Why Are Cockroaches Attracted To Cardboard?

Cardboard boxes are some of the most practical and affordable storage solutions. While affordable, cardboard boxes attract cockroaches. In some cases, cardboard boxes might also be seen as food for roaches.

Cardboard is normally made from woodchip shavings turned into paper pulp material. This material is mixed with glue roaches are known to eat whenever they can’t find any better food in the house.

Cockroaches like old cardboard for its high humidity and cellulose they can digest. They prefer to hide in a place with high moisture such as cardboard boxes. They can even eat cardboard and the glue holding the boxes together in the absence of other organic waste food.

Cockroaches might be interested in soft materials such as cardboard for a quick meal. Unlike typical paper sheets, cardboard absorbs moisture which means cockroaches can also nest inside a cardboard box.

Why do cockroaches love cardboard?

Bugs such as cockroaches are known for their love of organic waste as food. They are also known for eating strange things such as soap, paper, and even hair. Cardboard attracts them more than other objects and foods. Here are the main reasons cockroaches are so attracted to the material.

Why Are Cockroaches Attracted To Cardboard?

Cardboard is alternative food for cockroaches

Cardboard boxes are often seen as food by cockroaches. This can be a primary source of food but it’s mostly a secondary source of food for cockroaches. Most roaches prefer decaying food, leftover foods, and other organic buildup matter. For cardboard to be seen as the food it needs to meet the following criteria.

  • Humidity
  • Soft or thin cardboard
  • Stored in dark or damp areas

Wet cardboard is preferred by cockroaches that love humidity, such as the common American cockroach. This offers cardboard a dual function as it can be used both as a shelter for roaches that love humidity and as food that’s easy to chew. Cockroaches can digest cellulose that makes up cardboard.

Cardboard absorbs moisture which makes it a type of cellulose that’s easy to eat. Cockroaches can eat through dry cardboard as well, but they prefer older cardboard that’s easy to ingest.

Cardboard is a dark sheltered place to lay eggs in. Roaches like to lay eggs in a sheltered area with food availability.

This means cockroaches prefer to lay eggs in places such as the space below kitchen cabinets or in cardboard boxes where they feel shelter and where there’s plenty of food.

Cockroaches can live in cardboard boxes

The same sheltering principle is what keeps cockroaches interested in cardboard boxes. Since they can eat through the boxes so they can create a small crawling space, roaches prefer to use cardboard boxes to live.

A dark space is ideal for nesting since most cockroaches are nocturnal. You know that you might not see any roaches at all in an infested home during the day. It’s during the day that cockroaches prefer to hide in areas that are hard to reach by their predators or humans such as cardboard boxes.

Cardboard boxes are dark

One of the main reason cardboard is preferred by cockroaches is because it creates a dark space for them to live in. Cockroaches love dark places and they need to find them during the day as nocturnal bugs.

Roaches are proven to stay close to walls and in dark places during the day to have some type of protection and not to be exposed to predators. This is why cardboard boxes offer the perfect shelter without much light or any light at all.

cockroach in home

Cardboard boxes are never cleaned

Dust particles and food leftovers are often found in cardboard boxes. People use them to store foods such as dry food or canned food. Cardboard boxes are also used when moving.

The chances of finding leftover foods in cardboard boxes are high. Roaches can find them all the time and almost any type of dry food or decaying food attracts these bugs.

Cockroaches sometimes even find other cockroaches or the exoskeleton of other bugs in boxes. They are known to eat dead bugs and any other type of organic material they can chew.

There’s food in cardboard boxes

One of the biggest reasons for cockroaches to be attracted to cardboard is the food itself. People tend to store all types of dry foods in these boxes which include the following.

  • Oats
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Coffee
  • Powdered milk
  • Noodles
  • Coffee creamers
  • Nuts
  • Raisins
  • Beans

These are just some of the dry foods that can be stored in cardboard boxes. Roaches are attracted to these foods if they can chew through the packaging of these foods. Most types of dry foods use paper packaging which means cockroaches can easily make their way to the foods inside.

There are dead spiders and dead insects in cardboard boxes

Finding dead roaches and dead insects is another reason why roaches are attracted to cardboard boxes. Cockroaches are scavengers and not predators. They do not eat living insects. However, they do not back down from eating dead insects and even dead spiders.

Can you still use cardboard boxes with roaches in them?

You cannot repurpose a cardboard box where you found cockroaches. These boxes can still contain the eggs of roaches which means you cannot use them even if you remove roaches. Even vacuuming the cardboard box thoroughly might not eliminate roach odors which may attract other roaches in the future. Once you discover roaches in cardboard boxes you need to kill them and discard the box itself.

Cockroaches might see a cardboard box both as shelter and as food. You cannot know which matters most for a cockroach so you need to kill cockroaches and throw out the cardboard.

Unlike other materials, cardboard is made of multiple layers of porous paper and glue which attracts moisture. Cardboard holds on to humidity and it also shelters roaches keeping them away from direct sunlight.

Cockroaches do not willingly leave a cardboard box they nest in as long as there’s food around or as long as they can eat the cardboard itself. Furthermore, cockroaches can even digest cellulose-rich cardboard which means they can survive eating cardboard for months.

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