What Food Attracts Cockroaches? – Our Guide

Cockroaches will eat anything and live off what they find in your home.

Foods that attract cockroaches most include meat, sugar, cheese, starch, grease, pet food, and rotting food in the garbage, including fruits and vegetables.

Cockroaches can also live off animal waste, dead insects, and non-food items such as cardboard, paper, and glue.

They even eat other cockroaches!

So if you leave these food types easily accessible, you are likely to get a sudden appearance of cockroaches in your home, and it can lead to an infestation.

Read on for an ultimate guide into which food cockroaches eat, and therefore what food attracts cockroaches to your home, and how to help prevent a cockroach infestation.

What Food Attracts Cockroaches

What Food Attracts Cockroaches?

Cockroaches have survived to live off both food and non-food items and will eat almost anything. Pest Control experts claim that studies have shown that cockroaches prefer to eat certain foods (with a preference for bananas) and have a balanced diet if these foods are available.

Cockroaches prefer foods high in protein and starches and are attracted to meat, cheese, sugar, grease, starch, pet food, and strong-smelling foods in the garbage.

1. Sugar


Sugar is what attracts cockroaches more than anything else.

Juice, soda, baked goods, and candy have high sugar concentrations, and cockroaches can easily smell the food or a dried sugary drink that has spilled.

Even fruit has so much natural sugar that it lures cockroaches who will eat it out of the garbage. As I mentioned above, studies showed that both male and female german cockroaches have a preference for bananas.

2. Starch


Cockroaches are attracted to starch. As they crave starch, they will eat items such as cardboard pizza boxes or containers that have held takeaway food and paper bags that have contained food.

They will also eat non-food items such as book bindings and clean cardboard and paper containing starch.

3. Meat


Cockroaches crave protein in their diet, and meat is a brilliant source of this, as well as fat. Meat has a strong smell for cockroaches which easily attracts them.

They can smell and seek out tiny pieces of meat that have been spilled during cooking and are on a kitchen counter or the floor, even if you don’t notice it.

Leftover meals containing meat will also attract cockroaches.

4. Cheese


Cheese attracts cockroaches as it has such a strong smell even before it goes off, especially when it is rotting in the garbage. Cockroaches will be able to smell small crumbs of cheese lying around from cooking, grating, or on a cheeseboard.

Cockroaches will not be picky about which type of cheese they like; they will all smell good and strong to a roach.

5. Grease


Grease is hard to clean and easily accessible for cockroaches to feed on, especially in your kitchen.

Grease is a good source of fat for roaches, who will feed on grease from a frying pan, an oven hood, or even the wall or sides where grease may have spread.

6. Garbage


Garbage provides a great variety of foods for cockroaches searching for a meal, especially as they can eat organic materials.

Garbage has such a strong smell from decaying matter that any garbage bag full of food will attract cockroaches, especially if it is not kept sealed or frequently emptied or taken outside.

7. Non-food items


Cockroaches have evolved over millions of years to survive off anything they can find. Therefore, they have a strong tolerance for toxic foods containing bacteria and can eat non-food items that would be inedible to us.

They can survive by eating dead insects, hair, fingernails, grease, garbage, cardboard, paper, rotting foods.

They will not get ill or have food poisoning from eating these items, making it easy for them to survive.

What Attracts Cockroaches to Your Home?

Cockroaches look for food, water, and warmth as ideal conditions to survive.

Areas such as cupboards, attics, and bathrooms are usually humid and the least ventilated in the home, therefore an excellent place for cockroaches to settle. Kitchens are also ideal habitats for cockroaches due to the abundance of food and water.

The presence of cockroaches doesn’t mean your home is dirty but provides what they need.

How Do I Prevent Food Attracting Cockroaches?

Keep food sealed, whether it is waste or leftovers, in containers with airtight lids, as cockroaches can eat cardboard and paper, use plastic or other cockroach-proof containers.

Ensure that you keep sugar tightly sealed, for example, in a glass jar with an airtight lid rather than in the paper bag it comes in to stop roaches from getting into it.

Limiting the food available will make cockroaches less likely to infest.

Anything that cockroaches are attracted to need to be sealed correctly.

How Can I Prevent A Cockroach Infestation?

  • Seal cracks and crevices to block cockroaches from getting into your home. Seal up common cockroach entry points.
  • Repair any leaking pipes and ensure humid rooms are well ventilated.
  • Keep clean – wipe down all surfaces, wash dirty dishes, sweep, vacuum, and take out the trash regularly.
  • Check frequently for infestation.

If you have an infestation with lots of roaches, you should call a pest control service and have professionals with specialist equipment remove the cockroaches.


Your home can attract cockroaches without food being readily available, but there is no doubt food is the main thing these pests are looking for. The long and short of it is that all food attracts cockroaches to your home.

With that in mind, it is best to store food correctly! Remove their food source, and the chances of infestation are much lower.


About the author

DIY Pest Control Enthusiast Since 1996

After spending the entire night lying awake in a cockroach-infested hotel, I have driven myself to build knowledge on all things pest control. Since then, I've tested pest control techniques to see what works and what doesn't. Now, here I am giving you all the info I have learned!

Leave a Comment