Pest Away Tips

10 Things Cockroaches Eat and How to Control Them

Cockroaches have been around for millions of years, and they are known to eat just about anything in their path. From animal poop to pizza, cockroaches will feed on almost anything to survive.

In this article, we will explore the eating habits and diets of cockroaches, including what attracts them and the different species of cockroaches. What Do Cockroaches Eat?

Cockroach Eating Habits:

Contrary to what some may believe, cockroaches do not actually bite or chew their food. Instead, they have a special mouthpart called a “proboscis” which allows them to suck up liquids.

Cockroaches are attracted to food sources that are high in sugar or fat content, making them scavengers in nature. Additionally, they have been known to eat plastic and paper, making them a nuisance in homes and businesses alike.

What Attracts Roaches? Roaches are often attracted to urban areas where there are an abundance of food containers and opportunities for scavenging.

Leftover food in the refrigerator or on countertops can be an attractant, as well as sugary or fatty foods. Proper sanitation practices, such as cleaning up food spills and storing food in cockroach-proof containers, can help to deter any roach infestations.

Bed Bugs:

While bed bugs are not technically considered to be cockroaches, they are voracious eaters and can pose a threat to human health. Therefore, it is important to control bed bug populations in homes and businesses.


Crumbs left behind from cookies, or any baked goods for that matter, can attract cockroaches. Proper sanitation practices and storing food in sealed containers can help to prevent a potential roach infestation in the kitchen.

Cat Litter:

Biodegradable cat litter made of silica can be a potential attractant for cockroaches, as can any litter that has added scent or attractants. Proper litter box care and maintenance can help to avoid any roach infestations.

Animal Poop:

Dog feces, cat feces, and wee pads can all attract cockroaches due to the fecal matter and attraction to the scent. Maintaining cleanliness and properly disposing of animal waste can help to prevent any roach infestations in the home.

Food Spills:

Cockroaches are nocturnal creatures, so any food spills left overnight can be a potential attractant for them. Cleaning up spills and properly sanitizing appliances and surfaces can help to prevent infestations.


Crab infestations can sometimes attract cockroaches, particularly in areas where there is a high concentration of crab leg shells. Tomatoes:

Scavengers in nature, cockroaches are attracted to fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes.

Proper storage and disposal can help to prevent any infestations. Apples:

Sugary, countertop fruit can be a potential attractant for cockroaches.

Proper sanitation practices and storing food in sealed containers can help to prevent any potential infestations. Pizza:

Leftover pizza and other carbohydrate-rich foods can be a potential attractant for roaches.

Sanitation practices and preventing any potential food waste can help to prevent a roach infestation. Soap:

While cockroaches do not actively feed on soap, cleanliness and sanitation practices are key to preventing roach populations in the home.

Cockroaches are attracted to unsanitary environments and can easily spread disease. Miscellaneous:

Other attractants for cockroaches include bread products, peanut butter, grease, deep-fried foods, mango, dried fruits, cheese, butter, hair, and paper.

Cockroach Species and Diets:

German Cockroaches:

The German cockroach is a nocturnal scavenger and is known to eat sweets, meats, feces, and grease in order to survive. American Cockroaches:

The American cockroach is a giant scavenger and is attracted to fermented foods.

They are known for contaminating food and spreading disease. Wood Roaches:

Wood roaches are attracted to plant material and can be found eating wood, leaves, and trees.

Facultative Coprophagy:

Some cockroach species exhibit feces-eating behavior, which is thought to promote aggregation and gut bacteria attraction. Albino Roaches and Feces:

Albino roaches are transformational and are known to eat feces for nutrition.

This behavior can aid in egg-laying and colony size. Roach Cannibalism:

Cockroaches can be opportunistic feeders and will sometimes eat dead or dying prey.

This behavior can help to promote roach invasion into new environments. Cockroach Farming:

Cockroach farming is a relatively new concept, with some scientists even suggesting that cockroaches could be a potential source of protein for human consumption.

However, proper farming methods and safety precautions must be taken in order to prevent any potential health risks. Conclusion:

In conclusion, cockroaches are scavengers in nature and will eat just about anything to survive.

Proper sanitation and cleanliness practices can help to prevent any potential infestations in homes and businesses alike. Additionally, understanding the eating habits and diets of different cockroach species can help to identify potential attractants and prevent infestations from occurring.

Roaches and Household Items


Cockroaches are known to chew on plastic products, such as food containers and bags, due to the material’s strength and durability. However, if the plastic has any weak structures or is damaged, it can be easily bitten or chewed through by the roaches.


The preference for consuming wood is unique to wood roaches, who feed on tree detritus, decaying plant material, and wood. This can lead to issues in homes built with wooden structures, as infestations can weaken the wood and potentially cause structural damage.


Cockroaches can contaminate and damage eggs, as they are attracted to the bacterial presence on eggshells. Proper sanitation practices, such as washing eggs before use and storing them in clean areas, can help prevent contamination.


Cockroaches have been known to consume hair, as it contains valuable nutrients. Oily hair products can make hair more appetizing to roaches, and they may be attracted to loose hair in drains or on surfaces.

Keeping drains and surfaces clean can help prevent roach infestations. Paper:

Cockroaches are attracted to paper products, particularly those with adhesive substances.

They may also exhibit hoarding behavior with paper products. When using contact paper, caution should be taken to ensure that it is properly sealed to avoid attracting roaches.


While too much salt can be harmful to roaches, small amounts can actually be beneficial to them by causing dehydration in other pest populations, such as slugs or snails, which they can then easily consume. Dog Food:

High-fat, proteinaceous dog food can be a potential attractant for cockroaches.

Proper storage and sanitation practices, such as feeding pets in designated areas and washing out food bowls, can help prevent roach infestations. Cat Litter:

Biodegradable cat litter made of plant materials can provide nutrition sources for cockroaches, and litter boxes can sometimes become breeding grounds for roaches.

Regular cleaning and maintaining proper litter box cleanliness can help prevent infestations. Honey:

Honey contains high levels of both sugar and oil, making it a nutritious food source for insects, including cockroaches.


While soap itself is not a food source for cockroaches, any unsanitary conditions can serve as a survival tactic for the pests. Making sure to keep sinks and drainage areas clean can help prevent roach infestations.

Cockroach Behavior

Lifespan and Diet:

The American cockroach has a longer lifespan compared to other cockroach species, with individuals living up to two years. They are able to survive on a variety of food and water sources, including decaying organic material, grease, and garbage.


Coprophagy, the eating of fecal matter, is a common behavior among cockroaches. This behavior can help to recycle nutrition and can serve as a means of social signaling and mating criteria.

Roach Response to Camouflage:

Cockroaches have evolved to develop camouflaging habits, making them skilled at finding hiding spots and avoiding light. They are able to blend into their surroundings by being able to change color.

Roach Aggression:

Cockroach aggression is primarily driven by mating behavior and competitiveness. While males exhibit higher levels of aggression, females have also been shown to display aggressive behaviors.

Nocturnal Behavior:

Cockroaches are nocturnal creatures, meaning they are more active during the night when they scavenge for food and water. During the day they will hide in dark, protected areas.

Roach Disease Spread:

Roaches can be vectors for disease transmission, with potential health complications ranging from allergies to food poisoning and even asthma. Proper sanitation practices can help prevent roach infestations and reduce the risk of disease transmission.

Roach Nests:

Cockroaches have nesting behaviors, with females laying egg cases in protected locations. The location and site of the nests can influence breeding patterns and egg-laying habits, with some species exhibiting communal nesting behaviors while others are solitary.

Roach Control


The best way to control a potential roach infestation is through prevention. This includes following proper sanitation practices, ensuring the home is sealed properly, removing sources of food and water, and storing pet food properly.

Keeping a clean and well-maintained home can greatly reduce the risk of a roach infestation. Sanitation:

One of the key aspects of preventing roach infestations is maintaining proper sanitation practices.

This includes regular cleaning of surfaces, removal of garbage, and proper food storage. Cleaning kitchen appliances such as ovens, microwaves, and refrigerator grills can also help to prevent infestations.

Sealing Techniques:

Cockroaches can enter homes through small cracks and holes, so it’s important to seal up any potential entry points. This can include caulking and sealing gaps in walls, floors, and around pipes.

Weatherstripping doors and windows can also help to prevent infestations. Trash Removal:

Removing garbage regularly can help reduce the number of food sources for roaches.

Putting food scraps in sealed containers and disposing of them properly is key to preventing infestations. Pet Food Storage:

Pet food should be stored in sealed containers and kept in designated feeding areas, away from living spaces.

Food bowls should be washed regularly to prevent any potential roach infestations. Pest Control:

If preventative measures are not enough to control a roach infestation, professional pest control intervention may be necessary.

Chemical treatments, such as baits and sprays, can be effective in controlling roach populations. It’s important to use these treatments safely and according to instructions to prevent potential harm to people and pets.

Natural Pest Control:

For those who prefer natural pest control methods, there are a variety of options available. Diatomaceous earth, a natural powder, can be used to kill roaches by dehydrating them.

Sticky traps and essential oils such as peppermint, lavender, and eucalyptus can also repel roaches naturally. Insect Growth Regulators:

Insect growth regulators (IGRs) prevent roaches from reaching adulthood by interfering with their development.

This can be an effective method for controlling roach populations, and it has the added benefit of preventing future infestations. Conclusion:

Roach control can be achieved through a variety of preventative and intervention methods.

Maintaining proper sanitation practices and sealing techniques can help prevent roach infestations, but if infestations do occur, professional pest control intervention or natural pest control methods can be effective as well. By understanding the behavior and eating habits of cockroaches, people can take steps to prevent infestations and maintain a clean and healthy home.

In conclusion, understanding how and what cockroaches eat, their behavior, and various control methods can help maintain a clean and healthy home. Proper sanitation practices, sealing techniques, and removal of trash and potential food sources can prevent roach infestations.

Furthermore, if infestations occur, professional pest control intervention or natural pest control methods can be effective. By taking preventative measures to avoid infestations, we can avoid potential risks to human health and decrease the likelihood of an infestation.

Striving to prevent roach infestations can help maintain a clean, healthy, and sustainable living space.

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