How Do Cockroaches Make Their Way Up to the Second Story?

If you’ve seen a cockroach on the second floor of your apartment or condo, you might be wondering how it got there. After all, shouldn’t cockroaches be confined to the first floor? The answer is no. They get to the second floor the same way they get everywhere else. In fact, different types of cockroaches gravitate to different floors. Oriental cockroaches like the cool dampness of basements and other poorly ventilated areas. American cockroaches like ground floors and first floors, and German cockroaches—what many folks picture when they think of a cockroach—enjoy first and second floors. Look for them in warm and dry areas, such as in cabinets and behind appliances that give them easy access to water and food. Here’s how cockroaches get up to the second floor.

Tiny Openings

The roaches you see on the second floor probably got there through the walls. They can get into apartment or condo buildings through gaps as small as 1/5th of an inch. These openings may have gotten them directly into the walls. Otherwise, many find more openings that enable them to head up. They also travel upstairs via pipes, plumbing, and even staircases.

Incentives to Enter

Cockroaches won’t ignore the lure of food and water. Seal up openings in your apartment or condo with silicone caulk, and cover door cracks with weather stripping. Cover or plug your drains nightly as you’re heading to bed. Inspect your window screens for holes and gaps, and cover or repair them. Just as importantly, don’t give cockroaches incentives to enter. Proactive measures for preventing roaches include the following:

  • Taking out the garbage frequently.
  • Sweeping and mopping often.
  • Cleaning up food and water spills.
  • Being diligent about not keeping pet food out.
  • Discarding unused cardboard and newspaper that may provide nesting and hiding spots for cockroaches.
  • Storing food in airtight containers (avoid keeping food in bags and boxes that roaches chew through).
  • Vacuum carpet and rugs regularly.

These measures are not always fully successful. In such cases, Combat Bait Stations, Gel Baits and Bait Strips help you kill roaches. The bait stations, bait strips, and gel baits have an insecticide that kills roaches at the source of infestation; the roaches bring the poison back to their nests and spread it to other nest mates.

One reason cockroaches flourish as a species is their ability to find different homes. Because they thrive in different habitats, they don’t need to compete with one another. It’s best to not to give them reasons to enter your home.