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Do Plants and Trees Attract Roaches?

Do plants and trees attract roaches
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    It has been said that if a disaster were to wipe out humans, cockroaches would probably be the fittest to survive. While this idea sounds farfetched, cockroaches do have some incredible survival skills.

     There are also many myths about them. We will try to clear up some of the facts from misconceptions about cockroaches and plants. 

    Do Plants Attract Cockroaches?

     To understand how plants might or might not attract roaches, you first have to understand what they want. Roaches are omnivores and can eat almost anything

    Roaches are attracted to human foods like meat, grease, cereals, and sugary treats. They also enjoy cardboard, dead wood, and decaying plants.

     While cockroaches will also eat hair, glue, and drywall, and other dead cockroaches, among other things, they can also go for about a month without any food. They can go for only a week without water. They have even been known to survive headless for a remarkably long time. They also want a dark, moist place to hide and lay eggs. 

    Given these characteristics about cockroaches, they are more likely to go for the stinky food in your trash can, but they will go to the moist, dark soil of your houseplants.

     If the plant is rotten, has decayed leaves, or there is a lot of organic matter around the plants, a cockroach would certainly be attracted if there were no other food sources. In a pinch, they will even eat the leaves. 

     As far as specific plants that attract roaches, they are attracted to anything that does not repel them. The exception might be any plant that fruits, especially if there is rotten fruit or flower blossoms on the ground that are decaying. If you have a plant with stagnant water in the bottom of the bowl, this will likely attract them. They are not picky eaters, which is one factor that makes it so hard to get rid of them. 

    Do Trees Attract Roaches?

     Trees do attract cockroaches, especially if there is a lot of moisture in the soil and the tree has no decayed wood. Many roaches can feed on wood, but many will not eat wood. They will seek out trees for their warm, moist environment. They will live near almost any tree except cedar or cypress. 

     Do roaches live in trees? Yes, some species of cockroaches live in trees, but they typically do not get indoors. One of these roach species is the tree cockroach (wood roaches), which is typically found in Texas and Louisiana. 

    One way to tell a tree roach from other roaches is that they are attracted to the light, and other types of roaches will hide from it. 

     One thing to note is that a hollow log, rotten wood, or a damp woodpile are more likely to attract roaches than a healthy, live tree. Most older trees usually have some crack or crevice starting to rot, so it is not unusual to find them around older trees. If you have a wooded lot, you are more likely to have a few enter your home, especially as the weather turns colder. 

     On this same topic, you also might want to note that roaches love to live under wood mulch, especially pine shavings. They are even attracted to rubber mulch because it provides a dark, moist shelter. 

    Any mulch makes a cozy home for roaches, except cedar and Cypress mulch. If you want to keep roaches from around your home, cedar and cypress mulch might act as a deterrent. 

    Plants the Repel Cockroaches

     There is a lot of lore and legend about plants that repel roaches. When it comes to plant compounds that have been studied and shown to be effective at repelling roaches, a few have shown promise.

     They tend to be deterred by any plant that contains pyrethrins, such as pennyroyal and painted daisy. You must be careful planting these around your home if you have pets or small children. 

    Other plants that have been found to deter roaches include: 

    • Chrysanthemums
    • Lavender
    • Mint 
    • Thyme
    • Garlic
    • Onion
    • Pepper 

     Catnip has also been used by many as a roach repellent, but support seems to be anecdotal. Other things claimed to repel roaches include osage orange fruit (Hedgeapples), rosemary, bay leaf, lemongrass, lemon, and cucumbers. 

     Planting these plants around your home might help to repel roaches from your home, but only in the area around the home. They can still find other ways to get is where you do not have these plants. 

    You can also make sprays of essential oils of these plants and spray them around your home. For most, you can use 20 drops of essential oil to 8 ounces of water. 

     If you decide to use essential oils, remember that you must reapply them often as they become less effective as the essential oils evaporate. The same is true if you decide to use cedar or cypress mulch around your home. As the mulch gets older, it loses its potency. You should apply a fresh layer on top throughout the year to keep the oils strong. 

     Planting plants around your home can help repel roaches, but the best way is to eliminate their habitat. Keeping any food scraps, rotten wood, cardboard, and other materials out of and away from your home is the best way to eliminate their habitat.

     A good rule of thumb is that if mold grows in an area, then roaches will love it. Depriving them of the things they need is the best way to prevent them from seeing your home as an attractive place to raise a family. 


     The best way to deter roaches is not to be a good host. You should look for things that might be the perfect environment for them both inside and outside your home. The more hiding places, food sources, and water sources you can eliminate, the less likely they will invade. 

    If you property is dealing with a serious cockroach infestation, you should get in touch with a pest control professional as soon as possible.




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