What do Cockroaches Eat

What do cockroaches eat? These scavengers will eat pretty much anything, including other roaches, which is why they are able to survive in some of the world's toughest conditions.  

The Omniverous Roach
Cockroaches are members of the insect family. They are omnivores, which means they eat meat as well as plants. Cockroaches aren't fussy; they have been known to eat household items like leather, glue and book bindings. Some have even been known to eat the plastic coverings on electrical wires.

In fact, there isn't much that roaches won't eat. If food is scarce, they will dine on miniscule particles of food and paper scraps. If they are really desperate, they will even eat other cockroaches. They are able survive on this extremely varied diet because their digestive system contains special bacteria to break down and process this wide range of foods.

Favorite Foods
There are things that cockroaches prefer to eat. They love starch, grease, meat and cheese. All of these foods happen to be in great supply in the average human household.

This abundance of their favorite food items is why cockroaches frequently sneak in and set up residence indoors. They love restaurants, hotels and other businesses that generate a high volume of crumbs, but they can also set up nests in residential homes.

Cockroaches are nocturnal, coming out at night to feed. Since they shy away from light and scurry into their hiding places the minute the lights come on, it is possible that you might not spot them until a large number of them are established.   

Cockroaches prefer moist, dark hiding spots. During the day, they hide under appliances, in the subfloor and in any dark cracks and crevices. Occasionally, you may find roaches clustered near the toilet or around pipes and other sources of water.

Keeping Roaches out
Understanding that roaches eat anything is key to keeping them out of your home. Because of their tendency to hide, many homeowners don't know that roaches are around until an exterminator is needed to clean out an infestation. Fortunately, there are things you can do to make your home uninviting to roaches.

Keep a clean home, especially in the kitchen. Wipe counters and floors each time food is prepared to eliminate crumbs. Clean crumbs out from under the toaster and the microwave. Wash dirty dishes immediately, instead of letting them sit in the sink.

Make sure all leftovers are stored in the refrigerator. Things that don't require refrigeration should be kept in sealed containers, preferably in kitchen cabinets mounted near the ceiling.

Fix leaking faucets and pipes. Check places where the plumbing meets interior walls, and use insulation to block holes, if necessary. Pipes that "sweat" with condensation are a popular place for roaches to gather, so keep an eye on these areas during the warm months.

Check your basement and foundation for signs of rot, moisture or insect damage. Damp or rotted wood should be replaced immediately and new wood should be treated with water-proofing agents. If you have a damp or wet basement, look into ways to eliminate the moisture. Check crawlspaces under porches as well, making sure there's enough air flow to keep things dry. 

Cockroaches not harmless, they spread disease and contaminate food and they are responsible for some allergies. It is much easier and less costly to prevent a cockroach infestation than to pay an exterminator to remove the cockroaches.


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