Which cities attract the most cockroaches?
Dead cockroaches being viewed through a magnifying glass
Cockroaches tend to scatter when the lights are turned on. The errant sight of them suggests a generally unclean environment, but some cities have more of a roach problem than others.
Which are the “roachiest” cities in America? Pest Gnome mined data from the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as well as climate info, to come up with a list of the top 25 cities where one is most likely to encounter a cockroach problem.
Moreover, we included some tips on how to prevent and get rid of roaches, as well as a breakdown of the health concerns associated with them.
Highlights and lowlights
A chart showing the 25 Roachiest Cities in America
When it comes to cockroaches, are there anything but lowlights, really? Let’s talk about these lowlife pests.
Houston, we have a roach problem
H-Town leads our list of the cockroachiest cities in America with 37% of Census Bureau respondents saying their Houston homes showed signs of these pests in the past 12 months. The cause of all those bugs? The heat and humidity. People hate the swelter, but roaches thrive in these conditions.
The two most common types of cockroaches in Houston are the big, brown, and flying American cockroach (aka palmetto bug) and the kitchen, pantry, and sink-dwelling German cockroach.
How to keep these pests from invading your home? Seal points of entry, don’t leave crumbs anywhere, and fix any leaky pipes. When Raid and roach motels aren’t doing the job, call in the cavalry.
Southern cities have more roach motels
San Antonio landed at No. 2 on our list with 28.32% of homes showing signs of roaches in the past 12 months. Tampa, Florida, Phoenix, and Las Vegas crawled (or skittered?) to finish in the Top 5.
All of these cities have sun and heat in summer, which roaches love, and winters here just don’t get that cold to kill them off. How chilly does it need to be to put these creepy crawlies on ice?
A roach can’t survive temperatures below 45 degrees F, but this temperature must be maintained for a while. And if temperatures fall (or rise) slowly, these critters can adapt. Cockroaches at room temperature put into a sub-zero freezer will die within 30 minutes.
Ice, ice, baby roaches
As noted above, roaches flourish with heat and humidity, which may explain why Seattle—with very few extremely hot days on average—landed at the bottom of our roachiest cities ranking. Other Northern metros where cold temps may repel roaches are Detroit, Boston, and Rochester, New York.
The cold outside leads roaches inside for warmth, so make your home less inviting. Keep it clean, and apply a barrier spray at doorways. You don’t want these critters moving in for the winter with your family.
Behind the ranking
Pest Gnome synthesized data from the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for 25 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) to arrive at these rankings. The Census Bureau survey was released in 2023, and included data about whether respondents saw a cockroach inside their home during the previous 12 months
The city that earned the highest average score was ranked as No. 1, or the “Roachiest,” and the lowest average score as No. 25, or “Least Roachy.”
Health dangers of roaches
An exterminator spraying cockroaches on a wood floor
Infestations of roaches may affect your health, both physically and mentally.
Cockroaches may carry bacteria or parasites that can cause intestinal disease, including the following organisms:
- Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium
- Entamoeba histolytica
- Poliomyelitis virus
Roaches also can cause allergic reactions through their excrement and shed skins. Not only can roaches cause a wide array of allergy symptoms (congestion, sneezing, watery eyes), but they also can cause life-threatening bronchial inflammation (asthma).
Roaches, especially the flying kind, can bite you in your sleep. This happens rarely but more often if you don’t move around too much while sleeping.
And, oh, what these pests can do to your psyche. Never mind that the thought of a cockroach can cause a shudder of disgust. At the very least people with roach infestations are likely to avoid entertaining for fear that one or more of these creepy crawlies might, well, creep out their guests.
Katsaridaphobia is the fear of cockroaches. Tens of millions of people may suffer from this phobia, but the exact number is undeterminable because people often do not seek treatment.
When to call a cockroach exterminator
Despite all efforts, a homeowner or renter may not be able to address a roach problem on their own. Even one surviving male-female couple can start the process all over again. The best—and easiest—solution might be to call for help, especially if you’ve tried everything else to get rid of your buggy problem. The cost of a cockroach exterminator ranges from approximately $115 to $350—a small price to pay for peace of mind.