Home PestsRoaches

Why Are There Roaches Outside My House?

Cockroaches On Wood, Background Blurred

Roaches love the outdoors for many reasons — warmth, food, shelter for breeding and protection from predators, etc. They mostly get these from trash cans, trees, compost pits, and other messy outdoor environments. When these resources are unavailable, they turn to human houses for comfort. So, seeing roaches outside your home does not always mean you are at risk of an infestation.

There are a million and one reasons you may stumble on a roach as you stroll around your garden, and we will consider a few of these in this guide.


Roaches enjoy staying in warm and messy environments, including building outdoors. If you notice their activities around your building, one or more of the following may be responsible:

  • The environment has organic waste littered around.
  • The trash bins are left uncovered.
  • The outdoor lights are too bright.
  • There is a roach infestation in the neighborhood.

Above are four possibilities, and you can find out more in the article!

In the following sections, we will examine six possible causes of an outdoor roach infestation. Also, we will identify the commonest roach species found outdoors, when to be bothered about their activities, and how to prevent them. Finally, we will answer some frequently asked questions about outdoor roach infestations.

Are Roaches Outside Cause for Concern?

The American Cockroaches Bug Or (Periplaneta Americana - In Latin), Photographed At Close Range On The Limestone. Outdoor.

As we said earlier, spotting roaches outside does not mean that there is an internal infestation problem. But that does not mean that seeing roaches around your house is normal.

A tidy yard with a well-manicured lawn or garden will not attract bugs. They love dark, dirty, and damp environments like sewers.

Seeing roaches and bugs like beetles during summer nights is normal because roaches breed in these warm months. And since they are more active at night, it makes more sense. But how do you differentiate between normal roach activity and a threatened invasion?

Before we go into all that, let’s consider why roaches may be drawn to your yard.

6 Possible Reasons Roaches Are Outside Your House

Several reasons may be responsible for an outdoor roach infestation. Below, we consider six commonest of all:

1. You Have Organic Wastes Littered Around

Cockroach On Wood Outdoor

Having organic waste on your property does not mean that you are untidy. Almost every yard has them because nobody can control when leaves or branches fall.

But as these wood piles, mulch, and dead leaves rot, they cover these nocturnal bugs. Wood roaches feed on decaying wood and feast on wood piles when they find any. And as scavengers, they eat any dead matter, including dead roaches. Depending on its proximity to your house, roaches can find their way inside through these organic wastes.

However, routine yard cleanups and decluttering can help reduce the organic wastes littering your compound.

2. Your Outdoor Light Is Too Bright

Brown Cockroaches Go Out To Eat At Night In Low Light

Generally, roaches hate lights and bright environments because it exposes them, leaving them feeling vulnerable to predators. This explains why you may only see them scurrying at night.

However, there are exceptions to this natural rule. Research has shown that some roach species, like Smokybrown roaches, are naturally drawn to porch lights.

So, reduce your outdoor lighting to keep these bugs away.

3. Damp Environments

Lots Of Cockroaches Are On The Cover Drain In The Fresh Market

Roaches live in damp environments like drainages, bathrooms, and sewers because of the moisture available. For example, outdoor drainage provides a perfect covering from predators, with enough moisture to keep them hydrated.

While roaches can go months without food, they will die without moisture or water, which is why you may notice them crawling around your garden at night, searching for water and food.

The plumbing pipes leading into your drainage keep these roaches warm and protected from extreme temperatures. Whether it is a freezing winter or a scorching summer, roaches are comfortable all season. However, these drainages lead into your house and may create a pathway for roaches to invade it. But keeping your drainages clean and disinfected can help control the situation.

Apart from this, overwatering your garden or lawn can create the damp environment roaches love. If your yard is damp or there is stagnant water on your property, an infestation is not far off.

The excess moisture can damage your walls, creating cracks for roaches and other bugs to hide. It further increases the rate at which organic matter decay. This quickened decomposition releases a stench that will draw roaches to the site.

4. Improperly Covered Trash Bins

Cockroach Blattodea Crawling Around The Trash Can

Roaches have strong jaws or mandibles and can chew through plastic trash bags to get to the waste within them. So, it is not enough to dispose of your litter neatly. You must also ensure that the lids are closed appropriately shut.

Otherwise, your trash can be a breeding ground for outdoor roaches and their offspring. Open garbage bins have a strong, unpleasant stench that is disgusting to humans but welcoming to bugs. Therefore, be careful with managing trash bins in your home, and try not to gather them for too long.

5. Neighborhood Infestation

Many Cockroaches Coming Through The Door, Inside The Apartment. Control Of Pests And Insects, Risk Of Contamination

Sometimes, it is not you or anything you did. You can have a well-kept yard and still spot roaches in your compound.

If your neighbor has a roach infestation, it can spread to the neighboring houses in no time. Roaches are swift breeders and can expand their population in days.

As their number grows, they soon run out of space and food. This will force them out of their hiding place to seek alternatives. Unfortunately, this may be your home or anywhere else that seems convenient to them.

6. Exposed Sewage Holes and Compost Piles

Closeup Macro American Cockroaches Gather In The Sewer Home To Find Food.

Roaches are filthy animals and can live in sewage holes, feeding on feces and other human wastes. In many houses, sewage holes are positioned in the yard or garden.

They can present a perfect hiding hole for roaches when exposed or not adequately covered. That may explain why you notice roaches crawling around your yard.

Exposed compost piles are another reason for roaches outside your building. Roaches eat different varieties of decomposing matter, most of which are compost piles. These include grass clippings, newspaper bits, yam and potato peels, rotten vegetables, and spoilt meat. An accessible compost pile will attract roaches to live in it, as there is much to eat in a pile.

Outdoor Roach Species

Selective Focus To Cockroach On Brown Broom With Garden Green Background.

Almost all roaches can survive outdoors, but some can more than others. You may find German, American, and Oriental roaches roaming your yard. But German roaches, by nature, are more adapted to indoor environments. Wood and Asian roaches are known to frequent the outdoors the most.

Wood roaches love tree barks, decaying wood piles, and mulch. You may even carry them inside by mistake with your firewood. As they are attracted to wood, homes made from wood are more susceptible to an infestation. But these species are easy to eliminate because they love the light. You can easily set traps for them anytime they fly towards lights and windows.

Asian roaches love greenery, making them a common garden pest. Damp, dark gardens, and lawns are their favorite, and they are mostly found scurrying through the grass all year round.

Cut down tall grasses to take away their hiding spots. Then, reduce the rate you water your lawn to reduce dampness in your yard.

When Should You Worry About Outdoor Roaches?

German Cockroach (Blattella Germanica) On A Yellow Thistle Plant In Houston, Tx.

Before panicking, try to identify the specie of outdoor roach you spotted.

If you saw a German cockroach in your yard, chances are that the indoors are infested too. The reason is that while German roaches can survive anywhere, they run indoors once it gets too cold.

For other roaches, once there is food and warmth outside, they have no business in your house. The outdoors provides them security from predators and almost everything they need for survival. Roaches are only forced to seek indoor shelter when outdoor resources are limited, like winter and summer.

If you are worried about these, it may help to inspect your house for tell-tale signs of an infestation. These include roach poop, brown smears on walls, a musty odor, and shed exoskeletons.

You may even notice tiny bites on items like books, magazines, and furniture. Once you notice these signs, take immediate action to rid your house of these pests.

The longer they stay, the faster the infestation grows, putting your family at risk. So, fix pipes, cracks, gaps, and broken windows—also clean drainages to reduce the chances of an indoor roach infestation.

General Tips for Preventing Outdoor Roaches

Macro, Close-Up Of A Red Cockroach At Night

An outdoor roach infestation means your house is under threat. Even if you don’t have roaches in your garden yet, preventive measures reduce the chances of an infestation.

Here are some ways to reduce their hiding spots and remove their major attractants:

  • Inspect your home for possible entry points.
  • Use sealants like caulk to seal cracks and other openings along your fence.
  • Seal plumbing pipes and broken vents through which they may pass.
  • Remove garden debris, compost piles, and decaying wood.
  • Eliminate all traces of stagnant water.
  • Move garbage bins and compost piles from your house.
  • Clean gutters and roofs to remove dead leaves and other organic wastes.
  • Maintain your lawn and trim grasses often.


There are several reasons you may find roaches around your building outdoors. These can include having extremely bright outdoor lights and leaving trash bins uncovered.

Outdoor roaches love the fallen leaves and litter that surround outdoor environments. They live between loose soil, fallen branches, and mulch.

You may not notice roaches outside your house immediately. But they are still a major cause for concern because they can easily find their way indoors. Thus, it is important to make your yard inhabitable for these bugs.

However, before all that, identify what roach species have taken over your outdoor space first. Afterward, deploy the appropriate deterrent strategy to keep them away.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Some Ways To Eliminate Outdoor Roaches?

Maintaining a clean yard, eliminating hiding spots, and using roach repellants are effective ways to deal with the problem. After eliminating them, follow up with the preventive tips highlighted above. This way, you can avoid a new infestation.

What Are Some Natural Roach Repellants?

Roaches hate the smell of coffee, mint, eucalyptus, lemon, catnip bay leaves, and cedarwood. You can sprinkle these around their access points to keep them away. Roach repellants are more effective when combined. So, we recommend spraying more than one natural repellant at once.

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