Cockroaches are an unwelcome sight in any household, but what attracts these creepy critters? The main reason cockroaches are attracted to your home is in search of food, shelter, or warmth.
They can come into your home for several reasons, but the most common is because of food. They are not considered fussy eaters and will feed on almost anything.
What conditions and food will attract cockroaches? What will keep them away? This article discusses all things related to these pesky pests and their prevention!
Indoor And Outdoor Roaches
When attempting to deal with a roach infestation, it is helpful to know the type of roach you are dealing with. Certain cockroaches will be more attracted to certain things more than others.
There are 69 different cockroach species found in North American homes. While there are many types of cockroaches, there are fewer than 10 that we commonly see in and around our homes, including German cockroaches, Brown Banded cockroaches, American cockroaches, Oriental cockroaches, and Smoky brown cockroaches.
Indoor or “domestic roaches” only live inside homes and other buildings. If you live in an apartment building or shared living space, the roaches might’ve come from a neighbor. In that case, you should inform the building owner right away.
Indoor roaches are typically smaller species; you could be dealing with German cockroaches or Brown Banded cockroaches. Once inside your home, these species have nowhere to go and they will soon start multiplying.
Outdoor roaches love to live in the leaf litter that covers forest floors. They also inhabit mulch and soil nearby your landscaping, especially if you happen to be a Southern homeowner! Outdoor cockroaches are often larger and many of them fly. These outdoor cockroaches can include American cockroaches, Oriental cockroaches, and Smoky brown cockroaches.
These roaches typically prefer dark, damp environments like sewers and subway tunnels. They’re often found in large numbers as they scavenge for food around the city landscape.
But when the environment changes, they start looking for better shelter. That’s likely why outdoor roaches have moved into your home.
It’s not uncommon for bugs to crawl through the cracks in your walls, or enter via a vent. However, it may seem like they’re coming out of nowhere when you wake up and see one crawling across the floor! These sneaky pests can fly into an open window of their own volition and will also get blown by wind if there are any gaps around wiring that aren’t sealed shut.
And while these pests may look similar to each other, they each have their own distinct habits and — perhaps most importantly for you as a homeowner — preferences for the types of food and shelter they’re attracted to.
While these pests may look similar to each other, they each have their own habits and preferences for what type of food or shelter is attractive. This can be helpful information as a homeowner because it helps determine the best ways to prevent them from coming into your home in search of something you might not want there.
The American cockroach is found spotted in the dark, damp spaces around your house. In contrast, the wood roach loves to come out and bask under a bright light when it’s time for bed or dinner time.
If you see a roach in your house, it is important to determine if it’s an outdoor or indoor species. If you live near water sources such as rivers and streams, then the chances are that they’re outdoor cockroaches.
How Cockroaches Enter Your Home
Cockroaches are the ultimate survivors. These resourceful critters have many tricks up their sleeves for getting in your home, which is why they’ve survived millions of years and will likely be around even if we’re all gone!
A typical cockroach enters your home through small cracks, holes, and open doors. Your best bet for prevention is to seal off these areas but there’s no guarantee they’ll stay out either.
What Attracts Cockroaches into my home?
A mixture of conditions can be the cause of cockroaches entering your home, so it’s best to check all of these items to ensure you aren’t making an attractive environment for these pests:
Poor hygienic conditions are one of the major reasons why cockroaches are attracted to our homes. Cockroaches are also attracted to your house in search of food, shelter, or warmth. They are considered opportunistic feeders and eat almost anything, including, sweets, crumbs, meat, vegetables, decaying matter, fungi, small insects, dead organisms, trash, and even pet food!
Cockroaches will eat anything, even if it’s not considered to be nutritious by humans. From pet food left out on the floor for hours and old pieces of pizza crusts in a trash can that we’re too grossed out from touching, cockroaches show no discrimination when it comes to what they want to consume.
What will keep them away? What should you do if they’re already inside your home?
- Avoid spilling food on the kitchen countertops and floors.
- Store all of your dry goods in airtight containers, sealed plastic bags, or tins to avoid any sort of infestation.
- Do not leave dirty dishes around: wash up after each meal and wipe down counters before leaving for the day.
- Keep garbage cans tightly covered with a lid or bungee cords when they are stored outdoors. Garbage contains many things that can attract cockroaches including meat scraps, dairy products, breads–anything which has high moisture content is ideal for these critters!
- Don’t leave pet food out overnight.
2. Water and Moisture
The cockroach is a survivor of any circumstance, and this includes water. If there’s anything near the leaky pipe or in your kitchen that could be described as “moist,” then you better watch out: they’re coming for it!
They prefer dark, moist environments and will be attracted to any source of water or moisture including leaky pipes under a sink, damp basements, and even piles of wet leaves outside your home! We recommend managing household humidity problems promptly for the best results against roach infestations.
Try the following to prevent making water & moisture an attraction for roaches:
- Check your pipes for leaks and remove any standing water you may come across.
- Use filler to block any gaps around sink and bathtub areas to help keep water out of walls.
- Ensure towels are dried after use.
- Dry your kitchen sponges and store them away after use.
- Try a dehumidifier if your moisture levels are high.
3. Shelter & Safety
Cockroaches are up against the elements of nature and predators on the outside, so will always be looking for a safe spot indoors to get snug and your home is the perfect place for this – shelter, warmth, and food!
When roaches find their safe place, they reproduce quickly. This is why it’s important to keep the house clean as well as seal up any openings where these pests may be looking for a new home.
Cockroaches are small creatures with a knack for hiding. They will burrow deep into the smallest of places and can be found anywhere from your kitchen to under furniture, never straying too far away from food sources or high humidity levels.
The Oriental cockroach is a big problem in urban areas. They are drawn to tight spaces such as your basement or bathroom and will seek out any leaks that they can find, leading them straight into your pipes through the walls of their own home!
The best way to prevent an invasion of roaches is to do a full assessment of your building or home – seal any cracks and crevices you may find and put yourself in the position of a small very adaptable cockroach who can get through even the smallest hole in a wall.
In the summer, cockroaches seek out warm and humid homes because they can breed faster in that environment. The hotter it is outside, the higher your chances are of attracting these pests to your home!
In warmer months there’s a much greater chance for roaches to be attracted to you as their breeding rate increases when temperatures rise outdoors.
Likewise in colder months, the cockroaches will be on the search for warmer environments, so your home will look like an oasis for them to settle down and comfortably breed. Having an unclean house or food lying around isn’t the only thing these roaches are looking for, the warmth could simply be the only attraction.
5. Attractive Garden Environment
The cockroaches that invade our homes come from the outside. It’s important to clean up your outdoor areas before they get inside, and our gardens are usually the first attraction that leads these pests near our homes.
Outdoor environments provide the perfect breeding ground for these pesky creatures; they live in wooded areas where they reproduce before invading living spaces like yours!
Cleaning up the landscaped area around your house can help eliminate cockroach populations – meaning you don’t need to worry about a home invasion. Try the following to keep a pest-free outdoor area:
- Rake up and get rid of leaf litter.
- Consider reducing the thickness of your bark mulch (you only need a couple of inches of mulch for soil health, moisture retention and weed control, and anything deeper can create a haven for many unwanted critters).
- Relocate compost bins, mulch piles, firewood, and other cockroach attractants away from your home.
- Keep trash bins sealed and clean, and keep a generally tidy backyard with little place for cockroaches to hide.
6. Other Dead Cockroaches
Believe it or not, dead cockroaches lying around your home could be why more are being attracted to the area.
When a cockroach dies, it produces oleic acid. This has an undesirable odor and attracts other cockroaches to the area.
Cockroaches have been observed displaying frightening behaviors in response to the ‘smell of death.’ According to research, ants would consume other colony members if they were drenched in oleic acid. This same behavior has been seen in cockroach species.
If you have tried home remedies to kill the cockroaches but are still battling these pests after eliminating common cockroach attractants, then it may be time to contact a professional.
They will provide you with extermination services to get rid of the roaches, and then identify specific roach-attracting elements in your home so you can then start from scratch with a good cockroach protection plan.