a hand holding an insect

The Diet of a Common Cockroach

April 25, 2018

Nobody wants to find cockroaches in their home. The best way to get rid of cockroaches, is to make them not want to come in your home in the first place. That means getting rid of the things that are drawing them in, like food. You may think you're doing a good job of putting your food away, but you would be surprised at some of the things that cockroaches eat.

What Do Cockroaches Eat?

Cockroaches are omnivores to the fullest extent. They will eat nearly anything that has the slightest amount of nutritional value. Let's take a look at some of the things that cockroaches eat:

Natural Habitat (Without Humans):

• Plants
• Other insects
• Decaying matter
• Animal feces
• Dead trees
• Dead bodies
• Their own young or other cockroaches

Cockroaches in Your Home

• Human food
• Pet food
• Crumbs
• Hair
• Fingernail clippings
• Book Bindings
• Paper
• Cardboard
• Wallpaper paste

What Attracts Cockroaches?

You can commonly find cockroaches in kitchens, restaurants, and grocery stores. What do all these places have in common? Food! Food is essential to life for all living creatures, including the disgusting cockroach.

Cockroaches are attracted to your home by the smell of food. They are most attracted to starch, sugar, grease, meat, and cheese. Rotting fruits and vegetables can also give off a very pungent smell that will definitely attract these pests.

Make sure your food is properly sealed up, and not giving off roach attracting odors. All the food you store away should be sealed in airtight containers, even pet food. Keep the odor in and the bugs out.

Your trashcan should also have a lid that properly seals, so smells don't get out. Take your trash out fairly recently after throwing away food or food scraps. The longer these foods rot in your garbage, the more foul and attractive the odor gets to cockroaches.

Can You Starve a Roach?

Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to starve a cockroach. Getting rid of everything a cockroach wants to, or could eat, is a task that may never be achievable. Even if you manage to completely isolate a cockroach from food, that won't be enough to make it perish. Cockroaches can live for one month without food because they are cold blooded. Cold blooded animals are made to be able to survive environments where starvation may occur in winter. Their bodies are more effective in storing food and providing energy over long periods of time.

Water is more crucial to a roach's survival than food. If you are trying to deny a roach its living essentials, deny it access to water. A cockroach can only live a week without access to water. Excess moisture in the air, leaky pipes, or standing water are attractive to cockroaches. Consider using a dehumidifier to get rid of any excess moisture in areas like your garage or basement. Check under your sinks, and anywhere you have pipes, to make sure there are no leaks or build ups of water.

What Can You Do?

The best way to discourage a roach from coming into your home is to clean up! Here are some cleaning tips to keep roaches out of your home:

1. Declutter your home. Get rid of stacks of paper and cardboard. Clutter, commonly paper and cardboard, can provide shelter, breeding grounds, and even food for cockroaches.
2. Clean dirty dishes. If you leave unrinsed dishes in the sink, this can be a huge source of food for cockroaches. Conveniently located food and water is a cockroach's dream, so don't provide it for them.
3. Seal your food. As mentioned above, make sure food is sealed up in airtight containers so that the odor does not attract cockroaches, and so they can not get in to your food.
4. Take out the trash. You trash is bound to have some kind of odor, so take it out anytime you have food scraps sitting in there for too long.

If It's Not Enough...

If you have taken the proper precautions to avoid roaches in your home, but continue to notice roach activity, get professional help. A roach infestation is serious business, and is a hard thing to tackle on your own. To learn more about roaches and how to protect your home from them, check out our latest free guide, How to Protect Your House from Cockroaches.