You see a dead cockroach before you leave for work in the morning and plan on disposing of it when you get home. After a long day, you arrive only to find the cockroach has vanished.
Is this a bizarre phenomenon or merely an act of nature? In this article, we will go over why dead cockroaches disappear and if it’s a sign of an infestation. Keep reading to find out more!
Why Dead Cockroaches Disappear
1. Something Ate Them
The first reason for a disappearing cockroach is that something ate it. There are a lot of insects and rodents that enjoy feasting on cockroaches.
In fact, cockroaches are cannibals! When a cockroach dies, it releases a chemical called oleic acid that attracts other cockroaches and informs them there is a feast ready and available.
Besides cannibal cockroaches, other pests like ants, mice, and rats are likely responsible for taking care of your dead cockroach. This is a good thing now that they played the part of a clean-up crew, but not so good because it means you may have another infestation you may need to look into.
If you have pets, it is also highly likely that your furry friend ate the little critter. Pets are known to eat all sorts of things, and eating a roach doesn’t turn their stomach as it would ours.
2. They Were Playing Dead
Another reason a dead roach may disappear suddenly is that it may not really be dead. Cockroaches sometimes play dead as a defense mechanism against predators. The technical term for this is thanatosis.
If a cockroach felt threatened by any sudden movements you may have made near it, it is a possibility it was just playing dead and ran away as soon as you were no longer in the area since it felt the danger had disappeared.
3. They Came In Contact With Insecticide
Another way a cockroach may appear to be dead when it is, in fact, alive is if you recently used a roach spray to kill any roaches in your home. Sometimes, when a roach comes in contact with the insecticide, it affects it enough to put it into shock but not to kill it.
This is likely due to the roach not getting enough of the insecticide on its outer shell to kill it, just enough to temporarily affect its neural system.
4. They Were Exposed To Extreme Temperatures
This is because, during cold temperatures, some insects can no longer maintain the balance of water and salt in their systems.
When the insect’s water and salt aren’t balanced, and one is too high of a concentration, the insect’s muscles can not properly function, and eventually, the insect goes into a type of coma.
If it was cold in the morning and warmed up before the roach reached a coma, the roach likely was able to regain control of its muscles, allowing it to scurry off.
5. Something Moved Them
Just like it is possible that one of your pets ate the dead roach, it is also possible it decided to skip a meal and play with it instead. Cats are notorious for playing with mice and insects, dead or alive.
So, it’s possible that the roach is somewhere your cat left it after it was done playing with it.
You can check around your home to see if you can find it. However, if you find one somewhere else in your home, there is no way of knowing if it is the same roach or another roach, which could be an issue.
Another possibility to keep in mind is wind and air circulation. A draft blowing through a window or a ceiling fan could easily cause a dead cockroach to move and seemingly disappear.
Are Dead Cockroaches A Sign Of An Infestation?
If you find one or two cockroaches, dead or alive, in your home from time to time, there is no need to worry. A few cockroaches are not a sign of an infestation.
However, if you are finding cockroaches on a regular basis, or you see a lot of them at once, it is likely you have an infestation.
Seeing cockroach droppings and eggs are also a sign of an infestation. Cockroach droppings look similar to coffee grounds or black pepper, while their eggs look similar to a tiny coffee bean.
Cockroach infestations also cause the area of infestation to have a musty or oily odor, so if any of this is occurring, you may want to take further action.
How To Deal With A Cockroach infestation
If you have a cockroach infestation in your home, you need to handle it immediately. Cockroaches carry various bacteria and viruses, like salmonella, as well as track them across the surfaces they walk on with their tiny feet.
Luckily, a cockroach infestation can be handled with the following steps.
Step 1: Locate The Infestation
The first step is locating the cockroach infestation. These pests hide in kitchen counters and kitchen drawers, as well as in cool, dark environments such as basements and closets.
Their nests are usually in small nooks, cracks, and crevices and usually near food and water sources, so your kitchen or pantry is likely where you will find the nest.
Another hiding place for roaches is under bathroom sinks since these places have a lot of moisture, especially if you have any plumbing issues, such as leaks in your faucets or pipes. They can even travel through your drain!
Step 2: Clean, Clean, Clean
You also want to do a good deep clean. Cockroaches can’t survive without a readily available food source, so it’s a good idea to clean your floors, under and inside your sofas thoroughly, and behind your appliances, including refrigerators and ovens.
Crumbs accumulate in these areas and appear to be a feast for cockroaches. You also need to make a habit of not keeping dirty dishes in the kitchen sink and taking out the trash frequently.
Even after you get the cockroach infestation under control, regular cleaning can help prevent them from reoccurring.
Step 3: Set Up Bait Traps
Bait traps are a great option to catch cockroaches if your infestation is small. Some bait traps consist of a gel or other substance inside the trap that attracts the roaches to the trap and prevents them from escaping. These are the best option if you don’t have young kids or pets in your home.
A safer option if you have children is glue traps, which contain no toxic chemicals. They simply consist of a flat plate with a gluey substance meant to trap the roaches on the surface.
Step 4: Spray Insecticide
If bait traps don’t work, you can try insecticide spray. Just be sure to read the directions thoroughly before spraying, and always make sure to wear a mask and have proper ventilation when you spray.
You want to make sure you don’t have children or pets around for at least a few hours after you spray, but consult the instructions for the exact amount of time to keep them away.
Also, be sure to remove any food or pantry items before spraying in the area, as you don’t want any of the chemicals seeping into your goods.
Step 5: Call a Pest Control Company
Lastly, if you tried the above methods and they didn’t work, or you don’t want to hassle with anything else, you should call a pest control company. The pest control company will send in a professional to spray the area while you are away.
This will not only kill the roaches that are there currently but also keep killing cockroaches that enter your home so you don’t end up with another infestation.
People usually schedule a pest control company to spray their home or business every three to six months, especially if you are somewhere prone to roaches.
While disappearing dead cockroaches may seem like it should be an episode of the twilight zone, there are perfectly good explanations for why this happens.
There are a few reasons why these cockroaches seem to disappear, including being eaten by other insects, not really being dead, or being moved by a breeze.
While a few dead cockroaches are not a cause for concern, if you are seeing them consistently and you have not recently sprayed insecticide, you could have an infestation on your hands.
We hope you enjoyed this article! If you have any questions or concerns, let us know in the comment section below. We love to hear from our readers!