Does Cardboard Attract Cockroaches?

Large adult cockroach climbing on a cardboardRoaches love cardboard. Whether you store boxes in the attic or basement, these tiny bugs can reach them by squeezing themselves through the little gaps. The primary purpose of a cockroach is to search for food, find shelter, and reproduce. Since cardboard boxes are usually stored in dark places, they serve as the best place for roaches to hide. You want to get rid of cockroaches as soon as possible.

Cockroaches are omnivorous, meaning they can quickly eat wet, old, or torn cardboard. Remember that a roach’s teeth or mandibles are not robust enough to pierce through dried cardboard. Thus, they target wet and old boxes.

Cardboard provides roaches with nutrition and shelter in one place. But what else do cockroaches love about cardboard? Let’s find out!

Do Roaches Like Cardboard Boxes?

Cockroaches like cardboard boxes as they make an ideal hiding place for these bugs. Once roaches get inside a cardboard box, they can:

  • Reproduce with zero human interference
  • Lay eggs on the bottom and flaps of cardboard
  • Molt and grow
  • Shed their exoskeleton
  • Regenerate any damaged body part

Can Cockroaches Live in Cardboard Boxes?

Cockroaches love to live in cardboard boxes. These boxes are usually used for storing belongings and are placed in dark and isolated storage areas. These places are connected to other house rooms, making an ideal place for roaches to live and thrive.

The most common areas where people store cardboard boxes are:

  • Attic. It is warm, dark, and secluded.
  • Basement. It has water leaks or flooding, causing moisture and mold.
  • Closet. It contains paper and clothes that cockroaches love to eat.
  • Laundry Room. It offers humidity, moisture, and clothing items.
  • Crawl Space. It gives the bugs access to different areas of the home.

Because of the tiny size of the roaches, they can even live in small cardboard boxes in your pantry containing packaged food items. Cardboard boxes usually stay covered, providing sufficient room for cockroaches to carry out their activities without disturbance.

These nocturnal creatures may come out at night to explore different areas of your home to search for a more stable and safe nesting place.

Why Do Roaches Live in Cardboard Boxes?

Roaches live in cardboard boxes for various reasons. We usually put our unused items in cardboard boxes and place them in the areas where we don’t go often. These include attics, basements, and laundry rooms. These places create an ideal environment for cockroaches to thrive.

The top 4 reasons roaches prefer living in cardboard boxes include:

Less Human Intervention

Cardboard boxes are typically placed in a house’s corner with less human intervention. This gives cockroaches enough privacy to live, nourish their families, reproduce, and roam around without worries.


Cardboard is made of paper, which is a type of plant. Since roaches love anything organic, they see cardboard boxes as a food source. They start eating the material whenever they are deprived of food to keep themselves full.

Apart from the material itself, people also store roaches’ favorite items in the boxes that attract roaches, such as:

  • Books
  • Magazines
  • Clothes
  • Paint
  • Food


Cardboard boxes stored in the attic or basement are likely to get damaged by water. When the water touches the cardboard, it softens the rigid texture of the material. Old or torn cardboard is easier for cockroaches to consume if they can’t find anything else.

Roaches naturally love humid places, and wet cardboards have the ideal environment.


Cockroaches prefer living in dark and secluded places. These are nocturnal bugs that are the most active at night. This is why a closed-up, packed cardboard box is the ideal hiding place for cockroaches.

Did You Know? Cockroaches Love to Eat Cardboard’s Glue!

Cockroaches are not picky eaters at all. They love all animal and plant-based products that provide nutrients to them. So one main reason these insects live inside cardboard boxes is its glue. These bugs love to eat cardboard glues made of fat or by-products of animal bones.

Many users on Reddit reported that they found an entire roach colony inside the cardboard boxes in which they stored their belongings.

One person used to work in a hospital in the US, where they weren’t allowed to store equipment or supplies in the cabinets. That’s because the glue in the cardboard had previously attracted rodents, bugs, and vermin.

Other people also shared their stories about roaches eating cardboard and its adhesives. So although cardboard doesn’t have a strong smell that attracts roaches, it is the perfect place for these insects to thrive.

Can Cockroaches Chew Cardboard Boxes?

Cockroaches have weak mandibles that can’t chew through cardboard boxes. These boxes are made after pressing several layers of paper pulp through heavy machinery. Due to this extensive pressing, cardboard boxes have a thick and robust structure that can hold weight and resist damage to the items.

Therefore, roaches can never pierce their teeth through cardboard. If you still see bite marks in your cardboard boxes, you may have another infestation in your home, primarily mice.

However, cockroaches can easily chew wet, old, and moisturized cardboard boxes because they are not that thick or strong anymore. Let’s explore more:

Torn Out Cardboard

Old cardboard boxes may lose their integrity over time. They usually become:

  • Torn from different places
  • Soft
  • Brittle
  • Thinned out
  • Begin tearing from the seams

With these boxes, roaches are more likely to chew through them. The outer layer of the cardboard keeps it well-structured. Once this layer is torn, roaches can easily access the inner side.

Wet Cardboard

Cardboard boxes stored in the basement or garage are likely to get wet because of water leakages.

The fibers of the boxes start to become brittle and eventually separate from one other. This makes the inside of the box and the exterior shell thinner. Cockroaches can easily chew this material.

Glue in the Cardboard

In the case of usual, dried-out cardboard, the roaches usually prefer eating the glue. The adhesives used in cardboard provide roaches proteins, fats, and carbs. Old or torn-out boxes usually have glue visible on the surface.

Can You Reuse the Boxes Roaches Have Been Living in?

It’s better not to reuse the cardboard boxes roaches have been in. The World Health Organization (WHO) found that cockroaches can spread diseases since they roam in sewers and dumpsters. They pick up disease-causing allergens and viruses from these places and leave them in your home. Thus, they can infect your cardboard boxes too.

If you reuse these boxes, it may lead to causing:

  • Typhoid
  • Dysentery
  • Cholera

Many people also show allergic reactions to roaches. These bugs can trigger skin reactions and asthma in people who come in contact with them for a long time.

If you have sensitive skin or any other health condition, never go closer to roach-infested boxes. The best way to identify such cardboard boxes is to look for:

  • Wet boxes
  • Chewed through cardboard boxes
  • Boxes with leftover waste, roach sheds, and eggs

If you’re not allergic to roaches, reuse the box after sanitizing it.

How to Clean Cardboard Boxes From Roaches?

You can clean cardboard boxes from roaches by removing all the items from the box. Then, clean all of these items one by one. Sanitize the box in the following way:

  1. First, shake the box vigorously to remove all the leftover roach fecal droppings or skins.
  2. Mix 3 parts of water with 1 part of bleach and make a solution.
  3. Soak a piece of cloth in the mixture and squeeze the excess water.
  4. Rub the cloth thoroughly inside the box to clean its interior.
  5. Now, scrub the flaps and the box exterior.
  6. Remove all the traces of egg sacs, skins, or poop.
  7. Finally, put the box out in the sun to get dried and air it out.

Putting the boxes under the sun will kill off bacteria and mold spores that roaches usually carry.


Do Cockroaches Eat Through Cardboard?

Cockroaches have weak mandibles and can’t eat through new cardboard boxes. But if the box is torn out or wet, roaches can easily eat through the cardboard’s exterior and interior and its glue.

Does Cardboard Box Attract Bugs?

Cardboard box doesn’t release scents that attract bugs, but it provides the perfect place for roaches to live and thrive. They provide nourishment, darkness, and isolation to the roaches to live and reproduce.

How to Clean Cardboard Boxes of Roaches?

You can clean cardboard boxes of roaches by spraying disinfectant across the box. Then, you’ll need to scrub the inside and outside of the box by hand to ensure that all signs of roaches are removed. You can also use a bleach solution to kill the bacteria and remove roaches’ waste.


Cardboard boxes provide the perfect place for roaches to live and breed. They are placed in dark and secluded spaces with no human intervention. They can quickly regenerate their lost limbs, lay eggs, and reproduce.

  • The mandibles or cockroaches are weak. So roaches can’t chew through new cardboard boxes.
  • Roaches can eat through wet and torn-out cardboard boxes.
  • These bugs love the glue in the cardboard.
  • Roaches love to live in cardboard boxes put in the attic, basement, closet, laundry room, and crawl space.
  • Never reuse the boxes that roaches have been living in because they may contain disease-causing bacteria.