What Attracts Cockroaches?

Cockroaches have a well deserved reputation as dirty, disease spreading pests. But finding a cockroach or six in your basement, bathroom, or kitchen does not mean your home is filthy. Cockroaches can invade your abode in numerous ways but they are mainly searching for warmth, moisture, and dark places to hide. However, if your kitchen stove has bacon grease splattered all over it or sugar cookies are spilling out of a bag at the back of your cupboard, you’re providing roaches with a buffet they can’t resist.

Let’s assume your kitchen and cupboards are spotless; you regularly clean behind the stove, keep open packages of food in air-tight containers, and take out the trash on a regular basis. If you see roaches they might have entered your home as eggs hidden in packaged food (GROSS!). Roaches can also trespass through tiny cracks and crevices as thin as a quarter. These are found around doors, windows, foundations, and where pipes and utility lines enter the home. Plus, the bugs live in sewers and love to crawl up drainpipes to gain access to your nice warm home.

The thing is, roaches don’t need much food to survive and they eat almost anything. In addition to “people” food like sweets, fats, cheese, meats, nuts, and grains, cockroaches will devour soap, paper, and glue. So while your kitchen may be clean, the invading vermin can chow down on old bars of soap next to the basement sink, shelf paper, old books in the closet, and even the cardboard boxes they’re stored in.

If you want to attract roaches, simply ignore overflowing trash cans, dirty cat litter boxes, dog poop in the backyard, and backed up drains. Leave cold pizza on the counter and open boxes of cereal and donuts in the cupboards. That’s not such a good idea though. Roaches carry a cornucopia of deadly bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites in and on their little bodies.

If you don’t want the nasty bugs in your home, you need to keep a close watch. Caulk up exterior cracks, fix dripping faucets, don’t leave dirty pet dishes out all day, and keep the stove clean, even under the knobs where food collects. Roaches also love to crawl under countertop appliances so vacuum regularly under the coffeemaker, toaster, and microwave. The critters will also get into stored magazines, papers, and old boxes so take that stuff out for recycling. And instead of asking “what attracts roaches” try asking what doesn’t?