The Upsetting Place You Should Be Checking For Roaches

Seeing a cockroach walking around your house is always a horrifying surprise. These pests aren't only unsettling to look at, but they can transfer diseases and bacteria across your home, too. As they creep across your floors and kitchen countertops, they leave behind saliva and bowel movements, which can cause everything from E. coli outbreaks to sepsis. Cockroaches like to stay in places with easy access to food, and seeing one appear doesn't necessarily mean your house is dirty. Instead, cockroaches might be in your home because they found a dark, warm place to nest in. While you might think they're hiding under the sink or behind the fridge, one spot these bugs like might surprise you: your potted plants.

While houseplants typically don't attract cockroaches, the tough, resilient bugs (they can live without food for up to a month) will burrow into a plant's soil if the conditions are suitable. For example, roaches might not make a home out of a snake plant, a popular succulent that prefers dry conditions and living in front of a window with full sun, but there are certain potted plant varieties that the stubborn bugs will make a beeline for.

Why roaches hide in houseplants

If it's a consistently damp potted plant that prefers the shade, there's a good chance you might find roaches laying their eggs in the soil. That's because a cockroach's natural habitat is in dark and damp places. It's why you can most often find them in garages and basements.

In addition to that, if you use food scraps as fertilizer, your houseplant will become even more even more of a roach magnet; an easy food source. If this sounds like you, as surprising as it may be, you should check your plants for possible roach invaders. Some home gardeners like to reuse compost materials like eggshells and moist coffee grounds to nourish their plants with an extra boost of nitrogen and calcium. And while that's a smart way to repurpose food waste, since that's decaying food, cockroaches will see it as a promising home and move right in.

To remedy the situation, remove any food scraps from your potted plants to take away their food source. Next, to make the area less hospitable, sprinkle some food-grade diatomaceous earth on the soil and leaves of the plant to kill any eggs and discourage the roaches from returning. Diatomaceous earth is made from fossilized algae and shells, and it's naturally occurring in nature. This is a green, eco-friendly pest control powder that will dehydrate the pests once contact is made with their bodies. This effectively kills them, ridding your home of its pest issue. Once your cockroach problem has cleared, simply dust or wash the diatomaceous earth off your plant.