How To Find a Cockroach Nest and Get Rid of It for Good

Group of cockroaches near a nestCockroaches live in dark and humid areas with ample food and water. They prefer staying away from humans and predators to reproduce without any disturbance. So you’re likely to find a cockroach nest in narrow spaces, such as floor drains, under or inside refrigerators, electrical appliances, and walls.

If you’re trying to get rid of a roach infestation at once, it’s almost impossible. That’s because these pests live in colonies consisting of numerous nests. So to make your home roach-free, you must destroy every roach’s nest, egg, and nymph.

Eliminating a cockroach nest is the first step to getting rid of these bugs. You must follow a complete action plan to keep roaches away from your home for good.

If you don’t know where to start, this guide has everything you must learn to find and eliminate a cockroach nest. So let’s get started!

What Does a Cockroach Nest Appear As?

A cockroach nest isn’t a usual nest like that of birds. It isn’t made of twigs and leaves. Instead, “cockroach nest” indicates a place where numerous cockroaches live together, nourish, and reproduce.

Roaches colonize in one narrow area. They produce pheromones to call other cockroaches to that place and make it a nest. Once these bugs settle in, they multiply in numbers, lay eggs, and defecate.

Since the roach nest has no definite shape, it isn’t easy to find it immediately.
Plus, you’re less likely to find their nests because cockroaches usually come out and leave trails at night.

Does a Cockroach Nest Smell Bad?

A cockroach nest smells bad. It has a strong, musty, oily odor that gets intense over time when the infestation size increases. This smell is caused due to the cuticular hydrocarbons that roaches release when they defecate. In colonies, the amount of poop is pretty huge, resulting in a strong odor.

These hydrocarbons have a unique insect scent (pheromones) that leaves a trail for other roaches toward the colony. In addition to defecation, these bugs also release pheromones when finding a food source or mating.

How Big Is a Cockroach Nest?

A cockroach colony can have a few dozen to hundreds of bugs, both living and dead. In the beginning, the nest is not well-established. But over time, it becomes an ideal place with necessary pathways to food and water sources and optimal warmth for reproduction.

A well-established cockroach nest is a sign of a massive infestation. These bugs can reproduce rapidly and create large colonies within a few weeks. The reproduction rate may vary from species to species, but the generation estimation is 10 to 40 eggs at a time.

Where Do Cockroaches Nest in Your House?

Kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, attics, basements, and drawers— cockroaches love to nest in every place away from humans and close to food sources. In fact, you won’t even know, and they will be living in your bedroom walls, completely hidden.

Here are the most common places for cockroaches to nest in your house:


The bathroom has many spots for roaches to hide and thrive. These include:

  • Cabinets
  • Medicine drawers
  • Plumbing
  • Under the toilet seat
  • Behind the tiles and sink
  • Toilet paper storage area
  • Places with soaps and hair residue

The bathroom has less human intervention, which is why it is primarily dark and moist. After establishing a nest, cockroaches use the drainage system as the entry and exit points to roam around your entire home and neighbor’s house.


With ample food and water, the kitchen is no less than heaven for cockroaches. It also includes multiple hiding spots with minimal disturbance from predators and humans. Some of the ideal areas include:

  • Cupboards
  • Behind appliances, including the dishwasher (which has abundant moisture) and refrigerators (because of their heat)
  • In appliances, such as toasters, coffee machines, blenders, etc

When the bugs nest in the above areas, they crawl everywhere at night, searching for food crumbs and leftover meals. If they have come from dumpsters, they may also have disease-carrying bacteria and allergens.

So cockroach nests in the kitchen are more dangerous than in any other place.

Laundry Rooms

This goes without saying: cockroaches love to live in laundry rooms. These places are warm and damp, perfect for roaches to thrive and reproduce. You may think there is no food source in laundry rooms, then why is that so?

Remember, roaches can eat almost anything. If you have cardboard boxes, these bugs can survive on their glue and use them as a shelter.

It’s also possible that your laundry room walls have holes. If that’s the case, these insects can use them as free pathways to find nourishment in other areas of your home and return to the laundry room for shelter.


Basements are the least-visited areas in every household. This makes these areas ideal for infestations. They are spacious and have several nesting spots, such as ceiling and wall cracks, floor cavities, old furniture, and cardboard boxes.

Cockroaches have sufficient food and water source in basements too. They can chew on books and newspapers to thrive and keep multiplying in numbers.


Cockroaches don’t make a nest in the drains unless they are not in use for a long time. These bugs may move in and out of the drain because of the garbage can. The walls around the drains may also have cracks and crevices for roaches to live.

If your home is yet safe from infestation, you can opt for drain covers. But if roaches have already made their nests, this technique won’t work.


Some cockroaches prefer living in cooler environments. So they might not be in your home but can be present outside. For example, if you have a lawn or garden, these bugs may be hiding there.

Roaches can also be in pipe ducts, garages, rubbish cans, and porches outside your home. They wait for humans to sleep at night and then enter your home at the right time.

How To Identify Cockroach Nests?

Since roaches are small, it’s pretty challenging to find them. They crawl at such a fast speed that it’s almost impossible for humans to keep track of. Thus, to identify a roach nest, you not only have to think like these bugs but know its identification signs.

Cockroaches prefer living in narrow, tight, and dark places. So, start by poking in hard-to-reach places, such as wall cracks, under the refrigerator, and behind furniture.

If you can’t see a single roach, sit back and start thinking like a roach. Suppose you’re a cockroach. Now answer these questions:

  • What places do you think have ample amounts of food and water sources? Bathrooms and kitchens, right? So, now head towards your bathroom and kitchen and check your pantry, cabinets, storage shelves, and containers. Don’t forget to look behind appliances and mirrors in both places.
  • What areas are dark and damp? Attic and basement. Now, go to these places and check every nook and cranny to find a roach nest. Remember to check all the boxes, tins, and bins to ensure their presence.

As you can see, finding roach nests requires a lot of effort, but it’s worth the hassle. If you spot and get rid of roaches at the beginning of the infestation, you can better control the bugs’ population before it grows.

Knowing the identification signs of different roach species and their nests can speed up the process. Let’s have a look at both:

Identifying Different Cockroach Species

Not all cockroach species act similarly. Every species prefers a different environment to build a nest. Here is a breakdown of the most common cockroach species found in homes:

  • German Cockroaches. They are the most common household roaches that prefer tight and narrow spaces to live in. These include crawl spaces, moldings, wall ceilings, and behind the refrigerator.
  • American Cockroaches. These are the second most common household roaches, which prefer nesting near food sources like kitchens, cabinets, and pantries.
  • Oriental Cockroaches. These species are water-loving bugs that nest near water sources, such as toilets, sinks, leaky pipes, and moist areas.
  • Brown-Banded Cockroaches. These roaches enjoy dry and warm areas, such as cabinets, cupboards, and closets.

Nesting Signs

Cockroaches usually leave behind signs wherever they crawl. Looking for these signs is the easiest way to spot a nest. These include:

  • Dead cockroaches
  • Shed skin
  • Black spots or smears
  • Fecal droppings
  • Egg cases or ootheca

Some roaches also love to nest outdoors, such as Wood and Oriental cockroaches. These bugs find their food and water from the outside. However, when they run out of these sources, they enter the home to fulfill their hunger.

Outdoor roaches usually nest in dark, damp, and isolated places, such as:

  • Close to decomposing waste
  • Inside old sewers and near floor drains
  • Under garbage bins
  • Under leaf piles
  • Near compost piles
  • Loose bark on trees
  • Wooden shingles
  • Isolated meter boxes
  • Hollow logs
  • Under wood piles
  • House siding

So when searching for a cockroach nest, check dark, damp, isolated, dry, and warm places inside and outside your home.

How To Destroy Cockroach Nests?

Once you identify all the areas with roach nests, the final step is to develop an action plan to get rid of these bugs for good. An ideal plan for cockroach elimination must include three steps:

  • Killing roaches
  • Eliminating the smell
  • Preventing cockroach nests

Remember that you must act immediately to get rid of these bugs. That’s because they can instantly migrate from one place to another and multiply in number. So gear yourself because it’s time to jump into the battleground!

Step 1: Killing Roaches

You can use multiple ways to kill roaches within a few minutes. However, these insects can survive without its head for three months, so it’s not a one-day job.

You must repeat the following methods every day to leave no bugs behind:

An Interesting Hack: Heat Your Entire Home

This method may sound unconventional, but it works wonders. A Quora user quoted that heating your entire home for a few hours at 130 to 140 F can significantly kill roaches. He called the treatment “one and done” for insect elimination, but it’s expensive.

So if you’re willing to spend big, you can contact pest terminators specialized in this regard.

The method includes bringing large industrial heaters into the home to heat it. First, the heat penetrates the walls making every area hot enough. Then, the temperature is maintained for a few hours before turning the heat off.

As the temperature comes back to normal, the treatment is completed. You won’t see roaches, bedbugs, silverfish, or insects in your home. The Quora user also said that the house smells fresh after this treatment.

Spray Insecticides

The quickest way to eliminate a roach colony is to spray an insecticide directly on it. These sprays include strong and hazardous chemicals that destroy roaches and nests within a few hours.

However, cockroaches that have continually survived insecticides turn immune to future treatments. So, if you still see roaches roaming around in your home, move on to the next method.

Set Up Traps and Baits

You can also set up traps and baits near the cockroach nests. Use the favorite foods of roaches, such as greasy items, meat, sweets, and anything organic combined with poison, to attract them to the traps.

Once the bugs ingest the food and return to their nests, the poison spreads to other roaches, eventually killing the entire nest. Traps work amazingly to eliminate nests that go undetected.

Use Diatomaceous Earth (DE)

Diatomaceous earth is a natural insect-killer consisting of fossilized algae. It comes in a powdered form and is quite toxic to all insects with an exoskeleton.

When using DE, remember that it doesn’t give instant results. Instead, you’ll have to wait a few days for the compound to kill the bugs through dehydration.

Step 2: Eliminating the Smell

Cockroaches communicate with their community members through “death scents” produced by pheromones. This gives cockroach nests a distinctive musty smell that stays in your home even after eliminating the bugs.

Here is how you can get rid of the smell:

Remove Dead Bugs

Dead roaches release a fluid of fatty acids (linoleic acid), which may act as pheromones to make other bugs aware of the danger. Their feces also contain these chemicals that attract other roaches. In case you don’t know, cockroaches can eat their dead family members.

So, to eliminate this smell, vacuum up all the dead roaches and their feces. Doing so will also prevent other cockroaches from coming to your home.

Clean Dark Spots and Droppings

As discussed before, droppings, skin casts, black spots, and smears are all signs of a roach nest. These things release a strong, musty smell unpleasant to humans but equally pleasant to roaches.

After eliminating the nest, make sure to clean these spots with bleach to get rid of the smell.

Dry Moist Surfaces

Cockroach droppings and feces attract mold, which gives off a nasty odor. This smell can get robust on damp surfaces. So, always dry these places after removing the insect’s fecal droppings to eliminate the scent.

Step 3: Preventing Cockroach Nests

Even after getting rid of the nest and its smell, your job is still not done. These bugs can come back to your home to give you a surprise anytime. To prevent all these sudden attacks, you must take some preventive measures.

A few of them are:

Seal Entryways, Cracks, and Crevices

Cockroaches typically build their nests in wall cavities, cracks, and crevices. So after kicking all the roaches out of these spaces, seal these gaps with a filling solution. You can also spray an insecticide before sealing to ensure you don’t leave a cockroach or two inside.

Fix Pipelines

Cockroaches have the exceptional ability to live without food and water for days. If they were living in your basement or bathroom, check any leaks in the pipelines and fix them as soon as possible. This way, you can cut their water supply for the future.

While you’re at it, don’t forget to cover the drains to block the entryway of these insects to your home.

Organize and Clean Your Basement and Garage

The basement and garage are the most cluttered areas in your home. Cockroaches love mess and trash. So declutter these places and dispose of all the garbage from the bins. This will cut off the food supply to these insects.

Use Citrus Scents to Keep Roaches Away

Roaches hate strong citrusy smells, especially those of essential oils such as peppermint, eucalyptus, lemon, and lavender. You can use these scents in your bathroom, kitchen, garage, and any place where these bugs were previously situated. This will keep them away for a long time.


Do Cockroaches Build Nests?

No, cockroaches don’t build nests like birds. Instead, they find a narrow, dark, isolated place close to food and water sources and make it their nest. They call other roaches to that area where all of them live together, eat, and reproduce.

Can Cockroaches Nest in Walls?

Yes, cockroaches nest in the walls’ gaps, cracks, and crevices. They also live in wall ceilings.


Finding a cockroach nest is quite time-consuming and challenging. You have to think like roaches to determine where they live, know the identification signs of nests, and the places where cockroaches prefer to nest.

  • A roach nest is not actually a nest. Instead, it refers to a place where these bugs live in colonies, thrive, and reproduce.
  • Shed skin, egg shells, fecal droppings, smear marks, and dead bugs are the signs of a cockroach nest.
  • Cockroaches love to nest in the bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, basement, attic, laundry room, and even outdoors.
  • An effective action plan to get rid of roach nests includes three steps: eliminating the bugs, removing their smell, and preventing them from returning.