What Do Cockroaches Eat? What Don’t They Eat?!

Cockroaches are not fussy eaters, at least compared to a typical 2-year-old! But what they eat depends on their environment. Wild roaches will eat a very different diet than pet roaches, for example.

So what do cockroaches eat?

  • Roaches love greasy food, sweets, and starchy food
  • When starving, all roaches will eat glue, wood, hair, and sewage. Yep.
  • Cockroaches can go one month without food

When the need arises, cockroaches will eat anything to survive. Read on to find out just what to feed pet roaches, what the wild ones prefer to eat, and what they are prepared to eat to live.

What Do Wild Cockroaches Eat?

Cockroaches eat both meat and vegetables. In terms of what they prefer to eat, it varies from species to species. However, most of the usual household roaches seem to eat anything. Sweets or starches are preferred by some. Proteins and fats may also attract other species. 

Pest roaches will hunt for crumbs and food refuse, happy to consume the scraps we humans toss aside. But that often brings them to our kitchens and cabinets as they hunt for sustenance.

Most of the usual household roaches seem to eat anything. Sweets or starches are preferred by some. Proteins and fats may also attract other species. 

As a last resort, most roaches feed on decaying food, sewage, rotten bark and wood, the glue in cardboard boxes, hair, and other organic material.

The idea of starving an infestation of cockroaches should be avoided as it doesn’t work.

What Do Pet Roaches Eat?

Pet roaches like the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach enjoy different foods like processed foods for cats, fish, and dogs. Pet roaches need supplements with their diets, such as banana peels, carrots, orange slices, grapes, vegetable peelings, and potato slices.

Feed moist food sparingly, as fermentation gasses can be harmful to these creatures at high concentrations. 

Supplying Water to Pet Roaches

Cotton wicks are used to provide water. Fill a plastic container with water and seal it completely. Then poke a small hole in the lid. Insert the “wick” into it, and submerg in the water. When the wick soaks up water through capillary action, roaches can drink from it. 

You can use any little bits of cotton rolled into a wick shape, or small pieces of nylon stocking.

Small dishes or cups can also be used to provide water, but depending on the size and type of your pet roach, you may want to place a sponge in the water to prevent the roach from drowning.

While some roaches can survive a very long time in the water, others cannot.

If Roaches Don’t Eat, How Can They Survive for So Long?

The majority of cockroach species can survive for up to a month without food, but they cannot survive without water for more than a week. Due to their cold blood, roaches can survive without food for in the range of 30 days.

A cold-blooded animal, like an insect or a reptile, is affected by the temperature around it. 

They are very active if the weather is warm, as internal chemical reactions will occur more quickly. Cold weather slows them down and makes them sluggish, and if the weather gets below about 40′, they cannot breed.

In the absence of food, cold-blooded animals, such as roaches, will keep their body temperature low to conserve energy. Consequently, they can go long periods without eating by going into a sort of dormant state.

Is It True That Cockroaches Eat One Another?

A cockroach will eat anything, even another cockroach. Many people find cannibalism disturbing, but roaches are incredibly adept at survival and propagation, despite the loyalty they are said to have to the colony.

But cannibalism probably won’t happen if there is enough other food around.

A roach may commit cannibalism if it lacks food, lives in an overcrowded nest, is malnourished, or is in conflict with its mate. It is common for large roaches to eat eggs, their young and young adults.

In addition, dead cockroaches and shed skins can be eaten by cockroaches of all ages.

Do Young Nymphs Eat Each Other?

Cockroaches are primarily independent creatures. In addition to hatching, molting, and feeding themselves, the young do not require care from adults.

To fill a nutrient gap, it is also common for nymphs to eat one another. There is also cannibalism among cockroach larvae. If they find a dead sibling, they will eat it.

Every time a roach molts, it grows in size, so it must produce a large volume of biomass. It is possible that there are not enough resources to satisfy this need, or there may be too many dangers for them to find food.

As a result, they will turn to their siblings to fill the void.

It’s a harsh world for a roach.

It’s a harsh world for a roach.

Are Cockroaches Able to Eat Other Insects?

There is no such thing as a picky cockroach. Cockroaches consume any dead insects they find. Larvae, eggs, and shed skins are all included.

There is no such thing as a picky cockroach. Cockroaches consume any dead insects they find.

It is their mandibles that limit roaches (they have no teeth). The size of their bodies compared to other insects is also a deterrent. For example, the roach will find beetles less appealing than flies because their hard shells must be eaten first before the beetle can be eaten.

In addition, it may have difficulty gnawing through the exoskeleton of a dead one.

Is It True That Cockroaches Eat Molted Skin?

Like eating their own molts, cockroach nymphs will also eat those of other cockroaches. In addition, shed molts are also eaten by adult cockroaches. This is because they retain nutrients even after the skins have been consumed.

Chitin, a fiber and polysaccharide, is among these nutrients. An exoskeleton’s hard and durable structure is due to this component. It can be added back into roaches’ systems by consuming it again. In the future, this will strengthen their bodies so that they can create new skins. 

It is only normal for most organisms to molt their exoskeletons as they grow larger, not because the shell is damaged. Nymphs, in particular, need this. Their growth cycle will be completed after in the range of 12 molts.

Conclusion: What Do Cockroaches Eat?

Cockroaches will eat anything to survive, including their own. They do have their preferences regarding food… but don’t we all? While there is a bit of a difference in what pests and pet roaches eat, they do have similarities. 

While there is a bit of a difference in what pests and pet roaches eat, they do have similarities.

If you have pet roaches, ensure they have a healthy, fresh food source. Exotic pet roaches will require a better diet than wild roaches. If you have pest roaches in your home, try to eliminate all food sources to deter them away.