Even if you’ve roach-proofed your home, you can still get an infestation due to a guest bringing in just one pregnant female. The chances of this happening may seem unlikely since most cockroaches are large insects. They’re certainly not tiny, like fleas, so it’s crazy to think a guest could carry them into your home without anyone realizing it.
Guests, friends, and neighbors can bring cockroaches into your home by accident. Roaches and their egg sacs will hide in people’s clothes, bags, food, and boxes. Here, they can avoid detection, crawl away, and start nesting in your home. Given how quickly their numbers multiply, a full-blown infestation is a possibility.
You should inspect any items your visitors have left behind for any obvious signs of cockroaches. If you have any concerns, you’ll be able to set up some roach traps around your home as a means of detection. If you come across one cockroach, there’s likely to be more hidden away.
Can Visitors Bring Roaches?
As discussed, cockroaches can hitch a ride into your home on visitors. Even the cleanest places are not immune, especially if you frequently invite guests over. In fact, the University of Florida stated that German cockroaches are especially good at moving from home to home.
Visitors are unlikely to realize that they’ve brought roaches and roach eggs to your home. According to the World Health Organization, German cockroach egg sacs can be anywhere between 7 to 9 millimeters in length. The eggs are much smaller in size. Adult cockroaches also tend to hide in dark corners, making them harder to see.
A single female cockroach can produce multiple egg sacs (ootheca) in a single year. Hundreds, if not thousands, of cockroach eggs will spawn. An infestation can easily manifest in the coming days and weeks.
Can Roaches Travel from House to House?
Roaches like places where they have access to food, water, and shelter. If you live in an apartment and your neighbor has roaches, this puts you at risk. If the neighbor applies pest control measures, limits food, or destroys shelters, the roaches will resettle elsewhere. This may encourage them to find a way through a gap in the walls and enter your apartment.
Don’t think you’re completely safe if you own a home that doesn’t share a wall. Roaches can hitch a ride on multiple items that guests may carry into your home. These include:
- Yard equipment
- Storage boxes
- Drapes or rugs
- Pre-owned furniture
- Purses or bags
Roaches like to hide in old storage boxes or in equipment that is used infrequently. However, if your guest is dealing with a serious infestation, the large population may encourage roaches to be more daring.
When a guest picks up these items, packs them into their car, and visits you, guess what? That infested item is now introduced to your home. The roaches may crawl out and find a new place to live in your items.
How To Tell If Visitors Brought Roaches
Of course, seeing a roach scurry from a bag will be the only warning that you need. However, roaches are more difficult to find than that. Do the following:
Check The Items They Brought
If they carried in boxes, gifted you drapes or bundles of fabric, or lent you some firewood, then check over these items immediately before putting them in a storing place. You may see:
- Roach droppings
- Brown streaks from roach poop that have been smeared
- Smell a musty scent, which is a product of roach pheromones and indicates several roaches
- Exoskeletons that have been shed, which indicates the roaches lived in these spots long-term
- Broken legs or wings, which may have been ripped off as the items were moved
- Egg sacs, which will be small and able to stick to most surfaces
Ask If They’ve Had Roaches
If you’re on good terms with your guests, then you can be honest with them. If they’ve been dealing with cockroaches, it’s possible that they transferred them to your home.
Pay Attention To Your Health
You’ll be able to tell if you have a large infestation based on how your health is affected. Cockroaches can transfer a variety of pathogenic microbes. These are likely to cause food poisoning or other illnesses when placed on:
- Kitchen appliances
They only need to crawl over them to cause harm to your health. That’s why you should never eat food that’s been touched by cockroaches.
Sudden Allergy or Asthma Problems
A roach infestation may pose a health risk to people with asthma. According to the University of Kentucky, many people are allergic to cockroach excrement and the skins that nymphs shed. Cockroach allergens may cause:
- Watery eyes
The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology stated that roach infestations had become a major contributor to asthmatic attacks worldwide. As it turns out, asthma patients are even more sensitive to cockroach allergens than the average person. Young children with asthma are especially prone to a negative reaction. Such a reaction include:
- Recurrent cough
- Difficulty breathing
If you notice these symptoms appear suddenly, only a few days after guests have left, pay attention. Once you’ve ruled out other irritants, it could be a sign that roaches have moved in and are multiplying in your home.
Can Cockroaches Travel In Baggage?
Luggage and baggage are often tightly packed with clothes, which cockroaches or roach eggs can hide in. Likewise, an old suitcase may sit discarded in a closet for months without use. During this time, female roaches may have placed their eggs in the lining. A small colony may nest there without you noticing.
It’s possible to transfer roaches with your baggage. With that said, adult roaches will usually scurry out once you start packing. If you notice this, remove the suitcase from your home, clean out any roaches, and sanitize it.
For roach eggs, you may not even notice that they’re present. They can infest your items and hatch later. This could happen once you’ve settled in at a hotel or a friend’s place. If you’re concerned about roach eggs in your baggage, take preventative measures, such as the use of roach sprays designed to kill eggs.
Can Cockroaches Travel on Clothes?
Roaches like dark places where they can hide. This may include clothing items stored in your closet or drawers.
Heavy coats with multiple pockets or inner linings are most at risk. Female roaches can nestle in these spots and lay their eggs. You may not even notice a few egg sacs in the thick fabric because of the heavy-duty material. In rarer cases, small roach nymphs will weather the jostling of someone putting on clothes and traveling to another home.
Lighter fabrics, like t-shirts, are more difficult for roaches to hide in. With that said, if you’ve packed away clothing in cardboard boxes and gifted them to a friend, it may not matter. The box can provide the cover that roaches need to transfer between homes.
Once bacteria or eggs have been left on clothing, this can be transferred elsewhere. Guests dealing with roaches may transfer them to your home unwittingly.
What To Do If Roaches Are Carried Into Your Home
Of course, asking your guests to ensure they are clean before entering your home will make you feel uncomfortable. Therefore, you should take matters into your own hands after they leave. Here’s how:
Be sure to clean any rooms that your guests have been in. This will ensure that the eggs are destroyed before they have a chance to hatch. Likewise, adult cockroaches will be stopped from lurking in any dark corners nearby.
If your guests brought in and left any objects, be sure to put them outside or clean them thoroughly. For example, storage boxes should be placed away from the home or disposed of entirely. A newly gifted coat can be put in the washing machine or sanitized with anti-roach sprays.
Set Up Traps
Eggs that hatch into nymphs, or adult roaches, may have escaped the objects they originally clung to. If left to scurry around, they’ll create their own nests. Be sure to leave cockroach traps and baits around, just in case. You should also rotate the location of these traps now and then. It’s best to place them:
- Against the wall under your sinks
- Near bathroom drains
- Inside cabinets and drawers
- In dark corners
- Near electrical appliances
If there are no roaches found within these traps or around your home, you have successfully prevented an infestation from taking place. If you find your home has cockroaches, you can use these other methods:
Pesticides come in the form of sprays, dust, and poisoned baits. Sprays can either be residual or non-residual. Residual sprays leave a toxic residue onto the surface you spray it on. Non-residual sprays only kill roaches on contact. Used together, these are very effective in ridding your home of cockroaches.
Always closely follow the instructions on the packaging. These are basically aerosol poisons, and thus, should not be treated lightly, especially if a member of your home has asthma.
Baits are used in areas where you cannot use sprays or dust. These are basically poisoned bits of food that can be placed in different locations. Because most baits are actual foods, you need to keep these poisonous baits away from small children or pets.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, there are natural ways to deter cockroaches from your home. These include:
- Starving them out
- Keeping your home dry
- Regular cleaning
- Remove crumbs and food debris
Cockroaches rely on food and moisture to survive. Depriving them of both will discourage roaches from living in your home. They also prefer warm, moist areas to live in, as these climates encourage them to breed.
Visiting a House with Roaches
A roach problem shouldn’t keep you from seeing family and friends. There are two situations you may encounter:
Going To An Infested Home
What if your friends or family have an infestation, but you want to spend time together? Then, you can keep yourself and your home safe with these steps:
- Don’t leave bags, boxes, or coats lying around for roaches to crawl into.
- Stay in open, clean areas. These include dining rooms or patios, but not garages or closets.
- Avoid helping with spring cleaning as you may brush against infested areas and pick up roach eggs by accident.
- Clean your own clothes, baggage, and self when you get home.
Visiting A Home When You Have An Infestation
What if you’re dealing with an infestation but don’t want to turn away guests?
- Friends or family with asthma or compromised immune systems should know about an infestation in advance.
- Sanitize the area guests will be frequenting. While you’re combatting a home-wide area, be sure to place extra traps or bait around the spot you’ll be welcoming guests to.
- Ask guests to leave any high-risk items in the car or at home. These include boxes, coats, and luggage.
- Remove items that roaches nest in. Roaches like paper grocery bags, beverage cartons, furniture, etc.
- Ask guests to wash their items when they get home. This includes clothes, baggage, linen, and themselves.
While roaches can move between homes, it’s not very common. Of all the ways a roach colony can make its way into your home, a guest is the least likely culprit. If it happens, be sure to introduce pest control measures right away.