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Why Do Cockroaches Stay In One Spot?

Cockroaches tend to move in a very erratic way that can unnerve even the toughest of customers. 

But why do they suddenly stop and stand still in one spot for a while?

The biggest reason roaches will suddenly stand still is to analyze their surroundings. They use their antennae and special sensors on their rear ends to sense air currents and collect scents, helping them locate where to go and avoid danger. 

The Cockroach That Stood Still

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

There are many theories for why cockroaches sit still, ranging from the most likely reason, which states that a roach’s senses work best when it’s not in motion, to the more outlandish theories in which people believe cockroaches are using telepathic communication. 

The most likely reason cockroaches stay still is because their senses work best when they don’t move. 

The antennae on the cockroaches’ heads pick up scent particles that enable them to navigate towards food, or away from dangerous smells. 

On their back ends, cockroaches have anal cerci that work like ears. These sensors pick up vibrations and air currents, letting roaches know when there is movement in their immediate surroundings, and warning them of incoming danger. 

Both of the above-mentioned features, especially the vibration-sensing cerci, work more effectively when the roach stays still.

A cockroach might scurry across the floor rapidly, but stop and stay still for a few moments because it’s analyzing the situation, and determining if it has moved to a safe location or needs to keep going. 

While telepathic communication is highly unlikely, cockroaches do engage in a very simple form of pheromone-based communication. 

Though not quite on the same level as ants, termites, or bees, this form of communication can help roaches locate food, water, and shelter. 

Standing still for a long time can also be an involuntary form of self-defense. 

Many insects freeze when confronted by a predator because moving would mean giving away their position. 

Cockroaches also display this behavior, as well as simply pretending to be dead or being immobilized because they’re waiting for an injury to heal. 

Roaches also stand still when they are laying eggs or molting.

If you spot a cockroach during the day and it isn’t moving, it might just be asleep. 

Cockroaches tend to be most active at night as they search for food in the dark. During the day, they usually retreat to a good hiding spot and stand in a single spot for a very long time.

During this time, the roach rests and avoids using any energy. This strategy is especially prevalent when food sources aren’t easily accessible. 

This immobile state isn’t the same kind of sleep as we know it, since roaches may still move their antennae and cerci to help them get a sense of the area, and they’re not unconscious. 

If a cockroach senses a nearby threat or is touched during this state of immobility, it will still move and react. Otherwise, this state when it rests or “sleeps.”

Why Do Cockroaches Go To The Same Place?

Cockroaches tend to congregate in the same areas for a variety of reasons. 

They’re social animals that usually live in family groups. Once they have established a good spot, the group will tend to retreat to this area continually, or rest there until the need to leave arises. 

It’s also common to find cockroaches inhabiting the same spots simply because it’s more convenient, and gives them easier access to resources.

Areas that are humid or moist are usually the most popular. While roaches can live quite a while without food, they still need water every few days. 

Pooled water or areas with leaks are typically the most ideal locations for families of roaches to congregate. Bathrooms and leaky basements are especially good areas. 

Other places that provide them with easy access to food are also popular. Pantries, cabinets, and spots underneath appliances offer plenty of opportunities for food crumbs. 

Because roaches are social and have to find consistent sources of food, water, and shelter, they will almost always go to the same spot as other roaches. 

Once they have determined that one area is safe, they will continue to go back there until it is no longer safe, at which point they’ll need to find a new home. 

Why Won’t Roaches Leave My Home?

Close-up photo of a cockroach.

There are always a variety of reasons that contribute to continuous cockroach infestations, but the most likely reason you can’t get rid of roaches is that they like it there. 

If roaches find a place with plenty of moisture, food, and shelter, it can be hard to get them out. 

They’re aggressive breeders that can increase in population quickly, and they’re ridiculously adaptable and hardy. 

As long as roaches can find a way into your home and have access to resources, they’ll keep coming back

Any gaps around your doors, cracks in walls, and drain pipes are all common ways for roaches to enter your home. 

Leaky pipes, basement wall cracks, and condensing humidity are all easy sources of water for roaches. 

Try to seal up any points of entry, and ensure you don’t have any standing water in your home. 

It’s also important to keep all areas free of food crumbs, and store your food securely. It’s recommended to limit eating to just one or two rooms of your home. 

Eliminate as many potential hiding places for roaches as possible. Piles of cardboard boxes, stacks of storage containers, clothes on the floor, and spaces under furniture are all great hiding spots. 

You can also try to get rid of roaches using glue traps or home-safe poisons. If this fails, call a professional exterminator. 

A trained expert will be able to help diagnose the size and cause of your roach infestation, as well as help eliminate the roaches from your home, and keep new ones from coming in. 


Cockroaches tend to stay in one spot during the daylight hours to rest. They’ll also remain still while analyzing their surroundings because their senses work best when they aren’t moving. 

Thankfully, roaches are not telepathic or having conversations about the weather while they eat, but it can still be unnerving to see one scamper across your floor and stop to stare at you.