When you have a cockroach infestation, it’s important to understand why. Thankfully, getting rid of roaches via do-it-yourself roach control products is a straightforward process. But you may be curious as to why and how roaches get in your home in the first place.
Usually, it’s a simple answer: roaches migrate chiefly to satisfy needs for food, water, shelter, and mating. Eliminating food and water sources (think kitchen and bathroom) is the best first step.
But cockroaches can also be attracted by unusual items that you normally wouldn’t associate with roaches. Let’s take a look at 25 strange things that attract cockroaches, many of which may surprise you.
- Coffee beans, coffee grounds, and tea: Wet coffee grounds and tea bags are magnets for roaches. Not only a water source, the wet grounds are pungent and ripe for bacterial and fungal growth. They are a source of food for roaches. If roaches are getting in your trash can, seal any tea or coffee grounds in a plastic bag to keep the critters away.
- Hair and fingernails: Have hair and nails on the floor of the bathroom? Roaches eat anything organic. Hair and nails are actually a high protein snack for roaches.
- Darkness: Most types of cockroaches run from the light and are active only at night. This evolutionary adaptation provides the greatest protection from predators. Rooms in constant darkness, such as an attic or garage, are most attractive to roaches.
- Houseplants and flowers: Roaches eat the leaves of plants and flowers, living or dead. And their sharp smell attracts them, too.
- Blood (including period blood): Sorry to go here, but blood is a nutritious meal for insects. A bloody tampon or bandage attracts not only roaches, but the family cat or dog, as well. Don’t leave them in an open trash can.
- Tobacco, cigarettes, and smoke: Roaches eat both tobacco and cigarette rolling paper. Keep your ashtrays emptied to keep the roaches away.
- Cardboard, paper, wood, books: Any paper product attracts roaches because it is easily consumed by roaches. Paper is made from trees and it is a source of carbohydrates for roaches. Have a woodpile in the backyard? Roach magnet. Same goes for stacks of old books and cardboard boxes in the closet or attic. Replace any cardboard storage containers with non-edible plastic.
- Electronic equipment and electrical outlets: Roaches are drawn to the magnetic fields generated by modern electronics. They often use the electrical outlets in homes as escape hatches. Consider covering these outlets with child safety covers to keep roaches out and eliminate hiding places.
- Urine, feces, dirty diapers: All are rich source of food for cockroaches. To keep roaches away, seal baby diapers in a separate container. Keep the toilets clean. Keep in mind, dog feces and cat litter are also attractive to roaches, so keep it cleaned up.
- Clothes: The fabric of most clothes are made or organic material, such as cotton. Cockroaches can smell old clothes as the fabric naturally deteriorates. So it’s a good idea to store clothes in a sealed inorganic container (plastic is perfect).
- Grease, oil, and glue: Work in an auto garage or warehouse? Then you know roaches love these places. Grease and lubricating oils are indeed organic, although that fact may surprise you. Roaches have been known to eat and lay eggs on the glue section of envelopes. (Ugh!)
- Vomit and saliva: More rich sources of nourishment for a cockroach. If the baby spits up or drools, clean it before night time. Cockroaches may bite babies or toddlers while they sleep, especially if there is food on their skin.
- Sweat: Human sweat is a wellspring for bacterial growth. Your foul-smelling workout clothes smell delicious to a cockroach. Keep dirty clothes sealed in a hamper and not strewn across you bedroom floor. 🙂
- Toothpaste and toothbrush: A cockroach will nibble on a toothbrush to eat the leftover toothpaste and bacteria, and drink from the damp bristles. If you have a roaches, secure toothbrushes in a carrying case.
- Weed (marijuana): It may be legal now in many states, but your kind bud also attracts roaches for the same reasons that tobacco cigarettes do.
- Soap: A wet bar of soap in the bathtub? Soap scum in the corners of the shower? Both attract roaches. Roaches eat soap, and they are attracted by the fragrant smells, too. Soap scum is full of mold and bacteria that roaches love.
- Mold: Cockroaches love to eat the black mold that forms in the kitchen and bathroom sink, and in the shower area. Roaches often hide in the dark depths of drains, feeding on mold and scum, and only surface when necessary. Keep the drains covered with drain-blockers, and free of mold and scum.
- Sperm: Sorry if this grosses you out, but it should be said. It is a rich source of protein for roaches. So guys, clean up the wet spot and flush those tissues. 🙂
- Cat food and dog food: You are asking for roaches if you leave an open bag of pet food in the closet. Ants will have a party there, too.
- Beer and soda cans: Even though you think you drank all the Coke or Heineken out of that empty can, there are always a few drops left at the bottom. Roaches are master climbers and acrobats. It is no problem for a roach to climb inside an aluminum can and get back out again. This amazing feat makes one of the distinct noises cockroaches make.
- Milk and breast milk: More wonderful sources of protein for roaches.
- Cinnamon, garlic, lavender, lemon, vinegar, salt: All fragrant spices that are delicious to roaches, too.
- Dust: Household dust isn’t just dirt. It also contains organic particles that cockroaches can feed on.
- Candles: Cockroaches eat candle wax and the pleasant smell attracts them, too.
- Dampness: Any damp surface or household item is a potential water source for a thirsty cockroach. Keep bathroom and kitchen surfaces dry, especially at night when roaches are active.
So there we have it. Twenty-five unusual things that can attract roaches. If you have roaches in your home, secure these items. And remember, always think of potential sources of food, water, and shelter that roaches can use and try to eliminate them. Obviously, there are many.
The good news is that most people are successful at treating a roach infestation themselves via one or more roach control products. I recommend either boric roach powder or gel bait. Both are easy to implement and highly successful, too.
Please let me know in the comments what you think of this list. Do you have any items that you think should be added? Thanks.
Cockroach Control: Terminate with Extreme Prejudice
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