Many different types of roaches can invade your home or apartment, and because roaches can carry disease, it is important to identify an infestation so that it can be dealt with quickly. The most common roach found indoors is the German cockroach. The American cockroach, also known as a water bug or palmetto bug, is much larger than the German cockroach. Other common cockroaches in America include the brown-banded cockroach and the Oriental cockroach. It can be helpful to learn what each type of cockroach looks like, because your exterminator may recommend different treatments for different pests.
Look for cockroaches -- dead or alive -- in dark, humid places. Cockroaches frequent rooms like the bathroom or kitchen, where food and moisture are readily available. Being nocturnal, they prefer dark, enclosed spaces. Check under appliances and in cabinets, especially along cracks and edges.
Look for cockroach castings, droppings or ootheca. Cockroach castings are the skins that they have shed. Cockroach droppings look like fine, dark sand and may often be found in or near oily patches of waste. In large quantities, they have a musty odor. The ootheca, or egg-case, looks something like a small bean. It is reddish-brown to black, and varies in size, depending on the type of cockroach.
At night, take a bright flashlight into a dark room where you suspect cockroach activity. Quickly flash the light into corners and along the edges of counters. You may see cockroaches scurrying away from the light.
Place glue traps in several places in rooms where you suspect cockroach activity. Put the traps in corners, near or under appliances and inside cabinets -- especially cabinets that conceal plumbing, such as the cabinet under the kitchen sink.
Allow the traps to sit undisturbed for a few days.
Check each trap for cockroaches. The places where you find the most roaches in the traps are places where cockroaches are most active. These are likely to be the places where they nest or where they are entering your home.