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Why Do Roaches Like Paper?

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Cockroaches, often simply referred to as roaches, are commonly found pests in many homes and businesses. Despite being universally disliked, they are surprisingly fascinating creatures with their ability to survive in various environments. One of their peculiar habits is their attraction to paper, which has been a subject of interest and concern for many. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore why roaches like paper and what you can do to prevent a roach infestation in your home or office.


Roaches are attracted to paper because it’s made from organic materials like trees or other plant material, which they naturally consume. Paper also often contains glue and other organic materials that roaches can eat. Moreover, piles of paper, cardboard, and books provide a cozy, dark hiding place for roaches. To prevent roaches from being attracted to paper, reduce clutter, vacuum frequently, store paper items in sealed plastic containers, and use natural repellents like essential oils.

Roaches and Paper: An Unusual Attraction

Roaches are attracted to paper for various reasons. Paper is made from organic materials, such as trees or other plant material, which cockroaches naturally consume in their outdoor environment. Paper products often contain glue and other organic materials that roaches can eat. Additionally, piles of paper, cardboard, and books provide a cozy, dark hiding place for cockroaches to enjoy their meals.

Their attraction to paper is not limited to any specific type of roach. German cockroaches, for example, are known to eat a variety of household items, including book bindings. Similarly, other species of cockroaches have been found to consume household items such as book bindings, cardboard, toothpaste, leather, glue, and paper scraps.

The Role of Paper in Roach Survival and Reproduction

Paper serves as both a food source and a shelter for roaches, contributing to their survival and reproduction. Roaches can digest the fibers of the organic material, which allows them to consume various paper materials, including newspapers, book bindings, documents, and cardboard boxes. Some roaches even eat the glue on wallpaper and stamps.

The Dangers of Roaches Attracted to Paper

Roaches being attracted to paper in human environments can pose several dangers and problems. They can carry disease-causing germs and spread bacteria, leading to illnesses. Roach debris can trigger asthma attacks and allergic reactions. Roaches can contaminate food, utensils, and surfaces where food is prepared, increasing the risk of food poisoning and infections. They can also cause damage to valuable possessions like books and documents.

Preventing Roaches from Being Attracted to Paper

To prevent roaches from being attracted to paper, you need to reduce clutter, vacuum frequently, store paper items in sealed plastic containers, use bug repellent shelf paper, apply essential oils like peppermint, lemongrass, or citronella around areas where you store paper items, seal cracks and gaps, and address moisture issues.

Natural Ways to Repel Roaches from Paper

Essential oils, diatomaceous earth, and maintaining cleanliness are some natural ways to repel roaches from paper. You can create a spray by mixing a few drops of the essential oil with water and spraying it on the paper or the surrounding area. Sprinkle a thin layer of food-grade diatomaceous earth around the area where the paper is stored to deter roaches.

In conclusion, while roaches’ attraction to paper can be a nuisance, understanding their behavior can help you take preventive measures to protect your home or office from a roach infestation. By maintaining cleanliness, reducing clutter, and using natural repellents, you can discourage roaches from being attracted to paper and other household items.

Frequently Asked Questions

What other materials are roaches attracted to, aside from paper?

Roaches are attracted to a variety of materials. Aside from paper, they are also known to consume food crumbs, pet food, garbage, and even materials such as soap, glue, and certain fabrics.

Are there specific types of roaches more attracted to paper than others?

Most types of roaches are attracted to paper since it provides both a food source and a hiding place. However, species like the German cockroach have been particularly noted for their attraction to paper and similar materials.

Can I use commercial roach repellents to deter roaches from paper?

Yes, commercial roach repellents can be used to deter roaches from paper. However, these should be used as directed by the manufacturer and kept out of reach of children and pets.

How often should I clean my house to prevent roach infestations?

Regular cleaning is essential in preventing roach infestations. It’s recommended to vacuum at least once a week, clean up food spills immediately, and regularly take out the garbage.

What are the signs of a roach infestation?

Signs of a roach infestation include seeing live or dead roaches, finding roach droppings (which look like coffee grounds or black pepper), noticing a musty or oily smell, and finding roach egg cases which are small, dark, and cylindrical.

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