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I Saw One Cockroach Should I be Worried? (Yes, BUT…)

Ignoring the sighting of a single roach can have consequences.

Many people think they just found a random cockroach inside their house, and getting rid of it means they are roach free.

Usually, it’s very important to identify the type of cockroach you have just encountered. Small cockroaches are DANGEROUS and very hard to get rid of. In comparison, large roaches are a little easy to deal with.

Should I be worried if I saw one cockroach?

YES, Absolutely. It’s better to worry than ignore it.

Roaches like to live together in a colony. So, if you have found one roach in your home, then it’s very likely there are many more, hiding & breeding around to convert into a horrible infestation.

To be safe, this is the right time to take steps to get rid of them.

But you should consider several other factors, which I will explain in a table in this blog post.

Also, make sure you are not confusing another bug for a cockroach.

Tired of cockroaches? Invest in only these products and follow the guide to eliminate roaches!

Use these products, and you will be roach free in less than a week.

1. Advion Cockroach Gel Bait (Review)
2. Gentrol IGR Point Source (Review)

Other Products to try:

1. Combat Roach Traps (Easy than gel baits)
2. Hot Shot Foggers (To kill in masses – 95%)
3. Pet Safe Killers (Uses Essential Oils)
4. Ortho Defence Outdoor Roach Killer (Prevent Roaches)

Does one cockroach mean infestation?

The answer to this question is not so simple. There are a few things you need to understand.

If the one cockroach you found is a small cockroach, smaller than a dime, you should be worried.

You can relax a bit if it’s a large cockroach, as they do not infest homes so quickly. If you saw a baby roach, you are already in trouble.

Small Cockroach: German, Brown Banded (Smaller than 1/2 inch)
Large Cockroach: American Roach (1-2 Inches)

ScenarioInfestation Level
One small cockroach in the kitchen at nightAn early phase of infestation in the kitchen
One small cockroach in the kitchen at dayModerate Infestation in the kitchen
One small cockroach in the bathroom at night
They come to drink water in the bathroom
The early phase of infestation in the room
One small cockroach in the bathroom during the dayInfestation picking pace in the room
One small cockroach in the gallery at nightModerate infestation in different rooms
One small cockroach near the front doorMost probably a wood cockroach
– an outside invader
– not to worry too much
One small cockroach near drawersInfested drawers, for sure
One baby cockroach in the kitchen at nightEarly phase infestation is in transition to moderate
One baby cockroach in the kitchen at dayModerate infestation about to explode into a serious infestation
One baby cockroach in the bathroom at nightGrowing colony in room
One baby cockroach in the bathroom at dayModerate infestation in the room
One large cockroach in the kitchen at dayCame from kitchen drain holes, close darin holes with these anti-cockroach drain covers.
One large cockroach in kitchen at nightRegular visitors finding good place to hide. An early sign of infestation. Open drain holes.
One large cockroach in a bathroom at day/nightOpen drain covers. Need anti-cockroach drain covers.
One large cockroach in front of the main doorOutside invader, no need to worry; just kill it.
Many small cockroaches in the kitchen at nightModerate infestation
Many small cockroaches in the kitchen at daySERIOUS infestation
Many small roaches in home at nightSERIOUS infestation
Many small roaches in home at dayYou are screwed
Many large cockroaches in kitchen at nightDrain pipes are heavily infested. Few cabinets are infested.
Many large cockroaches in kitchen at day1000s of large roaches living in drain pipes. Kitchen heavly infested.

Explanation: These infestation levels are identified based on how cockroaches behave and what drives them to grow in large colonies. Read below to understand more.

1. Nature of Cockroaches, do lone roaches exist?

Unlike other insects, cockroaches like to live in a colony. They will not seek to stay away from other cockroaches.

There are many advantages for cockroaches to live together. A cockroach will release unique pheromones to communicate with other cockroaches. These pheromones help them to mate, find food, avoid danger and locate safe places.

Roaches will head back to their NESTS after they are done with feeding on filth.

2. Feeding Times:

Cockroaches are nocturnal, and they remain in hiding in the daytime. They will come out to find food at night.

So it’s essential to find out at what time you found the one cockroach.

Check the table given above to find what

3. Habitat of Roaches

Cockroaches love to live in warm, humid environments. Ideal temperatures fule their reproduction rates and help the colonies grow big.

4. What roaches eat

Roaches will feed on anything, but they love leftover oily foods and are attracted to starching carbohydrates.

Leaving your kitchen, dustbins, tables, utensils, etc., dirty can significantly boost the cockroach population while they stay hidden.

If you keep your home tidy and clean with regular vacuuming, cockroaches will find it hard to find food while they stay hidden in their nests. They will seek to come out more often and will be spotted.

5. Always introduced from outside

Cockroaches can never come on their own. They will be introduced from outside by:

  1. A piece of used furniture you bought recently
  2. A piece of used electric appliance you purchased recently
  3. Someone bought it attached to their clothes, luggage, etc.
  4. Roaches infest you from a neighbor
  5. And many other reasons.

So, finding that one cockroach when it just visited your home will be a matter of sheer luck, else it is very rare to find only ONE cockroach in your home.

Saw a German Cockroach (Small Roach)

Small cockroaches are extremely capable of infestation. Furthermore, these roaches reproduce astonishingly fast. For example, a female German cockroach produces about 360 baby roaches in her lifetime.

If you have seen a cockroach that measures less than an inch, your house is most likely infested or will be sooner.

Once the small roaches enter the house, they nest at difficult places to reach and reproduce, quickly turning your place into a roach breeding hub.

Therefore, seeing a small roach at your place should not be taken lightly.

Saw one Large Cockroach (American Roach)

In the United States, especially in Florida, any cockroach that measures greater than 1 inch is also referred to as the Palmetto Bug.

Large roaches may seem very dangerous, but the good thing about them is that they are least capable of infestation.

Giant roaches are, most of the time, accidental intruders. They are usually accidentally brought inside the house, along with items like Exotic Green plants, firewood, etc.

An infestation with large roaches is less likely, and exterminating them is more manageable than small roaches.

Therefore, seeing a big roach greater than 1 inch in size should not worry you. But this does not mean that you should take them lightly.

Instead, you should also exterminate large roaches; otherwise, rarely, they can also cause a full-blown infestation.

Do you know that some of the biggest cockroaches, like one found by a Facebook user Locutor O. Paniagua on September 4, 2020, measured 4.5 inches, holding a world record?

What to do if you see one cockroach?

Follow these steps after you see one cockroach. Additionally, it’s better to get a little worried before things are out of control.

Step 1: Identify the type

Identify the type of cockroach based on its appearance and size. Typically, smaller than 1 inch likely means an infestation, and greater than 1 inch means accidental intrusion.

The smaller cockroaches are mainly either German Cockroaches or Brown Banded Roaches.

These species are highly invasive and very hard to eliminate if you don’t take them seriously. They smell bad, look bad and overgrow rapidly.

It will still take 3-6 months before the population explodes, but that is fast in the cockroach world.

Also note that all small cockroaches are not invasive, like wood cockroach, Asian cockroaches, etc.

The larger cockroaches like American Roach, Florida Wood Roach, Smoky Brown Roach, Australian Roach, Oriental Roach, etc., can infest homes in ideal conditions, but they usually end up in your home from the outdoors, and you don’t need to worry about them.

You better watch your drains and close gaps and crevices to avoid them. Check these top five anti-cockroach drain covers.

Step 2: Find more cockroaches hiding inside your house

Checking your home to conclude an infestation is a lengthy process that I will not explain here, but you can check this blog post.

In summary, you must adequately check your entire home for all signs of infestation.

The top signs are:

  • More cockroaches
  • Cockroach eggs
  • Shredded skins
  • Baby cockroaches
  • Smear Marks
  • Cockroach poop
  • An ideal condition for roaches to grow and bread

Finding a few more cockroaches is a CONFIRMED sign of infestation. The level of an infestation can be in the early stage, but you are confirmed infested and need to work quickly to get rid of them.

Regardless of the infestation level, taking them out is the same.

Additional Read: Where do Roaches Hide? [Solved With Pictures]

Step 3: Take all steps to avoid cockroach growth

The last step is to ensure you don’t see any more cockroaches in your house.

To get rid of a cockroach, you must first remove the source of the cockroach.

A cockroach can end up in your home in the following ways:

  • Via drain pipes. Get yourself a drain cover to stop them.
  • From outdoors via gaps under doors, windows, etc. Reduce the gaps or use foam pads to stop them.
  • With used or old furniture. Make sure to check any used items you recently bought.
  • You brought them from somewhere else attached to your clothes or luggage. Be careful next time.
  • Cockroaches are coming from neighbors. Check this article for that.
  • Cockroaches are invading via gaps left for shared plumbing lines. Close those gaps via Loctite Foam Sealent

Step 4: Get Rid of Roaches

The fourth step is to use gel bait to ensure the cockroaches do not survive. Follow this step if you observe some degree of infestation.

Get this Advion Gel Bait and apply as per instructions on the pack.

Bait to kill roaches
Syngenta 383920 Advion Cockroach Gel Bait
9.6
Syngenta 383920 Advion Cockroach Gel Bait
  • Kills entire colonies of roaches
  • Easy to apply
  • Used by all professional exterminators
For Growth Control
Zoecon Gentrol Point Source IGR
9.5
Zoecon Gentrol Point Source IGR
  • For Roaches
  • Stops roach growth
  • Replace every three month
Close all gaps
Loctite Foam for Gaps & Cracks
9.4
Loctite Foam for Gaps & Cracks
  • Expands To Fill
  • High Density Foam
  • Strong Adhesion

Step 5: Use an Insect Growth Regulator

The last step is to use an IGR (Insect growth regulator) to stop baby cockroaches from becoming adults.

Get this Gentrol Insect Growth Regulator for this purpose. Use according to the instructions on the pack.

Does having roaches mean your house is dirty?

Having roaches in your house does not necessarily mean your house is dirty.

Cockroaches are attracted to many things, including poor lighting, high humidity, good hiding places, and heat from electric appliances.

Besides these, roaches are often accidental intruders, and the level of cleanliness has nothing to do with a roach infestation.

For example, roaches can be accidentally carried along with firewood, furniture, groceries, etc.