Roaches are known to hide in the darkest corners of the house, and they scurry off when you shine a light onto them.
But why do they do this? Are they afraid of the light? Or do they just hate it?
Read on to find out why roaches hate light and if you can use electricity to protect your home against them.
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Roaches have evolved to hide in brightly lit places to avoid danger.
Roaches are nocturnal
Roaches are not really afraid of light. In fact, a lot of them just don’t like bright things because of how they live.
Most roach species are nocturnal. According to Health Clover, these insects are dormant during daytime, and they’re only active for about four hours at night. They will not go out looking for food unless they absolutely need to.
So from a biological standpoint, roaches are most comfortable living in the darkness. It’s only natural for these insects to scatter when there’s light on them.
They avoid light for survival
Avoiding bright areas in a territory can be the difference between life and death for a cockroach. It’s all about stealth and being inconspicuous. If you view roaches’ aversion to light from a practical point of view, you’ll realize that they’ve evolved to look at light as some kind of danger warning.
A lot of bigger predators can spot them when it’s bright. And since this insect has been around for 300 million years, the light aversion strategy has somehow been proven to work for them. They go about their business feeding, foraging and mating without being disturbed in the dark.
Wood roaches love light
Since we mentioned that most roach species are averse to light, it only makes sense to talk about the outlier species that love it.
Wood roaches are a few species of cockroaches that are not only comfortable with brightly lit environments, they’re even attracted to it.
These roaches enter a house when they see it lit, gathering near windows and doors. They’re originally outdoor roaches, but they can live inside a house looking for food, warmer temperatures and light.
If you want to know more about these insects, check out our guide to wood roaches here.
Using light to repel roaches
Yes. You can actually use good old electricity to ward off most roaches. All you have to do is put them in the right places. It is possible. However, it comes with a lot of disadvantages and not to mention only a small possibility of ever being effective.
What some homeowners do is install light strips inside their kitchen cabinets or cupboards to keep them lit. You can also have your lights turned on overnight to discourage roaches from coming out to forage. But using this much power will most probably triple your electricity bill. And when push comes to shove, hungry roaches will eventually get out of their hiding places and scurry into bright rooms to look for something to eat.
So unless your house has other means of getting energy, we don’t recommend using light to repel roaches.
Overall, the reasons that explain why roaches hate light are very simple. It turns out that most of them are just averse to bright fluorescents and glowing light bulbs because of how they live. They’re nocturnal and prefer to live in darkness. And just because you don’t see them around, doesn’t mean that they aren’t there creeping in your kitchen at night.