Why Do Cockroaches Come Out At Night

Cockroaches prefer nightEver noticed a roach or two wandering around your bed at night? Chances are that you have a cockroach problem. These bugs mostly come out at night for feeding and mating because it’s quiet.

There are many factors that push cockroaches to come out at nights only. First, the insects are nocturnal, so they are naturally active when it gets darker. Second, they love cooler, less-crowded areas with less human intervention. Also, cockroaches have a different sleep-wake cycle than humans.

When you see roaches during the daytime, it can be an alarm for severe infestations. Therefore, you should follow effective solutions to eliminate these pests as soon as possible. Let’s explore more about roaches’ life at night to develop our action plan.

Why Are Cockroaches Nocturnal?

Cockroaches are nocturnal pests due to their circadian rhythm. Their sleep-wake cycle is the opposite of our sleeping and waking-up routine.

That’s because the bugs contain a neuropeptide in their brains called the Pigment Dispersing Factor (PDF). This chemical controls the locomotive behavior in cockroaches depending on their circadian rhythms. It also plays a significant role in controlling nightly roach activities.

If roaches are genetically modified, they do not strictly stay active at night due to a lack of PDF. This suggests that roaches are biologically nocturnal insects.

Why Do Roaches Prefer Darkness?

Roaches prefer darkness as it offers them suitable environments to thrive. Here are a few reasons why you may find more roaches scuttling around your home when it’s dark:

It’s Quieter

Cockroaches are prey creatures, and they know it. Thus, they are easily startled by the slightest noise. However, nighttime is quieter, and they can easily detect loud sounds as dangerous.

It’s Cooler

Daytime can be pretty warm due to the scorching heat. In contrast, nights are coolers. Roaches prefer this time to hunt food and reproduce.

Fewer Predators

At night, humans and most animals are asleep. This gives roaches a perfect chance to move around freely to find a delicious snack.

Ideal Time for Procreation

Roaches are adept at reproducing rapidly. However, they prefer to lay their eggs in a safer environment at night. During the day, they can be disturbed by several predators.

Additionally, nighttime offers cockroaches better opportunities to find a suitable mate.

Easy to Find Food

Cockroaches can find food more easily at night compared to day. That’s because they have access to more food sources while it’s dark.

How Can Roaches See in Darkness?

Cockroaches can see in the dark as they have many supportive features. Their bodies are naturally accustomed to the conditions at the night time. Here are some reasons roaches see in the dark time:

Light-Sensitive Cells

Light-sensitive cells or photoreceptors help cockroaches see better during the night. The bugs can receive countless visual signals in the dark due to these photoreceptors. As a result, they can move more efficiently in extremely dim light compared to humans.

Wrap-Around Eyes

Cockroaches have their eyes wrapped around their head. Thus they can easily see what’s behind them without angling or turning their head. This feature is very useful for bugs as it helps them stay away from predators. It also enables them to see better and clearer during the night.


Roaches can use their antennae to see in the dark. Their antennae have fine hairs, enabling them to detect the slightest vibrations in their surroundings. Thus, the bugs can easily sense predators in the dark and flee to the nearest hiding spot.

Roaches’ antennae can detect scent chemicals present in the air like nostrils. They can also serve as additional eyes to visualize things surrounding them.

Are Roaches Scared of Light?

Roaches can be afraid of light for various reasons. When you turn the lights on, these bugs may scatter as soon as possible to hide. Here’s why roaches may demonstrate such behavior:

They’re Startled

Artificial light is different from natural daylight. A sudden change in brightness scares the bugs.

They Sense Danger

Roaches can operate better at night. Instant brightness alerts the insects about nearby predators and urges them to hide.

Additionally, cockroaches scuttle away when the lights are on for the following reasons:

  • They can be harder to find if they hide quickly
  • They can see better from darker areas
  • They can easily assess danger levels from their safe hiding spots

Do Roaches Sleep?

Yes. Like all living beings, roaches also have a sleep-wake cycle. When it’s dark, cockroaches can become highly active and search for water, mate, and food.

However, these bugs may sleep or become inactive during the daytime. According to research, cockroaches may sleep in three activity states. Here’s a brief explanation of every roach sleeping phase:

The Initial Phase

Cockroaches can sleep in a locomotive state in their first sleep phase. During this state, the bugs are most active.

The Middle Phase

During the middle phase, roaches use their limbs and antennae to detect predators. However, the insect itself remains immobile and inactive.

The Final Phase

In this phase, cockroaches become completely immobile and do not move. You can compare this state to sleep in human beings.

Experts Say: Roaches Can Alter Their Sleep-Wake Cycle

According to research, cockroaches can change their sleeping patterns depending on light exposure. So if you’re a night owl and keep lights on during the night, roaches may avoid coming out. In contrast, the pests can become active in darker areas during the day and search for food.

Can You Spot Roaches During the Day?

Although cockroaches are nocturnal pests, you can see them during the day. These bugs are adaptable and can come out in daylight due to the following factors:


If your roach elimination methods have swept away food sources for cockroaches, they can become desperate for food. When they can’t find enough food at night, the insects may extend their food searching operation during daytime hours.


Roaches can breed continually and increase their population at a fast rate. That’s because their breeding and mating cycles are not limited to seasons. In fact, female cockroaches can lay up to 400 eggs in a lifetime.

If your home is infested by thousands of cockroaches, they may run out of hiding spaces. Thus, they can be forced out of their nests during the day to search for new nests.

Can Roaches Crawl in Your Bed at Night?

Cockroaches can crawl into your bed and mattress if it offers food and shelter. Regardless, the bugs may prefer avoiding you. So, if your room is left unoccupied for the entire day, you can return to a bed with bugs crawling over it.

Make sure your bed is always clean and does not contain:

  • Hair
  • Food crumbs
  • Salty, sweaty sheets
  • Dead skin cells

Additionally, if your bed has cracks or open pockets, cockroaches can hide inside your bed frame and mattress for warmth and shelter. They may also infest your blankets and pillows if they’re left unclean for a long time.

How To Get Rid of Roaches at Night?

You can get rid of roaches at night using a few useful methods. Here, have a look:

Reduce Food Sources

Cockroaches infest your home for food. If you reduce food sources in the house, the bugs may avoid coming out at night.

For instance, you can clean and remove food crumbs from the floor, dining table, kitchen, and other areas. You can do this by vacuuming and mopping your surfaces regularly. You must also wash the dishes before heading to bed as cockroaches can eat your food leftovers.

Additionally, ensure you empty the trash cans daily and cover them at night. This way, the bugs can not feed on garbage at night.

Traps or Baits

To enjoy a sound night’s sleep, you can use homemade traps to keep the cockroaches away. Use a small plate and fill it with poisoned peanut butter or sugar.

Alternatively, you can use professional traps with a box that can trap the bugs when they enter.

Sticky traps can also help you prevent roaches from coming near you. If you want to get rid of roach colonies, you can consider using slow-action pesticides.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth (DE) can be great for eliminating cockroaches. It’s a fine dust made from the fossils of microscopic aquatic organisms called diatoms. These remains of diatoms are grinded up to form a sand like material.

The dust is an abrasive powder and can damage the waxy protective layer of a roach’s exoskeleton. Thus, it dehydrates the bug.

When roaches walk through diatomaceous earth, the dust clings to the fine hairs on their limbs. After contact, cockroaches die later at their nest.

Boric Acid

Boric acid is a useful chemical that can keep away roaches at night. Sprinkle the powder around the bed. When the insects crawl over the powder, they may die due to boric acid’s killing abilities.

This method does not offer instant results. But, it can kill cockroaches within a few days after contact. As a bonus, the bugs may carry the poison back to their nests, killing even more cockroaches.

However, you should avoid using this method if you have kids and pets in your home. If they swallow boric acid, they may suffer from health issues.

How To Keep Roaches Away While Sleeping?

You can keep cockroaches away while sleeping by using cockroach repellents. After all, no one likes a roach crawling across their face while fast asleep.

Luckily, these handy roach repellents can help you sleep peacefully:

Pandan Leaves, Lemongrass, and Garlic

Garlic, pandan leaves, and lemongrass are effective roach deterrents. Not only do they have unpleasant smells, but their chemical structure also plays a significant part in keeping bugs away.

For instance, pandan leaves can contain sesquiterpene and terpenes hydrocarbons. Thus, they produce strong aromas to scare bugs.

To use this method, you can use a few crushed herbs and place them in your bedroom. Additionally, you should ensure to refresh the repellant after every day or two.

Essential Oils

You can also use essential oils to repel cockroaches at night. The bugs can sense these smells using their antennae and stay away. Here are some common scents that cockroaches dislike:

  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Cypress
  • Citrus
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lavender
  • Peppermint

To use these smells effectively, put them in a diffuser near the bed. This can be useful for spreading the scent into the air.

You can also use this method by mixing the essential oils in a water spray to spread around your bedroom.

Ultraviolet Light

You can use ultraviolet light to repel roaches at night. This method can deter adult insects and slow down their egg production.


Will Sleeping With the Light On Keep Cockroaches Away?

No, sleeping with your lights on at night will not keep roaches away. That’s because roaches are afraid of lights due to the presence of predators. Additionally, the bugs can become startled by the sudden brightness. However, if you keep the lights on for a long time with no movement, roaches can adapt and start exploring your room.

What Time of Night Do Roaches Come Out?

Roaches can come out at night before midnight to mate and search for food. The bugs can become highly active during this time.

Do Cockroaches Only Come Out at Night?

No, cockroaches do not come out at night only. They can also come out of their nests during daytime. Usually, they adopt this behavior due to hunger and overcrowding in their nests.


Roaches can come out of their nests at night for various reasons. As it’s quiet out there, the bugs primarily navigate for food and water during the night. They might also go out at night because they:

  • Love cool and less-crowded environments
  • Have a unique sleep-wake cycle
  • Release a PDF that controls their locomotive activities at night
  • See better at night
  • Are scared of lights and predators

You can get rid of roaches by finding their nests through egg cases, odor, and droppings. Alternatively, you can use traps, sprinkle boric acid, spray essential oils, or use ultraviolet lights in your home. If nothing works, you always have the option to take help from professional pest exterminators!