Does the UK have cockroaches?

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Posted on 2 July 2024

Cockroaches, those resilient and oft-reviled insects, are a common sight in many parts of the world. Their presence is frequently associated with warmer climates and unhygienic conditions. However, a pertinent question arises: does the UK, with its relatively cooler and temperate climate, have cockroaches? The answer is yes, but the situation is nuanced and warrants a closer examination. 

Cockroach Species in the UK Cockroach in a washing basin.

Several species of cockroaches can be found in the UK, with the most common being the German cockroach (Blattella germanica), the Oriental cockroach (Blatta orientalis), and the American cockroach (Periplaneta americana). Each species has its own unique characteristics and preferred habitats. 

German Cockroach

This species is small, usually between 1.1 to 1.6 cm long, and is light brown with two dark stripes on its pronotum (the shield-like structure just behind the head). The German cockroach is particularly prevalent in indoor environments, favouring warm and humid areas like kitchens and bathrooms. 

Oriental Cockroach

 Larger and darker than the German cockroach, the Oriental cockroach can grow up to 2.5 cm in length. They are often found in cooler, damp places such as basements, drains, and under appliances. Unlike the German cockroach, Oriental cockroaches are less likely to be found in elevated areas of buildings. 

American Cockroach

Despite its name, the American cockroach is present in the UK as well. It is the largest of the three, reaching up to 4 cm in length. This species prefers warm and moist environments and is commonly found in commercial premises like restaurants and bakeries.

Habitat and Distribution

Cockroaches are adaptable creatures capable of thriving in a variety of environments. In the UK, they are primarily found in urban areas where human activity provides ample food and shelter. Buildings with central heating, restaurants, supermarkets, and food processing facilities are particularly vulnerable to infestations. These locations offer the warmth, moisture, and food sources that cockroaches need to survive.

Residential properties are not immune either. Poorly maintained buildings, especially those with easy access to food and water, can become breeding grounds for cockroaches. They often enter homes through cracks and crevices, plumbing, and even grocery bags.

Why Are Cockroaches a Problem?

The presence of cockroaches in the UK, as elsewhere, poses significant health and hygiene issues. That is to say, they are known carriers of various pathogens, including bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella. In turn, these can cause food poisoning and other illnesses. Cockroaches can also trigger allergies and asthma. Particularly in children, due to the proteins found in their faeces, saliva, and shed body parts.

Furthermore, cockroaches can cause damage to property. They are known to chew on materials such as paper, fabric, and even electrical wiring. Potentially leading to fire hazards.

Control and Prevention

Effective control and prevention of cockroach infestations require a multifaceted approach. Key strategies include maintaining cleanliness, sealing entry points, and eliminating food and water sources.

Cock roach removal in DoncasterSanitation

Keeping living and working spaces clean is crucial. Regularly dispose of garbage, clean up spills promptly, and store food in sealed containers. Pay special attention to kitchens and food storage areas, ensuring they are free from crumbs and grease.


Prevent cockroaches from entering buildings by sealing cracks and gaps in walls, floors, and around pipes. Installing door sweeps and repairing damaged screens can also help reduce entry points.

Moisture Control

Cockroaches thrive in moist environments, so fixing leaks and ensuring proper ventilation in damp areas like bathrooms and basements is essential.

Professional Pest Control

In cases of severe infestations, professional pest control services may be necessary. They can provide targeted treatments using insecticides and other methods to effectively eliminate cockroach populations.

While the UK is not typically associated with cockroaches, these resilient insects are indeed present and pose challenges to health and hygiene. Understanding the species that inhabit the region, their preferred habitats, and effective control measures can help mitigate their impact. By maintaining cleanliness, securing entry points, and addressing moisture issues, individuals and businesses can reduce the likelihood of infestations and ensure a safer, more hygienic environment.

Contact us 

Now you know more about ‘Does the UK have cockroaches?’. If you’ve noticed signs of them on your property, it’s important to hire a pest control company to carry out a cockroach extermination in Doncaster. Call us on 01302 969049 to discuss your requirements with one of our friendly team. Alternatively, send us a message via our website and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.