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If You Smell This in Your Home, You Might Have Roaches

Once you notice this scent, you need to check for other signs of the bugs.

Roaches are some of the most dreaded insects to find in your home. Their crunchy exterior, enormous bodies, and ability to fly make them revolting to most. In addition to all that, experts say these bugs can also have an unpleasant smell. You may have noticed an odd scent in your home, but never connected it to these creepy critters. Read on to find out which smell could mean you have roaches lurking in your home, and for more insects to look out for, If You Live Here, Prepare for a Mosquito Invasion Like You've Never Seen.

Roaches can have an oily, musty smell.

german cockroaches on windowsill

"If you've ever stepped into a cockroach-infested attic or a basement, you may have noticed a musty and unpleasant odor. This mixture of food scraps, dead bugs, and other organic matter is what roaches leave behind as they roam your house," says pest expert Jordan Foster. "In order to communicate with each other, cockroaches use 'chemical messages.'" These chemicals could also add to the roaches' signature scent.

According to pest control company Terminix, "Roaches can produce a pungent, musty odor that gets worse the longer the infestation goes on. This oily smell can come from large numbers of roaches, but just one German roach can produce this smell on its own." The company notes that dead roaches produce an even more pungent smell due to the oleic acid that is produced during decomposition. Per Terminix, "Roach odors linger in the air and can even affect the taste of food." And for more on bug disposal, If You See This Bug, You Need to Vacuum It Up Immediately, Experts Say.

There are other signs of roaches to be aware of.

Cockroach egg sac case

If you get a whiff of an oily, musty odor in your home, you should look for other signs of roaches. Ryan Smith, pest control expert and owner of Ant & Garden Organic Pest Control, says you should look out for roach egg cases that are oval-shaped and dark brown. He also advises people to look for droppings.

Preston Crandell, owner of Crandell Pest Control, says the fecal droppings will resemble coffee grounds. Other signs of roaches include finding eggs, seeing shed skin, and experiencing allergy symptoms, he says. And for another insect that could be creeping around, If You See This Bug in Your Home, Don't Step on It, Experts Warn.

If you have these signs or see a roach, call pest control.

exterminator spraying window

Since the smell gets worse as the amount of bugs increases, you should call a pest control expert as soon as you suspect roaches. "If you think you have spotted a roach infestation in your home, call local exterminators to discuss your cockroach control options. You have to take action as soon as possible to avoid health problems," Foster says. He warns that if you choose to take pest control into your own hands, it's unlikely to be as effective. "If you decide to deal with the infestation yourself, bear in mind it could take longer and often be inefficient," Foster adds. "You could try cockroach baits and traps, sprays and repellents, baking soda, borax, or essential oils." And for more bug tips delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

There are steps you can take to prevent roaches.

Happy couple doing dishes together

To keep you from having to deal with the smell, mess, and unsettling feeling that comes with a roach infestation, it's better to be proactive. Foster suggests always cleaning up right after a meal, taking the trash out daily, keeping food in sealed containers, and decluttering. He also notes that general maintenance of your property can help keep the bugs out. Fill in any cracks in the walls and make sure you maintain pipes and drains well. And for more scary bug news, This Common Insect Can Carry and Spread COVID, New Study Shows.

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