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6 Foods That Attract Cockroaches

Cockroach infestations don't just appear for no reason, though it can seem that way. Common cockroaches are almost always attracted by human activities, such as food. Once they do establish themselves however, getting rid of a cockroach infestation can be very hard. The animals are very adaptable and are attracted by many different things. This is why knowing what attracts them is key to understanding how to avoid them.

First, keep in mind that cockroaches will eat almost anything. Whether it's fruits, garbage, vegetables, or even other insects, cockroaches will live off whatever they find. They can even survive off hair, soiled clothes, fingernail clippings, or spots of grease. (Young cockroaches tend to eat the droppings of older cockroaches.) Therefore any available food source can support a cockroach infestation.


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Nevertheless studies show that cockroaches prefer to eat certain foods. Like humans, they eat a balanced diet if one is available. Starches and high protein foods are particularly attractive (they love dog food). Here are the kinds of foods that cockroaches love most:

1. Sugar

Sugar is one of the most powerful cockroach lures. In fact cockroaches are attracted to sugar above all else. Keep any sugar used for baking or making tea tightly sealed, otherwise cockroaches may get into it. Juice and soda also attract cockroaches due to the high sugar concentration. They will easily smell a dried sugary drink on the floor. Fruit, too, is packed full of natural sugar -- cockroaches love eating fruit from the trash because of this. They'll also eat baked goods, candy, and anything else sweet.

2. Starch

Cockroaches love starch so much that they sometimes eat book bindings, which contain starch. Similarly they can eat cardboard and paper, such as discarded pizza boxes or paper bags which contain food. (They sometimes even eat clean cardboard, if there is no other food available.)

3. Grease

Grease is a ready source of fat, and cockroaches can feed on it nearly everywhere. Grease is hard to clean off, but cockroaches will feed on the grease film found on oven hoods or a wall next to where someone has used a frying pan. This means it's vital to remove grease from your stove area -- cockroaches go after grease with gusto.

4. Cheese

Cockroaches love cheese, especially since it often produces a strong smell. Small particles of cheese lying around will attract cockroaches, as will rotting cheese in the trash.

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5. Meat

Meat is an excellent source of fat and protein for the average cockroach. They are extremely attracted to the smell of meat, and they will find tiny pieces of chicken, beef, or other meats that humans might not notice. Meat leftovers from meals that are left out strongly attract cockroaches. If you spill meat during cooking and small pieces are left on the floor, cockroaches will appear and seek it out.

6. Garbage

Garbage is a major source of food for cockroaches. The strong smell of compost and garbage brings cockroaches looking for a meal, and you should never leave full garbage bags in the house for any length of time. The fact is that any kind of organic matter is food for a cockroach, and a garbage bag is to them a buffet. Because of this, it can be helpful to have a garbage disposal in order to reduce the amount of food waste left around.

-- but it must be operated daily, or whenever waste has been deposited. If possible, flush it with cleaning solution after each use. If you do not have a garbage disposal, try to remove all your garbage to a sealed container located outside your home before night time. This will ensure that cockroaches are not attracted into your home, and if the container is sealed they will not be able to get at the garbage and go looking elsewhere.

How To Avoid Attracting Cockroaches

Make a point of sealing any waste food or leftovers in cockroach-proof containers such as glass jars (that have airtight lids) or airtight plastic containers. Always tightly reseal packages of food after you open them.

-- if the package does not allow you to reseal it, place the food in a suitable container. Since cockroaches easily chew through cardboard, paper, and thin plastic, transfer food packaged in these materials to cockroach-proof containers before you store it. Any pet foods, fruit, candy, and popcorn must be placed in a container before you store it overnight, otherwise it will attract cockroaches. The fact is, it's hard to completely deprive an infestation of cockroaches of food sources. However, limiting their food supply will make it less likely they will appear in the first place, and make it easier for another pest control method to work effectively.

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