What Do Cockroaches Eat?

What-Do-Cockroaches-Eat-Cockroaches can be found anywhere, from your kitchen cabinet to office drawers. But, unlike humans, these bugs are not picky eaters. Instead, they are omnivorous, meaning they prefer both plants and animals.

They will eat almost anything. Although these insects are known to survive without any food source, they spend most of their life looking for food. In simple words, the primary purpose of their life is to look for food sources, get energy, and reproduce.

If you find cockroaches in every corner of your house, you can eliminate their food sources to get rid of them more easily. This article lists everything that cockroaches eat to help you better understand your enemies and control them.

How Do Cockroaches Find Their Food?

Cockroaches have antennae that contain hundreds of chemical receptors, which help them detect food. They do not smell things the same way we humans do. Instead, the set of antennae helps cockroaches find the source of food smell.

What Do Cockroaches Love To Eat?

Similar to humans, cockroaches also have food preferences. According to a medical study, cockroaches can choose to eat certain items. However, they are attracted mainly by human foods the most. They prefer sugar, greasy things, starch, and meat the most.

Once roaches discover a way to access their favorite food, it becomes impossible to get rid of them. Here are some familiar and favorite things cockroaches love to eat:


Sugar is the most favorite and attractive food item for cockroaches. They can smell it from miles away. So always keep your sugary items in air-tight containers if you want to repel cockroaches from your kitchen or anywhere in the home.

The most favorite sugary items of roaches are:

  • Fruits
  • Candies
  • Sweeteners
  • Tea
  • Dried sugar
  • Coffee

Also, if you have spilled anything sweet on the floor, don’t forget to clean it immediately. That’s because cockroaches can gather in large amounts near food crumbs and drink spills.


Grease is a by-product of fat. One of the favorite things for cockroaches to feast on is grease. Oil spills, meat fat, and grease film can be excellent food sources for cockroaches. Unfortunately, grease is difficult to clean.

Due to its potent smell and high fat, grease is another favorite food source for cockroaches. Make sure to clean the corners of burners, stoves, and oven hoods to remove any layer of grease.


Starch is another attraction for these pests. However, this doesn’t mean cockroaches will be found feasting on potatoes or bread. Instead, they will eat cardboard, book bindings, and paper. Cockroaches attract old, dusted, and greased snack wraps and boxes.

To prevent the cockroaches from reaching this, throw the litter frequently.


Bacon, chicken, beef, and turkey are all rich sources of fat and protein, which is why cockroaches are always on the hunt for meat. Cockroaches love tiny pieces of meat that are usually unnoticeable to humans. In addition, meat leftovers are a favorite thing for cockroaches.

What Other Things Can Cockroaches Eat?

Cockroaches are scavengers who don’t primarily hunt insects for dinner. Instead, they feast on anything readily available, such as cardboard, nails, hair, meat, sweets, and greasy items. Not only that, but they can also consume dead roaches and decaying material.

Cockroaches eat every organic material depending on their surroundings. They are great survivors, finding essential nutrients wherever they can.

Here is a list of things that cockroaches eat:

In Indoor Surroundings

The below items are present in your home or other buildings they nest in:

  • Vegetables
  • Leftover food crumbs
  • Sweets
  • Fruits
  • Cooking oils
  • Containers of flour
  • Cereal boxes
  • Bags of chips

Inedible Items Cockroaches Eat

Don’t be surprised to see cockroaches munching on things you’d never consider eating. Remember that these pests are vigorous eaters. Some inedible items cockroaches love to eat are:

  • Nail chippings
  • Dead skin
  • Cat litter
  • Leather and cotton
  • Soap and toothpaste
  • Decaying material

In Outdoor Environment

Cockroaches can find food sources from anywhere. Even if you cut off their food in your home, they can satisfy their hunger outside. A few roach-favorite outdoor foods include:

  • Dead bugs
  • Mushroom
  • Dust and mites
  • Animal feces and carcasses
  • Rotting plants

Do Cockroaches Diet Vary Among Species?

There are around 4,000 known species of cockroaches to humans with various favorite foods. Different roach species look for food in varying areas, such as bathrooms, kitchens, restaurants, basements, and gardens.

Cockroaches primarily rely on humans for their survival (food, shelter, etc.), but they still don’t die if you cut off their food sources. Instead, these intelligent bugs find ways on their own.

Here are some common food sources for different roach species:

American Cockroaches

These are one of the most common cockroaches in your home. They have shiny maroon bodies and prefer living in moist areas. American cockroaches mostly hunt for food in commercial buildings, including grocery stores, restaurants, and markets, if they can not find food in your home.

These roaches also prefer a warm and moist climate. So, they are seen around decaying trees, garbage, steam tunnels, sewers, and woodpiles.

German Cockroaches

Commonly found in bathrooms and kitchens, German cockroaches prefer living in homes. They are indoor cockroaches and do not prefer outdoor places for shelter and food. They also depend on humans for their survival.

If they have discovered food in your home, they will start living in a large colony there. These places mainly include kitchen cabinets, sewers, and commodes. They migrate to other houses if they can not find food in your home.

Where Do Cockroaches Look for Food in Your Home?

Cockroaches look for many food places, and it is easy for them to find food sources anywhere. Hence, if you see cockroaches in your home, here are some common spots they will be residing and looking for food:

  • Wall Cracks. One of the great places for shelter and food source for cockroaches are wall cracks and holes. Wall cracks are filled with dust and mites, making a perfect place for cockroaches to munch and breed.
  • Confined Space. Closed and dark spaces are a huge attraction to cockroaches. For example, the area behind refrigerators, underneath a pile of garbage, and in a pantry are perfect food spots for cockroaches.
  • Damp Areas. In wet areas, like below sinks, near the basin, dishwasher place, or anywhere there is water sitting, you will see cockroaches there too.
  • Cardboard Boxes and Stack of Magazines . Another good spot for cockroachesfor food is cardboard boxes, books, and a stack of magazines. If they can not find any food item, they will feast on starch on these things.
  • Grease Traps. As mentioned above, grease is one of the favorite things for cockroaches to eat. Hence, where there is grease, there will be a cockroach.
  • Garden. Dead plants, broken twigs, and decaying trees provide cockroaches with plenty of nutrition.
  • Kitchen Counter. The kitchen counter is a haven for cockroaches. Countertops are filled with food crumbs that are unnoticeable by humans. Make sure to clean your kitchen counters regularly if you want to prevent the cockroaches from feasting there.

How Long Can Cockroaches Survive Without Food?

Cockroaches can live for nearly three months without food and one month without water. They are nasty creatures that eat almost anything and go for a long time without food consumption.

Cockroaches can live without food for a long time because they are cold-blooded insects. Cold-blooded animals rely on their environmental temperature. During hot temperatures, a chemical reaction happens inside the cockroach’s body. It allows them to become more active.

If no food is available, they will eat anything in their surroundings, such as dust or decaying animals. You know that the food list for cockroaches is a long one.

You’ll be surprised to know that female cockroaches also eat their infertile eggs if the food is scarce. It provides them with enough protein.

It’s important to know that cockroaches contain symbiotic bacteria in their fat tissues. These bacteria provide cockroaches with the necessary nourishment and vitamins.

Roaches also try to increase their body temperature to preserve energy. As a result, they become capable of surviving a long time period.

How Do Cockroaches Affect Human Food?

Cockroaches can spread various dangerous bacteria and diseases to humans. According to research, cockroaches are believed to be huge reservoirs for different bacteria, including salmonella, streptococcus, and staphylococcus.

Cockroaches will feast on anything, from feces in the sewer to a homemade chicken steak. They spread harmful pathogenic microorganisms to your food by walking over or near them.

Roach-contaminated food can cause:

  • Diarrhea
  • Food poisoning
  • Dysentery
  • Cholera
  • Leprosy

As mentioned before, cockroaches eat anything. They leave behind their droppings wherever they move, such as body shedding, saliva, vomit, etc., which can get into your food. These substances can cause harmful diseases by spreading them in the air you breathe.

Moreover, food contaminated by cockroaches can lead to asthma attacks and allergies. Some common symptoms of cockroach allergy include:

  • Skin rashes
  • Nasal congestion
  • Sinus infection
  • Coughing

How to Prevent Cockroaches From Invading Your Home?

Unless you live in an empty space, it is challenging to eliminate every attraction of cockroaches in your surroundings. However, you can take preventative steps to reduce their presence, such as frequent cleaning and maintenance.

Here are a few tips:

  • Store leftover food in an air-tight container
  • Dispose of the garbage frequently
  • Don’t leave the dirty dishes, snack wraps, and food boxes on the counter, in the sink, or dishwasher for too long.
  • Clean the spills, food bits, etc., from the counter
  • Sweep more often
  • Clean appliances daily

Moisture is also a crucial key factor for their survival. Therefore, you can follow the below steps to reduce the water source to cockroaches:

  • Don’t leave any area wet for too long
  • Fix leaky faucets, pipes, and toilets


Are Cockroaches Omnivores?

Cockroaches are omnivores. They eat both plant-based and animal-based foods, including starches, sweets, greasy foods, meat, and much more. Roaches are not picky when it comes to eating. These bugs can even feast on other dead roaches.

What Food Items Attract Cockroaches to Your Home?

Cockroaches eat everything. They are highly attracted to odors and tiny particles anywhere. They can even eat leftovers on dirty dishes. Once a cockroach discovers a food source, it invites the whole community to feast on it.0

Here are some familiar places in your home that are a top attraction to cockroaches:

  • Dirty dishes
  • Leftover food
  • Damp areas
  • Dusty corners
  • Food crumbs
  • Greasy counters

Do Cockroaches Eat Pet Food?

Yes, cockroaches can feast in numbers on pet food. Be it the food for cats or dogs; cockroaches will munch on them.

Will Cockroaches Go Away If There is No Food?

Cockroaches will not go away if there is no food, as they can munch on numerous inedible things, such as cardboard, magazines, nails, and hair. But if there is no organic food available, they may eat the following items:

  • Pet dander
  • Garbage
  • Rodent droppings
  • Animal feces

What Are the Five Favorite Things Cockroaches Eat?

The five favorite things that cockroaches can not resist are:

  • Cheese
  • Sugar
  • Greasy Food
  • Meat
  • Starch

Do Cockroaches Eat Poop?

Cockroaches eat poop as they are not picky eaters. They eat anything that comes in front of them. Feces contain a rich amount of nutrients that cockroaches need, and these scavengers will eat the poop of any living thing.


Aside from the health dangers, cockroaches are among the most unpleasant insects in your home. It’s nearly impossible for cockroaches to run out of food. They will feast on anything to survive. Here is everything that roaches eat:

  • Vegetables
  • Leftover food crumbs
  • Sweets
  • Fruits
  • Cooking oils
  • Bags of chips
  • Nail chippings
  • Dead skin
  • Cat litter
  • Leather and cotton
  • Soap and toothpaste
  • Decaying material
  • Animal feces and carcasses

If you notice cockroaches in your home, you can cut off the supply of these food items to force them to leave your home. If these things don’t work, you can follow the other preventive measures mentioned above.