Do Cardboard Boxes Attract Bugs?

Why Cardboard Boxes Attract Pests

In both homes and businesses, cardboard boxes are a common storage solution due to their availability and cost-effectiveness. However, many aren’t aware that these handy storage containers can also attract a variety of pests. Understanding the relationship between cardboard boxes and pest attraction is crucial for effective pest control and maintaining a clean, eco-friendly environment. Here’s what you need to know about cardboard box bugs and how to mitigate their presence.

Material Composition

Cardboard is made from cellulose, a plant-based material that many pests find appetizing. Certain bugs, such as silverfish, cockroaches, and termites, are drawn to cellulose as a food source. These pests can chew through cardboard, causing damage to both the boxes and the items stored inside.

Humidity and Moisture

Cardboard can absorb and retain moisture from the environment, which creates an inviting habitat for pests. Many bugs thrive in humid conditions, and the moisture in cardboard can provide the perfect microenvironment for them to live and breed.

Hiding Places

The corrugated structure of cardboard offers an ideal hiding spot for pests. The layers and fluting within the cardboard provide shelter and security for bugs, making it difficult to detect their presence until an infestation has occurred.

Common Pests Attracted to Cardboard Boxes


Cockroaches are perhaps the most notorious pests associated with cardboard boxes. They are attracted to the glue used in cardboard, which often contains starch, a food source for these pests. Once they infest an area, cockroaches can be challenging to eradicate.


Silverfish are attracted to paper products, including cardboard, because they feed on starches and cellulose. These pests are particularly fond of damp cardboard, which provides both a food source and a humid environment.


While termites generally prefer wood, they can also be attracted to other cellulose-based materials like cardboard. Storing cardboard boxes in basements or garages can inadvertently invite termites into your home, potentially leading to more significant structural damage.


While spiders do not feed on cardboard, they are often found in boxes because they hunt other insects that may be living there. The presence of spiders can indicate a broader pest problem within stored items.

Tips for Preventing Pest Infestations in Cardboard Boxes

Use Plastic Storage Bins

One of the most effective ways to avoid pests in stored items is to use plastic storage bins instead of cardboard boxes. Plastic bins with tight-sealing lids can prevent pests from accessing the contents and do not provide a food source or suitable habitat for most bugs.

Keep Storage Areas Dry and Clean

Maintain low humidity levels in storage areas such as basements, attics, and garages. Use dehumidifiers if necessary, and ensure these areas are clean and free from debris that could attract pests.

Regularly Inspect and Rotate Boxes

Periodically inspect stored cardboard boxes for signs of pest activity. Look for bug droppings, gnaw marks, or damaged cardboard. Rotating boxes and avoiding long-term storage of cardboard can also help minimize the risk of infestation.

Implement Eco-Friendly Pest Control Measures

If you prefer to stick with cardboard for storage, consider using eco-friendly pest control methods to protect the area. Natural repellents, such as cedar chips or essential oils (e.g., peppermint, lavender), can deter pests without the need for harsh chemicals.


While cardboard boxes are convenient and economical, they can attract various pests if not managed properly. By understanding the risks associated with storing items in cardboard and taking proactive steps to protect these areas, you can help prevent pest infestations. Opting for alternative storage solutions like plastic bins and maintaining a clean, dry environment are your best defenses against cardboard box bugs.

If you suspect your home has a pest infestation, contact ProHealth Pest Control for a consultation for fast and effective pest control services.