Cockroach Facts: What Do Roaches Eat?

Cockroaches don’t need lavish spreads of food to feed on. Stray vegetables or scraps left on dirty dishes are enough to keep them around your home.

One thing to know about roaches is that they aren’t picky eaters. In order to survive, they will get nutrients from any organic material. 

Organic material in this case extends to many things that most people wouldn’t think of as food. Cockroaches are opportunistic eaters, so there are very few items on their list that they won’t eat. Nearly everything digestible by humans can be food for roaches.

What Do Cockroaches Eat?

Cockroaches, like humans, are omnivorous creatures, meaning they eat both plants and animals. They will also branch out to items that aren’t traditionally considered food.

Depending on the environment they are living in, they will eat whatever organic material they can find that gives them the nutrients they need to survive.

Foods Roaches Eat:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Meats
  • Breads
  • Cooking Oils
  • Sugar
  • Pet Food

Other Things Roaches Eat:

  • Paint
  • Nail Clippings
  • Hair
  • Dead Skin
  • Feces
  • Leather
  • Soap
  • Toothpaste
  • Paper

Do They Have Certain Food Preferences?

There really is nothing that a roach won’t eat. However, there are certain foods that they prefer over others.

The diet of a cockroach is similar to that of a human. They prefer starchy and sugary material. Roaches will nibble on cheese, meats, pastries, grain products, sugar, and chocolate. 

If they have infested your home, you will probably find them in your kitchen or near food prep areas looking for scraps. Keep the areas where you store and prep food clean and wiped down to prevent infestations. 

Is There Anything They WON’T Eat?

While cockroaches aren’t picky, there are some things they will try to avoid.

For example, certain ingredients like cayenne pepper and lemon juice have been shown to repel roaches. They also avoid bay leaves, coffee grounds, and cucumber slices.

Cockroaches also do not consume non-organic items like metal or plastic.

What if They Can’t Find Food?

If roaches can’t find their favorite foods, unfortunately they won’t just leave. When they no longer have access the foods they typically search for, they will seek out other organic sources that aren’t considered “traditional” food items.

These adaptive creatures will snoop around your home, dig through your trash and waste, as well as in plants, soap, and makeup. They will turn to other forms of starch like book binding, paper, and wallpaper paste. 

If, for some reason, cockroaches cannot find any of these items, they will resort to eating their own eggs. They will even feed on weaker, full grown roaches. 

How Long Can Roaches Survive Without Food?

Cockroaches are hardy creatures that have the ability to survive without food for upwards of a month. However, this is only possible if they have enough water to drink.

Without water, roaches will only last a week.

Their ability to survive long periods of time without food or water is due to them being cold-blooded insects. When it gets cold and there are less food options, they will have to preserve their energy since they cannot regulate their own body temperature. Cockroaches do this by keeping their activities to a minimum.

About MMPC

Dealing with a cockroach infestation can be stressful, fortunately, MMPC is able to help! We are one of New York City’s highest-rated pest control companies, with 25+ years of experience in inspecting, controlling, and preventing pest infestations using eco-friendly methods. 

If you need help exterminating a cockroach problem in the Tri-State Area, give MMPC a call today!