Facts about the animal kingdom

Why Do Cockroaches Come Out at Night?

Nick A. Romero
By Nick A. Romero, Biologist and environmental educator. January 25, 2024
Why Do Cockroaches Come Out at Night?

Cockroaches are often seen at night, scurrying away once we turn on a light. This doesn't mean we don't see them during the day, but cockroaches are mainly nocturnal animals. Belonging to the order Blattodea, the ancestors of these insects date back approximately 300 million years. Although they are mainly found in warm areas such as the tropics, cockroaches have colonized various parts of the world. They exhibit great diversity, with around 4,600 species varying in shapes, sizes and habits. Unfortunately, some of them are common visitors to our homes.

If you have had this problem yourself, you may wonder why do cockroaches come out at night? AnimalWised explains this behavior and helps you to better understand their behavior, such as do roaches sleep?

You may also be interested in: Why Do Birds Chirp at Night?
  1. Do cockroaches only come out at night?
  2. Why do cockroaches come out at night?
  3. Do roaches sleep?
  4. What to do if I see a cockroach at night?

Do cockroaches only come out at night?

We have already mentioned that cockroaches are a very diverse group. Many species are not directly linked to human settlements and live in natural environments. Due to human development in their natural habitat and their ability to adapt, many cockroaches can be houses, apartments and other buildings. They have even been introduced to non-native countries where they are still able to adapt for food, shelter and reproduction.

As a result, certain types of cockroaches become pests. This is bolstered by their great reproductive ability. Common examples that are associated with homes, offices or businesses are the German cockroach (Blattella germánica), the oriental cockroach (Blatta orientalis), and the American cockroach (Periplaneta Americana). These are only a few of the many different types of cockroach species which can be found with almost global distribution.

Although cockroaches are types of nocturnal animals, they do not only come out at night. They will emerge in the daylight hours when necessary. However, darkness suits them. They come out to feed and explore at night, often scurrying away to hiding places during the day. It is for this reason pest control experts indicate that seeing cockroaches during the day could be a sign of high reproductive levels, causing a problem which needs addressed.

Why do cockroaches come out at night?

Cockroaches are prey for various species, both in nature and urbanized areas. Spiders, centipedes, birds, cats, dogs, among others, feed on these insects without difficulty. If you have them in your home, it is likely you will be a threat to them. Humans often try to eliminate cockroaches when they see them, further exposing them to predators and other dangers.

With this in mind, cockroaches are mainly nocturnal to avoid the greater risks presented during the day. In nature, cockroach dynamics are different because there are also cockroach predators that are nocturnal. In our homes and buildings, it is common for there to be no human or other animal activity at night since we usually rest. Cockroaches have adapted to come out at night because they are less likely to be seen and eliminated.

Do roaches sleep?

Cockroaches do sleep, but not in the same way as we do. Since they are not animals with advanced brains, they do not enter REM sleep as larger animals do. They do have periods of rest which would be the equivalent of our sleeping.

During these periods of rest, they do not eat, interact or move as much. This serves the same purpose of sleep, allowing them to restore energy and for certain physiological processes to be carried out. They are important for a cockroach's well-being. Cockroaches can sleep at night, but they are most active at this time. This means they are more likely to be inactive during the night.

Why Do Cockroaches Come Out at Night? - Do roaches sleep?

What to do if I see a cockroach at night?

At AnimalWised, we advocate respect for all forms of life on the planet, including all animals. However, we recognize that there are cases where some animals may pose a risk to people. Although they cannot sting or bite you, cockroaches are vectors for various diseases. Since they enjoy kitchens, their presence compromises our health. This means we have a reasonable responsibility to protect our home and appropriate measures must be taken.

If you come across a cockroach during the night and decide to remove it, it can be a difficult task. This is due to their agility and ability to hide in inaccessible places. Additionally, there are likely to be other cockroaches as they tend to feed and shelter in groups. In these cases, it is recommended to seek professional assistance if you suspect that cockroaches become a pest in your home or office.

Better than eliminating is preventing cockroaches from nesting in your home. To do this, we share a series of non-harmful home remedies to scare away bugs from the home naturally.

Are cockroaches dangerous?

Cockroaches themselves do not cause direct harm, as they do not bite or inject venom. Indirectly, they can carry bacteria or viruses by hanging around contaminated areas, such as garbage or drains. By feeding on our food, they can contaminate it and spread diseases.

In addition, the remains of skin and feces from cockroaches are triggers of allergic problems. This includes cases of asthma and respiratory problems in various parts of the world for people sensitive to their allergens. This is especially problematic when there are cockroach plagues which occur from time to time.

When cockroaches reproduce in large numbers and find ideal conditions next to people, they can become a health problem. Controlling them in time is crucial to avoid complications of this type. To do this, in addition to contacting professionals, it is important to know their lifestyle habits and possible pathologies that they can transmit. You can learn more about this with our article on what do cockroaches eat?

If you want to read similar articles to Why Do Cockroaches Come Out at Night?, we recommend you visit our Facts about the animal kingdom category.

  • Animal Diversity Web. (2020). Retrieved from: https://animaldiversity.org/

  • Eggleston, P.A., & Arruda, L.K. (2001). Ecology and elimination of cockroaches and allergens in the home. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 107 (3), S422-S429.
Write a comment
Add an image
Click to attach a photo related to your comment
What did you think of this article?
1 of 2
Why Do Cockroaches Come Out at Night?