Does Killing a Cockroach Attract More? [Yes, Only in One Case]

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It happens: you kill a cockroach in your house and leave, and you return to find a group of other roaches in the place.

So, you start wondering: does killing a cockroach attract more of them? Or is it just a coincidence?

Well, as you can see from the headline, a dead cockroach can attract others, BUT, this is only possible in one condition.

We know you might come across sources discussing how a killed cockroach releases pheromones and oleic acid that attract more of these pests. While a part of this claim is true, the other isn’t. 

In this article, we’ll explain why these claims are baseless and tell you the only case when a dead cockroach can attract live ones. 

More importantly, we’ll highlight some reasons that might be the real attraction for roaches to your home.

Table of Contents

Does Killing a Cockroach Attract More: In a Nutshell

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Let’s make one thing clear: killing a cockroach indoors doesn’t necessarily attract more of these insects to your home. 

This might surprise you as a lot of sources out there state otherwise.

So, let me explain in three quick points why a dead cockroach isn’t as attractive to others as you might think:

  1. The released oleic acid from a dead cockroach’s body doesn’t usually attract other live roaches, as some claim. Conversely, it can repel them.

  2. The released pheromones from a dead cockroach body act mostly as a warning sign for other live roaches to stay away from the area.

  3. Oleic acid and pheromones of a killed cockroach can be attractive only when food resources for live roaches are scarce.

Killing a Cockroach Attracts More: Why This Isn’t Accurate 

Let me explain in detail why it’s inaccurate to say that killing a cockroach can attract more roaches.

Here are the reasons: 

Released Oleic Acid Isn’t Usually an Attractant for Roaches 

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When you kill a cockroach, especially by stepping on it, it releases a substance called oleic acid.

Some sources claim that this acid is significantly attractive to live roaches, who will come to eat the dead individual. 

Well, it’s true that a squashed cockroach can emit oleic acid, but no strong evidence suggests that acid is attractive for cockroaches.

In contrast, some sources state that the acid will mostly repel live cockroaches

This is because it warns them that a source of danger is in the place of the dead roach. 

Released Pheromones Don’t Invite Roaches In 

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According to some sources, dead cockroaches will also release pheromones that are attractive to live roaches. This is another baseless piece of info. 

While killed cockroaches release pheromones, they don’t attract live roaches.

Conversely, some resources state that this pheromone, in fact, acts as a warning sign for live roaches to stay away from the area. However, to be completely honest, the latter claim also lacks strong evidence. 

So, why does killing a cockroach attract more of them? Or is this an absolute myth? To get the whole picture, there’s a sole case when pheromones and oleic acid can attract roaches instead of deterring them!

Here it is: when the food sources are scarce. In this case, a dead roach might be the next big meal for the starving cockroaches.

Do Roaches Eat Dead Roaches?

Some species, such as German and Oriental cockroaches, might eat dead roaches. But worry not; this doesn’t make killed cockroaches in your home a considerable source of attraction for these insects.

The above scenario is only probable if roaches experience a period of scarce food sources. In this case, some roaches may even eat other individuals’ nymphs and eggs to survive.

Still, You Should Dispose of Your Dead Roach Promptly. Here’s the Best Way

a graphic image showing, how you should dispose of your dead roaches

Despite not being significantly attractive to live roaches, we recommend getting rid of any cockroach once you kill it. Why?

There are three reasons for that:

  1. It can attract roaches’ predators, such as beetles, days later.

  2. A dead roach is a potential source of allergies and asthma reactions, which makes the surface they lay on unsafe to touch.

  3. The body of a crushed roach might hold transmitted disease

Given that, here’s how to do this right: 

1. Remove the Cockroach

You’ll need to remove the cockroach into a bag, seal it well, and throw it away.

When doing so, you should never touch the cockroach directly with your bare hands, as it can cause an allergic reaction. 

It may also be covered with insecticides that can harm you. That’s why we recommend you use a paper towel, sanitary wipes, or gloves when handling these insects.

2. Dispose of the Cockroach

Now it’s time to remove the roach from your house.

But here’s the thing: don’t take the easiest option and place it in your house trash or backyard.

Instead, throw it away in the outside trash. Another great idea is to add to your compost if you have one. 

3. Clean the Surface

After removing the cockroach from the surface, you should wipe it down.

To do so, use a bit of light vinegar, water, and a few sheets of paper towels. Sanitary wipes can be an excellent option for this task as well. 

If Not Squashed Cockroaches, What Might Be Attracting Roaches to Your Home?

a graphic image showing "If Not Squashed Cockroaches, What Might Be Attracting Roaches to Your Home"

You might be wondering now if killed cockroaches aren’t the main culprit behind attracting their live comrades, what might be the real one?

Well, several reasons can make your home a desirable destination for roaches. Some of which you might not have thought of at all.

Let’s check these potential culprits out:

1. Dirty Home and Kitchen

It’s no surprise cockroaches get attracted to dirty places. So, if your kitchen has crumbs and spills spread over its floor, you build a roach heaven in your home. 

Okay, I think now you know what you should do. Always keep your home clean, especially your kitchen, and eliminate any cockroach food source.

2. Excessive Moisture in the Bathroom and Kitchen

Most cockroach species love to live in highly humid places, so you’ll mostly find them in kitchens and bathrooms. 

With that in mind, eliminate any standing water to make these places less attractive for roaches. In addition, try to keep the surfaces as dry as possible.

3. Storing Foods Improperly

Throwing food here and there all around the house is the best way to invite cockroaches in. To avoid this scenario, you’ll need to store your food in proper airtight containers.

You should also keep food storage places away from living areas and countertops. 

4. Keeping Trash for Too Long

Keeping the trash in your house for multiple days can make it a desirable destination for cockroaches. You need to get rid of your home garbage regularly to keep these insects away.

Ensuring that your trash cans are covered with well-fit lids is a good idea to avoid attracting these insects as well.

5. Having Messy Spaces

The favorite hiding spots for cockroaches are dark, small spaces. This makes any unused, messy spots in your home a welcoming space for roaches.

The good news is that the solution is as easy as organizing your rooms to avoid these nasty little residents. 

6. Wall Cracks and Openings

Other small and dark places in your home are the cracks and openings in your wall. You should close off these places using appropriate sealants to avoid cockroaches forming nests inside them.

The Takeaway: Dead Cockroach, Attractive or Repellent?

You now know the answer to the question: Does killing a cockroach attract more? The only reason you might see a group of roaches visiting their dead comrade is when they experience starvation.

In this case, they’ll be having dinner with the dead cockroach as the main dish. But this is an uncommon scenario. So, you shouldn’t worry much about roaches infesting your home when killing one of them.

If you enjoyed this article, I’d like to invite you to explore more helpful ones in this blog. I recommend checking out Natural Cockroach Repellent: That Works Best next.


Does stepping on a cockroach attract more?

Yes, it’s possible that stepping on a cockroach attracts more roaches to the place. However, this rarely happens. Roaches will get into your home to eat a fallen comrade only if they suffer from food scarcity at that time. 

Do cockroaches release pheromones when killed?

Yes, cockroaches release pheromones when killed.

Living roaches can smell these pheromones, which is a warning signal for them to stay away from the place. For this reason, they’ll likely avoid the area where you killed a cockroach.

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