Do Roaches Travel From Apartment to Apartment?


Roaches are one of the most annoying pests that can invade your living space as they can be quite to get rid of especially if you are not sure where they are coming from and how to deal with them. These nasty critters typically invade homes in search of food, water, and shelter, and because they are equal-opportunity invaders, they can invade just about any environment in search of these three necessities. Read on to find out if they can move from one apartment to another and how to deal with them in such situations.

Do roaches travel from apartment to apartment? Roaches can easily travel from apartment to apartment in search of food, water, and shelter. Even if you don’t have a roach problem in your apartment, you may be at risk of an infestation if neighboring units have roaches in them.

One of the ways roaches can travel between apartments is through the plumbing system that is within a common wall. They can also simply crawl through the gaps often found under doors and windows. As a result, dealing with a roach infestation in an apartment building can be quite difficult. One of the first steps you should take is to inform your property manager or landlord of the problem. Many apartment buildings may include extermination services that you pay for every month. You can also take prevention strategies such as cleaning your unit, sealing cracks and holes, and repairing leaking faucets and pipes to reduce the risk of roaches getting into your apartment.

Roaches are nasty pests that are not only unsightly but can also cause food poisoning and carry a wide variety of diseases. They are notoriously hard to get rid of due to their ability to adapt to almost any environment and the rate at which they reproduce and spread out. This article details the various ways roaches can access your apartment and how they can travel from one apartment into another.

Where do roaches come from in apartments?

Roaches in your apartment may have already been present even before you moved in. It is also quite possible to transport roaches from infested apartments to new places, so you may also inadvertently move them with you from your previous apartment. Roaches can come from neighboring apartments as well, or they may find their way into your home from their outdoor habitats.

How roaches travel from apartment to apartment

There are a variety of ways through which roaches can travel from one apartment to another:

  • Through cracks and holes in walls – Roaches can move in and out of your apartment through the holes, cracks, and crevices that may be present in your walls. These pests can easily travel along the plumbing or heating system that may be within a common wall.
  • Underneath doors and windows – If the doors and windows in your apartment have gaps under or above them, roaches may be able to squeeze through these openings. Sometimes they may find their way into your apartment if you don’t shut your doors or windows properly.
  • Any other openings – Roaches can also use a variety of other openings in your apartment such as vents and drains to get in and establish themselves.

Other ways roaches through which roaches can get into your apartment, whether directly from neighboring apartments or indirectly from your surroundings include:

  • Through used furniture – Used furniture, whether it is yours or your neighbor’s, can facilitate the movement of roaches from one apartment to another. Ideally, used furniture should be thoroughly inspected and cleaned for live roaches and egg capsules before being brought into a home.
  • Grocery bags, luggage, and cardboard boxes – Even after dealing with an infestation, you may inadvertently bring home a pregnant brown-banded or German roach in a cardboard box or grocery bag, so always ensure that you check these containers before packing items into them. Inspect the food that you bring home with you thoroughly before putting it away, and consider keeping your grocery bags outside. Dispose of corrugated boxes that you don’t need to keep roaches from using them as breeding grounds

Signs of a roach infestation in your apartment

Signs that indicate the presence of roaches in your home may include:

  • Seeing roaches scampering about – The most straightforward sign of the presence of roaches in your apartment will be physically sighting one or several roaches scampering about. If this is the case, it is safe to assume that there may be a nest nearby that you should get rid of as soon as possible.
  • Roach droppings – Roach droppings are quite easy to identify as they closely resemble black pepper or ground coffee. You will often come across roach feces under sinks, on kitchen surfaces, in pantries, and poorly sealed food containers.
  • An oily or musty odor – Some species of roaches emit a distinct unpleasant musty or oily odor that is especially noticeable if the infestation is serious. The smell can be attributed to chemicals and pheromones that are given off by these pests. The bodies of dead roaches will also emit a strong pungent odor due to the release of oleic acid.
  • Egg capsules – Soon after roaches invade your home, they will breed and begin to leave behind egg capsules. These capsules are usually reddish-brown or brown and are oblong or oval. Roach egg capsules contain several eggs within them and can typically be found behind furniture, inside cracks, and any other areas that are hidden away from plain sight.
  • Dead roaches – Another indication that you may have a roach infestation on your hands is bodies of dead roaches near their nests or in areas of your apartment where they feed and drink water.
  • Molting skin – If you come across hard, dried up shells, they might be molten skins left behind by roach nymphs. Young roach cabs need to shed the hard outer shell that encases their bodies to continue to grow, usually undergoing this process near their nest. In case you come across molting skin, ensure that you clean it up on the spot as new shells could indicate a new infestation.
  • Smear markings – If you notice brown or dark smear marks on horizontal surfaces in your apartment, it could be an indication that you have a roach infestation. This tends to happen when roaches scurry along wall edges and smear their droppings as they do so. Smear markings are especially evident in homes where there is a lot of standing water that roaches can easily access.

How to keep roaches out of your apartment

  • Contact your property manager or landlord – While you may be able to get rid of roaches in your unit, you may continue to have a roach problem especially if adjacent apartments are infested by these critters. As previously mentioned, roaches can move from one apartment to another through spaces in walls or gaps in windows and doors,  so even if just one unit is infested, all the other apartments in the building could be at risk.

The best approach in such a situation is to approach your landlord or property manager to request extermination services in all the apartments that are affected as well as the common spaces and hallways. If you reside in a large apartment complex, you may be provided with extermination services that you pay for monthly. Look over your lease to determine the responsibilities of your property manager or landlord when it comes to handling pest infestations in apartments.

  • Approach your neighbor – In some cases, your only option may be to take matters into your own hands and approach your neighbor. Before taking this step, it is important to pinpoint exactly where the roaches are coming from. See if the neighbor is open to effective solutions to curb the problem such as calling in an exterminator, and agree on a common date to handle the problem.
  • Repair leaking pipes and/or faucets – Leaking pipes and/or faucets are convenient sources of moisture for roaches, so you might want to get them fixed to keep these pests from moving into your apartment from adjacent units. You will also want to make sure that there is no standing water in the bathroom, kitchen, and any other area of the home where you are likely to use water.
  • Seal holes and cracks – Roaches use cracks and crevices to travel from apartment to apartment, so it is of utmost importance to seal these potential entry points to keep them out of your home. Weather stripping is ideal for sealing cracks that may be present in your doors, whereas caulk or spackle can be used to repair cracks and holes in your walls. Before carrying out any repairs, make sure you inform your landlord of the damages.
  • Keep potential food sources away – To prevent roaches from staying on in your apartment, eliminate all the food sources that they can easily access. This means you will have to store all food in airtight plastic or glass containers and dispose of your garbage in sealed containers, also remembering to take out the garbage regularly.

Final thoughts

If there is an infestation in a unit within an apartment building, it is inevitable for the roaches to spread out to other units especially if their needs are not being met in one unit. Therefore, it is important to be aware of where the roaches are coming from, how they are traveling, the signs of roach infestation to look out for, and actions to take to keep them from invading your living space.

Melanie Asiba

Melanie is an author. She enjoys traveling, reading and trying out new things. In addition to writing for Apartment ABC. Connect with her at [email protected]

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