What Attracts Cockroaches to Your Home?

Ben Kissam
Written by Ben Kissam
Updated June 17, 2021
Two dogs eating food out of their bowls in the kitchen
Photo: NickyLloyd/E+/Getty Images

Knowing what attracts cockroaches can help to keep them out of your home (and yard)

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Cockroaches have survived as a species for millions of years—but most of us wish they'd survive someplace other than our home.

Unfortunately, many things can attract cockroaches to your home. It's in your best interest to get rid of them as soon as possible, as roaches can pose a potential health threat to you and your family. Here's what you can do to prevent roach infestations.

What Attracts Cockroaches to Your Home?

Cockroaches are attracted to the same things humans need to survive: water, food, and shelter.

Dirty Dishes

Food particles left on dirty dishes, whether they're left in the sink or on the counter, give off odors that attract roaches to your kitchen.

Garbage

Garbage on the floor or left in trash cans, especially when it has food in it, can also send attractive odors to roaches.

Spilled Pet Food

Roaches, unlike humans, are more than willing to chow down on dog or cat food. Pet crunchies or even dried wet food tell nearby roaches that there's a feast in your home.

Mismanaged Landscaping

Believe it or not, unkempt lawns can attract cockroaches to your yard (and eventually, your home). Tall grass and piles of leaves or sticks are perfect shelters for cockroaches, while puddles of water are a great spot for them to get a drink.

Moisture

Cockroaches are particularly fruitful in southeastern states like Florida and Georgia, where heat and humidity are common. 

Other moist areas in your home that may attract roaches include:

  • Areas under leaking appliances

  • Areas beneath leaking pipes

  • Puddles or spills

Places where condensation tends to collect, such as under an AC unit, are also havens for these little bugs.

Why a Cockroach Problem Matters

Most people agree that cockroaches are a nuisance. But there are actual health concerns about them being in your home. 

According to the World Health Organization, roaches may carry germs that lead to intestinal diseases such:

  • Dysentery

  • Diarrhea

  • Cholera

  • Typhoid fever

Cockroaches also carry an antigen that can exacerbate asthma. And considering some methods used to exterminate cockroaches involve potent chemicals that aren't great to breathe for extended periods of time, it's best to get rid of them once and do your best to keep them away.

What Keeps Cockroaches Away?

Being proactive and cleaning regularly can help keep roaches out of your home.

Cleaning

Keep the kitchen and other rooms clean using disinfectants. Try to vacuum once a week to ensure food particles don't end up on the floor.

Proper Food Storage

Invest in plastic containers, bags, and other food storage items. Avoid leaving food, whether pieces of fresh fruit or leftovers, out on countertops for prolonged periods. 

Sealing off trash is also a good idea. Tie off each bag and keep them in a tall, lidded trash bin in your garage or outside of your home.

Regular Landscaping

Mow the lawn, rake the leaves, and collect all stick piles. Thoroughly check your yard for areas where moisture may be collecting (or where water could be entering your home).

You may never see a roach that lives in your yard, but that doesn't mean there aren't hundreds or even thousands of them living there.

Types of Cockroaches

Some common species of cockroaches found in American homes include:

  • German roaches (most common)

  • Oriental roaches

  • American roaches

  • Brown-banded roaches

  • Smokeybrown roaches

These animals share many similarities, and extracting them from your home is basically the same process regardless of species. 

However, knowing which type is in your home or yard could be helpful. German roaches, for example, tend to lay more eggs than the other subspecies—meaning you may want to figure out how much a cockroach exterminator costs ASAP.

How Cockroaches Enter Your Home

There's a reason some say cockroaches would be the last surviving species in the event of a disaster. They are resourceful critters with many tricks up their sleeves for getting into your home—which is why they've survived for millions of years (literally).

Cockroaches usually enter your home through small cracks and holes. Sealing these areas off is important for prevention but won't guarantee you keep them out. Open doors and windows are also easy ways for them to get in.

Unfortunately, roaches are also good at reproducing in new areas. So if someone outside your home enters a roach-infested area, there's a possibility they could bring them over.

How to Prevent a Roach Infestation

Getting rid of cockroaches comes down to being proactive and clean. If you're fighting a losing battle with roaches, it may be time to call in a pro.

Clean Up

Being proactive is the first key for prevention if you want to get rid of cockroaches naturally. Clean countertops, floors, and appliances thoroughly using soap.

Dry Out

Look for wet spots in your home or potential leaks and get them fixed.

If an appliance creates a pool of condensation, consider replacing it, hiring a pro, or fixing it yourself. For example, a simple DIY solution for a leaking AC unit is to replace the air filters or move a replaceable unit to a room with less humidity.

Boric Acid

Boric acid is a common chemical used to get rid of roaches. You can either buy roach tablets or make your own at home by mixing boric acid, flour, and water into small balls.

Keep in mind; boric acid is poisonous for humans and pets. Wear gloves and avoid leaving your tablets anywhere your pets might accidentally eat them.

Hire a Professional

If your roach problem is out of control, hiring an exterminator might be your best option. Dealing with the issue now and then practicing better hygiene in the future can help get the roaches out of your home and keep them out.

Ask a local exterminator for advice about your cockroach problem or book an appointment today. The cost of a pest control service is worth your peace of mind.

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