Do dead cockroaches attract more cockroaches? Well…Yes and No

Ever noticed several live cockroaches congregating around a dead one? Maybe you thought this one some kind of bizarre insect funeral. In article I’ll show you exactly why live cockroaches are attracted to a dead one.

Do dead cockroaches attract more cockroaches? Yes, they absolutely do! A dead cockroach releases oleic acid when they die. This has a pungent smell which intern attracts other cockroaches.

That being said, there’s waaaaay more to this question than a simple answer paragraph. Keep reading and I’ll share some surprises I found during my research. I think you’ll find them interesting…

Why does this question get asked a lot?

The question gets asked a lot because people are curious and are finding ways to eradicate cockroaches.

A cockroach gets attracted to the scent of dead cockroaches for a number of reasons. Because the smell released when they die is unique and fairly pungent they can smell it from a distance.

Those motivation can stem from huis also no issue of them eating one of their comrades when there is no available food for them to forage on. They are not picky at all, so their next of kin could be the next dinner for them.

So, if they placed poison in locations where these critters are seen, some people will think if other cockroaches will find it and feast on the bait and then they’ll die, is it right to think that other cockroaches will eat the cockroaches that died?

Is it the sign of an infestation?

Finding just one cockroach is already a sign there are more of them hiding in dark spaces.

Physically seeing a roach may or may not be a sign of infestation, yet.

You may surprisingly find them in areas where there is moisture, or it must be spaces in your home that are not usually checked on. They reproduce quickly, and if there is an available food to nibble on, they will thrive in your home.

If you are not sure if it is a sign of infestation, you may need to check on some things such as the smell of dark spaces in your home, does a putrid and pungent smell emanate from it? Some kind of musty odor, perhaps? These are also signs, there are more of them hiding in your home.

Another clue is in finding egg roach on the floor or in hidden corners, or areas. It is the brown and oblong casing that is usually left behind by other species of cockroaches, while for other cockroaches, they usually carry these eggs with them.

Finding roach feces that look like specks of coffee or tiny pellets. When you find these large amounts, these are a sure sign that there is a cockroach infestation in your home.

Is this something I should worry about?

It is worrisome to see cockroaches in your home. You may even imagine them feeding at night, crawling to your dining table, to your dining wares and glasses, such a nightmare!

You may ask yourself, where did you go wrong? You clean daily, and you also make sure that there are no cracks or holes in the wall or even on your door where these pests can enter. But this is just a normal reaction to finding these crawly creatures.

They come into your home looking for food, if there is no garbage outside to scavenge on, they will look for houses where there is easy access.

If you forget to take out your trash at night and forget to clean your sink with the left-over crumbs, or you just let an open container of food sitting on the dining table, these should be something that will call on them to get in your home.

They are also very versatile and can tune in to water resources. They love moisture as well, so if you have leaky pipes or faucet, these must be fixed.

You will see them in the bathroom, laundry rooms, under the fridge, in your basement, or any place that has less to no activity.

Cockroaches live in groups, and they will hide during the day and will feed during night time. They will hide in any hidden corners and in the little cracks on your wall, even more under the sink.

They cannot live without water for a week and can survive without food for a few weeks.

What can I do if I find a bunch of dead cockroaches?

Don’t panic cause cockroaches are common, and there are a few solutions available to extinguish them (the rest of the live ones) permanently in your home.

You need to clean up the deceased cockroaches, and then you must remove all water sources where the rest of the cockroaches can drink from.

Clean the space under the sink, clean your floors, stoves, every nook, and cranny in your home.

You can spray insecticide for the meantime while you are waiting for professional help.

It is difficult to exterminate them and keep them away from your home. It requires expert knowledge of the cockroaches’ nature to make them leave for good.

Incidentally we have an entire article dedicated to setting up borax powder traps. It’s focused on cockroaches check it out here:

Boric Acid and Peanut Butter – The Perfect Bait Box for Roaches

Should I call an exterminator?

You may call an exterminator once you find a pile of dead cockroaches in your home. This is a sign that there are many of them living with you.

Exterminators can prepare a gel bait to kill these cockroaches effectively, they will also know where to place these baits. They will make sure to check every corner and hidden spots in your home to find these pests.

Exterminators also have different types of pesticides to choose from, so that when one didn’t work that well, there are more options to finally eliminate the other cockroaches.

Some pesticides may pose a threat to humans and the environment though, so they require extra care.

Exterminators can only do so much, a homeowner must also do their share to make sure that the cockroaches will no longer return to their home, some preventive steps are also necessary, such as

  • Repairing any water leaks in faucets and water pipes
  • Sealing any cracks in walls or under the sink
  • Removing water source or any signs of moisture
  • Cleaning the kitchen and countertops every after a meal
  • Sweeping and vacuuming for food crumbs on the floor
  • Cleaning the surroundings.

Do cockroaches eat dead cockroaches?

Cockroaches have a healthy appetite and will also eat their own kind. If there is no other available food for them, their kind will look like steak and will be devoured on.

If there is also no available food source for cockroaches and their population has outgrown their source of food, they will eat anything that is available- a dead cockroach is one of them.

Can cockroaches smell dead cockroaches?

Roaches have a musty and powerful odor. You will surely know when there are roaches in your home because of the funky scent that they produce.

Cockroaches can smell these cockroaches from afar, most especially that dead roaches produce a certain odor when they decompose. Such smell will remain in the air for long.

If more roaches are attracted to the dead roach, what should I do?

It is time for you to buy baits to make sure that the other roach will also die. Sprays can kill cockroaches, but they tend to get immune to it after a few sprays.

The best option may be pesticides that they can eat, some baits can be bought in the market containing boric acid or borax. This is used to make food bait for them and is fatal when ingested.

So, even when they eat their kind, who may have died from ingesting the boric acid mixture, they too can die from it. It is usually mixed with flour and spread to places where you can find them: e.g. Under the sink and fridge, gaps in the wall, cracks in the tile, etc.

Again, if all else fails, it is time to call the professional exterminator who can do better.

Do cockroaches play dead?

They are also outstanding actors cause they can stay still for long if they sense danger. They will roll on their back to make it look as if they are already dead.

They even have feet movement as if they are having their last breath, but in truth, they will scuttle away to safety once they detect that the coast is clear.

They can also hold their breath for a few minutes, so if you are thinking of just drowning some cockroaches you caught lurking in your home, better think again cause they will be running off once they see that it is safe.

Maybe if there is no other option, you can just step on them before they can scamper to safety.

If you’re enjoying this article and want to learn more about how to control pest infestiations in your home and garden, then we have an entire section of school of bugs dedicated to this.

Pest Category

What chemicals do they release when they die?

If the question pops up, “do dead cockroaches attract more cockroaches?” the answer would be yes, cause roaches releases a chemical called oleic acid, and this is also the smell that is pungent and moldy in quality. This is also how other roaches can smell dead cockroaches from afar.

The smell can linger in the air for a long period and can affect all the other things surrounding them. So if a cockroach died under the sink and you have things you are hiding in there, there is a big probability that all of it will stink as well.

What is the role of cockroaches on earth?

We think cockroaches exist because they are made to pester us and make our lives uncomfortable. But cockroaches play a vital role in the process of decomposition, just that they should decay outside our home instead of inside it.

The garden soil, perhaps so they can fortify the soil with nutrients once their dead body decays.

They are not supposed to be boarding with humans inside their homes, but outside and presenting an important part in the food chain, making their species essential on earth.

If you want to learn more about various insects, then checkout our site categories, we have a bunch of articles there that are totally worth reading:

Pest Category






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All the best


Steve Foster

Mad about bugs and wanting to publish as many articles as I can to help educate people about these amazing beautiful creatures! For more info check out my about page

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