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Why Do Cockroaches Come Toward You?

It may seem odd that roaches will sometimes run or fly directly at you, but there’s actually a reason behind this behavior. 

Roaches come towards you sometimes because they have learned over millions of years that most humans are naturally scared of them. Thus, the roaches will run or fly at us to shock us and give themselves more time to escape. 

Why Would a Cockroach Run or Fly at Me?

A businessman is disgusted with the cockroach that flew to his eyeglasses.

Cockroaches running or flying directly toward a person may seem like odd or even stupid behavior. 

I mean, why would they come closer to a human when they know people like to squish them?

Well, cockroaches are actually more intelligent than we tend to think they are, and they have figured out over millions of years of interacting with us that we don’t like to be near them. 

So, cockroaches have learned to run straight toward humans as a defense mechanism. 

Basically, this trick works because when the roach runs or flies at us, we typically get startled since roaches naturally repulse most people. 

And when a person gets startled, they tend to lose focus and instinctively jump away from the thing that scared them. 

This reaction often gives the roach enough time to turn around and run to a safe hiding spot where we can’t catch them. 

So, if you want a better chance of killing a cockroach, you need to be ready for them to run at you so that you won’t get caught off guard. 

How Does a Cockroach Know I’m About to Kill It?

If you ever tried to kill a cockroach, you’d know that they can almost always tell you’re coming, even if you sneak up quietly behind them. 

But how do they know where you are?

Well, roaches primarily sense people using their amazing vision. 

Since cockroaches’ eyes are at the top of their nearly flat bodies, they can see in pretty much every direction at once. 

Also, whereas human eyes only have one lens and thus can only see one “picture” at a time, most roaches have over 2,000. 

All these lenses give cockroaches excellent vision and allow them to see multiple images simultaneously. 

Thus, you really can’t sneak up on a cockroach because it will see you even if you come up behind it. 

Additionally, roaches have appendages on the bottom of their shell and hairs on their legs which allow them to sense air currents. 

So, as soon as you swing back that flyswatter or other object, they will sense the change in the air and run away. 

How Should I Kill a Roach That’s in Front of Me?

Close-up photo of a cockroach on a white background.

Killing a roach that is in front of you isn’t as simple as smushing most other insects since cockroaches have evolved to be very good at getting away from humans. 

However, as long as you know the proper technique, you can easily kill any cockroach you find.  

The first step when going to kill a cockroach is preparing yourself for when it runs at you. 

As stated above, many people panic and back away when a cockroach runs at them, but this gives the roach time to find a hiding spot, so don’t be scared. 

Next, you’ll want to grab an item quickly so that you can smash it. 

And when picking an object to do the job, keep in mind that roaches contain a creamy mucus when smashed, and there may be a lot of it on the item after you kill the cockroach with it. 

Generally, one of the best things to use to smash a roach is the bottom of a tennis shoe since they are sturdy and easy to wipe down afterward. 

However, any sturdy, wipeable object will do. 

Once you have your object to kill the insect, quickly approach it and use the item to press down firmly on the bug. 

And remember not to swing back when preparing to kill the insect. 

As I said before, the roach will feel the air change when you swing back, which will allow it more time to run. 

So, press instead of swing. 

Then, keep pressing your chosen item down on the roach until you hear or feel the roach crunch. 

You should then pivot your hand back and forth a few times to ensure the roach is dead. 

If you don’t smash the cockroach in this way, there is a good chance it will survive since roaches can withstand a lot of pressure due to their flexible exoskeletons

Afterward, you can scrape the dead roach off into the trash and clean the surface of the object you used to kill it. 

Can I Kill a Roach With My Fist?

Under normal circumstances, most people wouldn’t even think of killing a roach with their fist because they don’t want to get the body parts and mushy insides on them. 

However, having a roach infestation can make people desperate enough to the point that they may opt to use their fists to smash a roach. 

And while you can kill a roach with your fist if you follow the steps above, you shouldn’t. 

The mushy insides that come out of a roach when you smash it aren’t just disgusting but can also give you skin problems. 

Plus, roaches often carry diseases, meaning that smashing a cockroach with your bare skin could expose you to certain illnesses. 

Is it Okay to Smash Roaches?

You may have heard that you shouldn’t smash a cockroach because it will release pheromones that attract more roaches. 

Yet, this “fact” is actually a myth. 

The idea that a cockroach will release its eggs when stepped on is also false. 

If you squish a pregnant roach, the eggs will die with it. 

Thus, you shouldn’t refrain from smashing roaches for these reasons. 

The only legitimate arguments for not smashing roaches have to do with the mess it makes and the fact that some people don’t like killing them. 

But, if you are okay with cleaning up roach guts, you can totally smash as many cockroaches as you’d like. 


A cockroach will sometimes come toward you because it is hoping you will become startled and back away from it. 

However, if you are expecting the roach to behave this way, and you follow the advice above, it becomes much easier to smash cockroaches.