If you live in a shared apartment block or have walls adjoining your home to your neighbor’s, cockroaches can travel between them. Cockroaches can squeeze through the smallest gaps, so you must take preventative measures to keep them out of your home.
If your neighbor has a cockroach infestation, seal all entry points as tightly as you can and wipe up all food and water spills whenever they appear to keep roaches out of your home. Cockroaches are attracted to food, water, and shelter, so aim to keep your home clean, giving them no reason to migrate from your neighbor’s home. Talk to your neighbor about getting their cockroach problem dealt with to minimize the chances of you getting an infestation.
It’s only natural that you’d want to do everything you can to prevent cockroaches from getting into your home. To make life easier, we’ve got some advice on what to do when your neighbor has roaches.
Can You Get Roaches From a Neighbor?
If you suspect (or have seen the evidence) that your neighbor has cockroaches, you’re probably worrying, “can cockroaches come from a neighbor’s house?” Unfortunately, if you live close enough to your neighbors and they have a cockroach infestation, your home may be at risk.
This doesn’t mean your neighbor’s house is dirty or unsanitary, as cockroaches are drawn to homes that offer:
If your neighbor’s home has all these things, roaches will breed and multiply, becoming a significant nuisance. Once the colony becomes too big and competition for resources increases, they’ll expand their boundaries, looking for the food, water, and shelter they need to survive. That’s why you need to be vigilant about them coming into your home.
How Do Cockroaches Travel From Neighbors?
It’s easier than you might think for cockroaches to travel between homes. Cockroaches get into houses and apartments through several small entry points, including:
- Wood panels
- Shared garages
- Gaps around walls
- Cracks in doors and windows
- Air conditioning units
- Drains and pipes
Cockroaches can squeeze through the tiniest gaps, even if you’ve attempted to seal them. As described by Live Science, cockroaches flatten their exoskeletons in half and splay their legs out to the size to get through tiny nooks and crannies. It only takes a small gap between an adjoining home for cockroaches to travel between them.
It’s more common for cockroaches to travel between neighboring old homes needing repairs. Similarly, if your apartment neighbor has roaches, you’re more likely to have them, too, unless you take preventative measures. Then there’s the chance that visiting neighbors bring cockroaches into your home through clothing, boxes, or paper bags (amongst other things).
My Neighbor Gave Me Roaches – What Can I Do?
If you suddenly develop roaches and you suspect your neighbors as the cause of the problem, it’s only natural that you’d want to get the issue resolved.
This is a frustrating situation to be in, but before taking drastic measures, you should talk to the neighbors you suspect caused your cockroach infestation. Keep the conversation civil to resolve the problem and aim to maintain pleasant relations between you.
A good way to start the conversation is to talk to your neighbors about paying for the cost of an exterminator. There’s no point only one of you calling in an exterminator, as cockroaches will migrate as soon as it’s safe.
Can I Sue My Neighbor for Roaches?
Cockroaches are unpleasant, so if a neighbor causes an infestation in your home, you might want to consider your legal options, especially if they refuse to do anything about it. However, as mentioned, you must have proof that your neighbor caused your infestation before you make an accusation, or you won’t have a case.
Before starting legal proceedings, make sure you have the following steps covered:
- Exhaust all methods of communication first. Talk to your neighbors about the problem or seek advice from the homeowner’s association.
- Gather as much evidence as you can that your neighbors are the source of the cockroach infestation.
- If you’ve taken cockroach prevention measures but the pests keep coming back, speak to your township health officials to take a look at the situation.
- The health officials will inspect the properties and can prove violation if they find your neighbor to be the source of the roach problem.
Even though suing comes under the category of a “negligence claim,” your chances of winning the case are low. That’s because it’s difficult to prove that the cockroaches have come from your neighbor’s home. Before taking your neighbor to small claims court, find proof that your neighbor:
- Caused the cockroach infestation
- Didn’t do anything to prevent or eradicate it
- Caused you distress and damage to your home
Is My Landlord Legally Obliged To Help?
If you live in rented accommodation, you may feel more comfortable liaising with your landlord instead of directly communicating with your neighbor. Landlords act as mediators and help resolve the situation more efficiently, especially as they have access to legal resources.
As long as you didn’t cause the cockroach infestation yourself, your landlord has a legal obligation to solve the pest problem, ensuring clean, sanitary conditions for all residents as required by the law. If we use the US State of California as an example, the landlord’s responsible for all pest control. Solutions provided by your landlord could include:
- Paying for professional pest control
- Speaking to the responsible neighbors about future problems
- Routinely inspecting your home for signs of cockroaches
- Covering the cost of damage to your belongings and home caused by cockroaches
Once your landlord has rectified the problem, it’s up to the tenants to keep the building clean and free from cockroaches.
If you’re moving into a new apartment, make sure you have it written in your tenancy agreement that your landlord’s responsible for getting rid of cockroaches. This will prevent future headaches.
How To Prevent Cockroaches Coming From Neighbors
There are several steps you can take to prevent cockroaches from entering your home. Small steps go a long way, so if you’re looking for ways on how to keep neighbor’s roaches away, take the following measures to make your home as unattractive to cockroaches as possible:
- Seal up all entry holes as tightly as possible
- Use airtight containers to keep food safe and secure
- Spray natural repellents such as catnip, lemon, lavender, and eucalyptus
- Take out the trash, and don’t leave dirty dishes on the side
- Clear clutter and clothes piles from the floor
- Clean underneath and down the backs of all cupboards
- Wipe food and drink spills from your fridge
- Sweep up dirt and debris as often as you can
As mentioned, cockroaches are attracted to food, water, warmth, and shelter. The aim is to make your home and inhabitable as possible by cutting off these resources, preventing them from abandoning your neighbor’s house in favor of yours. Be sure to cover all entry points into your home, creating a blockade between your homes.
How To Get Rid Of Roaches Coming From Neighbors
You can get rid of cockroaches temporarily, but unless your neighbors play their part by dealing with the source of the infestation, the cockroaches are likely to keep finding ways into your home.
One way to keep cockroaches out of your home is to sprinkle diatomaceous earth around all the entry points. Diatomaceous earth is a naturally occurring powder that looks like sand but consists of 80-90% silica, absorbing oils, fats, and water out of roaches as soon as they walk through it. Eventually, they’ll die of starvation and dehydration.
According to Scientific Reports, cockroaches are becoming immune to certain pesticides, which is why diatomaceous earth is such a good option. It’s also safe for pets and small children to be around.
If these steps fail and you get a cockroach infestation, it’s time to call in the exterminator to deal with the problem head-on. However, as mentioned, it’s a good idea to get the neighbors involved in this so that you can deal with the root of the problem. If you don’t, there’s a risk that the cockroaches will return.
While prevention is the better course of action, there’s a chance that cockroaches could get into your home, regardless of how careful you’ve been to keep them away.
As long as you take a friendly approach with your neighbor and come up with several viable solutions, there’s no reason why you can’t keep things civil. It benefits all of you to get rid of cockroaches, so try to work together to tackle the problem head-on. Legal action should be your last option when you’ve exhausted all other avenues.