What Do Roaches Eat?

Love them or hate them, cockroaches are here to stay!

They outlived dinosaurs, have been known to survive bomb blasts and are found in all the continents. They are at home in the wild, sewers, garbage dumps and houses.

So, what constitutes these versatile creatures’ diet?

Well, practically anything provided it is organic (not metal or plastic).

Cockroaches are omnivorous, cold-blooded insects that spend 75% of their time resting in crevices or dark, moist corners.  

They mostly come out at night to forage for food.

They can do this during the day as well if their infestation is high, there isn’t enough food at night, or they simply wake up in an exploratory mood!

Cockroaches smell out food or chemical trails left out by their colleagues. Though they never pass up an opportunity to sample any dish, they exhibit surprising culinary habits in doing so.

bread crumbs

Cockroaches Have A Sweet tooth

Cockroaches absolutely love anything sweet- be it sugar, candy, beverages or cookies.

Spilled sweetened beverages or unfastened jars holding their sweet heaven, seem to have a must-taste sign for them.

They will even seek out the sweet in glued surfaces, wall-paper paste, book bindings, and even paper.

They Have A Balanced diet

Even without attending a nutrition class, these voracious pests clearly balance their diet. Take a look at their favorite dietary intake:

Carbohydrates (starch):  Mainly bread, potatoes, rice – and everything starchy in your kitchen whether low or high carb! Cheese particularly stands out.

Protein: They love any meat be it beef, chicken or fish. They also relish other dead insects and snack on keratin – a protein found in hair and clipped nails. Even the underside of leather is tasty to them.

Fats: Grease is a delicacy for them – from spills on the floor, to the sides of your oven or the walls beside your cooker. They probably know a thing or two about keto!

Vitamins –  Cockroaches will nibble on your fresh fruits and vegetables, or those discarded in the trash. They probably get essential minerals from these too.

healthy balanced food pie chart

Sweet, oily or decaying/pungent smell

These strong smells attract them. No wonder kitchens, garbage dumps, sewers, unhygienic urinals, and toilets seem to be their favorite restaurants. They can ‘eat’ such smells (from food spills and perspiration) from clothes, ruining them in the process.


Cockroaches are adaptable. In the absence of their favorite dish, they will eat anything available. Species living in the wild eat other insects, decaying matter and animal feces.

Those in the house will eat these too if possible, but will usually pan out to solid soap, cardboard, cosmetics, toothpaste and pet food.

Extreme Survival Abilities

Granted, cockroaches don’t easily run out of a morsel. However, when times get really really lean, they can either eat their young or other family members, dead or alive.

Alternatively, they simply wait out the rough patch.

Cockroaches can live up to a month without food. They need water constantly though because the longest they can stay without it is a week. 

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Cockroaches don’t care about table manners. They are happy with any crumb or piece of food they can access. They are not localized to their abodes and can cover a 3 miles distance in one hour at the promise of food.

They can therefore easily move into your house from your neighbor’s apartment or the sewer for that matter.

Hygiene is important because once they do, they might just outlive you – if you let them!

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