What Attracts Cockroaches? Avoid These Pests

what attracts cockroaches? photo of a roach to know what to avoid

What Attracts Cockroaches

Cockroaches are incredibly resilient insects that have been around for more than 300 million years. Some say cockroaches could even survive a nuclear holocaust. Although most cockroach species live outdoors, far from civilization, several species have become common household pests.

Cockroaches typically only come out at night, and their penchant for darkness makes them difficult to spot. As a result, they can take refuge in a home for weeks or months before being seen, and by then, it’s too late – the infestation has already taken hold.

But cockroaches don’t just invade houses at random. Instead, it’s what attracts cockroaches that inevitably leads them inside a home.


What are Cockroaches

a picture of a cockroach, what attracts cockroaches

Cockroaches are insects that belong to the same order as termites, and although they’re a nuisance, they aren’t going to compromise the structural integrity of your house. The life span of a roach is usually about eight or nine months, yet some species can survive up to two years. Cockroaches are incredibly resilient and adaptive, and they have highly organized social structures.

Two species of cockroaches are particularly well-known for infesting homes: American cockroaches and German cockroaches.

The American cockroach, which is colloquially referred to as the waterbug, despite being non-aquatic, has a reddish-brown body and can grow to over 1.6 inches in length, making it the largest species of cockroach in North America.

On the other hand, the German cockroach is brownish-black and relatively small compared to American cockroaches and other roaches, having an average body length of only half an inch. Of all the cockroach species, the German Cockroaches are the most problematic.

The Source of Cockroach Attractants

A comprehensive list of the things that cockroaches are attracted to would fill volumes. The variety of the items, materials, foods, drinks, and environments they’re attracted to is impressive. On the other hand, making a list of the things they are not attracted to would be much easier.


All things that attract roaches fall into three main categories: sources of food, water, and shelter. These are the necessities that every life form on this planet must have to survive. Therefore, the individual things that attract cockroaches, could be explained.

Easily Accessible Food Sources


What attracts roaches the most are food sources. Cockroaches can go long periods without sustenance, but they still need nourishment to survive. So they become voracious eaters when they locate an easily accessible food source, gorging until every crumb is gone.

Cockroaches are attracted to these nutriment-providing sources above all else:

  • Dirty Dishes in the Sink Attract Cockroaches

    when considering what attracts cockroaches, dirty dishes and food trash contribute. a photo with dishes in a sink If you leave dirty dishes in the sink, you may as well ring the dinner bell for the cockroaches. After all, when the lights go off, they’ll head straight for the dishes anyway. The reason roaches love dirty dishes isn’t necessarily because of the leftover food itself – it’s because it’s easy to get to the food.

    Therefore, it’s vital to scrub the dishes with soapy water immediately after finishing your meal. Eliminating this food source is one of the most effective pest control preventative measures for reducing the chances of a cockroach infestation, and it will also help deter other insects.


  • Pet Food Crumbs Attract Roaches

    dog or pet food is one of the many things to take into account when considering what attracts cockroaches. a photo of a bowl on the ground with dog foodCats and dogs are wonderful pets, but they can be messy eaters. Sometimes they get so excited at mealtime that they spill crumbs and leftover food debris all over the floor. Unfortunately for their human companions, these food particles will attract cockroaches and other pests. Therefore, vacuuming after each meal and rinsing the pet’s bowl clean will ensure no crumbs or tidbits remain.

    The bags containing dry pet chow, such as cat food, are another liability for attracting roaches and more pests. These non-resealable bags allow the scent of the food to permeate the air and provide easy access to roaches searching for a meal. If you open a bag of pet chow, it’s best to transfer the contents into plastic containers or airtight containers to ensure roaches can’t get to the food.


  • Unsealed Trash Cans and Garbage

    what attracts cockroaches? open trash bins and exposed garbage make it worse. a photo of open trash cansWhile roaches eat the same things humans and pets eat, they have no problem feasting on rotting garbage or organic matter, such as decaying leaves, tree bark, and grass clippings. So it’s no surprise that an unsealed trash can gives them the perfect opportunity for a feast. However, an open trash can isn’t the only concern because if there are spills and unnoticed food particles near the receptacle, this will also attract roaches.

    If you have unsealable trash receptacles in your home or garage, you should replace them with cans that have lids. Furthermore, clean up any trash spilled over onto the floor and periodically wash the bin with soapy water. These simple steps will help in pest control and deter roaches.


Reliable Water Sources

Cockroaches can survive for extended periods before they need to find food, but if they can’t locate water, they’ll die in less than a week. Because of this, cockroaches thrive in humid climates and environments and areas with excess moisture.

Numerous items in a typical home can provide these persistent pests with adequate moisture and cause puddles of standing water, such as leaky pipes and plumbing lines, dripping faucets, and even wet towels. In addition, the condensation build-up on air conditioning units is also a popular water source for roaches.

Moisture alone is enough to sustain a roach infestation; however, they will also go short distances to get to standing water. If you’re handy with tools, you can probably fix most of these issues in no time. On the other hand, the best course for getting rid of roaches is contacting a pest control professional.

Places that Provide Shelter

Cockroaches are not averse to light. It’s just easier for them to avoid predators when it’s dark. So during the daytime hours or when the lights get flicked on, roaches will seek refuge in dark corners and other dark places while avoiding high traffic areas and well-lit living spaces.

Roaches shelter in large appliances, laundry rooms, damp basements, and under cardboard boxes. And although a clean house isn’t what attracts cockroaches, so long as the living space is sufficiently dark, they’ll find somewhere to shelter. So if you’re trying to spot a cockroach to verify your home has a roach problem, then these are the spots to look.


Highlights: What Attracts Cockroaches

  • Easily Accessible Food Sources
  • Dirty Dishes in the Sink
  • Pet Food Crumbs and Debris
  • Unsealed Trash Cans and Garbage
  • Reliable Water Sources
  • Places that Provide Shelter

How Do I Get Rid of Cockroaches

a group of cockroaches laying together on wood, what attracts cockroaches?

If you’ve seen a roach in your house, it may have a cockroach problem. After all, cockroaches breed and multiply at an astonishing rate, so spotting one roach means there are probably dozens more hiding out of view.

Unfortunately, cockroaches are more resilient than other pests, making getting rid of them very difficult. Store-bought pesticides and boric acid might kill a handful of them, but it’s not going to eliminate a cockroach infestation. The only sure way to get rid of roaches is by hiring the services of a pest control professional.

Resolving a Cockroach Problem

Cockroaches are undoubtedly the most widespread of all the nuisance insects. Across the globe, cockroaches invade homes with regularity – but this is no coincidence – it’s a strategic and deliberate move.

Sure, they might’ve been attracted initially to the scent of leftovers or the condensation dripping off the air conditioning unit, which lured them to the entry points of a house. But the cockroaches chose to enter and remain in the home because it offers the three things necessary for their survival: food, water, and shelter.

Unfortunately for homeowners, it’s nearly impossible to eradicate an infestation of cockroaches using DIY methods. So, if cockroaches have taken over your home, contact a pest control company immediately. It’s the only way to resolve a cockroach problem.

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