There are more than 69 species of cockroaches across the country. Discover what attracts cockroaches and preventive steps to take.

cockroaches on fruit

You've seen it lurking around the kitchen for a couple of nights now, but you just haven't been fast enough to catch it. You are ready for it to meet its fate and you want to call for help, but deep down, you are just a little embarrassed. What attracts cockroaches anyway?

There is no simple answer to that question. You might be better off asking yourself what doesn't attract cockroaches, and there might be a few things. But the list of what draws them in is long. The three primary things cockroaches seek are food, water and shelter. That makes humans an ideal companion for them, because you are bound to have all three.

Not all roaches are alike, however. Factors that attract cockroaches can vary, and often include the draw of pheromones. When attempting to deal with a roach infestation, it is helpful to know the type of roach you are dealing with. Certain cockroaches are more attracted to one thing, than another. Targeting key areas of weakness will help you resolve the issue quicker.

The German and American cockroach are the two most common cockroaches found in households. German cockroaches require more water to survive and are more likely to be found in kitchens and bathrooms. American cockroaches are not opposed to kitchens as they are a great source for food, but will also infest other areas of your home. To prevent a roach infestation, or to help get one under control, look for the following common attractors.

Attractor #1: Food

What attracts cockroaches more than anything is food. Roaches need food to survive. Eliminating access to food can help eliminate a roach problem. Throw away any food that has been left out on the counter. Rinse out milk, juice, and other plastic containers or cans that have been used, before throwing them out. Throw the garbage away every night.

Before bed each night, wipe the surface of all food prep areas and remove any crumbs from the floor. Deep cleaning is important too. Be sure to clean under appliances and wipe down appliances on the counter. Clean underneath and behind the refrigerator and stove and check drawers for leftover food debris.

When storing food, be sure to use airtight containers. Pet food should also be stored in airtight containers or in airtight bags that are stored off of the floor, ideally in a cabinet or pantry. Wire shelving is your best bet. Eliminate cardboard boxes whenever possible. Check the seals of your refrigerator and freezer to ensure the food stored inside is protected.

Attractor #2: Water

Remove standing water in your home by checking pipes and repairing any leaks. Use caulk in gaps around sink and tub areas to keep water out of walls. Don’t allow water to stand for long periods of time in plants or pet bowls. Hang wet towels and mats to dry after use. Keep kitchen sponges dry and off the counter.

Attractor #3: Shelter

Use caulk around the house to block any gaps or crevices where roaches may enter the home. Make sure you have weather stripping on all entryways, including windows and doors. It is also important to remove clutter. Roaches use pheromones to communicate. Because of this, they have a preference for surfaces that are better at soaking this scent in, such as cardboard and wood.

Unlike some of the other insects, cockroaches are a year-round problem. It can be hard to determine what attracted the cockroaches in the first place because they are not the pickiest of pests. Practicing the preventative measures above can help reduce an infestation, but a variety of treatments may be necessary to eliminate one. Some applications are not effective when done improperly. For the most effective approach, it is best to call a pest management professional.


Roach Control Resources: