How To Identify Cockroach Feces?

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Cockroach feces are one of the ways to identify a cockroach infestation. But how to identify cockroach feces? To identify cockroach feces, you must know what does cockroach poop look like?

In a nutshell, cockroach feces are typically cylindrical and are solid. They will be black or dark brown. The first time I had to identify roach droppings, it was obviously a disgusting experience. As if dealing with roaches was not bad enough, having actually to identify their feces is even worse.

However, it pays to identify the presence of cockroach poop since it is helpful in ensuring that you take immediate action against the growing cockroach infestation in your house. Therefore, keep reading to understand exactly how you can identify cockroach feces and what you need to do about it!

How to identify cockroach feces?

It goes without saying that cockroach feces aren’t all similar to look at. Not only does the appearance of cockroach species vary based on the roach’s size, but also its species.

How to identify cockroach feces?

Like the brown-banded cockroach or German cockroach, small roaches leave brown or black specs. Larger roaches will produce droppings that are more cylindrical in shape and are light brown to dark reddish-brown in color.

While the feces of smaller variants of cockroaches can resemble black powder, they can also cause ugly stains on your fabrics and other surfaces of your house!

Larger species of cockroaches excrete feces that are larger in size and also have a definite cylindrical appearance. Large cockroach feces are generally black or dark brown in color!

Cockroach species that leave this kind of poop are generally American cockroaches, smoky brown, or Oriental cockroaches.

Cockroach feces vs. mouse feces

Mouse feces

The first time I actually spotted cockroach feces, I thought I had a rodent infestation in my house. However, I realized that cockroach feces are quite different from mouse feces in appearance.

For one, small species of cockroach leave behind feces that resemble stains rather than distinct droppings, unlike mice.

Further, even though large species of cockroaches’ feces resemble mice feces in terms of size and shape, cockroach feces are characterized by ridges along their length, whereas mouse feces are simply smooth and cylindrical and can have a hairy lining at times.

Different cockroach droppings identification: Cockroach feces vs. palmetto bug feces

Understandably, people often want to know the difference between palmetto bug feces and those of typical cockroach species. However, most people don’t realize that ‘palmetto bugs’ are simply a collective name given to large cockroach variants like American cockroaches.

Therefore, simply put, there is no difference between palmetto bug feces and typical cockroach species because they are one and the same thing. As I have already mentioned, large cockroach species leave behind excrement that is distinctly cylindrical in shape and dark in color.

What are cockroach feces made of?

Cockroach droppings are composed of all sorts of things that the cockroaches have digested. This includes, but is not limited to, hair, skin cells, food particles, and other fecal matter.

The feces that these pests leave in your house is their only way of expelling waste material from their body since they can’t even urinate!

Interestingly, cockroach droppings come in different shapes and sizes, depending on the size of the cockroach, its age, and the species. We have already seen that a German cockroach will have smaller droppings than an American cockroach.

Additionally, younger roaches will have smaller droppings than older roaches, even if they belong to the same species!

As a result, it is important to properly identify cockroach feces to determine whether you have an infestation.

Do cockroach feces have any odor?

Cockroach poop has a terrible odor

Yes, cockroach feces does have an odor, and it’s utterly terrible. However, while their excrement only stinks for human beings, cockroach feces is actually essential for communication between two individuals of the same species! Weird, I know.

You see, cockroach feces are used to deliver certain communication for any and every following cockroach that might be in a pooping cockroach’s vicinity!

If you have a cockroach infestation in your house, you might want to be aware that not only are they pooping all over it but also communicating by pooping!

Can you have cockroach feces without a cockroach around?

If you are finding droppings but no roaches, it may mean that there is an active cockroach infestation. Cockroaches will leave droppings as they travel and eat, so if you see droppings but no roaches, it is likely that you have a problem.

While finding feces in your house could also signal the past presence of these pests in your house, you can easily check to see if that is the case or whether you have an ongoing infestation lurking in your walls.

Simply watch out for the reappearance of cockroach feces after you’ve already cleaned up once. If you do spot one, it likely means that you have a cockroach infestation. Once again, it is important to take action and address the pest issue as soon as possible.

What steps should you take to clean cockroach feces present in the cockroach hiding spots in your house?

Now that you are aware of what does roach poop look like, you must gear up to clean this mess. Roach droppings should be cleaned as soon as possible to prevent the spread of roach infestations.

That said, it’s not going to be an enjoyable task at all, but you must do it as soon as you discover it in your house!

Wear a protective attire.

Wearing gloves is essential

You have to wear appropriate clothes to make sure that any allergens present in the cockroach feces don’t negatively affect you. Therefore, clothes that fully cover your body and are instantly washable or disposable, along with a pair of gloves, are preferred.

Along with the clothes, you must put on a face mask. Doing that will accomplish two things as you clean up a cockroach’s poop – not only will it protect your nose from the terrible smell but also any airborne allergens!

Vacuum your house

Vacuuming is an effective way to remove droppings and allergens. You can also use a HEPA filter vacuum to help reduce the number of allergens in your environment.

First and foremost, it is important to use a vacuum with a HEPA filter if available. This will help reduce the number of cockroach droppings that become airborne and contaminate other areas of your home.

Make sure to vacuum all areas where droppings may have been, including cracks and crevices.

In addition, always try to remove as much of the fecal matter as possible using a wet paper towel or disposable gloves.

If the feces are those of a small cockroach, you must first disinfect it with a spray before cleaning it up using a tissue. Place the waste in a sealed baggie before disposing of it in the trash can.

Clean the rest of your house that you can’t vacuum.

The fact is that while you can vacuum cockroach feces off hard surfaces, it may not always work on surfaces like carpets or clothes. However, vacuuming these surfaces as the first step can be helpful in making the cleaning process more effective.

If you find cockroach feces on your carpet, you should first vacuum the area and then scrub it with either soap and water or a solution created by mixing soap and vinegar.

If you find them on your clothes, then your safest bet would be to immerse the clothes in warm water before running them through the washing machine!

Dispose of cockroach feces immediately and safely.

For the simple reason that it’s extremely unhygienic, it’s best to avoid reusing any material that you have used to clean cockroach feces. But, if you must reuse it, make sure you put it through at least two rounds of washing in your washing machine and further spray the item with a safe disinfectant spray.

If vacuuming is your go-to solution for cockroach feces, make sure that you properly seal the garbage bag before you place it in your bin for the sanitation worker to collect! Don’t allow your pet or your children any access to it.

Where are you likely to find cockroach feces or cockroach droppings in your home?

Cockroach pest

Cockroach feces is not something that you will find in a designated spot in your house. Rather, you can find it anywhere and anywhere that the cockroach infestation in your house has easy access to.

However, since your kitchen is home to all your food, there is a high probability of having a cockroach infestation in your kitchen. This also means that you will frequently find cockroach feces in your kitchen.

Apart from the kitchen, you will also find cockroach feces in parts of your house that are generally inaccessible to you. These include the corners of your apartment, inside your cupboards, under your furniture, and in protected areas of your bathroom.

Can roach feces cause health issues for you?

Cockroaches can cause plenty of damage to your health only by virtue of their habitat of choice, i.e., unhygienic spaces. Therefore, it is almost needless to say that their feces, too, can cause plenty of damage to your overall health.

To begin with, cockroach feces contain a lot of bacteria and pathogens of dangerous diseases that can mess with your digestion. Apart from that, you never know what substance a cockroach has excreted, and it’s something you probably never wish to find out!

Therefore, make no mistake about cleaning up cockroach feces, no matter when or where you find them in your house!

Picture of roach or cockroach poop – what do cockroach droppings actually look like?

I’ve included a picture of what cockroach droppings actually look like, just so that you remain well-informed about the presence of an infestation in your home.

Looking closely, you will see small and round feces around the roach that look like particles of ground pepper. That is what the feces of a smaller species of cockroach look like!

Cockroach droppings or poop


Identifying an infestation in its early stages can help you prevent a whole lot of damage to your home and your bank account. Therefore, it is crucial to remember that finding cockroach feces is one of the early signs of a growing cockroach infestation.

That said, this article should help you properly identify cockroach feces, distinguish them from the species of mice and also help you learn the methods you should use to clean after these unhygienic pests!

About the author

A biotechnologist by profession and a passionate pest researcher. I have been one of those people who used to run away from cockroaches and rats due to their pesky features, but then we all get that turn in life when we have to face something.