Where Do Cockroaches Live? | Preferred Habitats and Prevention Techniques

Written by George Climer

The ugly truth is that our world is full of cockroaches! There are nearly 5.000 species of cockroaches out there, but, thankfully, only around 30 are associated with human habitats.

Where do cockroaches live? The most common indoor cockroach, the German cockroach, can be found in kitchens, inside of cracks, bathrooms, bedrooms, etc. Oriental cockroaches prefer damp, dark, and cool places (like underneath patio bricks and sidewalks), while American cockroaches like to live in sewer systems and anywhere food is stored and prepared.

As you can see, cockroaches are not picky at all when it comes to establishing their shelters. Where else can roaches be found? What are the most unusual places that these insects inhabit? And where do cockroaches live around the world? If you are interested in finding all of these answers, stay with us till the end. Let’s begin!

Where Do Cockroaches Live in a House?

Unfortunately, there are plenty of places in the house where cockroaches can make themselves comfortable. In the following sections, we are going to mention some of them.


Cockroaches can certainly live in walls. They prefer to hide in dark places during the day and can easily penetrate a wall through cracks (or along baseboards). If the walls are hollow, then they might become home to a severe infestation.

Another thing that attracts cockroaches to walls is various moist sources (such as plumbing pipes that go through the wall). Some types of roaches enjoy humid environments. Moreover, these insects can use walls to get from one apartment to the other.


Roaches would be happy to live in your attic. In a lot of cases, this place is easily accessible. If you store food in your attic, the cockroaches will be highly attracted to it.


Do Cockroaches Live in a Toilet

Cockroaches are able to flourish in bathrooms. Cockroaches can hide in sinks, tubs, and even toilets. As these creatures are constantly looking for a source of water, your bathroom can certainly attract these pests. By the way, cockroaches can survive after being flushed down the toilet, so make sure to find another way to get rid of these annoying insects.


Your basements can become an amazing home for roaches as it’s dark and, in a lot of cases, damp. Moreover, there might be various food sources in the basement and there are plenty of hiding places. Last but not least, these spaces are rarely disturbed.


The bedroom is not an obvious choice for a cockroach. However, they can end up living there as well. The bedroom is dark and warm. Moreover, it is full of dead skin and hair that cockroaches can use as a food source. The bad news is that cockroaches can even climb on beds!


Do Cockroaches Live in the Kitchen

The kitchen has a variety of food sources. And even if you think that you are able to keep the space relatively clean, the chances are high that you will always miss a few crumbs or a spill (and that’s what the cockroaches will come for). So, yes, these insects would be happy to live in your kitchen. They are usually found in cabinets, near sinks, and anywhere you store the food.

Related: Cockroaches in the Kitchen | Dangers and Prevention Tips

Water Pipes

Cockroaches can crawl in and out through the water pipes. Pipes are not the place where they would prefer to live, but you might find plenty of roaches around or on the pipes. These insects usually use pipes to travel around the house.


Cockroaches don’t necessarily live in windows, but they can certainly use them as an entry point. For example, the holes in window screens and any spaces underneath them that are big enough for these pests.


Cockroaches often choose to live in the bathroom or kitchen drains. These places are a great source of water for these insects. The kitchen drain can also have plenty of food in it. The cockroaches would surely feed on the gunk that slowly builds up.

Empty House

If they have to, cockroaches could survive in an empty house, but that is not their home of choice. These insects could find water and food sources in an abandoned house but how long they can survive like that really depends on many factors.

Where Do Cockroaches Live in Apartments?

Where Do Cockroaches Live in Apartments

The most common type of roach that can be found inside apartments is the German cockroach. There are quite a few ways how they can get into the apartment (even if you live on the tenth floor, for example). You can carry the cockroaches inside together with your groceries, they can use hollow walls and pipes to move around apartments, shared laundry facilities can also become a problem, etc.

Cockroaches are most active at night, so, during the day, they will try to find a hiding place. That’s why roaches prefer to live inside walls, behind baseboards, under different appliances, and inside cabinets. If your apartment is infested, you will most likely find these creatures in your bathroom or kitchen – this is where the cockroaches are able to find a lot of water and food.

Do Cockroaches Live in Furniture?


It is uncommon to find roaches living in mattresses. You might find some of them in the mattress if the infestation is extremely severe, but that is relatively unlikely.


Even though cockroaches don’t really like to live in mattresses, they can be found in the cracks and crevices of the headboard of the bed, for example. A cockroach can crawl up the bed and even find some food sources there (like hairs and dead skin). Still if the cockroach has more rooms to choose from, it would prefer to stay away from the bedroom.


Unfortunately, roaches can find your couch comfy and nice. The soft fabric provides tight spaces in which they hide (some types can even lay their eggs in couches). The more you tend to spill something on the sofa or leave any crumbs behind, the higher the chances that you will one day find cockroaches there.


If you have a soft armchair, then it can become home to a roach. The good news is that wooden or metal chairs are not their hiding places of choice. However, some types can lay their egg cases on the legs of tables and chairs.


Roaches can live under your carpet if the infestation is severe. But it’s uncommon to find them living on the carpet as they prefer dark places that are not often disturbed.

Do Cockroaches Live Outside?

Do Cockroaches Live Outside

Can Cockroaches Live in Cold Weather?

Roaches are cold-blooded creatures that don’t like extreme cold. They certainly do prefer warm, damp environments, but can survive in cold temperatures if they have time to acclimate. If the temperature drops below zero degrees Fahrenheit (-17°C), the cockroach will most likely die.

If they have enough time to acclimate, cockroaches will start looking for a warmer place to get through the winter. Cockroaches can also hibernate which helps them survive the cold.

Do Cockroaches Live in the Desert?

There are certain types of cockroaches that can live in the desert. Sand roaches are also known as “desert cockroaches” can live beneath the surface of the sand. In the United States, for example, sand cockroaches can be found in Colorado and some parts of Southern California.

Do Cockroaches Live in the Ground?

The cockroaches that live outdoors spend plenty of time crawling through grass and dirt. Technically, they can be found in the ground, but right on the top, under a thin layer of soil. You won’t find roaches deep in the soil.

Where Do Cockroaches Live in the Wild?

These insects are found close to food sources. So, the chances are high that you’ll encounter a roach next to garbage or in woodpiles, for example. Cockroaches can also feed on decaying plants and other insects. That means that they can be found in gardens and wooded areas. However, the majority of species prefer to stay close to humans, as it simply means more food.

Can Cockroaches Live in the Mountains?

It is uncommon to find cockroaches in the mountains. But there are exceptions. The rare wood-feeding cockroaches, for example, live only in the Appalachian region (including the mountains of North Carolina).

Do Cockroaches Live in Caves?

There are cave-living cockroaches on our planet. The majority of them live in dark, humid, quiet caves in rainforests. Giant cave roaches feed on decomposing plant matter, but can sometimes eat the guano and any baby bats that fall on the cave floor!

Do Cockroaches Live in Gardens?

Some cockroach species can live in gardens (this area is moist and has plenty of organic matter). They can also be found in compost piles.

Do Cockroaches Live in Plants?


Some types of cockroaches can live in the woods. For example, wood cockroaches that are native to North America live in moist woodland areas (they can be found under the loose bark of trees, in woodpiles, etc).

Palm Trees

Cockroaches can live at the base of palm trees if there are food and water nearby. These insects can also climb the trees to get into your house.

Magnolia Trees

The leaf litter from the magnolia tree can build up and become a great source of food for cockroaches. These leaves are thick and leathery, which means that they decompose very slowly.

Oak Trees

Tree cockroaches nest beneath loose bark. They are especially fond of oak trees, and can also hide among fallen leaves or in rotting logs.

Pine Trees

Wood roaches can be found under practically any kind of tree, they adore leaf litter and rotting logs. You can also find cockroaches in pine straw as well.

Do Cockroaches Live in Electronics?

Do Cockroaches Live in Electronics


The truth is that cockroaches can easily survive the cold temperatures in refrigerator. There is plenty of food and moisture, so a fridge is a great place for the cockroach. They can usually be found near the fans and motor.

Air Conditioners

Surprisingly, cockroaches do like air conditioning systems because they always have water near them.


Cockroaches can live in microwaves. The chances are high that, at one point, they will end there by mistake. However, later on, the microwave can become a warm home for these creatures (with a constant food supply). Cockroaches hide in the nooks and crannies of the microwave. Moreover, they can live there for extended periods of time.


They don’t typically live in a dehumidifier. Moreover, you can use this appliance to get these insects out of a certain room (for example, your basement). Cockroaches love moist environments. So, if a dehumidifier is able to make the place dry, then the roaches will simply “move out”.

Vacuum Cleaner

Usually, a cockroach wouldn’t intentionally crawl inside a vacuum cleaner. But a few might end up getting sucked during cleaning. The bad news is that they will most likely survive. Moreover, they can continue to thrive and feed on whatever is left in the dust bag.


Roaches can be found inside laptops and computers. Electronics are warm and that’s exactly why these insects like to reside in them.

Washing Machines

Cockroaches can live inside the washing machine. They don’t like the actual drum of the washing machine as they can drown, but any other part of the appliance can become their home. By the way, cockroaches can be transported to the washing machine in piles of dirty clothes.

Specific Types of Cockroaches and Where Do They Live?

Specific Types of Cockroaches and Where Do They Live

German Cockroaches

In the absolute majority of cases, German cockroaches live in warm, humid places that are located close to food and water sources. That’s exactly why you can frequently find them in kitchens and bathrooms.

American Cockroaches

Thankfully, American cockroaches mainly live outdoors. Of course, they can crawl inside your house in search of food, but that doesn’t happen very often. Usually, these roaches can be found in moist, shady places (wood piles, mulch, hollow trees…). Sometimes, they end up living in attics and under roof shingles.

Flying Cockroaches

American cockroaches that mainly prefer to live outdoors can sometimes use their wings to glide. Australian cockroaches that are capable fliers inhabit the Gulf Coast area and Asian cockroaches can be found in warm areas (for example, Florida).

Oriental Cockroaches

During hotter months, oriental roaches usually live outdoors. For the rest of the year, you might find them in cool, damp areas (like basements).

Asian Cockroaches

The Asian cockroach is most commonly found in Southeast Asia. However, they have spread through most of the southeastern United States since the 1980s. Fortunately, these roaches prefer to stay outside, in shaded mulched or composted areas. You might encounter them in your garden.

Hissing Cockroaches

Madagascar hissing cockroaches live in forests on the island of the same name. They inhabit hollow logs, leaf litter, and rotting wood. Hissing cockroaches are a relatively popular “pet” as well.

Cockroaches in Other Unusual Places

Can Cockroaches Live in a Car?

Can Cockroaches Live in a Car

A cockroach can certainly end up in a car, but that will happen accidentally. They prefer not to live in vehicles for too long due to a lack of water and food sources.

Can Cockroaches Live in Your Stomach?

Of course, you will be disgusted, if you accidentally swallow a cockroach. But the great news is that they won’t be able to survive in your stomach thanks to the acid that will simply dissolve it.

Can Cockroaches Live in Space?

Apparently, cockroaches can’t survive in space. After all, these insects need oxygen and can’t survive extremely low temperatures. There are some cases where they have been put in special chambers and survived.

Can Cockroaches Live in Water?

Roaches can survive underwater for up to 30 minutes, after that they will drown.

Can Cockroaches Live in Your Hair?

Some say that roaches can feed on the hair of sleeping people. However, these insects won’t be able to actually live in your hair as they can easily be discovered or simply fall down once you get up from the bed.

Do Cockroaches Live in Clothes?

Your clothes are not the most obvious place for a cockroach, but you can certainly stumble into these insects if you have a habit of accumulating large piles of dirty clothes. Moreover, roaches can feed on the crumbs or spills that are left on the clothes.

Do Cockroaches Live in Dirt?

Roaches thrive in dirt and trash as that’s where they will be able to find plenty of food sources. Types of cockroaches that prefer to live outside usually reside in the dirt, mulch, and grass.

Can Cockroaches Live in Septic Tanks?

Roaches can live in septic tanks. They can make their way through the drains and can come up through the plumbing lines.

Can Cockroaches Live in Vacuum Bags?

Roaches will be able to survive in vacuum bags for quite a while as there are plenty of food sources (dust, hairs, dead skin, and so on).

Do Cockroaches Live in Cardboard?

Do Cockroaches Live in Cardboard

A stack of boxes can become a great shelter for cockroaches. Moreover, these insects can snack on cardboard and glue. Wet cardboard is even better as it will keep them hydrated.

Related: Cockroaches in Apartments | Causes, Prevention, and Treatment

Where Do Cockroaches Live in the World?

Cockroaches can be found practically anywhere in the world. Some are even found in the Arctic! However, the majority of species prefer the tropic and subtropic parts of the planet. Throughout North America, 50 different cockroach species can be found. On the other hand, around 450 species live in Australia! Fortunately, thousands of species choose to live in the wild.

Do Cockroaches Live in Groups?

Roaches are social insects. That means that they prefer to live in groups. These creatures also produce special chemicals that help them communicate with each other.

Can Different Species of Cockroaches Live Together?

It is possible to find different species of cockroaches living together. But there will surely be a lower population growth rate in one (or even both) species due to competition. At a certain stage, one type might outcompete the other.

Can Bed Bugs and Cockroaches Live Together?

It is highly unlikely. However, if a house is extremely infested, you might find bed bugs living in one area of the house and cockroaches in another. Cockroaches can start eating the bed bugs if they have to share one environment, but these cases are really rare.

Do Cockroaches and Rats Usually Live Together?

These two can certainly live together. Roaches and rats can often be found together in places that have poor sanitary conditions. By the way, cockroaches can feed on rat droppings and even rat bait.

List of Sources

Why do I have cockroaches in my home? NPIC

Control Cockroaches In and Around Your Home, The Mississippi State University Extension Service

Cockroaches, Department of Health & Human Services, State Government of Victoria, Australia