Why Do Cockroaches Come Out at Night?

by | Last updated Jun 28, 2023 | Roaches

Most people dealing with roach infestations often have to ask this question. Why is it that roaches only appear at night and not during the day like other normal insects? It is troubling because they often appear when you least expect them.

For instance, you could be going to the kitchen at night, and the moment you turn on the lights, the first thing you see is an intrusion of roaches running all over your utensils as they try to scatter into hiding.

It is a sickening sight. However, the biology behind it is very clear. Cockroaches are naturally nocturnal insects. Nocturnal is a Latin word that means of the night has come to mean something active at night. That explains why more than often, you will see roaches lurking around your house at night. However, that is not true for all cockroach species because some are more active during the day.

Why Do Cockroaches Come Out at Night?

What Time do Cockroaches come Out at Night?

Besides being the most hideous, cockroaches are quite cunning. When you want to spot them, they are nowhere to be seen but come out moments later when you are not aware. This phenomenon gets you asking, at what time do roaches get out at night?

Research has shown that cockroaches have three states of activity. The first state is locomotion, where they move from one point to another, especially when scavenging for food. The other one is a period of limb or antennae movement without travel, and the last one is the period of immobility.

The research shows that cockroaches are most likely to be active about four hours after dark and go into a state of immobility later. Therefore you are likely to see roaches moving around at about 11 pm, after which they go to sleep.

Seeing Cockroaches during the Day

It is not unusual at all to see cockroaches moving around during the day. However, it is exceptional. Such a sighting calls for immediate action because the worst-case scenario is you have an infestation. When roaches walk during the day, chances are the intrusion is quite large, which prompts them to change their nocturnal behaviors.

It is a classic case of survival for the fittest where the strongest get the food when it is most available, which is at night, and the weakest have to wander during the day to get their share. They will come out when it is quiet to explore their habitat and scavenge for leftovers.

Something tragic about seeing cockroaches during the day is that the infestation has been ongoing for a while now, and you need to take drastic measures to contain the situation. If indeed you suspect you have an infestation, there are remedies you can begin with, such as the use of Boric acid or more natural recipes using essential oils.

Why do Cockroaches Come out In the Heat?

During the summer, you are most likely to see more roaches than usual. It is yet another breed of insects that thrives during the warm summer months. The summer heat provides a conducive environment for their breeding. Surprisingly roaches are said to sense humidity; therefore, they tend to love it warm and steamy. During the summer, the outside conditions are usually too hot, so to get some bit of humidity they crawl into houses where the conditions are fairly humid.

The combination of hot and humid conditions in houses, provide the perfect breeding ground for roaches. More so, roaches are used to live with human beings because of the readily available food and water, which is another reason they thrive.

A high breeding rate during the summer means that more roaches will be looking for food and because they generally don’t crawl during the day, you may not see them. However, they are prevalent at night, and that’s when you will see more of them.

Related reading: Why Cockroaches Fly Towards You

What Color Light do Roaches Hate?

Roaches never seize to amaze me. They are the most studied of all bugs with so many interesting physiognomies. If you thought that these creatures are afraid of light, you might want to think again. Although you are on the right path of thought, the truth is that they dislike light and not really afraid of it.

Cockroaches are quite choosey about different shades of light. According to research carried out on five different light colors, it was concluded that red light was the most repellent, followed by green light, white, yellow, and blue, respectively. Natural light is not of their liking either. That’s why you will see most roaches stay hidden during the day.

Related reading: How to Find a Roach Nest

Why do Roaches Run from Light?

As we have discussed before, cockroaches are nocturnal insects which means that they would rather crawl at night than during the day. In most cases, roaches run away when you turn on the lights, not because they are afraid of the darkness but because they are scared of you. It is a natural response mechanism when you startle a living organism.

Other species are very fond of light and would even be seen crawling on television screens and hanging by the window. Species that seem as if they are running away from the light are more afraid of predators like you and will hide into cracks and crevices.

Related reading: I Saw One Cockroach, Should I be Worried?


How do you keep cockroaches away at night?

The best way to keep roaches away at night is by using repellants such as essential oils and other natural products such as Lemon juice and Cinnamon.

Do cockroaches crawl on you at night?

When darkness sets in, that’s when cockroaches become active. It so happens that during the night, it’s when you are sleeping. So if you are dealing with an infestation, chances are, what crawled on you at night is a cockroach. It would be best if you took immediate action because roaches carry disease-causing bacteria, which could be detrimental to your health.

What time do roaches go to sleep?

Roaches are nocturnal insects. They spend about four hours after darkness sets in scavenging for food and water, after which they go to sleep.

Do cockroaches come out when the lights are on?

Most people believe that roaches are afraid of light, which is not the case because when you leave the lights on and go to sleep, they will search for water and food. The light doesn’t prevent them from getting what they want.

Related reading: cockroaches crawl at night

Related reading: How to Not Be Scared of Cockroaches

Bottom Line

When the nocturnal instincts for locomotion in roaches kick in, they will crawl out at night searching for food and water. This phenomenon explains why you will find most roaches lurking around your house at night. It is usually the first sign of an infestation.


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It is worrying when you see one or two roaches moving around during the day. If you spot such an incident, it would be best you take immediate action because it could mean the infestation has been ongoing for quite some time. The roaches have multiplied to great numbers that their nest cannot accommodate all of them.

Related reading: Brainstorming

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