I can to help educate people about these amazing beautiful creatures! For more info check out my about page

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