What Do Roaches Smell Like

What Do Roaches Smell Like? – Infestation Smell

So, what do roaches smell like? Roaches are one of the most annoying pests you can find in your house. However, sometimes you might be anxious about what type of pest is roaming your home at night. Maybe smell can help?

What is even more annoying about these insects is the smell they cause in a place. The smell is unpleasant, and it poses a health risk to human beings. So, what do roaches smell like?

The short answer is; roach smell is a pungent, oily, musty, and nasty odor. The scent can also be defined as healthy and stinky too. Many words can describe the smells, but we can all agree that the smell is terrible to have in your house. 

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What Do Roaches Smell Like? – Infestation Smell

These secretions have a long-lasting offensive effect and are what we are calling roach smells. The smell is distinguishable from any other scent.

Roaches mostly live in dark, moist places where they stay in groups. You’ll find roaches behind refrigerators, cupboards, sinks, and cookers, and you can control them using the top roach killers.

But, what actually causes roaches to smell? 

1. Oleic acid – The decomposing bodies of dead cockroaches produce this. The odor serves the following purposes.

2. Potential danger – The smell helps roaches in locating the dangerous places hence avoiding them. The scent emanates from scenes of potential threats. By smelling the odor of the dead bodies, other roaches prevent danger.

Related: Reliable Bed Bug Sprays

Where does this smell come from? 

1. Secretions

Have you ever caught a roach and placed it on your hand? Did it have a smell? A single roach usually has no scent. Roaches produce odors when in large numbers.

Some species are notorious for causing smells even with one roach. For example, a single German cockroach can produce a stench strong enough to offend a person.

This stench is produced deliberately by these roaches as part of their daily routines. It is the smell you smell when your place has an infestation. Even after dealing with menace, the smell stays on for a little longer.

2. Stench of death 

This is the stench produced by the decomposing bodies of dead cockroaches. Study shows that insects have a stench upon death. This stench is due to Oleic acid, which is produced by dead bodies.

Also, when roaches find a comfortable place for living and breeding, they release a pheromone. Pheromones are communication devices between roaches. They are normal secretions by roaches from their glands.

These pheromones are used to let other cockroaches know of the new habitat. The disgusting smell you notice is actually communication with other roaches.

4. Predators and Sexy Scent

Male roaches produce odors from their stink glands that help in keeping predators away. This way, they can avoid any impending danger.

During the mating season, female roaches produce smells. Those smells are to attract swarms of male cockroaches for mating.

5. Roach waste

Due to the nature of roaches’ nests (dark and wet), their feces quickly accumulate and, in turn, produce a smell. The waste attracts moisture, and you will be subjected to decomposing feces.

So the smell you might be smelling most probably is some roach waste. The above are the reasons why roaches smell in that disgusting, unpleasant odor.

How to Get Rid of roach Smell 

Step 1 – Identify the Roach source 

It would help if you tried to find where the roaches are living and breeding. This means you will have to move the cupboards, stoves, and sinks, refrigerators to access those places.

Once you identify the smell in your house, you should know that your place has a roach infestation and a roach bomb. The scent of roaches poses a significant risk to the people living in that house.

Smells of roaches cause respiratory problems, amongst other illnesses. Here are some ways of getting rid of roaches and their pungent smells.

Step 2 – Deny them food and water. 

As you already know now, roaches thrive in an environment rich in warmth, moisture, food, and shelter. Ensuring your house is free from cockroaches involves the following practices.

Ensure you deprive them of water by ensuring there are no leaks in the house. Also, wipe any spillages immediately. Although roaches can survive a few days without water, they shall soon get eliminated after depriving them.

Step 3 – Create an unwelcoming environment.

Clean your house thoroughly. Roaches thrive well in filthy environments. By maintaining a clean house you deny them a chance to thrive. Ensure that your kitchen is always clean and that you take your trash out regularly.

Also, ensure that doors to the cupboard and refrigerators are working and in good condition. This prevents small ones from getting inside.

Cover your food. Dishes should be washed soon after meals and not left to stay overnight. Ensure that there are no food leftovers on your tables, Kitchen counters, and other places.

Step 4 – Repelling roaches.

You can repel roaches using- coffee grounds, Cypress and peppermint oils, and bay leaves or even killing them using boric acid.

You can also make a homemade insecticide using baking soda and sugar. Mix them in equal portions, then sprinkle them in your house. Although this method does not entirely eradicate roaches, it kills the visible ones.

Sugar attracts the roaches then the baking soda kills them after they consume it. Ensure that you sweep the mixture and the dead roaches after a few days.

Even though the smell of roaches is unpleasant, there is no need to scream hysterically when you spot one. Once you follow the tips shared here, you will be able to get rid of that infestation.

Step 5 – Professional assistance 

I am pretty sure that you would have resorted to grabbing an insecticide and spraying the roaches. This may not be effective. It may kill only the visible ones and spare the hiding ones.

You are advised to seek help from a professional pest control officer. They usually have the right skills and tools to wipe out the infestation and the smell that comes with it.


Roaches thrive in filthy places. Roaches disgorge portions of their partially digested food and feces at intervals.

They also discharge a nauseous secretion from their mouths and glands on their bodies.

Once the menace has been dealt with, ensuring you have removed any leftovers of the roaches from your home.