Can Cockroaches Climb?

Cockroach climbing an old wallWatching a cockroach scurry its way up your wall can be quite unpleasant. But how do these insects climb walls and ceilings with perfection?

Roaches use their legs and claws with hair to scale different surfaces, including all types of textured and rough platforms. Although their legs may seem weak, they still have a strong grip.

You’ll likely see these bugs climbing your bed, walls, clothing, and many more areas. However, there are some surfaces roaches can not climb, such as glass and mirrors.

Cockroaches walking on walls can signify a roach infestation. So, you must remove the pests as soon as possible. Let’s explore more about a cockroach’s climbing ability.

Can Roaches Climb Ceilings and Walls?

young roach climbing a white painted wallCockroaches can climb ceilings and walls as they have porous and textured surfaces. They use their sharp claws to grip walls and ceilings to climb and walk. Also, roaches have rapid inversion abilities, allowing them to easily switch from vertical to horizontal positions without losing momentum.

Additionally, roaches can climb walls and ceilings by climbing up cabinets, cupboards, and other surfaces, offering better grip.

Can Roaches Climb Your Bed?

Roaches can conveniently climb onto your bed with their strong legs. They allow them to firmly grip wood and other rough surfaces. Your bed also offers several spaces for them to hide.

Some other things may also provide an invitation to these bugs to climb your bed. These include:

  • Mattress
  • Pillows
  • Bed sheets

What Surfaces Can Cockroaches Climb?

Cockroaches can climb several surfaces other than walls and beds. They use their sharp claws to cling onto textured, porous, and rough surfaces by defying gravity. Such surfaces include drywall, brick, wood, and stone.

Here are some common household surfaces roaches can climb:

  • Cabinets
  • Blinds
  • Curtains
  • Fabric
  • Furniture
  • Pipes
  • Drains
  • Cupboards

What Surfaces Can Roaches Not Climb?

Cockroaches can not climb slippery or smooth surfaces since they offer nothing to hold onto. However, if these surfaces have filth or dents and bumps, roaches can still make their way upwards by climbing onto them.

Here are some common surfaces roaches can not scale:

  • Glossy paint
  • Glass
  • Porcelain
  • Smooth plastic
  • Polished metal
  • Granite
  • Marble

How Do Roaches Climb Different Surfaces?

Cockroaches can climb and walk on different surfaces with their claws and special antennae. They use their features strategically to scale high walls.

Here’s a brief description of how these bugs climb a range of surfaces:

Limb Hairs

Roaches have thousands of tiny hairs on their limbs called bristles or setae. They help them sense slight changes in the surface and alter their movement.

Moreover, cockroaches’ feet have two pads with several small hairs. These hairs are covered by a sticky cuticle that distributes pressure across a roach’s feet. The hair can also offer great assistance in climbing and gripping.

A roach’s foot pad can also help them identify touch and chemical changes around them.


Roaches can use their barbs and claws to climb walls. Their claws are attached to the legs and air, clinging to different surfaces. They allow the bugs to grip and dig into surfaces while climbing.

Cockroaches may also use their claws to hang upside down a ceiling or other surfaces, unlike other insects.

Special Antennae

Roaches can detect vibrations and movement using special antennae called cerci. They use their cerci for navigation and monitoring air pressure changes.

Research Says That All Roaches Can Climb Except Oriental Cockroaches

Almost all cockroach breeds are climbers. but Oriental cockroaches are not. They struggle in climbing many surfaces, especially vertical ones. That’s because their feet or tarsi are small, and their legs are short. Not only that, but their foot pads are also weak. This makes these bugs the only cockroach breed that can’t climb!

If you’re not familiar with Oriental roaches, these are reddish-brown bugs with wings that measure up to one inch. They look more like American roaches, one of the common species in your household.

How To Prevent Roaches From Climbing on Your Furniture and Walls?

You can use many methods to prevent cockroaches from climbing on your walls and furniture. These include:

Seal Entry Points

Roaches can use your furniture and walls to hide in cracks during the daytime. But, if you seal their shelter, they may not climb onto walls anyways.

Check your walls, beds, and cupboards for openings and damage. Also, use expanding foam or other sealants to caulk and seal roach hiding areas.

Cut Water and Food Access

Cockroaches can also climb on your household objects to drink and eat. Therefore, you should clean your beds and dispose of food crumbs. Additionally, store your food items in airtight containers. To reduce water access, you should wipe up liquid spills right away.

Reduce Surface Grip

Cockroaches can struggle while climbing smooth surfaces. So, you can paint your walls with glossy paint and cover your furniture ends with silicone sheets to reduce texture.

Why Should You Get Rid of Roaches Climbing Walls?

You should get rid of roaches climbing your walls and beds, as they can severely infest your home.

Roaches are nocturnal pests that thrive in dark and warm spaces. They can climb onto your bed and walls for shelter as they can have cracks and crevices. Once these bugs hide in your walls or furniture, it can be challenging to remove them.

Additionally, roaches can spread several diseases and germs around your home. Therefore, you should prevent them from infesting your walls and other surfaces.


How Do I Keep Roaches From Climbing On My Bed?

You can keep roaches from climbing on your bed by spraying essential oils like peppermint and cypress around the furniture. These oils can naturally deter cockroaches. You can prepare a spraying solution by mixing the essential oils with water.

Can Cockroaches Climb Up Plastic?

Roaches can climb up plastic if its texture is rough. However, the bugs cannot climb if the plastic surface is smooth and does not offer any formation to hold onto.


Cockroaches are adept at climbing different surfaces for food, warmth, water, and shelter. That because the bugs:

  • Can use their claws and antennae to scale walls and furniture
  • Have a good inversion ability
  • Have tiny hair on their legs to help them climb on surfaces

However, cockroaches can not climb smooth surfaces like glass, and polished metal.