Eliminate Pests For Good and Get Your Home Back.
Find a licensed local exterminator specializing in your needs
Compare the best prices in your area
Book your local exterminator and eliminate pests for good

What Do Cockroaches Eat?

Affiliate banner

Pest Control Geek is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Cockroaches are the thing of most people’s nightmares. This is because these pesky insects invade homes and hide in the crevices without you ever knowing about them. 

But what do they eat? Can you remove these items from your kitchen and cause cockroaches to leave on their own? Unfortunately, you cant. 

Cockroaches are omnivores, which means they eat both animals and plants. The reality is that cockroaches eat almost any type of food. Any human food, crumbs, and even garbage is a potential food source for cockroaches.  

Five main staples will attract cockroaches to your home: 

  • Starches 
  • Sugar
  • Meat 
  • Grease
Let’s dive in to determine the things that cockroaches are most likely to eat inside your home. 

1. Starches

Starches are one of the food items that will attract cockroaches the most. Food such as bread, noodles, rice, cornmeal, and oats are easy for cockroaches to eat. This makes them highly attractive to cockroaches.

Another common reason cockroaches like starches is that foods with high starch content tend to leave lots of crumbs.

This makes it a food that often gets left behind and allows cockroaches to come and start eating.

Cockroaches enjoy starches so much that when there is a lack of food, they will eat items that contain cellulose. Cellulose is a starch found in paper products such as cardboard boxes and paper.

2. Sugar

Sugar is another highly attractive to cockroaches. Cockroaches will seek out sugary items nearly anywhere. 

We often don’t realize we leave sugar behind, but cockroaches will feed on stains, sticky residue leftover from soda, juice, or other sugary drinks.

You must seal and sugary items, including snacks or pure sugar.

The best way to store food to prevent cockroaches from accessing it include zip lock bags or airtight containers.

Another common food item that is high in sugar that we often don’t store properly is fruit. Your fruit bowl could be feeding cockroaches inside your home.

Cockroaches can’t eat the skin of the fruit. But if there is a puncture or the fruit begins to rot, they can eat it.

Remember to place the fruit in the fridge or in a bowl with a lid to prevent cockroaches from accessing your fruit.

3. Grease

Yes, cockroaches will also eat grease. Grease is a great source of energy for cockroaches. The one thing that makes grease difficult to prevent cockroaches from eating is that it’s hard to clean.

It also tends to leave small amounts in locations that are difficult to see or clean.

Even though it’s hard to clean, cockroaches will gladly consume grease. Typical areas you will find grease include a stovetop, microwave, kitchen counters, small crevices near stoves, inside the oven, near refrigerators, and oil or grease bottles.

It’s important that you thoroughly wipe down surfaces that might have grease. It’s also important to try to clean those small crevices or gaps frequently. You can also apply

It’s effortless for cockroaches to fit in small crevices and feed on the grease.

A great way to make cleaning faster and easier to spot is use disposable stove covers that you can  easily remove and clean in the dishwasher. There are also disposable stove covers but these can be wasteful and expensive if you cook often.

4. Meat

Meat is another food source that cockroaches are highly attracted to. Studies show that cockroaches can detect the smell of meat both cooked and uncooked with great precision.

Whether you are preparing or cooking meat, you mustn’t leave it exposed where cockroaches can get it.

Cockroaches will eat meat when they can. This is especially important if you leave your meat to rest, thawing out meat, or just finished cooking.

Be sure that you cover your meat adequately so that cockroaches can’t walk over it. If you are leaving your food overnight or unattended for an extended period during the day, it’s imperative to make sure the food is adequately covered.

It’s also crucial that you pick up and clean any small pieces of meat that you might drop while cooking. If there are small crumbs of food, cockroaches will seek it out.

4. Rotting Food

Just because your food is rotting away or spoiled does not mean that cockroaches won’t eat it. As we mentioned before, cockroaches will eat anything.

Starches that are starting to rot or mold, such as rice or bread, are still just as attractive to cockroaches. The same goes for fruit or vegetables that are beginning to rot. Likewise, cockroaches will still eat rotting meat or other proteins.

This is why it’s essential to always throw away rotting food in a sealed garbage bag or can.

5. Garbage

Our garbage is like a pot of gold to cockroaches. Inside they can find nearly every type of food they consume.

Sugars, starches, grease, meat, and even rotting food all end up in the garbage. Cockroaches are highly attracted to trash cans.

This makes it very important that you remove the garbage from your home daily. If you don’t remove it daily, your trash can have a lid to prevent cockroaches from getting inside.

Your garbage bins outside are just as important. Make sure you always close them and that everything makes it inside the garbage bin.

Cockroach infestation starts outside. Once they find a food source outside your home in the trash, they will inevitably try to enter your home and look for shelter and food.

Always close your garbage bins properly, and don’t leave any trash exposed around your home.

6. Feces

Yes, cockroaches will eat feces. Feces are packed with nutrients and energy that cockroaches will use to survive.

This means that cockroaches will feed on dogs, cats, and even rodent droppings when they are available.

It’s important if you’ve had a previous rodent infestation that you thoroughly clean all feces from your home. Leaving the feces can attract cockroaches, and the rodent feces can help them survive for an extended period.

If you have pets such as dogs, it’s vital that you properly dispose of any feces around your yard. This can attract nearby cockroaches to your home.

Once cockroaches are outside your home, they will try to enter your home for shelter and food.

Likewise, if you have cats, you must clean their litter boxes frequently. Leaving their feces inside the litter box overnight or for extended periods can allow cockroaches to feed on it.

7. Pet Food

Pet food is often overlooked as a source of food for cockroaches. It offers a nutrient-rich source of food that is high in protein.

If you keep your dog indoors, you must store your dog’s food properly. This is also important if you store your dog’s food outdoors.

As an alternative, you can use an insect-proof dog bowl. This will either prevent insects from crawling into both your dog’s food and water bowls.

You also want to make sure you close the bag properly after serving your pet. The best way to do this is to store your dog’s food in an airtight container. Dog food bags leave your food vulnerable to cockroaches and other insects such as ants.

8. Cellulose / Paper Products

Cellulose is a type of scratch that is found in most paper products such as cardboard boxes, books, paper, and even playing cards.

If cockroaches are not able to find food, they will resort to eating cellulose products without hesitation. They’ve been known to feed on food packaging, book bindings, and even playing cards that are stored away.

Keep cellulose products to a minimum. If you have old storage boxes, make sure they are covered and stored away properly.

Keep these away from other food sources or water sources. This will reduce the chance that they try to feed on any cellulose you have inside your home.

How Long Can Cockroaches survive without food?

Cockroaches can survive without food for approximately one month. As long as cockroaches have water they will survive for as long as one month.

Without water, cockroaches can only survive around one week.

What do roaches eat if nothing else is around?

If there is no food to eat around cockroaches will likely resort to eating any cellulose they can find. This can be glue, book bindings, paper, cardboard, or anything else.

If there are no sources of cellulose cockroaches will begin eating one another.

Are Cockroaches A Signs Your House Is Dirty?

Cockroaches are more common in dirty houses because there are typically more places to hide and more food available. But, clean houses can also have cockroaches. There are a few reasons that you can have cockroaches in your house even if you have a clean home 

  • Your region
  • Open food container
  • Easy entry points 
  • Waer source is present 
  • Unmaintained garden 
  • Open trash bins 
  • Cockroach hitchhiked into your home 
  • Unconventional food sources are present 
  • Clutter is providing easy shelter 

Do Roaches Eat Other Roaches?

Yes, roaches will eat other roaches. If there is not enough food to support the infestation cockroaches will begin eating one another.

This typically starts with adult cockroaches attaching the immature nymphs and eggs of other cockroaches. If the lack of food continues adults will begin eating other adults as well.

Cockroaches will eat each other if another cockroach is already dead. It’s quite common for cockroaches to feed on the dead carcasses of the other members

With sufficient food, cockroaches will not attack or eat one another.

Do Cockroaches Eat Bed Bugs?

Yes, cockroaches have been documented eating bed bugs and their eggs. Although they eat bed bugs, they aren’t a reliable method to eliminate bed bugs.

Cockroaches and bed bugs don’t interact with each other often. Bed bugs are typically found in bedrooms and living rooms. In contrast, cockroaches are commonly found in kitchens and restrooms.

As a result, cockroaches don’t eat bed bugs too often, even if they are infesting the same home.

Do cockroaches eat spiders?

Yes, cockroaches can eat smaller spiders. Cockroaches eating spiders is a bit uncommon. It’s more likely that cockroaches would feed on the remains of dead spiders rather than live spiders.

Many spiders will actively hunt cockroaches if they share the same habitat. 

In fact, many people try to introduce spiders or leave current spiders in their homes if they have cockroaches to help control the population.

Do cockroaches bite?

Yes, cockroaches can and will bite humans. While roaches can and will bite humans, it’s highly unlikely that they will bite you.

Roaches prefer not to bite humans but will do so if there are no other food resources around.

On very rare occasions they will eat traces of food on your face and fingers.

And when desperate, they will eat your fingernails and eyelashes.

Roaches will typically bite people if there are large infestations, there isn’t sufficient food, and they come in direct contact with people.

Do cockroaches eat paper?

Yes, cockroaches do eat paper. Papers can sustain themselves on the glucose inside the paper.

Cockroaches tend to target paper with glue or other starches attached for additional nutrients. This can include mail, envelopes, or books.

Do cockroaches eat dog food?

Yes, cockroaches will gladly eat dog food if it’s outside or inside. Dog food provides a rich source of food that is packed with protein and other nutrients that will supply cockroaches with plenty of energy.

If you have dogs make sure you store their food in an airtight container and use an insect-resistant dog bowl that will prevent them from climbing up and eating their food.

Do Cockroaches Eat Peanut Butter?

Yes, cockroaches eat peanut butter. The strong smell, high protein content, and ease of eating make it a perfect food source for cockroaches.

This is one of the reasons many pest control companies use peanut butter flavor or scent on their glue boards and other traps.

Do Cockroaches Eat Tea?

No, cockroaches don’t generally eat tea leaves. Cockroaches prefer decaying leaves rather than dried tea leaves. 

Cockroaches may drink tea if you leave small puddles. This is especially true if you add honey, sugar, or milk to the tea since the cockroaches will be attracted to the sugar content in the tea.

What do cockroaches eat in the wild?

In the wild cockroaches will eat decaying or decomposing organic material as well as dead insects. Common food options for cockroaches in the wild include decaying plants, leaves, or bark. 

Cockroaches are common in suburban and city which means they often target trash cans and sewers to survive.  

Sewers and trash cans can provide cockroaches with more than enough water and food options to grow large populations. 

Do cockroaches eat ants?

Cockroaches don’t eat live ants. Since ants are small and fast and can retaliate back they tend to avoid eating live ants.

Cockroaches will eat dead ants. If you’ve had ants in the past you might want to make sure you clean up and dead ants in your home. 

These dead ants can provide sustenance to cockroaches for a long period of time. 

Do cockroaches eat plastics?

Cockroaches are not capable of eating plastic. Plastic is too hard to bite through for cockroaches. They may target plastis with food or stains to eat from but they can’t damage most plastics. 

Do cockroaches eat silverfish?

Yes, cockroaches frequently eat silverfish. Since these insects are so small and tend to hide in the same areas as cockroaches they tend to come in contact frequently. 

Since silversih are so small cockroaches have no issue getting on top and consuming them. 

Do cockroaches eat clothes?

Cockroaches don’t typically consume fabric for nutrition. If there are food stains on fabric they will eat at the stains. 

When they do eat from the stains of  fabric they can leave small holes as well as more stains. 

Cockroaches won’t target the clean clothes in your closet or dresser but they may target your dirty clothes in search of stains or wet clothes. 

Leave a Comment