What Attracts Cockroaches?

Coming in contact with cockroaches again after having carried out thorough sanitation, disinfecting and decluttering your home from pests, brings a different kind of pain. You feel frustrated and exhausted. These creatures are hard to get rid of. 

If you have experienced or are experiencing this, knowing what attracts cockroaches can help you eliminate them. 

Cockroaches are versatile insects. They can live anywhere as long as they get what they want. Many things attract a cockroach and they can be hard to determine. However, the basic ones are food, shelter and water. Cockroaches would come to an environment where they can easily have access to them and humans have all three.

Naturally, cockroaches would infest a home that is untidy, humid and because they are fast-breeding nocturnal insects, it is often hard to get rid of them when there is an infestation. 

Things that attract cockroaches 

There is no denying that pests (cockroaches, ants) often infest our homes in search of their livelihood and are drawn by dirty and unkempt places. Things that attract cockroaches may vary depending on the species. Common household roaches like German and American cockroaches have differing attractions. For German cockroaches, they are more drawn to water for their survival so you would see them in your kitchen sinks, under fridges, bathrooms, water closets etc. while American cockroaches can be found anywhere there is food in your home. Notwithstanding, all cockroaches are attracted to the following;

  • Leftover foods
  • Dirty dishes and licking sinks/ water closets
  • Cracked septic tanks
  • Garbage and dirty gutters 

Other factors that could draw cockroaches into your home could be your environment and how accessible your home is. Some areas have a high infestation of cockroaches like the southern part of the United States. These cockroaches do not need an unsanitary condition for them to infest, if there are holes or openings in your home, they would let themselves in. The American cockroach is one of such roaches.



The shelter is an important factor for humans, insects, and animals combined. It is a basic need for survival. Because cockroaches need a place to call home, they would most likely infest a home that is easily accessible to them. When they do, they would create their haven in hidden places such as your basement, roof, dark corners of cabinets, under your refrigerator etc. They can come into your home through holes, cracked walls and crevices, open windows and doors. To avoid an infestation or re-infestation, seal those cracks, fix window nets and openings. Also, clean cupboard, wardrobe, dressing room, bookshelves, boxes, shoe racks and roof thoroughly as cockroaches can make their shelter in such areas. 


Cockroaches need water to survive. Without water, a cockroach may not live for more than a week. Some species of roaches only habit in moist areas like under fridges, under sinks etc. water is important for their survival. If an area of your home is always humid, it would attract cockroaches to your home. Ensure you dry up wet areas. Do not allow water to stay for too long or you will attract these pests. 


Food is one major thing that attracts these insects. Like ants, cockroaches need food to survive and produce pheromones that help them locate food/food sources when they forage and keep close contact with each other. In situations where dirty dishes are left in the sink, crumbs are littered on the ground, leftover foods are kept carelessly, cockroaches are bound to infest. Even the foods you keep for your pets can attract cockroaches. 

To enable you to eliminate them, ensure you do your dishes regularly, clean off leftover cans and containers, pack waste properly and ensure you dispose of your garbage at least once in two days. Because cockroaches can be hard to get rid of, regular clean up at night before bed is important. Be sure to store and pack foods properly; in airtight bags or containers.

What foods attract cockroaches most? 

Cockroaches would eat just about anything when they are in your home including your hair, fingernails and dead skin cells. But there are certain foods/ food sources that are considered a preference to them like starch and high protein foods. 

Foods that attract cockroaches the most are;

Sugar – this is one substance that lures cockroaches the most. They are attracted to sugar or sugary substances like soda, juice, candy, even fruits. To avoid infestation, keep sugar in sealed containers, dispose of any sugary substance or containers, not in use and clean off spillage. 

Starch – cockroaches are attracted to starch and starchy foods. Their love for this type of food leads them to eat anything that contains it. For instance, book bindings, pizza packs, cardboard, paper bags and cartons.

Meat – meat contains fat and protein and cockroaches would kill for some. These insects are attracted to the smell of meat and would seek it out in your kitchen. If there are particles of leftover meat on the floor, in your dirty dishes and pots or your waste bin, cockroaches would scavenge for them.

Garbage – cockroaches can find just about any food in your garbage can. Because it contains remains of either decayed or leftover foods, cockroaches would attack to have a taste. 

Cockroaches like to have a balanced diet and would eat anything that gives them that. Other foods roaches are attracted to include; grease, cheese and organic matter (insects, decaying plant and animal corpse).

What attracts cockroaches to your bedroom?

Cockroaches have certain needs that would attract them to your bedroom. Those needs include food, warmth and shelter. If there is an infestation in your home, cockroaches would move to your bedroom in search of food and shelter. They would feed on book covers and cardboard. In situations where there is not enough food, they may feed on your hair and nails. To get rid of them, always clean up your room, especially areas where you do not regularly visit or use; like your boxes. 

Do dead cockroaches attract more cockroaches?

The answer to this question is yes. Dead cockroaches may attract more cockroaches. These insects release an acid called oleic acid when they die. This acid, in turn, attracts other cockroaches due to its strong smell. One reason they are attracted to their fellow cockroaches when they die is that they can smell this acid from a distance. They would not hesitate to feed on the dead cockroach if there is an infestation and not enough food to go round. 

To avoid another infestation, try not to leave the roaches in your garbage bag after successfully killing them to prevent attracting more cockroaches. You do not want to keep killing these insects, do you?

How to attract cockroaches out of hiding and kill them?

Now that you are aware of the many things that attract cockroaches, you can use them to your advantage. Here are a few ways to achieve that.

  • Following the above-listed things that attract roaches, food is one major way to lure them out of their hiding. Cockroaches are nocturnal insects and would almost always rest during the day except there is a case of infestation. To enable you to get rid of a large variety of them, you need to attack at night. You can mix boric acid with any of the foods listed above. Sugar is a better recommendation. Take some portion of flour and sugar to mix with boric acid to make a dough. Place it in strategic places around your house at night. The flour and sugar would attract them and the boric acid would kill them. Boric acid is one home remedy for killing cockroaches. 
  • Since cockroaches are drawn to water, you can get some liquid concentrates like Listerine from a store. These products are used to frighten roaches. Spray a considerable amount under sinks, toilet areas, crevices and into cracks. This method is fast and reliable. You could also clean surfaces with this liquid. 
  • You could also use baits like combat roach killing bait to get rid of them. These store-bought baits contain chemicals that are insecticides camouflaged in the food source. When these cockroaches eat them, the chemical in it will kill them. 


With the sudden appearance of cockroaches, it is sometimes hard to determine what attracts them. This article has however listed a few things that can attract these insects. 

Getting rid of cockroach infestation is not a day’s job so if you think cleaning your home for a day will automatically eliminate these pests, then you need to have a rethink. Cockroaches are a tough kill so you need to regularly clean areas, have a periodic check of your plumbing such as sink, toilet, water pipes, and so on. If there are leaks, ensure you have them fixed as soon as possible. 

As much as possible, avoid feeding these creatures. Food is a major attraction so do your dirty dishes after eating or before you go to bed. 

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