Cockroach Poop | The Dirty Truth and Health Risks

Written by George Climer

Cockroaches are the most common pests that can eat almost everything and adapt to varied types of environments such as garbage, drains, debris, and other dark and moist places. Due to their living conditions, they carry disease-causing pathogens in their digestive tract. But what about their digestion?

Cockroaches leave semi-solid, small, round, dark brown droppings wherever they go. Their poop looks like a grain of rice, or coffee ground and has a waxy texture. The size of cockroach droppings or poop can vary depending on the type of cockroach. Also, cockroaches don’t pee, instead, they release excess water and waste through defecation.

If you notice cockroach poop in your house, that is a prominent sign of cockroach infestation. In the following section, we have provided a comprehensive guide on how to identify cockroach poop and its potential health risks for humans and pets. Additionally, we have shared some DIY methods on how to properly get rid of cockroach poop. Let’s begin!

Why Do Cockroaches Poop?

Cockroaches are nocturnal pests, therefore, it is difficult to notice them during their earlier stages of infestation. However, the cockroaches’ poop can help to discover them before the infestation gets out of hand.

Cockroaches poop wherever they go or where they live. Due to their unique eating habits, they can eat anything and digest that in their gut with the help of bacteria (or gut microbes) and produce droppings on their way.

Why Do Cockroaches Poop

The cockroach poop contains aggregation pheromones that help them communicate with other cockroaches and to attract them toward potential food sources and safe shelters. Their droppings release an unpleasant musty smell and contain harmful disease-causing pathogens that can pose a serious health risk.

Related: What Attracts Cockroaches? | Information and Facts

Why Do Cockroaches Poop When They Die?

Usually, cockroaches do not poop when they die. However, there are some insecticides that make them poop before their death. It is advised to clean the dead cockroaches and their droppings before they start attracting other cockroaches into your house.

Where Do Cockroaches Poop?

There is no specific place where cockroaches poop. You can discover their droppings at random places or around their shelters. Cockroaches defecate where they spend most of their time, which is usually near their food sources or closer to damp places.

For instance, cockroach droppings can be commonly seen inside kitchen cabinets, on kitchen counters, or inside drawers. Similarly, bathrooms are warmer areas and contain water, and you are more likely to find dropping in these places in comparison to other sites.

Where Do Cockroaches Poop

The storage rooms or pantries provide safe shelter and plenty of food sources. Therefore, cockroach droppings can be commonly seen inside attics, cupboards, closets, packages, and nearby areas.

Related: Do Cockroaches Fart? | Unsettling Insights!

Do Cockroaches Poop in the Same Place?

Cockroaches do not have a specific place to defecate, they poop in random spots that are close to their nests. You will notice more droppings inside cockroach nests or in nearby areas in comparison to the other places.

Cockroach droppings are also a sign of cockroach infestation. If you see them, take preventive measures before the infestation gets larger.

Can You Find Cockroach Poop in Your Fridge?

Cockroaches can live inside narrow and warm places like fridges. They make shelters under the fridge or near the motor of the fridge, as it provides them with warmth and food supplies. Therefore, you can notice their poop inside or under the fridge.

Do Cockroaches Poop on Walls?

Cockroaches commonly make their nests inside narrow and dark areas such as inside wall cracks and crevices. Therefore, you are most likely to see their droppings on walls, inside of wall cracks, or around their nests.

Related: Do Cockroaches Sleep? | Surprising Facts and Explanations

What Does Cockroach Poop Look Like?

By investigating cockroach poop, you can get many clues about the level of infestation and types of cockroaches that are infesting your house. Cockroach droppings are round in shape, and black or dark brown in color depending upon their diet and age. Cockroach poop has a coarse to fine ground coffee texture.

Is Cockroach Poop Hard?

Cockroach poop is hard or solid, with a waxy texture and very little water content. Their poop looks like poop from rats or mouses.

How Big Is Cockroach Poop?

The size and shape of the cockroaches can help to determine the type of cockroach species. Also, the size of their droppings depends on how big the cockroaches are.

How Big Is Cockroach Poop

Large cockroaches produce round or cylindrical droppings with ridges and furrows on them. The average size varies a lot but is usually just a few millimeters in length.

What Does American Cockroach Poop Look Like?

American cockroaches (about 1 to 2 inches long) are larger than German cockroaches. They are commonly found near drains, bathrooms, in the kitchen, or in storage rooms. The adult American cockroaches produce long, black to dark brown, cylindrical-shaped droppings with ridges and furrows on them.

What Does German Cockroach Poop Look Like?

German cockroaches are smaller in size (about half an inch long). They are one of the most common pests in the U.S. German cockroach droppings can be found near bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, or near other humid areas. 

Their poop is black or brown in color, small, round like ground coffee or pepper. According to a study conducted on cockroach endotoxins, German cockroaches contain the highest level of allergens. The bacterial load varies greatly depending on the type of cockroach and their surrounding.

Does Cockroach Poop Smell?

Cockroach poop releases a strong smell when they are in larger quantities. The smell of a few droppings from cockroaches is not detectable. Cockroaches feed on almost anything and as a result, produce smelly feces. If you detect an unpleasant smell in your house, it is an indication of an outgrown number of cockroaches.

What Does Cockroach Poop Smell Like?

What Does Cockroach Poop Smell Like

Cockroaches live in dirty places and their poop smells like the food they have eaten. They produce an acidic, foul, musty, moldy, or mothball smell. If you notice a foul smell of cockroach droppings, you will also discover their shelters nearby. Cockroach poop contains harmful pathogens, so take the necessary measures and sanitize the area to avoid any health risks.

Do Cockroaches Eat Poop?

Cockroaches eat everything such as food leftovers, garbage, dead skin, debris, cardboard, rotting or decomposing matter, feces, etc. If you have pets in your house, regularly clean the spilled pet food and their poop as all of that can attract cockroaches to your house.

Their feces are a rich source of nutrients that make them a perfect food source for cockroaches. That’s why they happily live inside drains or toilet seats because it provides warmth, moisture, perfect shelter, and food.

Cat Poop

You will commonly see cockroaches wandering around cat litter. Dirty cat litter produces a strong smell that lures cockroaches to your house. Cockroaches will happily eat cat poop if there is no other food source around. If you are planning to eliminate cockroach infestation then first remove cat feces or other food leftovers that can attract them.

Dog Poop

Cockroaches can also be attracted to dog poop as it is a rich source of nutrients. If you leave your pet waste overnight, its scent can draw cockroaches into your house. Therefore, keep your pet house clean and sanitize the area to remove any scent trails.

Mouse Poop

If you have a mouse in your house, it can also attract cockroaches. Mouse poop is also a potential food source for them. They can eat mouse poop and droppings from other rodents.

How Dangerous Is Cockroach Poop?

Cockroaches live on filth and retain multiple disease-causing viruses, bacteria, or other pathogens in their poop. If you ingest their poop (mistakenly in your food), it can lead to several diseases such as diarrhea, dysentery, E. coli infections, typhoid fever, stomach pain, leprosy, and so on. It can be deleterious for asthma patients, as it contains allergens that can stimulate asthmatic symptoms.

Is Cockroach Poop Poisonous?

Cockroach poop is not poisonous by itself but it carries several harmful pathogens that can cause serious health risks. These allergens can trigger allergic reactions which can pose a serious health risk, especially in children. According to a study published in the Journal of Medical Entomology, bacteria present in cockroach poop can cause food poisoning or other stomach disorders.

What Happens if You Eat Cockroach Poop?

If there is a larger infestation of cockroaches in your house, the chances are that you will accidentally ingest cockroach poop with your food. Cockroaches carry bacteria, fungi, viruses, molds, worms, and other pathogens in their feces which can cause detrimental effects on your health.

Is Cockroach Poop Poisonous

You may not feel any symptoms for a couple of hours after ingesting cockroach poop. During this time, the immune system of your body creates defenses and fights against the pathogens that have entered your system.

The initial symptoms of ingesting cockroach droppings are stomach pain, abdominal cramps, or diarrhea. It is suggested to seek medical care in case of dehydration or if your symptoms last for more than 2 days.

Can Cockroach Poop Cause Rash?

The cockroaches contain an allergic protein in their saliva and excrement that contain enzymes. They can trigger an allergic reaction or rashes on your skin. The rash can appear in a few hours after direct exposure of the skin to these allergens. Cockroaches are well-known carriers of allergens, even dead cockroaches can cause an allergic reaction.

The common symptoms that are caused by these allergens include skin rash, itchy skin, red or watery eyes, throat or nasal infection, cough, difficulty in breathing, chest infection, or asthma.

Can Cockroach Poop Kill You?

Cockroach poop causes negative consequences on health, and some unchecked symptoms can lead to severe health issues. People with weaker immune systems are at greater risk if they are exposed to these allergens. Children, elders, and immune-compromised patients can also die in case of severe infections from cockroaches.

Related: Do Cockroaches Bite? | Information and Facts

How to Get Rid of Cockroach Poop?

Cockroach poop contains multiple contaminants, therefore, you should dispose of it by wearing personal protective equipment (gloves, mask, or respirator). Cockroach droppings can cause infection upon direct contact or after inhalation of allergens. You can use different methods to clean cockroach poop effectively.

How to Clean Cockroach Poop?

Take necessary measures and locate places where cockroach droppings are located. Use hot water and soap solution or other disinfectants to wipe and sanitize the contaminated area. Keep a disposable bag closed and put the wiped waste material in that bag.

You can use a vacuum cleaner with HEPA filters to eliminate cockroach poop as well. The HEPA filters to keep the air clean and eliminate allergens produced by cockroach droppings. Also, sanitize the place with soapy water or other disinfectants to remove foul odor, stains, or contaminants.

Is It Dangerous to Vacuum Cockroach Poop?

Try to use well maintained or new vacuum cleaner. An old vacuum cleaner in bad condition that lacks filters can contaminate the air and other household items and trigger allergic reactions. Inhaled droppings can stimulate asthma or other respiratory problems.

Make sure to attach HEPA filters with the vacuum cleaner and keep the room well-ventilated.

List of Sources

Kopanic Jr, R.J., Sheldon, B.W. and Wright, C.G. (1994). Cockroaches as vectors of Salmonella: laboratory and field trials. Journal of food protection, 57(2), pp.125-135.

Lai, K.M. (2017). Are cockroaches an important source of indoor endotoxins?. International journal of environmental research and public health, 14(1), p.91.

Do, D.C., Zhao, Y. and Gao, P. (2016). Cockroach allergen exposure and risk of asthma. Allergy, 71(4), pp.463-474.

Rueger, M.E. and Olson, T.A. (1969). Cockroaches (Blattaria) as vectors of food poisoning and food infection organisms. Journal of medical entomology, 6(2), pp.185-189.

Sohn, M.H. and Kim, K.E. (2012). The cockroach and allergic diseases. Allergy, asthma & immunology research, 4(5), pp.264-269.