What Do Cockroaches Eat? Some of These Will Surprise You!

What do cockroaches eat? Cockroaches are some of the most interesting and adaptable creatures on the planet. They can survive in some of the harshest conditions, and they’re able to eat almost anything.

Seeing cockroaches will cause panic in most people. If you’re wondering what cockroaches eat, you’ll be surprised by some things on their list! Keep reading to learn more.

How Do Roaches Eat?

Roaches have rudimentary mandibulate mouthparts, so they eat by biting and chewing. Since cockroaches have biting mouthparts, they can chew through thin plastic and paper. In contrast, bed bugs have piercing and sucking mouthparts.

The german, oriental, and American are all some of the more common New York City bugs. Therefore if you live in a city, it’s essential to seal up all food items in cockroach-proof containers. Another tip is to place all food items into the refrigerator while dealing with the roach problem.

What do cockroaches eat

What Attracts Roaches? – A List of 10 Things Roaches Like to Eat

A roach is a scavenging insect and will eat just about anything. Here is a short list of things you can expect these bugs to eat; some will surprise you. Please remember that just because something is not on this list of things cockroaches eat, it doesn’t mean that they won’t eat it.

Bed Bugs

Do cockroaches eat bed bugs? Many people don’t know this, but roaches are actually voracious eaters and will gladly munch on smaller insects like bed bugs. However, it’s important to note that roaches are not a reliable method of bed bug control.

First, you would need to have a pretty severe roach infestation for them to make much of a dent in your bed bug population. Secondly, roaches are not picky eaters and will also feast on your food and other household items.

Since roaches can spread many diseases, they are not a pest you want in your home. As a result, using cockroaches to control bed bugs is generally not recommended. Keep in mind that bed bugs are often one of the bugs that look like cockroaches to the untrained eye.

Cookie Crumbs

What do roaches eat

If you have roaches in your home, you’ll likely find them congregating near where cookies are stored or eaten. Cockroaches are attracted to the sweetness of cookie crumbs and the high-calorie content.

While roaches eat just about anything, they love foods high in sugar and fat. Cookie crumbs provide insects with the nutrients they need to survive and reproduce.

If you have a roach problem, immediately cleaning up crumbs is imperative. Store cookies in sealed containers and vacuum regularly to prevent roaches from infesting your home.

Cat Litter

Some cat litter is made from biodegradable materials like corn, paper, and wheat. All of these biodegradable litter products can attract roaches. If you have a roach problem, you may want to switch to a silica-based litter. Cockroaches will not eat silica or clay cat litter.

Animal Poop

So since we discussed roaches going after cat litter above, they will also feed on cat and dog feces. It’s essential to clean out your cat’s litter box every time they use it.

If you leave cat poop in the litter box, then you will be attracting roaches to the litter. These roaches crawling over the cat poop will then make their way to your counters, spreading disease and unsanitary conditions.

If your dog goes poop on your property then it’s imperative to bag the poop immediately so it does not attract roaches. Furthermore if you pet uses wee pads in the house then you must clean them regularly, so as not to attract roaches.

Food Spills

Cockroaches are nocturnal and come out to scavenge for food each night. It’s important to clean under and behind all of your appliances each night before bed. No matter how minor the food spill is, it will create plenty of nutrition for a roach.

Crab (Roaches, What Do They Eat?)

can cockroaches eat a crab

One time I was walking near some people catching crabs. The whole area was infested with American roaches feeding off of the crabs.

Roaches are not picky eaters and will stick around if they find a good bounty of food. They want to be able to lay their eggs near plentiful food sources.

Tomatoes (What Do Roaches Eat?)

cockroaches on tomatoes

One of the things that roaches like to eat is tomatoes. If you leave a tomato out on the counter, there’s a good chance that a cockroach will find it and start to feed on it.

Since roaches are scavengers, they’re attracted to food scraps or leftover bits of fruit. In addition to tomatoes, roaches can also eat other fruits and vegetables.

So if you’re looking to keep your home roach-free, it’s best to avoid leaving any food out in the open.


cockroaches eating an apple

Apples are often one of those fruits left on a countertop. However, if you have a roach issue, be aware that roaches were probably crawling all over your apples while you sleep.

Furthermore, roaches love sugary foods, including apple pie and apple cakes. So ensure you’re sealing up any desserts made with apples to prevent cockroaches from getting to them.


Do roaches eat pizza

If you ordered a pizza and left the crumbs or even a few slices in the box, you can be sure that roaches will have a feast. Any leftover pizza should be placed in the freezer and not left out on the counter overnight.

Research shows that male roaches have an affinity for a higher carbohydrate diet. The study shows that eating more carbohydrates positively correlates with their pheromone release. This, in turn, attracts more females and helps keep the population strong.

Roaches carry around diseases on their feet. Therefore having them crawl on your leftover pizza while you are sleeping is reason enough to throw it in the garbage.


do cockroaches eat soap

Did you know that roaches can eat soap? If you have those giant American Roaches coming up through your drains, they can feed on soap within your bathroom. They can even survive off of soap scum.

Usually, cockroaches turn to eat soap, glue, and paper when other food sources are scarce. So if you suspect roaches are coming through your drains, it’s probably a good idea not to use a soap bar. Using a soap that has been traversed and eaten by roaches will be unsanitary.

What Food Attracts Cockroaches?

Roaches will eat bread products, cookies, apples, peanut butter, grease from a grill, dog food, cat food, deep-fried foods, dog poop, cat poop, mango, dried fruits, cheese, butter, soap, hair, and many other things. Just about anything we eat will attract cockroaches.

German Cockroaches

German roaches eat everything

What do German Cockroaches Eat?

They are nocturnal scavengers and will crawl around your kitchen for food scraps. They can bite through paper and get at any food product that is not in an airtight container.

Many of our clients confuse roaches with other bugs. Learn some difference between a baby roach vs bed bug here.

German cockroaches eat desserts, meats, feces, mouse droppings, grease, fruits, and much more. They will get into any food products that you left out overnight.

What Is It Called When German Cockroaches Feed on Feces?

It’s called facultative coprophagy. Aggregation pheromones are what attract roaches to the feces of their own and other cockroaches. According to the Colby Schal entomology lab at NCSU, baby roaches that just hatched will ingest roach feces for their first few meals. The roach poop is loaded with gut bacteria that attract other cockroaches. 

American Roaches

American roach they eat everything

What do American Cockroaches Eat?

American Cockroaches will feast on just about anything and they are one of the most common cockroach species in the world. They’re different from German Cockroaches in a few key ways.

American Cockroaches are giant; they can fly but prefer to run. Furthermore, they’re more likely to be found outdoor, around sewers and basement drains.

But just like German Cockroaches, American Cockroaches are scavengers and will eat just about anything. This includes dead animals, roach feces, leftover pizza crusts, garbage, and other cockroaches! The albino roach that is in the middle of a transformation will eat the feces of other roaches.

American Cockroaches are especially fond of fermenting foods, so you might find them hanging out near your garbage cans or compost heap.

If you have American Cockroaches in your home, getting rid of them as soon as possible is essential. Unfortunately they can spread disease and contaminate your food. If you’re unsure how to get rid of American Cockroaches, your best bet is to call a pest control professional.

Wood Roaches

Pennsylvania wood roach

What Do Tree Roaches Eat?

Wood roaches will eat dying trees, decaying leaves, and sometimes wood. Unlike other cockroaches, they are not attracted to kitchens primarily because they do not eat food scraps like the American and german roaches.

If you have a lot of old wood or piles of leaves around your house, you may want to clean and remove them. These types of things can attract wood roaches to your home.

Do Roaches Eat Through Plastic?

Roaches must bite and chew mouthparts and can eat through the thin plastic. However, their jaw is not strong enough to chew through thick plastic containers.

Do Cockroaches Eat Wood?

Yes, there are wood roaches that look very similar to the American cockroaches, and these wood roaches can eat wood. They thrive on dying trees, piles of wood, or decaying plant material.

Is It Safe to Eat Eggs That Were in a Carton With Roaches?

It is safe if you are going to boil them hard. Boiling will kill off any bacteria that the roaches leave behind. If you are going to crack the eggs and use the raw egg for cooking, here’s what to do:

Crack the egg into a pan, then before touching anything, wash your hands. To put it another way, thoroughly wash your hands multiple times after handling the raw egg shell where you saw the roaches.

If you see roaches in a carton of eggs, the best thing is to make hard-boiled eggs. Doing this will allow you to boil and sanitize the outer eggshell. Please do not place the raw egg shell on surfaces; immediately throw it out.

Do Cockroaches Eat Each Other?

Yes, cockroaches are opportunistic feeders and will eat anything they can. This includes other cockroaches! If a cockroach is dying or already dead, another cockroach will not hesitate to eat it.

Do Roaches Like Peanut Butter?

Yes, they love the oil and sugar in most peanut butter. Since roaches can live off of a tiny fingerprint of peanut butter, take extra cleaning precautions if you have kids.

Kids tend to touch everything with peanut butter on their hands, providing lots of opportunities or roaches to feed.

Just be aware that roaches can live off of oily/sticky fingerprints. Therefore it’s essential to wipe down all appliances, kitchen cabinets, and countertops with kids in the house.

Do Cockroaches Eat Hair?

Cockroaches can eat hair, but it is not one of their favorite foods. If you give a roach a choice between eating hair and a cookie, they will choose the cookie.

However, if you put oily products in your hair, that may attract the roaches to want to eat your hair if no other food sources are available.

Do Cockroaches Eat Paper?

Cockroaches will eat paper, especially if it has glue on it. Those paper grocery bags with adhesive on the bottom can be a haven for roaches to lay their eggs and eat the glue.

Not only that, but if you line your shelves with contact paper and already have a roach issue, you’ll provide them with an easy-access meal.

Do Cockroaches Like Salt?

Roaches do not like salt; if they get enough of it on their body, it can kill them. Salt can dehydrate an insect if you spray them with a robust salt water solution. However, it is not fast enough to use a primary pest control method for eradicating a roach infestation.

Do Roaches Eat Dog Food?

Yes, roaches are known to eat just about anything – including dog food. Cockroaches are attracted to most dog foods’ high fat and protein content.

Having roaches in your pet’s food bowl is not sanitary and safe for your dog. First, make sure to store the food in a sealed container.

Roaches are attracted to the smell of food, so keeping the food sealed will help to keep them away. Do not free feed your dog; feed your dog meals at set times, and whatever they do not eat, just put away into an airtight bin.

Can You Eat a Cockroach?

Yes, a cockroach raised for food is safe to eat. On the other hand, you don’t want to eat a roach that crawled out of your sewer. In Thailand farm raised cockroaches deep fried in oil are popular to eat.

Do Roaches Like Honey?

Roaches will eat just about anything, including honey. They have biting chewing mouthparts and prefer to get their nutrition from foods they can chew. However, if you give a cockroach a choice between an apple and honey, it would choose the apple.

How Long Does A Cockroach Live Without Food?

According to Dini Miller, an urban entomologist, an American cockroach typically lives between 12-18 months. Under laboratory settings, a cockroach will live for one month without food.

Remember that since roaches are opportunistic feeders, they can usually find something to eat in a house. They will even eat their poop or other dead roaches to sustain themselves.

Are Roaches Attracted To Cat Litter?

Yes, roaches are attracted to cat litter, especially if you do not scoop it daily. If you are wondering, “do litter boxes attract roaches?” the answer is yes, and below are a few reasons.

  • Biodegradable litter provides food for roaches.
  • Cat poop also provides nutrition for roaches, which is why you need to clean out your litter box multiple times per day.
  • The biodegradable litter provides an excellent place for the roaches to lay their eggs, especially if it’s a litter box that you do not tend to daily.

Final Thoughts for “What Do Cockroaches Eat?”

First and foremost, cockroaches are opportunistic feeders and will eat anything available to them. This means they can survive on a very diverse diet, which is why they are so hard to eliminate.

If you have a cockroach problem in your home, it’s essential to identify what they are eating. Only then can you try to remove those food sources from your environment.

You can also use traps, gel bait, and house baits to lure the roaches into contact with an insecticide that will kill them. Thanks for following along on our journey into the world of cockroach cuisine!