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Are Cockroaches Attracted To Light?

When you turn the lights on, cockroaches will scurry into their hiding place, and they aren’t likely to come back out until the lights are turned off. 

But is it possible that cockroaches are attracted to light?

No, Cockroaches are not attracted to light. They prefer dark, moist environments, and will do their best to avoid well-lit areas. If you’re seeing cockroaches come out in your home during the daytime, this can be a sign of a larger problem. 

What Are Cockroaches Attracted To?

Close-up photo of a cockroach on bread with jam.

There are plenty of things that attract cockroaches, but thankfully light isn’t one of them.

Roaches may enter your home or building for a number of reasons, depending on the particular species of cockroach and the time of year. 

The warmth of your home during the cooler seasons can be reason enough for roaches to enter the space. Outdoor species of cockroaches will usually try to find their way inside your home in order to escape frigid temperatures and secure easy meals. 

Thankfully, some of these roaches are just visiting, and will head back outside once the cold weather subsides. 

Food is the biggest attractor for roaches. Leaving crumbs and food particles around on your countertops or floor is enough to bring roaches into your home.

Even leaving dirty dishes in your sink can be enough to attract roaches.

Most food attractors for roaches are things we would normally think to clean up, like dirty dishes or crumbs on countertops. Unfortunately though, not all roach food sources are thought of as “messy”.

For example, pet food left in a bowl on the floor can be a food source for roaches that many people don’t think about. It’s normal for us to leave food down low so our furry friends can reach it, so this isn’t necessarily something we think of that needs cleaning up. 

Humid areas or places with standing water are also significant hotspots for roaches once they’re inside your home, and sometimes roaches may actually follow the moisture trail just to get inside. 

Cracks in basement walls or unsecured drain pipes give roaches the dark, wet environments they crave. Once they enter your home through these openings, the roaches can run around in search of food. 

Once they’re inside, you’ll likely find roaches congregating around these water sources. Any areas underneath sinks, bathtubs, or wet depressions in the floor are all adequate water sources for cockroaches. 

Many people believe that killing a cockroach will attract more pesky creatures. This myth is partially true. 

When you kill a roach, especially when you crush it, it releases oils and a strong scent that can linger on surfaces for quite a while if you don’t clean it up promptly and thoroughly. 

This scent can attract other roaches in search of an easy meal. Cockroaches aren’t squeamish about cannibalizing other roaches, and the potent smell of another dead roach is a strong attractor for them. 

However, it’s also very likely that those additional cockroaches were already inside your home and came out to feed, rather than entering just because of the dead cockroach. 

What If You See Cockroaches During The Day?

Cockroaches are nocturnal and tend to avoid well-lit areas inside your home. They feel exposed in the light, which is why they usually run away if you flip the lights on in any room they’re occupying. 

Seeing roaches during daylight hours is a bad sign, since this is a strong indicator that you’re dealing with an infestation. 

Roaches will only typically come out of hiding during the day if they’re forced to do so. It could be that they’ve been crowded out of their hiding spot or are searching for food. 

Over time, roaches can also adapt to tolerating higher levels of light. If they consistently spend time in a room with the lights on, they’ll eventually adjust and come out of hiding.

Both of these indicators (having time to adapt to more light and being forced out of their hiding spots) are strong signs that you probably have a large number of roaches in your home, and it’s likely that they’ve been around for a while. 

Just like light doesn’t attract roaches, leaving a light on also isn’t going to drive them away. 

You can’t leave a lamp or ceiling light on in a room and expect cockroaches to vacate the area.

Likewise, when you try to use light to make cockroaches run away, they’ll just run to a different hiding spot instead of leaving your home. 

If you’re seeing cockroaches in your home during the day, it’s time to attempt to eliminate the infestation. 

Getting Rid Of A Cockroach Infestation

An exterminator spraying pesticide in the kitchen.

A professional exterminator is always your best bet for ridding your home of cockroaches. A trained expert will be able to accurately gauge the size of the infestation, eliminate the roaches over time, and help you prevent them from coming back in the future

You can also use home remedies and elimination methods on your own to try to control a cockroach infestation. 

Glue traps are an inexpensive and safe way to kill cockroaches. 

With or without bait, when a cockroach walks on a trap, it will become stuck and eventually starve. Even if the roach isn’t dead, you can still go ahead and dispose of it any time you notice one in a trap. 

Roach spray can also be highly effective when it’s handled and used properly. The neurotoxic chemicals in roach spray are intended to cause muscle spasms and paralysis in roaches, causing them to starve or dehydrate over time. 

If you want to avoid the possible health problems associated with chemical roach sprays, there are plenty of other options. 

Safer poisons can be just as effective as pyrethrin cockroach sprays. 

Ingredients like borax, boric acid, and baking soda can all be mixed with sugar and water to create an effective cockroach poison. Each of these items will react inside the roache’s gut and kill it, either through expansion or rapid dehydration. 

Essential oils are also useful when it comes to driving roaches from your home and deterring new ones from coming in. 

Lavender and rosemary are especially effective. You can spray a diluted mixture of these essential oils around your home to help drive away roaches and freshen up the air, all without the need for concern about the spray’s chemical side effects. 

Making your home inhospitable to roaches is important when it comes to preventing more from coming in, and can even help you make some roaches leave. 

It’s essential to eliminate the roaches’ sources of food and water. Clean up any food crumbs, don’t leave food on the floor, and keep dirty dishes out of the sink. 

You also need to fix any leaky pipes and address areas of your home that are humid and standing pools of water. 

Finally, be sure to close up any points of entry to your home that roaches may use to get inside. 

Secure drain pipes, seal up gaps around your doors and windows, fix cracks in the walls, and close up any other gaps you can find. 

It’s also important to kill and dispose of any roaches you see in your home. 

All of these methods can help eliminate or control a roach infestation, but sometimes the problem is too large to handle on your own. 

If you aren’t seeing results after a month, it’s time to call a professional exterminator. 


Roaches are not attracted to light. Even though they will often run away when the lights are turned on, light is not an effective repellent for roaches. 

Instead, roaches can actually adapt to well-lit environments. If you do see roaches coming out during the day, this can be a sign of an infestation that needs to be dealt with promptly.