What causes roaches in a clean house? Exactly what attracts cockroaches to a totally tidy habitat?
If you’re a neat freak dealing with a roach problem, you may be utterly baffled and lying in bed at night wondering those very questions.
Because as everyone knows, cockroaches love dirt. Given their broad range of dietary preferences – cockroaches will eat almost anything – dirty homes are prime habitat for these opportunistic insects.
So the best way to ensure that you never have to deal with cockroaches, or to get rid of them if you do have them, is to clean your home thoroughly.
With that said, even the cleanest among us can suffer from a cockroach infestation. Even places like hospitals battle cockroach issues from time to time. How does this happen? What attracts cockroaches to even the cleanest habitats?
What Causes Roaches in a Clean House?
Cockroaches aren’t hard to please. Their needs are simple. Food. Water. Shelter. Heat. That’s really all a cockroach needs to survive, and even thrive. And human homes provide most or all of these things.
Even the cleanest ones.
So let’s dive into detail what it is about your clean home that’s attracting roaches – and what you can do to put a stop to that!
Remember that cockroaches will eat almost anything. It’s not just the food you feed your family, although they will happily consume that if they get the chance.
Cockroaches will also feed on other insects, and even things that seem completely inedible like toothpaste and soap. They’re also not above a little bit of cannibalism if other food sources are scarce.
In order to give cockroaches nothing to eat, it’s very important to stay clean. Really clean. Meticulously clean.
Wipe up any food spills as soon as they happen. Keep all food sealed in airtight containers. Cockroaches can chew through thin plastic like Ziploc bags, so invest in more rigid Tupperware or even glass containers to keep them out.
Don’t forget about behind the fridge or under the stove. These are favorite places for cockroaches to hang out, and any food spilled down there is easy to forget. But it could provide a banquet for cockroaches.
German cockroaches are the species most likely to invade your home. This species can live for up to a month without eating, but it can’t survive more than a week without water.
So if you want to make your home cockroach free, you need to think carefully about the water sources.
There’s a reason German cockroaches are most commonly found in kitchens and bathrooms. That’s where the water is. Check all pipes to make sure nothing is leaking. High humidity is a great attractant for cockroaches.
Check also the condensation on the outside of water pipes. This provides a cockroach with all it needs to drink. Systematically eliminate all water sources, such as dripping taps and sweating pipes.
This will make your house much less attractive to cockroaches.
If you have pets, you also need to think about their food and water. Try to only put out food for your pet at designated feeding times, and put it away somewhere cockroaches can’t get to it at all other times.
Cockroaches are definitely not above eating cat or dog food. The same also applies to the water you put out for your pet. Consider investing in a special bug-proof bowl that will keep the bugs from accessing the food or water inside.
If you have an indoor cat, don’t forget about the litter. Remember, cockroaches will eat anything organic. You may not think of it as food, but they will. Empty the litter box every day, and never leave it dirty overnight.
There’s another water source you almost certainly haven’t thought of: the drip catchment tray underneath your fridge.
In fact, this is often the most popular place in your entire house for German cockroaches to congregate. It provides darkness, warmth from the running of the fridge’s motor, and a ready source of water in the form of condensation that collects in the tray at the bottom of the fridge.
Always check behind your fridge for cockroaches; it’s the perfect place for roaches to hide.
Cockroaches like to live in groups called aggregations. What this means is that once a cockroach has made your home its own, it’s only a matter of time before others show up to the party.
Guided by powerful pheromones, cockroaches will quickly find each other and form groups.
Cockroaches are agoraphobic. They hate open spaces in the same way that they hate light, and they will try to hide in tiny cracks and crevices wherever possible.
It’s often astonishing just how many cockroaches can pack themselves into a small gap under a kitchen counter or behind a baseboard. The more tucked away it is, the more appealing it will be to cockroaches.
Make sure to pull out appliances such as the stove and the fridge. These often provide great places for roaches to hide and still be near sources of both food and water.
Get yourself a caulk gun and seal up any cracks you find with waterproof caulking. The fewer places cockroaches have to hide, the less attractive your home will be to them.
Cockroaches of all species are warm weather animals. They like the heat, and lower temperatures not only make a home less attractive to them but also slow down their reproductive rate.
Unfortunately, the temperature is the hardest thing to do anything about. Cockroaches thrive at temperatures above 80°F, which is not much higher than most of us like to keep our homes.
And you may have a hard time trying to freeze them out; cockroaches can still survive in temperatures down to 34°F.
You need to be comfortable in your home. But while turning the thermostat down a couple of degrees won’t stop you from having a cockroach problem, it will slow down their breeding rate.
Plus, you’ll save money on your heating bills. Which you can then put towards a vast array of cleaning products and Tupperware food containers to keep the cockroaches at bay.
Given the choice, cockroaches will choose a dirty home over a clean one any day of the week. But even if you keep your home as clean as an operating theater, it doesn’t mean you can’t get cockroaches.
Anyone can bring roaches home from the grocery store or garden center without even knowing it.
The difference is, the cleaner your home, the slower the cockroaches will multiply. And the fewer cockroaches there are, the easier it will be to get rid of them.
So follow these tips and make your home a fortress against cockroaches. Because no one likes sharing their food, especially not with six-legged freeloaders.
And if you’re ready to get serious about getting rid of cockroaches for good, check out our complete guide.