What Attracts Cockroaches?

What-attracts-cockroachesNumerous factors attract roaches as they are determined survivalists, looking for insect entry points in your home to seek moisture, shelter, and food. Even if cockroaches prefer living outdoors, they will find a way into your home when it’s necessary.

But what attracts roaches? Many factors can lure cockroaches into your home, from dirty dishes in the sink, uncovered trash cans, and leftover pet food to wet cardboard boxes.

These little critters are naturally drawn to humidity and moisture. Therefore, if your home has extra moisture levels, it will be appealing to roaches to form a colony. Besides this, humans are their ideal companions because they provide food, water, and shelter.

Our homes provide roaches with all three primary survival factors. Let us learn about potential roach attractants and how to resolve the problem by targeting the key areas which attract them.

What Attracts Cockroaches in Your Home?

Cockroach infestations are associated with dirty dishes, greasy countertops, unkempt houses, food, humidity and moisture, shelter, and warmth. Since various factors attract cockroaches, keeping these little critters away from your home is difficult.

But an unkempt home is not the only reason cockroaches form an infestation. Some other factors, such as landscaping, also play a role in attracting roaches.

Let’s learn about 7 most common factors attracting cockroaches.

Humidity and Moisture

Cockroaches need moisture for their survival. So even if your home is clean, the presence of moisture and humidity will attract roaches.

Leaky faucets and pipes are among the common roach attractants. Therefore, you must thoroughly check your water sanitation system to ensure there are no leaks in the bathroom, laundry rooms, and kitchen.

Roaches also hide under your air conditioners and refrigerators due to humidity and moisture. Once the water leaks are fixed, you must look into your home’s humidity levels because a humid environment is ideal for roaches to thrive.

The roaches will form a heavy infestation if your home has ample humidity. Therefore, you must check the humidity levels. If you do not have a hygrometer, it’s best to check your ceilings and walls for moisture stains.

Moisture stains are discolored splotches with subtle bumps. Mold and fungus are also signs of high humidity levels in your home. Once you know that your home has humidity and moisture, you can take steps to reduce this.

  • You must remove all standing water and fix your sanitation system.
  • Ensure that the pipes aren’t leaking.
  • You can use caulk to seal the areas around the tubs, toilet seats, and sinks to prevent the water from entering the walls.
  • You shouldn’t let water stand in pet bowls or plant pots.
  • Keep wet sponges, towels, and clothes away.


Roaches are attracted to food as their primary source of survival. So even if you keep your kitchen thoroughly clean, cockroaches will find a way to enter your home.

They can feast on several things, including wet cardboard, plants, paper, wallpaper paste, grease, leather, hair, and debris. Eliminating access to a variety of items is highly challenging for you.

Therefore, you should start by keeping away all sources of food. Here is what you need to do:

  • Throw away leftover food from the countertops.
  • Make sure to refrigerate the excess food.
  • Thoroughly rinse out plastic containers and dishes.
  • Wipe food prep surfaces such as countertops and clean the floors to eliminate food crumbs.
  • Use an airtight container for storing food.
  • Check the seals of your freezer and refrigerator.
  • Clean your kitchen appliances.
  • Store pet food in an airtight box.

Pet Supplies

Cockroaches are attracted to moisture and food. Unfortunately, your pet’s water and food bowls are potential attractants for roaches.

If you keep your home thoroughly cleaned but have a roach infestation problem, you should try to feed your pet several times a day instead of leaving the food in the bowl. You can also purchase a pest-repellent water bowl to keep the roaches away.

Cardboard and Paper

If you find roaches on your bookshelves, it’s not because they have found a space to hide. Instead, you’d be surprised to know that they feast on paper and cardboard. Wet paper and cardboard products are excellent food sources for cockroaches.

Damp cardboard has moisture. Roaches eat the paper and the glue which binds the material and use it as a breeding ground. Therefore, if your home has damp cardboard, you must tuck it away to avoid a roach infestation.

It’s best to use sealed bags or plastic containers to store your things, as cardboard boxes are likely to attract roaches.


Warmth is another factor that attracts roaches because they are cold-blooded insects. Many cockroach species are sensitive to cold.

They do not survive well in freezing temperatures. Therefore, these little critters seek warmth in your home and form an infestation. Due to this reason, you’ll find roach infestations in your attic, closets, shelves, poorly ventilated rooms, etc.

Even if your home is thoroughly clean but has warmth, it will attract roaches, and they’ll find a hiding place to establish their colony.

Uncovered Trash

Uncovered trash in your home attracts pesky roaches as they are fond of the leftover food. In addition, the decaying smell of leftover food in the bin is strong enough to attract the roaches from every corner.

These small creatures can also feed on paper, glue, hair, and dandruff, which is also present in household trash. Therefore, if you have an open garbage can, you must replace them with a covered bin.

Always prefer to buy trash cans with a lid as trash is never safe from cockroaches, even if you keep it in plastic bags. So, it’s best to take out the trash before bed.

If you use an open garbage container, you must regularly avoid emptying the trash daily. You should also thoroughly clean your dustbins and keep the lid shut to keep the roaches away.

Dark Places

Cockroaches are attracted to dark places because they are nocturnal insects. But, habitually, they are more active at night.

So once you switch off the lights in your home, the roaches will start to come out of their hiding spots because they’re particularly fond of the dark. There isn’t much you can do to solve this problem.

However, you can seal insect entry points in your home to ensure the roaches do not form an infestation. You can also keep insect entry points well-lit to avoid attracting roaches.

What Smells Attract Cockroaches?

Food smells attract cockroaches as they are omnivores. So if they find a pungent smell of decaying food in your home, the chances are that they’ll form a colony.

Besides this, the smell of scented pheromones attracts roaches. Pheromones are a type of hormone that roaches excrete through their feces to communicate with other roaches.

If your home has roaches, their pheromones attract other roaches, forming a heavy infestation. In addition to this, roaches are most attracted to meat, cheese, grease, starch, and sugar. Therefore, the smell of these foods will surely attract roaches.

How To Avoid Attracting Cockroaches?

You want to get rid of cockroaches, or at least avoid attracting they by sealing all insect entry points in your home. These include windows, doors, pipe leaks, wall cracks, crevices, etc.

If you suspect your home has an infestation problem, you must look into the possible roach attractants such as food, moisture, cardboard paper, uncovered trash, etc.

You can take the following steps to prevent attracting roaches in your home:

  • Seal all cracks and crevices in your home.
  • Repair leaky pipes and sanitation system.
  • Do not overwater your houseplants.
  • Remove standing water.
  • Wipe your kitchen counters after prepping meals.
  • Keep the dirty dishes in the dishwasher or sink.
  • Wipe your stove to remove grease stains.
  • Sweep regularly.
  • Keep firewood away from your home.
  • Replace cardboard containers and boxes with plastic.
  • Keep your landscape tidy.

It’s challenging to keep your home thoroughly clean to avoid pests. But if you have a roach infestation problem due to multiple roach attractants, it’s best to seek professional pest control methods to eliminate cockroach colonies from your home.


Does Grease Attract Roaches?

Grease attracts roaches because they are omnivorous insects that love to feed on meat oils and fats. These splatter from cooking and drip off your stove.

Since grease has a high fat and oil content, it gives off a pungent smell that attracts roaches. They love feasting on grease on top of your stove, countertops, and cooking range hood.

Besides this, greasy dishes also attract roaches. The grease from leftover food is sufficient to feed a couple of roaches. Therefore, you must keep the dirty washes in the sink or the dishwasher to avoid attracting roaches.

What Attracts Roaches in a Clean House?

Moisture, leaking pipes and sinks, warmth, shelter, tiny spaces, and untidy landscaping are a few factors that attract roaches to a clean home.

Even if you thoroughly clean your kitchen and keep the food away, sheltered spaces in your home will provide an ideal harborage for roaches. The untidy landscaping, such as palm trees in the yard, can also attract roaches in a clean home.

Palm trees are a source of moisture and shelter. Therefore, such landscaping attracts roaches that eventually find their way into your home.

How Do Roaches Enter a Clean Home?

Roaches can find entry points in clean homes through windows, doors, crevices, and leaky pipes. Therefore, an unkempt house isn’t the only place associated with roaches. Cockroaches are on the guest list of tidy homes as well.

Sometimes, our homes have small tears on the window screens or cracks in the house’s exterior. These serve as insect entry points.

Once roaches enter your home, they establish a colony. If your home has possible roach attractants such as humidity and moisture levels, they will form a heavy infestation.

How To Attract Roaches From Hiding?

Using baits, DIY lures, or sticky traps, you can attract roaches. Besides this, commercial bait traps are also available, which are made from high-grade poison. They have a tempting smell that attracts roaches from their hiding and lures them out.

Roaches feast on the bait and take the traces to their colony, where they die. In contrast, sticky traps capture the roaches when they walk across them. You can quickly dispose of them.

Why Do Cardboard Boxes Attract Roaches?

Cardboard boxes attract roaches because they work both as food and shelter. Cockroaches digest the cardboard fiber as an organic material and use the box as a hiding place.

Wet cardboard boxes release a strong scent that attracts roaches because it provides roaches with their primary sources of survival, such as food, moisture, and shelter. It doesn’t only keep them hydrated but also makes them healthy as it’s an excellent source of moisture and dampness for them.

If the cardboard starts rotting, it’s even better as the decaying process already starts. This makes it easier for roaches to consume the cardboard and digest it. Due to these reasons, roaches are strongly attracted to cardboard boxes.

Does Killing a Roach Attract More Roaches?

Killing a roach might attract more cockroaches when food is scarce. Sometimes, starving roaches eat other insects, including dead cockroaches.

If your home has an infestation problem with the scarcity of roach food, killing a roach will attract other cockroaches as they seek to investigate their potential meals.


Cockroaches are extremely resilient creatures that are attracted to a variety of factors. Here is a summary of what attracts roaches and how to keep them away.

  • Roaches are attracted by uncovered trash, grease stains, decaying food, pet supplies, wet cardboard paper, etc.
  • Keeping your house clean is the primary method of preventing a roach infestation. But sometimes, factors such as an untidy landscape also contribute to attracting roaches.
  • Preventive methods are better than elimination.
  • You can discourage attracting roaches by cleaning up, fixing water leaks, keeping away pet food, using airtight containers for storing food, replacing cardboard boxes with plastic, regularly throwing away the trash, and storing the dishes in the dishwater before going to bed.
  • You should also remove clutter as roaches are attracted to crowded dark places.

Numerous factors are responsible for attracting roaches. But by taking these steps, you can keep your home free of a roach infestation.