Are cockroaches territorial?

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For many years humans have fallen in love with other creatures and willingly brought them home to become pets. Dogs, cats, and other animals that once lived exclusively in the wilds now have a part in our home. However, there are some creatures that have forced their way to live with us. Cockroaches fall in this category.

Have you ever considered the reasons why it is not easy to totally get rid of these annoying insects? In this article, you’ll be learning about their behaviors and also find out if they are territorial.

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are cockroaches territorial
are cockroaches territorial

Cockroach Behaviour

There are several species of cockroaches, and each of them has peculiar behaviours. Biologists have discovered over 4,000 different cockroach species, but the common ones that are found living in houses all over the world cover a few types. 

Understanding the behavior of individual species can shed light on how quickly they spread and how they possess specific hunting preferences in your home. Do you know that cockroaches are good hunters and communicators too? 

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One cockroach may have told others which part of your home is the best place to find goodies. Cockroaches have a great love for sweets, starchy food, and meat. No wonder they know just where to find them. If one cockroach discovers a place where these things are hidden, be sure that the others will soon find out too. This cockroach behavior can also usually explain how and why cockroaches enter your home.  

If one finds a way in, he will surely leave a signal somewhere to help the others navigate their way into your home quickly. Cockroaches are very good at navigating through small cracks. This means that if you fail to wash the dishes at night, the nearest cockroach will sniff out your house and tell his other cockroach friends and family.  

German cockroaches are probably the most common pests living with humans all over the world. The German female cockroaches live for an average of 6 months, but during this period, she may give birth to between 180-320 new cockroaches. 

If her offspring should also reproduce at the same rate, they can breed thousands of cockroaches at the same rate. Soon, your house will be full of roaches, and you will be confused as to whether  they are the new owners of your apartment. 

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Do Roaches Ever Really go Away?

Since cockroaches are not man’s best friend, humans have devised several methods to get rid of them. For many, these methods only provide temporary relief, and very soon, another more determined set of roaches arises. Given the fact that most methods do not bring a lasting solution, many people believe that roaches never really go away. 

For example, humans have been using sugary baits that are mixed with poison to get rid of cockroaches for decades. But during the late 1980s, something didn’t seem right during a test in Florida. This test is famously known as the Florida kitchen test today. 

The observation from this test was that the poisonous product stopped working on the roaches, and the insect populations continued to explode. 

How could these small creatures be so mentally developed to pass around information to the others that made them all stop eating from the poisonous bait? The researchers tested theory after theory until they finally arrived at a logical explanation: In what appeared to be a quick demonstration of evolution, most cockroaches lost their sweet teeth and refused to eat the corn syrup bait anymore. In just five years, the sugar-repellent properties became widespread, and the bait became useless. 

Jules Silberman was the one that discovered the bait aversion during the kitchen test. The study results show that evolutionary ability makes it very difficult to eradicate cockroaches, and jokingly said that they could survive a nuclear war. Silberman and other researchers explained the role of genetic mutations in a study published in Science on Thursday. These genetic mutations give certain cockroaches a competitive advantage, allowing them to survive and reproduce rapidly. 

In ordinary cockroaches, glucose stimulates neurons that tell the brain that something is “sweet”! while In the mutant species, the same glucose will activate neurons that say, “Sweet!” and another one that says, “awful!” The “awful!” nerve cells suppress others’ signals, so the brain receives the message that the taste is terrible. This unusual nervous activity has been shown in cockroaches collected in Puerto Rico. The research has focused on the German cockroach, a small species that can end up in your home in a grocery bag, and not the large cockroach known as the American cockroach. Such a regular eating habit has been observed in these tiny cockroaches in Southern California, Cincinnati, Indiana, South Korea, and Russia.

The new work is an excellent science. But does that explain why you cannot get rid of the little bugs terrorizing your kitchen? Perhaps not. A study carried out by another scientist from North Carolina State University, Coby Schal, – tests show that cockroaches that hated glucose in the past like to eat most bait types now, indicating that manufacturers may have masked or totally removed the glucose content. Honestly, if the bait you’re using isn’t working, it’s likely that you’re not using it correctly, suggested Schal, who said he consulted for the pesticide industry for free. Still, the new work has the potential to help many consumers.  

By studying how cockroaches evolve to escape toxins, scientists can find clues about bait design that pests cannot resist. It’s unknown when Florida cockroaches first encountered bait with glucose or how quickly they gave up their taste for sugar; he noted that it was reasonable to estimate that it might only be five years for that aversion to glucose spread to so many cockroaches that the bait is no longer useful. This corresponds to around 25 generations of German cockroaches, which can breed about one to three months after birth, said Schal.

Individual cockroaches may have an aversion to glucose. Or, it suddenly gives them the advantage of survival and reproduction; it may only exist in a few people. Their offspring will inherit this characteristic and will gradually replace other cockroaches. Purdue University entomologist Michael Schaff studied urban pests and diseases, but he was not involved in this new research. 

He found that since the 1950s, cockroaches can also become resistant to pesticides. He agreed that the latest results should help scientists develop better products to control cockroaches.

The facts in question are: The cockroach epidemic can get worse quickly. 

According to pest control, female cockroaches lay up to 50 eggs at a time. So one surviving roach can efficiently run into the hundreds in a few months. To make matters worse, these hundreds of insects can contaminate counters, cupboards, floors, and even food if not handled carefully. Fortunately, the cockroach epidemic isn’t the end of the world. If you notice notable signs that there are cockroaches, there are a few different ways you can get rid of the problem and keep the pests from returning forever.

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Dangers of Cockroaches on Humans 

While they may seem harmless at first, on closer inspection, the story doesn’t end there. The presence of cockroaches can sometimes harm human health. This is due to feces, saliva, and certain chemicals in parts of their body (called allergens) that can cause allergic reactions or asthma symptoms in people prone to it.

The first known allergy to cockroaches occurred in 1943. Scientists observed that some patients had rashes and other skin irritation types from skin contact with this insect, especially when it was crawling on their skin.   

Following this discovery, it became imperative for scientists to conduct further research into the condition to understand such a mysterious event.  

Soon they could take an essential step in their studies; Finally, they suggested a specific medical procedure that is useful in diagnosing a cockroach allergy. This step was taken in 1959, precisely 16 years after the first reported case. The new test they developed could only detect cockroach allergies in affected patients and no longer. So they kept on searching, and after many more years, the latest sightings began to show up. One of them revealed that the cockroach carries a chemical called an allergen and that these chemicals are responsible for causing severe asthma attacks in humans.

This study found that children with asthma exposed to high levels of cockroaches (e.g., in their bedroom) have short, sleepless nights and sudden asthma attacks. Compared to other children with the same ailment but who live in an environment free from cockroaches, the observation found that children in cockroach-prone areas fared muchworse than their counterparts.  

According to recent statistics, around 23-60% of city dwellers prone to asthma attacks are generally prone to cockroach allergies, which studies in children also confirm. This risk of asthma from cockroaches and allergies isn’t just limited to children.

Later in the study, they found that the same scenario had occurred in older asthma patients. They found that elderly patients who lived in urban areas where cockroaches were abundant were more likely to have asthma attacks.  

The study focused on the elderly who lived in New York. Statistically, asthma directly impacts the quality of life of up to 25 million Americans, including nearly 7 million children. Not to mention their many relatives who must pay special attention to them when attacked.

Medicine has not yet found a permanent solution to this condition. Although there is currently no known cure, it can be managed successfully. People living with asthma can live well into old age with the right medications, follow their doctor’s advice, and deal with environmental issues like cockroach allergens. 

In addition to allergens that cause skin irritation and an asthmatic trigger, cockroaches are known to freely transmit bacteria and pathogens known to pose a potential hazard to a human upon contact. More specifically, cockroaches are associated with up to 33 different bacterial infections, including Escherichia coli and Salmonella, six parasites, and seven other human pathogens.

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Steps for Dealing With Cockroaches

If you think your home is under cockroach attack, it’s time to clean up your house thoroughly. Paying attention to your kitchen and bathroom sinks. Wipe off any spills, debris, or food grime that might be left on the floor. Vacuum clean the whole house and make sure to clean dark or hidden areas of the house. These are places where cockroaches can easily hide, so be careful taking out the fridge and cleaning it. Also, clean the trash cans. 

Then use one of these methods to eradicate the error.

What is causing the infestation?: The first step in dealing with the cockroach problem is to understand the type of cockroach. 

What does the cockroach look like? 

American cockroaches are dark brown and 1 to 2 inches long, while German cockroaches are small and usually light brown.

In terms of indoor infestations, German cockroaches are more common. They move in, searching for food, humidity, and water. They are mostly nocturnal, i.e., they are primarily active at night. They usually settle in dark corners or near appliances that keep them warm.

American cockroach species tend to prefer outdoor environments, so if you are dealing with this species, you may need to check your home’s surroundings. Things such as overflowing garbage can be a refuge for these pests. Generally, they have a preference for warm, humid environments and organic material such as leaves.

Traps and baits: There are many traps and baits with which you can draw a roach, capture, or kill. These products are available at most homes and grocery stores.

Some options include:

Glueboards or stripes: These are like paper and very sticky. You place them around the house. The roach sticks to them and cannot get away. 

Station baits: Roach bait stations are designed to get the roach to swallow some poison and then transfer it to their dwelling places. 

Use Roach Traps: These are sometimes called “roach motels,” these are small bolls that attract the pests and keep them perpetually. You set traps around the property and then discard them with the roaches caught in them, and that’s it. 

You can apply cockroach repellent, but be careful with these chemicals. You want to ensure the chemicals don’t contaminate surfaces that you regularly touch and cook on.

Home remedies

Several DIY methods can help get rid of the cockroach problem. To save money, browse closets for a natural cockroach repellent. Catnip, eucalyptus, peppermint, and bay leaves all contain compounds that send cockroaches into the mountains. For less than $ 10, you can also use diatomaceous earth as  cockroach killer. The powder, made up of small fossil debris from grinding, tears up cockroach bodies and kills them. 

Boric acid solutions are convenient too. Mix the boric acid into a mixture of flour and sugar then make balls from the roll. Place the balls anywhere in your house that cockroaches can hide. The mix of flour and sugar will entice the beetles to eat while the boric acid kills them.

Kindly note that boric acid is toxic, and if ingested by humans or animals, it can be harmful. Avoid the boric acid approach if you have toddlers and pets. 

Prevention of cockroach invasion from the beginning. Cockroaches get attracted by moisture, so lowering the house’s overall humidity level will help address potential future attacks.  

Also, other precautions include:

Practice food hygiene: Cockroaches usually look for simple foods such as table leftovers, trash cans, and dirty dishes. Pet food, shelves, floor crumbs, and open food bags in the pantry are also attractive to cockroaches. Therefore, tidy up your food and store it in a tightly closed container.

Close all gaps and entrances into the house: under doors, around windows, or cracks in the walls-the perfect entry for cockroaches. To protect yourself from future infections, you need to close the gap.  Remove clumps of paper and old boxes: Old cardboard boxes and sheets are an excellent breeding ground for cockroaches, especially if you are in a damp room such as a garage or attic. If you need to store things in these places, use a plastic tub or container and put the old paper in a sealed plastic bag for your safety.

It would help if you also were vigilant about health issues. Even a small leakage under the sink can draw pests, so be aware of leaks and floods and contact your plumber if you suspect a problem.

If you suspect a cockroach infestation, take action to fix it. If you think your DIY job is too big, don’t be hesitant to call in an expert. Delay can exacerbate intrusions and, worse still, pose a severe health risk to the occupants. 

Has a cockroach family turned your home into theirs? Have Cockroaches taken over everything now that literally could be called their own? Did they invade your privacy and the food in your fridge?

If you answered yes to any of the above, it might be time to take over the reins of your house.

Follow these six simple tips to save your life and that of your pets. Live cockroach free

Soap: Simple things like spraying soapy water on cockroaches can threaten their existence. When you pour the soapy liquid onto a cockroach, it clogs the pores and kills it very quickly.


Lemon: This lemon fruit can work wondrs for your health, but it’s not a buddy to the cockroach clan. The scent of lemon repels cockroaches, keeping them away from places that smell like the fruit. Therefore, it is advisable to wash the floor with a few drops of lemon water.

Pepper, garlic, and onion solution: The combination of these three items, available in almost every kitchen, scares cockroaches hiding in the house’s corners and holes. Crush half of the garlic and onions into a bowl, and finally, add a little pepper and water. Place something on the counter and wipe the counter at night before closing the kitchen.

Listerine: Mixing Listerine with a small amount of soap and water can be the ultimate weapon for combating large numbers of cockroaches.

Cucumber: If the above tricks are too dull, get cucumbers. Cockroaches don’t like the smell of cucumbers. Thus, use cucumber slices in bowls to ensure they are not in your home.

Call in a pro

If you want to permanently fix your roach issue, call a professional pest control team to help you get rid of them. If you face a severe intrusion (especially for rental properties), this can be the best option to solve the problem forever. 

As you have seen so far, cockroaches are not only troublesome and irritating; they are also territorial. They possess unique communication capabilities that can help other cockroaches find their way around your home and know exactly where the goodies are kept. They have special preferences for certain places, especially those where food, warmth, and humidity is in supply. Their fast reproduction capability makes it easy for them to multiply until they become a complete nuisance to your peace of mind. 

Are cockroaches making a meal of YOU?  Click this affiliate link to get some relief.

Do you want to keep them out for a long time? Then you must start by maintaining a clean environment and use some of the DIY tips that have been shared in this article.

Luis Gillman
Luis Gillman

Hi, I Am Luis Gillman CA (SA), ACMA
I am a Chartered Accountant (SA) and CIMA (SA) and author of Due Diligence: A strategic and Financial Approach.

The book was published by Lexis Nexis on 2001. In 2010, I wrote the second edition. Much of this website is derived from these two books.

In addition I have published an article entitled the Link Between Due Diligence and Valautions.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the information published on this website is accurate, the author and owners of this website take no responsibility  for any loss or damage suffered as a result of relience upon the information contained therein.  Furthermore the bulk of the information is derived from information in 2018 and use therefore is at your on risk. In addition you should consult professional advice if required.