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Can Cockroaches Climb Walls?

You may think that placing something high up on a shelf or counter will keep the roaches away from it, but will it?

No, it won’t.

Cockroaches can climb walls and walk across ceilings. They can do this because roaches have a claw-like appendage on some of their feet, which allows them to hang on to surfaces, even when they’re upside down. 

How Do Roaches Climb Walls?

Close-up photo of a cockroach on a bathroom wall.

Roaches can climb walls thanks to their claw-like appendages, called tarsus, on the end of some of their legs. 

They also have microscopic hairs on their legs that help them stick to many different surfaces. Their tiny bodies and negligible weight help them climb vertically up walls or horizontally across ceilings. 

Roaches are so tiny that they can hold onto the little dents you’ll find on most walls. You may not be able to see these dents very well, but if you look closely at the walls in your home, you can probably make out the tiny indentations that the roaches climb. 

Can Large Cockroaches Climb Walls?

Since gravity doesn’t weigh roaches as much due to their tiny size, you may wonder if a giant cockroach can still climb walls. 

And the answer is yes and no. Giant roaches can climb walls because their anatomy is different from smaller cockroaches. However, giant cockroaches are more likely to fall off walls since they don’t have the size factor. 

What Surfaces Can Roaches Climb?

Roaches can climb any surface that isn’t flat. Therefore, they can make their way up: 

  • Wood 
  • Drywall, mainly painted drywall 
  • Stone
  • Brick 
  • Ceramic tile 
  • Cloth 
  • Blinds 

So, if you place items on top of one of these surfaces, you can expect the roaches to get to them. 

What Surfaces Can Roaches Not Climb?

Close-up photo of a cockroach on a yellow background.

Roaches can not climb very smooth surfaces, such as: 

  • Glass 
  • Granite 
  • Metal 
  • Marble 
  • Porcelain 
  • Smooth plastic 
  • Mirrors 

Yet, roaches may be able to scale these items for a certain distance. But, usually, they quickly lose their footing and fall. 

Why Do Roaches Climb Walls and Other Surfaces?

The most common reason that roaches climb walls and other surfaces is to get to a food source. 

So, if you have food up on a high counter, the roaches in your home will do whatever they can to get to it. 

Also, roaches climb walls to find a place to hide. For example, cockroaches like to hide inside walls if they can find a way into them. 

Finally, roaches may scale walls to get away from danger. For example, if you try to kill them or are frightened by a house pet, they may climb up to the ceiling to get out of your reach. 

How to Stop Roaches From Climbing Walls

Close-up photo of a cockroach climbing on a wall.

Unfortunately, if you have cockroaches in your home, there is no way to stop them from climbing the walls. 

The only proper way to prevent roaches from scaling your walls and other surfaces is to get rid of them. 

Can Cockroaches Crawl Into Your Bed?

Yes, cockroaches can crawl into your bed. 

Roaches have a pretty easy time crawling into beds on the floor since the box spring and mattress gives them plenty of traction. In addition, it isn’t hard for them to walk vertically up wooden bed frames. 

Metal, though, will protect you, but not very much if your bed is against the wall since roaches can climb that to get to you. 

How to Keep Roaches From Climbing Into Your Bed

If you want to keep roaches from crawling into your bed, the best thing you can do is not give them an incentive. 

Thus, you should vacuum off your mattress and wash your bedclothes regularly so that there are no crumbs or dead skin cells for them to eat. 

Will Cockroaches Climb My Curtains?

A photo of a white curtain on the window.

Yes, cockroaches can climb curtains and other fabrics. 

You may or may not be able to see it, but all fabrics are made of strings woven together, which give the roaches notches to place their thin legs. 

So basically, for a roach, climbing up fabric is relatively easy as a person to climb a ladder. 

Do Cockroaches Defecate on Walls?

Yes, cockroaches defecate on walls and pretty much everywhere else they go. And you need to clean this excrement up as quickly as possible, or it will attract more roaches. 

Scrub the feces marks off of walls as soon as you see them with a disinfectant to kill the bacteria. 

How to Identify Roach Feces on Walls 

If you have roach feces on your walls, you will notice small black or brown dots, usually around the baseboards. 

Some defecation spots will be cylinder-shaped, while others will look like mounds. 

You can also typically see small bits of roach defecation on the floors under this wall area. 

Additionally, if it is roach excrement, you might notice brown, red, or tan cylinder-shaped sacks near the feces. 

These are roach egg sacks; you should douse them with roach spray immediately, so they are no longer viable. 

Then, you can vacuum them up and dump them in the trash can in a sealed plastic bag so that they can not escape back into your home if they do hatch. 

Can Cockroaches Chew Through My Walls? 

Close-up photo of a cockroach on a white wall.

It is unlikely that cockroaches will chew through your walls. Although roaches love to eat, they don’t have very strong teeth. 

Thus, they probably won’t even try to chew their way through a wall. However, roaches can chew through wood if they want to do so. 

Yet, the only real chance of this happening is if you have a significant infestation because it will take a lot of work for the roaches to eat through the wall. 

Do Cockroaches Live Inside Walls?

Cockroaches like dark and secluded places, meaning they may live inside your walls if they can find a way inside them. 

Therefore, if you have roaches in your home, now is the best time to inspect your walls for holes and cracks. If you find any, you should patch them. 

Doing so will prevent roaches inside the walls from leaving, and they will die. It will also stop any more cockroaches from making a home inside your walls. 

Plus, if roaches can’t get into your walls, they can’t use your home’s framework to move quickly and stealthily from room to room. 


Cockroaches can climb walls, and they can also walk across ceilings. 

They can do so because they have tiny claw-like appendages on some of their legs and microscopic hairs that help them stick to surfaces. 

However, a cockroach can not climb some types of material since they can’t get a proper grip on them.