Pest Identification

Learn More About the Pests Invading Your Home

What do Cockroaches Eat?

When reading about what cockroaches eat you should always follow this rule: Put down any food that you yourself might be eating. While most happy roach species live in the forest and exist on rotting fruit and other detritus, the American, German, or Brownbanded cockroaches in your kitchen have diets that range from the distressing to the disgusting.

Technically speaking, cockroaches are omnivorous scavengers. That means they will eat almost anything from plants to rotting animals and feces. It’s no wonder the critters have thrived on earth for 320 million years. The dinosaur poop alone probably kept them going for eons.

In the present day, cockroaches in your house are hungry for the same items you might be considering for lunch. Like you, roaches prefer foods rich in sugars, starches, proteins, and grease. This includes: meat, cheese, fruits, nuts, vegetables, cookies, crackers, grains, and quite possibly your beer.

But that’s not all. Your home contains many other substances that make a roach’s mouthparts water. How about human dander? That’s the flakes of skin that regularly slough off your scalp and body. Because of the special protozoa and bacteria in their digestive tracts, roaches can also eat soap, leather, wallpaper paste, glue, nylon clothing, book bindings, and paper - including shelf paper. They’ll even eat the human waste floating in your local sewer and roadkill. When there’s no other food, cockroaches turn to cannibalism. They attack one another, chomping on the legs and abdomen of their creepy brethren.

In addition to being enthusiastic eaters, cockroaches are prolific at defecation and regurgitation. These queasy substances may spread a buffet of diseases around the house including cholera, dysentery, hepatitis, and typhoid. While that’s enough to put you off your pizza, it’s also a reminder that it is important to keep your abode clean and roach-free. Set out some roach killing bait stations and go have yourself a nice barbeque.