Does Killing a Cockroach Attract More?

As the saying goes, if you’ve seen one roach, you have thousands, and that does always seem to be the case. A roach colony may be existing right behind your walls or in a waterlogged section of a cabinet, and you may never know if you go by the one or two dead roaches you discover. But finding a dead cock roach and killing one seems to have a different effect on hungry roaches.

Key Points:

  • Roaches often congregate in large colonies, and individual corpses may not be an indication of a larger infestation.
  • Dead roaches release an acid that may attract other hungry cockroaches.
  • Chemical treatments like food bait, spraying, and boric acid mixtures are popular ways to kill roaches without attracting more.

No matter the type, American cockroaches, Oriental cockroaches, or the common German cockroaches, killing a live roach seems to attract hungry roaches when just finding dead cockroaches laying around the kitchen or bathroom floor doesn’t. Read on to discover if killing a cockroach attracts more and, if so, how. 

Will Cockroaches Feed on Dead Roaches?

 Dead cockroaches will release oleic acid as they die of blunt causes, and the amount released is dependent on a roach’s body weight. Larger female cockroaches spill out more oleic acid than smaller males, and both adult roaches and baby roaches can feed on the dead body when other food sources are not available.

Roaches that have been poisoned or injected with systemic poisons like boric acid will not attract the cockroach community and are usually the cause of the isolated corpses found in treated areas of the home. 

How to Stop a Dead Cockroach From Attracting Others?

Dead Cockroach

Different acids have different smells, and cockroaches find food primarily by scenting. While oleic acid has a fatty smell that is good for food for the cockroach community, once boric acid or other pest control products have affected it, the dead cockroach releases cockroach blood that is not attractive to other roaches.

No matter the cockroach species using the right chemicals can help you stun and crush roaches without bringing more out to overwhelm your extermination efforts. 

Things That Attract Cock Roaches

AttractantCommon LocationHow to Prevent
Food CrumbsKitchen Sweep or vacuum daily to eliminate easy access to food sources, as food is the number one attractor of cockroaches 
Oleic AcidWhere Cockroach Is KilledUse methods of extermination that prevent a cockroach infestation and release of fatty acids upon death, like boric acid or diatomaceous earth
WaterUnder Sinks and around DrainsFix leaky pipes and clean up water spills to keep cockroaches out, as the most common large roach infestations occur near a source of food and reliable water sources
ClutterStorage Rooms, Attics, and GaragesKeep areas for long-term storage neat and use repellents and other pest-deterring methods when needed, as these are common places for a female roach to lay cockroach eggs, as is common with the German cockroach

Are Any Chemicals Released When Cockroaches Die?

A half-squashed cockroach or even one that is completely crushed can invite other roaches to the area. Deceased cockroaches from blunt trauma can signal to hungry cockroaches that food is available and may bring many roaches and other insects to the area if not disposed of properly.

Nearby roaches will not come out to attack as fellow hive-mind insects such as ants or bees would, but most roach species will eat the dead bodies of roaches when other food sources are scarce. 

Can a Cockroach Lay Eggs as it Dies?

Crushing a cockroach to death releases chemicals, but it can also let out eggs if the female roach that is killed was carrying them. These eggs, depending on the stage of maturity, could become baby cockroaches and cockroach nymphs and grow into full adult cockroaches.

In most cases, the eggs will be crushed as well, but sometimes they make it and hatch. It is important to immediately dispose of crushed roaches and clean the spot where they died to prevent attracting other roaches and avoid eggs hatching. 

Can I Kill and Dispose of a Roach without Attracting Others?

Dead Cockroach

If you are dismayed that crushing a roach will bring others and even signal a cockroach infestation, do not fret, as there are plenty of ways to wipe these pests out without bringing more.

The most common ways are with sprays and chemicals that linger and can accumulate in the flesh of pests like cockroaches. Check out the options below to kill roaches without bringing others.

Food Bait

Often a boric acid mixture, food like peanut butter, is mixed with the poison and attracts the roaches. Once they eat, the poison works on their digestive system, and they die quickly. As they die, the neighboring roaches can sense the toxins, which they will avoid preventing them from eating the corpse of their fallen comrade. 

Commercial Cockroach Spray

These sprays will kill roaches and provide a lingering effect in the area for several hours. A spray with residual properties can keep places like baseboards and under kitchen appliances roach-free for days. The smell and chemicals will prevent roaches from coming to consume the body as they know it will harm them too.

Make sure to dispose of poisoned roaches quickly, as pets and other animals can eat them and get sick. 

Natural Remedies

Anything from repellent sprays like peppermint or a sprinkling of DE to anything that kills or keeps roaches away on contact will also work on keeping corpses unappetizing.

Oleic acid is not released under these conditions, and there will be a little draw for other pests to come and feed. The remaining natural remedies will also work to keep pests away for a period of time. If you crush a roach, more will come, but these remedies will keep your dead roach solitary and prevent infestations from moving to where you are trying to remove roaches. 

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