Small Roaches in House – What You Should Do (Complete Guide)

If you have come across tiny cockroaches in your home, you probably want to know what type they are!

In this article we’ll help you identify the most common small cockroaches in homes and suggest a course of action for each species.

Identifying the species of roach is a good idea, and then there are certain steps you can follow to get rid of the infestation.

We’ll look at:

  • Which cockroach species are small?
  • What kind is likely to be in your home?
  • What should you do to get rid of small cockroaches?
  • What should you do once you have got rid of them?

Which Are The Smallest Kinds Of Cockroaches?

You may not be very interested in what kind of cockroach is in your home – many people feel that it’s a cockroach and that’s all that matters.

However, identifying the species may make it easier for you to deal with it as you will have a better understanding of what it needs and how to make your home less hospitable to it.

So, let’s cover the smallest kinds of cockroaches so you can get closer to identifying your unwelcome guest.

German Cockroaches

A particularly common kind of pest that is found in the home, German cockroaches are very small.

They are usually less than an inch long, and they have two dark stripes running lengthwise on the head, which is the most distinctive marking on their light brown bodies.

These cockroaches love indoor spaces and thrive in homes across the US, particularly in warm, humid areas.

If you live somewhere hot and damp, you will probably struggle with these insects at some point.

This is most likely to be the kind of cockroach you are dealing with if you’ve found a small roach inside your home, and it’s the one we will mostly discuss today. However, we’ll briefly cover some of the other small species too.

Brown-banded Cockroaches

-, FAL,
By Saphan

Very similar in size, the brown-banded cockroach is also to be found in homes across the US, and similarly likes warm conditions.

It will hide away in dark corners of the home, and both the males and females of the species can fly – as if you needed any more reason to dislike them!

These cockroaches don’t like such wet conditions, however, so you’ll usually find them in drier parts of your home. They don’t need as much water as other species.

They are a reddish color and may have lighter bands on their rear ends.

Asian Cockroaches

By Natasha Wright, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, -, CC BY 3.0,
By Natasha Wright, Florida

Somewhat bigger, at around one and a quarter inches, the Asian or Oriental cockroach is usually a dark, glossy brown. They rarely come indoors during the warmer months, but will often move inside to overwinter, seeking cozier conditions.

They like humid and dark spaces, and both males and females can fly.

Pennsylvanian Wood Cockroaches

About an inch long, this roach is not so commonly found in homes, but has been known to move indoors at times. The males can fly, and the species is usually only present in woodland.

However, if you have a lot of woodwork in your house, you may encounter this kind of cockroach, and it can cause major damage. These cockroaches are usually only found in country areas, not in urban zones.

What Are The Risks Of Small Cockroaches?

So, why do you need to be concerned about small cockroaches in your home? What risks do they pose? Well, all roaches, large or small, pose health hazards to the occupants of the home that they are invading.

For example, they may carry salmonella, gastroenteritis, and dysentery. They often move from bathrooms (source of moisture) to kitchens (source of food) and back, spreading germs from the toilet to your countertops and any food that they find.

Cockroaches are also problematic because they can trigger allergic reactions. They constantly shed their skins and their fecal matter can be an irritant, so as well as spreading bacteria around your home, they may make your allergies spike.

This is true of all kinds of cockroaches, not just the small ones, but it’s still useful to assess the dangers. Both small and large cockroaches need to be dealt with promptly to keep your home safe for you to live in.

German cockroaches pose an extra risk because their feet have sticky pads, and this means that they can climb well, even though they aren’t fliers.

Everywhere they set one of their feet down is then potentially infected by wherever they have last been, so this makes them particularly prone to spreading disease.

German cockroaches are also problematic because they breed a lot more quickly than some other kinds of cockroaches. Most take around a year to reach adulthood, meaning that infestations spread relatively slowly.

A German cockroach can reach maturity in just three months.

That means they can start reproducing very quickly, and you may not have much time to deal with them before you have a serious infestation on your hands.

What Should I Do If I See A Small Roach?

What do you do when you find you have roaches in the house? This is usually quite a shock, but try not to panic. Follow the steps below.

Step One: See Where It Comes From

The first thing you should do if you see a tiny roach in your home is to try and trap it so you can figure out what kind it is. However, roaches are fast movers and you may not be able to catch it.

Don’t worry if not. Instead, try and see where it goes, and start investigating whether other cockroaches are taking over your home.

Check in dark, damp, rarely disturbed areas in order to see if you have others around. Look for droppings and shed skins; these will help you locate the den.

Step Two: Call Pest Control

When you have located the infestation, you will probably want to call experts out to deal with the situation.

Whether small or large, cockroaches pose a serious health risk and need to be dealt with very promptly as the infestation will spread fast – particularly if you’re dealing with German cockroaches.

Some people prefer to handle infestations themselves, but small cockroaches are much more difficult to shift than the large varieties because they actively choose to inhabit the homes of humans, and they will be very reluctant to move on.

You need to take a more aggressive approach in order to remove them.

There is no persuading German cockroaches to just go back outside because they don’t live outside. They are also resistant to many sprays and bombs, so it’s a good idea to call in the experts if possible.

However, if you can’t or don’t want to do that, we’re going to cover some other suggestions for dealing with these nasty bugs.

Step Three: Clean Thoroughly

While it is not true that a home must be dirty for cockroaches to live there, a dirty home is more comfortable for roaches.

They feed on dust and detritus around the home, and will munch their way through bits of dropped food very happily.

Cleaning is important from a health perspective, dealing with the potential contamination from these bugs and keeping your home free from dangerous germs.

However, it will also help to remove food sources, slowing down the bugs’ ability to breed and grow, and hopefully deterring them.

Step Four: Remove Hiding Places

Although roaches do sometimes get behind wallpaper and in impossible-to-reach places, they may equally be hiding somewhere reachable because your home is cluttered.

Excess furniture, piles of paper, bits of junk that are gathering dust – all of these things will attract and house cockroaches.

It is a good idea to go through the main areas of your home, moving and cleaning behind furniture, and then removing all the debris that you can.

Take some time to declutter your space, getting rid of things that you no longer need.

This will make it harder for cockroaches to hide, and it will also make it easier for you to stay on top of the cleaning, because there will be less accumulated clutter hanging around to deal with.

You will also encourage air movement, making your home drier and reducing the damp spots that cockroaches (particularly the small German ones) depend on.

Step Five: Dehumidify And Dry Your Home

As mentioned, German cockroaches need water, and they like humid conditions. If your home is damp, you are far more likely to encounter these cockroaches, and keep encountering them as they continually infest your space.

Don’t ignore this problem. Get a dehumidifier or two, and work on drying your home out.

Clean up spills, open the windows to promote a good airflow, and dry wet washing in a very ventilated space to avoid mold and dampness building up.

Couple this with efforts to fix any leaky pipes, dripping faucets, or other issues that might be providing the German cockroaches with moisture. They need damp spots, so the drier you can make your home, the fewer places they will have to hide in.

You may even want to invest in drain stoppers to prevent cockroaches from getting in and out of your drains and drinking the moisture there.

Wipe down sinks and drainers as soon as you have finished with them, and hang damp towels up to dry or put them in the laundry.

Trapping Cockroaches

You may find that you need to use traps and insecticides to get rid of cockroaches, rather than calling pest control. If so, read online reviews to check the ones you choose actually work. Here are a few suggestions:

Insecticidal Dusts

Dusting common cockroach areas with insecticidal dust will kill any roaches that scuttle through that area. Boric acid and diatomaceous earth are both natural ways to kill cockroaches, or there are commercial alternatives such as CimeXA.

Gel Baits

To poison the cockroaches, apply small dabs of a commercially purchased gel bait around the cockroach nest.

These will attract and kill the whole colony quickly, and are often one of the most effective methods of removing German cockroaches from your home.

We have an entire article covering how to trap cockroaches, check it out here:

Boric Acid and Peanut Butter – The Perfect Bait Box for Roaches


Once you have got rid of the cockroaches, make sure you are vigilant going forward. Keep your space clean and look out for warning signs of reinfestation.

Unfortunately, German cockroaches are an ongoing nuisance for many people, and you need to take fast, aggressive action to get rid of them.

Conclusion: What To Do About Small Roaches

As soon as you see a small roach, you need to act. Identify the species and then either call in experts or get to work yourself with poisons and a strict cleaning routine.

Remember that deterrents alone are unlikely to be enough to get rid of German cockroaches; they can’t survive outside the home, so they will be very determined to stay in it!

If you want to learn more about cockroaches and various other insects, then checkout some of our hand selected articles:

Does Lysol Kill Roaches? The Facts And Results

Can Roaches Adapt to Boric Acid? – The Surprising Answer

The Color of Cockroaches – Red, White, Brown and MANY more!


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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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