What Attracts Cockroaches to Your Home? A Prevention Guide

If you have a cockroach problem in your home or apartment, it’s important to know what attracts cockroaches first. Learn more here.

What Attracts Cockroaches to Your Home? A Prevention Guide

Did you know that there are over 4,000 roach species in existence?

Thankfully for us, most cockroaches actually aren’t pests and stick to their wild habitat. Only about 30 species of cockroaches make a habit of invading homes and posing a pest problem.

When they do, however, things can get out of hand fast. For example, two cockroaches can produce up to 300,000 offspring during their life.

If you’re struggling with a cockroach infestation, one of the first things to do is figure out what attracts cockroaches to your home, and eliminate these things.

This might not solve your roach problem entirely, but it can be an effective first step.

Get cracking on that cockroach infestation and keep reading to find out what attracts cockroaches in the first place.

Unwashed Dishes

The main thing that attracts cockroaches is food. Roaches are always on the lookout for food sources, and if they can identify a reliable supply of food in your home, you’re in trouble.

Do you routinely leave dirty dishes overnight? Doing the dishes last thing in the evening is just about no one’s favorite task, but it can help curb your roach problem.

Dirty dishes can be a prime food source for cockroaches. The food residue on pots and dinner plates can be more than enough to feed a whole family of roaches every night.

To make things worse, most types of cockroaches are especially attracted to greasy or starchy foods—which is exactly what’s left on the average dinner plate.

Open Pantry Items

Open pantry items can be another prime food source for cockroaches. Unlike mice and rats, cockroaches can’t gnaw their way into sealed foodstuffs.

But, if there’s anything that’s even slightly open, they can find a way in and start feasting on your party supplies. Things like a loosely closed snack and cereal packets and open bags of flour can offer easy entry to roaches.

If cockroaches are using your pantry as a buffet each night, this isn’t just a recipe for a full-blown cockroach infestation. It’s also a health hazard.

According to the EPA, cockroaches can carry bacteria and deposit it onto food. This bacteria can then cause salmonella, staphylococcus, and streptococcus. Roaches are also known to spread diseases such as dysentery, diarrhea, and cholera.

The best way to protect your health and stop your pantry from being a roach food source is to seal up all opened food items in airtight containers.

Not only will this stop roaches from climbing into packets, but it can also keep your food fresher for longer and reduce food spills in your pantry.

Crumbs and Dropped Food

Speaking of food spills, these can be another top attraction for cockroaches. If there are any crumbs or spilled drops of food on your kitchen floor at the end of the night, you can bet that the roaches will feed off these once you’ve gone to bed.

The same goes for your pantry and kitchen cabinets. Spilled flour, sugar, and oil, stray cheerios, raisins, nuts, and biscuit crumbs are all a potential feast for roaches.

Unless you don’t eat at home, it can be hard to keep your kitchen and pantry 100% crumb-free at all times. But, even if you can’t maintain clinical levels of cleanliness, you can still make it a habit to wipe down the counters every night and sweep the floor.

Wiping down pantry shelves regularly is also a good idea. Lastly, make a point to clean behind and under appliances on a frequent basis. These hard-to-reach areas can easily harbor sticky food spills and stray crumbs.

Spilled Pet Food

If you’re wondering what attracts cockroaches, spilled pet food is another top offender. Spilled pet food can be a premium nutrition source for roaches, and one that many people overlook.

The best way to stop your pet’s food from attracting roaches is to:

  • Wash the food bowl once your pet is finished eating
  • Wipe or pick up any spilled pet food
  • Don’t leave food out round the clock

You should also make sure that any opened cans or bags of pet food are properly sealed to prevent roach entry.

Food Waste

Removing food waste from your trash is another important cockroach prevention step. There’s no point in keeping your kitchen scrupulously clean if every night the roaches are having a party on thrown-away leftovers in your trash.

To prevent this, you can either seal up leftovers in plastic bags or look into creating a composting system for your food waste. As long as compost heaps are a short distance away from your house, and managed properly, they shouldn’t attract cockroaches.


Besides food, cockroaches are also attracted to water and moisture. Cockroaches need water to drink, and they also prefer damp environments over dry ones.

You can’t eradicate every drop of standing water in your home, but you can deter roaches by wiping down your counter and sink areas each evening.

Damp, Dark Hiding Places

Like we just said, roaches prefer damp, humid places. They also like dark, enclosed spaces in which to hide and hang out during the day.

If the outdoor environment is relatively dry, and there are cool, damp areas in your home, this can be an additional motivation for roaches to move in. This is why you’ll often come across roaches hiding out in under-sink cabinets, or damp cupboards.

Here in CA, we have predominantly dry weather, which makes our homes even more attractive to cockroaches in California.

Roaches can also be attracted to damp hiding places in your yard as well. Piles of leaf litter, debris, cut grass, and stored wood can create a moist, dark environment that’s perfect for a roach to hide out in.

What Attracts Cockroaches? Food, Water, and Hiding Spots

Roaches are attracted to food sources, water, and damp, dark hiding spots. Once you know what attracts cockroaches, you can take steps to eliminate these draws.

However, this won’t necessarily clear up your roach problem. Eradicating food sources can only do so much.

If you’ve got a cockroach infestation on your hands, it might be time to get out the big guns and call in a pest control service.

Looking for a pest control company in Northern Californian you can trust to get the job done right? Here at Fast Action Pest Control, we pride ourselves on our exceptional service. All of our teams are properly trained, well paid, and focused on providing you with the best pest control services possible.

We have branches in Elk Grove, Sacramento, Vacaville, Antioch, and Folsom.

Wave goodbye to your roach problem and book a free inspection today.