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Why Do You Keep Finding Dead Cockroaches In Your House?

Finding dead cockroaches when you aren’t using traps or poisons is never a good sign.

The beasts likely kicked the bucket because of internal factors (e.g., starvation, dehydration, etc.) or external factors (e.g., predators).

If you aren’t doing anything to exterminate a cockroach infestation, you keep finding dead roaches because you’re hosting a colony. The creatures die because of insufficient food and water – the colony might be so large that they cannot sustain themselves on what they find in your home. Additionally, your house might be too dry or too clean for them to survive.

Cockroaches have been known to play dead, but finding one usually means many more are nearby and finding carcasses almost always means you have an infestation.

6 Primary Causes of Dead Cockroaches in Your House

Close-up photo of a dead cockroach on the ground.

If you find dead cockroaches in your house, the likely cause is an infestation – but it could be an infestation of roaches, rats, or even fire ants leading to the graveyard in your home.

Whatever the cause, dead cockroaches indicate a larger issue that requires your attention.

Rat Infestation

Rats eat anything in case of starvation, and cockroaches are on that list.

Even though cockroaches aren’t their preferred delicacy, the rodents understand that beggars can’t be choosers.

Finding dead cockroaches with disjointed or torn-up bodies can mean that you have a rat problem.

If you keep finding dead, disjointed roaches but haven’t yet seen a single rodent, you might have two problems to worry about: a roach invasion and a rat infestation.

The rodents might be feasting on the colony, which is a good thing because they’re helping you eradicate the insects. However, you have rats, which is a very bad thing.

The best solution is to call an exterminator that specializes in both pests.

You’ll get clarity on what’s happening and immediately take care of the issue.

Lizards and Geckos

Like rats, reptiles like lizards and geckos look for bugs when there’s nothing better on the menu.

Seeing cockroach wings around the house proves that one of these reptiles is lurking around (lizards don’t like to eat the wings).

There are various ways to eliminate lizards, from pepper spray to cleaning out your cabinets.

In such situations, however, roaches are usually the bigger problem.

Roaches have a lot of babies at a time, so you must control the situation before it goes too far.

Fire Ants

Fire ants are pretty effective with how they go about their business, including how they eat.

The ant species munch on the go, leaving a trail of carcasses.

Unlike lizards who don’t like cockroach wings, fire ants rip apart almost every piece of the insect.

They take the meat back to the nest and share it with the rest of the gang, including the queen.

Following the trail might lead you to HQ, but you should know that fire ants have a pretty nasty sting.

You can get rid of them by pouring boiling water over their nests, but unless the liquid reaches the queen, it doesn’t completely solve the problem.

Other solutions, like using insecticides and calling an exterminator, work better.

Be careful when getting rid of fire ants, and remember to check your house to see if you have a roach infestation.


Roaches can’t go over a week without water.

While the insects love hiding in dark places during the day, the search for water might force them to get out of their dens.

Dehydration as a primary cause of dead roaches usually means your house is clean and dry, and most pests won’t survive.

It’s a positive but shouldn’t overshadow the need for proper extermination.

After all, there’s a reason the roach didn’t find a new home before it suffered from the lack of water.

Neighborhood Cockroach Treatment

Never seeing a roach in your house and suddenly coming across a dead one might mean there’s a fumigation next-door.

It is the best-case scenario because it may mean you don’t have an infestation on your hands.

Pesticides don’t kill roaches immediately. 

If sprayed directly, the insect will hold its breath by closing its spiracles. 

However, it can’t weather the storm for too long, and the chemical will eventually penetrate and kill it.

If the cockroach has walked through pesticide dust, it will eventually get into its system.

If you see a roach lying upside down on your doorstep, it might have been trying to run for its life.

Cockroaches Playing Dead

Cockroaches have tiny brains, so many are correct to assume they aren’t intelligent.

However, they have interesting survival mechanisms, and when worse comes to worst, they’re smart enough to play dead.

They have no alternative in such situations and decide to leave it all to fate. 

It doesn’t mean you don’t have a potential infestation, but it helps to confirm if the roach is actually dead before questioning why your house is a roach graveyard.

Do Dead Cockroaches Attract More Roaches?

Sadly, yes, dead cockroaches attract living roaches.

Cockroaches are decomposers, meaning they feast on dead organisms.

Their dead mates are in that category, and they find them by tracing the smell of oleic acid, omitted from the decomposing roach.

The smell doesn’t only attract more roaches – other decomposers like termites can also pick up the scent.

If you find a dead cockroach, dispose of it immediately and thoroughly clean the area with disinfectant.

What To Do When You Find a Dead Cockroach

Blurry close-up photo of a dead cockroach.

The first thing you should do when you find a dead cockroach is dispose of it.

But don’t touch it with your hands. Cockroaches are covered in harmful pathogens, such as bacteria and viruses, so wear a glove or use something else to cart the body away.

Throw the insect in the trash, take the bag out (preferably far away from your house), and start inspecting your home for signs of an infestation.

Cockroaches seek cover in dark places, so start by checking under your furniture and large appliances.

Get a flashlight to ease the search and grab a vacuum to suck up those you’ll find.

Empty the vacuum after your search (again, somewhere far from your home) and call an exterminator.

You can also handle the situation yourself, but a professional will know how to better manage an infestation.

After resolving the problem, take the necessary steps to avoid a future invasion, including keeping your house clean and dry, fixing leaky pipes, repairing cracked walls, and sealing holes or other openings.


Finding a dead roach is rarely better than finding a live one.

In some cases, it’s even worse, as it might mean the insects have settled in long enough for some to live out their entire life cycle.

There are different reasons you keep finding dead roaches in your house, but it’s almost certain you have an infestation, or there is one nearby.

Seeing dismembered roaches signifies even more trouble, as you might also have to deal with the insects’ predators.

Regardless of the reason, you will have to investigate and figure out what you’re dealing with.

You can do it on your own or call in a professional to help.