What Attracts Cockroaches?

  • Written By Dan Edwards on August 24, 2018
    Last Updated: December 14, 2020

I think it’s safe to say that cockroaches are some of the most hated pests you can have in your home. Apart from their sometimes frighteningly large size, they also carry bacteria and parasites. Knowing what attracts cockroaches can be quite useful if you want to prevent them from visiting in the first place.

Unlike other insects, cockroaches are a problem throughout all seasons of the year. They thrive in different environments, and cockroaches will eat anything. This means there’s always a fitting place for them to settle down. Let’s have a look at what attracts them the most.

Dirty Dishes

Leaving dirty dishes with leftover food in the sink is not only unsanitary, but it’s also a roach invitation. Cockroaches love moist food, and what better source is there than plates in the kitchen sink? They can access the sink through the drain and easily wander from their hiding place to enjoy a feast.

Cockroaches In House

This problem is easy to solve: always throw away the food left on your plates. Dump anything you can into the garbage disposal. Everything else should be thrown into a covered trash can. This will not only prevent cockroaches, but it will also stop any bad odors from developing.

Remember to take the trash out regularly. Leaving the garbage inside will also invite the unwanted scavengers.


Cockroaches, like many other bugs, are very attracted to moisture. A leaky pipe anywhere in your house can easily become the breeding ground for cockroaches, and can even be where the roaches come from to get into the home.

Roaches love damp, dark and warm places, and this is the perfect description of the pipes under the sink. When there’s a leak, the area can quickly become damp and moldy, creating the perfect environment for roaches. This is especially true if the pipes are inside a cabinet. There will be little air coming inside, making it not only wet and dark, but also warm. In other words, it’s a cockroach’s paradise.

Solving this problem is relatively easy. Fixing any broken or leaking pipe will, of course, eliminate the water. Keeping the cabinet open and allowing it to air out will prevent it from becoming too warm or damp.

Like the kitchen, the bathroom is also a prime location for cockroaches. The bath mat, in particular, is a common culprit. Sure, it is useful to keep you from slipping when the floor is wet. Bath mats, unfortunately, could also attract roaches, since they retain moisture. Thicker mats can become the perfect hiding place for a whole roach family. You might also find oothecae (cockroach egg casings) hiding there.

Wringing out all the water and hanging the mat up to dry will quickly alleviate this problem. Keeping it clean is also important. Wash it in hot water and detergent to get rid of eggs or nymphs (baby cockroaches).


Humans aren’t the only creatures who love the taste of a fresh cup of Joe in the morning: so do the roaches. Cockroaches love coffee, and even more so the grinds. People often find cockroaches hiding inside their coffee makers.

Cockroaches may enjoy the taste of coffee, however, it is lethal to them. Coffee can actually kill them within minutes of ingestion. Use this to your advantage, by spreading out coffee grinds in the areas where roaches are most often seen.

I highly recommend keeping your coffee machine clean at all times. Make sure to empty out any leftover coffee or grinds. You should also store your coffee in sealed containers or bags.  


A cockroach has a serious sweet tooth, and cannot get enough sugar. Whether it comes as a cube or in a jam, these insects want it. Cockroaches love glucose as well as fructose, the natural sugar found in fruit. They especially like to eat old or damaged fruit. This develops a distinctive, sweet flavor after laying in the trash for a day or two.

Make sure any product containing sugar is in a closed container. Never leave fruit out on the counter, and always sweep up any sugar that might have fallen on the floor.

Alternatively, sugar can be a great addition to a cockroach trap, when trying to bait certain roach nesting areas around the home.

Cardboard, Books, and Wood

Wooden furniture, old books, and cardboard boxes are not only excellent hiding places, but are actually a treat for cockroaches. You might notice something has been taking tiny bites out of your old books in the back of the closet. This could be the doing of a roach family. Cockroaches often make their way into our homes by hiding inside cardboard boxes or even shopping bags.

Take a good look at your furniture; there might be some roaches hiding inside. You can fix this problem by using some type of natural repellent. Making a catnip spray by soaking the leaves in hot water will help to deter the roaches.

These insects also love to feed on old, moist or rotten wood. If you have a yard, I suggest you get rid of any unwanted wood. These can become an ideal place for roaches, who will soon find their way inside your home.

Meat and Grease

Cockroaches love anything with a strong scent, and what is stronger than morning bacon? They like to feed on other meat products as well, such as chicken and beef, or even fish.

Grease left in the pans after cooking is a delicious treat for roaches. A pan left out overnight can become a dinner invitation for any cockroaches living in your house.

The best way to solve this problem is not to leave any meat products out, either before or after cooking. Everything should be in the trash or kept in the fridge. Keeping the stove clean is also a necessity. The oil or butter we use for cooking often splashes, leaving greasy stains on walls and counters.

Roaches will be happy to climb the wall to reach the greasy goodness. They are equipped with sticky pads underneath their feet, enabling them to climb all surfaces.

This is only a short list of the things that attract cockroaches the most. Remember, roaches will eat anything. Keeping your home clean is, therefore, the best way to avoid an infestation.