How to Get Rid of Cockroaches in Books For Long Time

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Do you have cockroaches in your home? If so, there must be a likelihood of their presence in your books and bookshelves. As books provide the best place for cockroaches to hide, they used to infest them. Now, you may wonder; how to get rid of cockroaches in books.

Getting rid of cockroaches in books is not a challenging task. You can do so by adopting some natural ways. These include essential oils, catnip, borax, boric acid, and soapy water. Moreover, regular cleaning of your bookshelves will also help in removing cockroaches.

Read the tips below to learn more about; how to prevent cockroaches and why they reside in books.

Do Cockroaches Hide In Books?

Yes, cockroaches love to hide in your books. According to the Journal Progress in Organic Coatings, paper is made using starch. As books are a rich source of starch, cockroaches’ saliva turns it into glucose to fulfill nourishment. Moreover, the book’s glue and covering are all edible for cockroaches.

Cockroaches may hide behind a bookshelf to avoid being observed by predators if they can’t locate a better place to reside. Additionally, some cockroaches use the smell of books to find their food. Thus, piles of books make an excellent shelter for cockroaches.

Do Cockroaches Like To Eat Books?

Yes, cockroaches are very fond of eating books. Cockroaches eat books because they are rich in cellulose and carbohydrates, which they need to survive. Because they can break down cellulose, cockroaches can consume things like paper and glue.

Furthermore, giant cockroaches may rip off books and papers due to powerful biting mandibles. Thus, books might not be the first option for cockroaches to eat, they eat them when they can’t find anything to consume.

Signs of Eaten Books By Cockroaches

If a cockroach eats your books, you can recognize it by finding the below signs on your books.

Important Signs

  • A cockroach-eaten book may have ragged corners, holes, and biting marks.
  • There may be a depression in your book.
  • If you look at your book at a distance, it may look like a mold.
  • And when you look closely, you may find several biting marks on your book.
  • If your book has a leather covering, cockroaches may remove its layer by damaging the fiber.
  • You can find cockroach droppings around your books that match their hue.
  • Additionally, cockroach-eaten books have a special chemical attar that attracts other cockroaches by releasing pheromones.

[11] Methods to Keep Cockroaches Away from Your Books

If cockroaches infest your books and bookshelves, you can remove them by following the below tips.

Clean Your Books Regularly

One of the best ways for removing cockroaches is to clean your books regularly. You can clean your books using soft brushes, cotton swabs, and a soft cloth. If you find any droppings of cockroaches inside your books, remove them immediately to prevent further infestation.

Furthermore, you should clean or dust your bookshelves once a day to remove dust particles, skin, or droppings of cockroaches.

Use Catnip

Use Catnip

Catnip consists of a substance, nepetalactone, and blocks the senses of cockroaches. According to the African Journals Online, catnip has a capacity of 86% to repel cockroaches. Thus, you can place it around your home or on bookshelves to deter cockroaches.

To deter cockroaches, spread some catnip in different locations within your bookshelves. Moreover, you can prepare your catnip sachets with dried catnip and put them in your bookcase to prevent cockroaches.

Use Boric Acid

Boric Acid

Boric acid is one of the powerful repellents to deter cockroaches. You can use it by mixing 1 tablespoon of boric acid, wheat flour, and sugar. After that, spread this mixture in and around your bookshelves to deter cockroaches. The cockroaches will become poisonous after ingesting the boric acid and eventually die.

Sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth


Diatomaceous earth is another naturally occurring cockroach repellent that kills them with its sharp edges. The edges cut through a cockroach’s shell, absorbing its vital oils and lipids and causing dehydration, which results in death. You can employ to kill cockroaches by spreading a small amount of diatomaceous earth around your bookshelves.

Employ Cayenne Pepper

 Cayenne Pepper

Another way to remove cockroaches from your bookshelves is cayenne pepper. As it has a strong scent, cockroaches can’t bear its smell and leave the place where the cayenne pepper is present. The easiest way to use cayenne pepper is to mix 15-20 drops of its essential oil into water, then sprinkle this solution around your bookshelves to ward off cockroaches.

Use Soapy Water to Kill cockroaches

Soapy Water

Soapy water is a quick means of removing cockroaches. You prepare your soapy water by adding 10-20 drops of liquid soap in water, mixing it well then spraying it directly on a cockroach to kill it. Furthermore, you may sprinkle this combination around your bookcases to prevent further cockroach infestation. But make sure that water should not fall on books directly.

Store Your Books in Plastic Containers

Store Your Books in Plastic Containers

The best remedy for anything is precautions, and storing books in a plastic container is one of them. If you have a large cockroach infestation inside your bookshelves, you can protect your books from cockroaches by storing them in a plastic box. Remember that, always keep your books in a plastic container rather than a cardboard box because cockroaches may get your books by eating the cardboard.

Remove Your Books from the Ground

Remove Your Books from the Ground

As cockroaches are more like to roam on the ground, you can protect your books by keeping them off your floor. Additionally, putting books on shelves maintain clean and clear floors. No doubt cockroaches can climb the bookshelves, but the stack of books on the ground makes it easier for them to reach their destination.

Place Your Books in Dry Areas

Place Your Books in Dry Areas

A moist book can result in a cockroach infestation because water is a major lure for cockroaches. To prevent this, try to keep books out of your home’s basement or attic because they are prone to extreme temperature and humidity changes. Moreover, you use a dehumidifier to remove the humidity around your bookcase to prevent cockroaches.

Keep Edibles Away from Your Books

Keep Edibles Away from Your Books

Food is a major cockroach attraction, especially when it is left out and accessible. Avoid storing a lot of food around your books or bookshelves. Moreover, if you must have a few snacks close at hand for reading periods, store them in sealed containers and clean the area after eating. In this way, cockroaches will stay away from your books.

Wipe Out Any Dampness from Books

Severe dampness on your books may result in a mold that not only attracts cockroaches but also destroy your books. To prevent a cockroach problem, thoroughly clean any books having mold or moisture damage. Moreover, wipe your books regularly using a smooth brush. It will keep your books dry and keep cockroaches at bay from them.

Inspect Your Books for the Signs of Cockroach Presence

This step is best to take early action. You can check the signs of cockroach presence, including red or brown spots on your book tops, particularly close to the bindings, and droppings on your bookcase. Furthermore, torn pages and eaten edges of books may also be an indication of cockroaches’ presence.

Hence, you may take prompt action to stop a cockroach infestation by keeping an eye out for these indicators.

Take Help From Professional Pest Controllers

If you have a severe cockroach infestation and the above strategies are not showing significant results, you can ask for help from professional pest controllers. They remove cockroaches by first looking at the space, and then they use certain tactics to remove cockroaches or other pests. 

How to Remove Cockroaches Poop Stains From Books?

Brown stains from cockroach waste can be seen on books, mainly on the fore borders or the portion of the book facing the spine. These spots may be little speckles or as big as a quarter to a half inch in length. If you find such stains on your books, you can remove them by following the below steps.

Quick Steps

  • First, hold the book in your hand, then use a soft brush to remove dust from the edges.
  • After that use an eraser to remove any spots by keeping the book in your hand.
  • Now, soak a cotton swab in household bleach and pat it on stains. Dry it gently.
  • If the bleach doesn’t work, gently massage the edges with fine sandpaper.
  • Moreover, you can remove droppings by dusting your books with a soft cotton cloth.
  • Remember, if your book has a hard covering, use a gum eraser to remove droppings rather than bleach.


Why Are Cockroaches Attracted to Books?

Cockroaches are attracted to books because they offer food and a place to hide. They fulfill their hunger by digesting the starch of the paper. cockroaches consume the glue and other organic components that are present in your books. Moreover, cockroaches may be drawn to damp books more easily because of their potent odors.

Do Cockroaches Infest Books?

Yes, cockroaches can infest your books. The main reason behind this is the presence of extreme dampness on your books and uncleanliness. Moreover, if you used to eat while reading books, cockroaches may attack your book to feast on leftover food crumbs. Therefore, you must keep your books dry and clean to prevent a cockroach infestation.

Do Cockroaches Lay Eggs In Books?

Yes, books or bookshelves are one of the most common places for cockroaches to lay eggs. Your books might be the ideal environment for cockroaches because they used to lay their eggs in dimly lit, moist areas. Moreover, since books are rich in starch and cellulose, cockroaches prefer to lay their eggs in books besides getting food.

Bottom Line

Even though cockroaches rarely hide in books, if they do so, it will be challenging to get rid of them. If you find cockroaches in your books, then you must have a severe infestation. However, you can protect your books from cockroaches by regular cleaning, using natural cockroach repellents, and placing your books in dry areas. 

Hopefully, the above guidelines will help you a lot in removing cockroaches from your books or bookcase. Above all, if you have an overwhelming cockroach presence in your home or your bookshelves, ask for help from a professional pest control company for immediate action.


Haiming Li, Yungeng Qi, Yongxian Zhao, Jimei Chi, Shijie Cheng, Starch and its derivatives for paper coatings: A review, Progress in Organic Coatings, Volume 135,
2019, Pages 213-227, ISSN 0300-9440.