Are Cockroaches Attracted to Light?

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Most cockroach species, especially those who visit our homes, are nocturnal. Being active at night gives them an evolutionary advantage – they are far more likely to stay alive while the biggest danger to their existence (read “humans) is asleep.

This is also part of why you rarely see any roaches during the day, and you notice them almost exclusively at night. The peculiar adaptive mechanism of these pesky insects is also the cause of their ever-expanding infestations. If only we could find out we had a cockroach infestation sooner, we would be able to get rid of them promptly.

There are species of cockroaches who prefer the daytime, but they differ from what most people imagine when the word “cockroach” is mentioned. Some colourful and beautiful species thrive during the day and are only found in nature. In other words, their natural habitat would not allow them to survive in human settlements.

Are cockroaches attracted or afraid of light?

There is a lot of conflicting information on the topic online, and many publications would lead you to believe that cockroaches are afraid of light, which is not true. Yes, most species prefer dark places. They have evolved to “know” being in the shadows in small, narrow places is beneficial for their survival. It also makes breeding easier and hoarding food – a lot simpler. That being said, there is no evidence to suggest they fear the light, and if driven to the brink of survival (or overpopulation), they go out during the day.

Their propensity to seek damp and dark places does not automatically mean they are afraid of the light, as some people would assume.

We’ve all experienced the “amazing” sensation of flipping the light switch on and having a bunch of small black raisins running around in terror. It’s an unpleasant occurrence, which causes many people to (inaccurately) believe that cockroaches are afraid of the light, which is not the case. Leaving the light on would only affect your electricity bill and won’t prevent the cockroaches from entering the room.

Read more: 13 Interesting Facts About the Australian Cockroach

Cockroaches are scared of the sudden shift in the environment, which causes them to run in disarray. They don’t know what will happen, so they panic and run for safety (and safety is in the shadows, as they instinctively know).

Which cockroaches are attracted to light?

We mentioned already that some cockroach species are attracted to light (which is rare). The most prominent example would be Asian cockroaches. They are a nocturnal flying insect (which would suggest they are not attracted to direct sunlight but rather moonlight) and many people’s worst nightmare. Because they confuse other light sources with the moon, they might enter your home if you have your TV or a light on.

Asian cockroaches breed just as quickly as other species and have absolutely no qualms about making your home their permanent residence. Only it’s a lot harder to kill a cockroach with a slipper when they can fly.

What to do if you spot a cockroach in your home

In any case, if you spot cockroaches in your home, don’t dismiss it. An infestation can be caused by a single cockroach. The female ones carry oothecae (egg capsules) which hold between 14 and 48 eggs and you don’t want that anywhere near your home. If you already have this problem, contact professional pest control to locate the cockroach nest and eradicate the pests.

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