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What Do Cockroaches Eat? You'll Be Stupefied to Know

You must have seen a number of cockroaches in your surroundings. Ever wondered what they eat?
Reshma Jirage
Last Updated: Apr 23, 2018
Did You Know?

Although they mostly prefer organic food sources, occasionally, cockroaches do give in to inorganic indulgences, such as nylon and other synthetic fabric materials.

Cockroaches are usually omnivores, except the wood-eating genus Cryptocercus.
They feed mostly on dead or immobile things. They prefer food sources rich in carbohydrates (sugars and starches), proteins and lipids (fatty and oily stuff). They also feed on plant and fibrous matters. Organic decays occupy a special place on the menu of these insects.
It is interesting to note that, in times of food shortage, cockroaches may turn to cannibalism and chomp on the legs and/or wings of their brethren.
Items in Your House that a Roach would Love
  • Beer
  • Meat
  • Soap
  • Grease
  • Cheese
  • Leather
  • Human dander
  • Kitchen crumbs
  • Dried skin flakes
  • Wallpaper paste
  • Sweet, sugary food
  • Decaying organic matter
  • Household or organic glue
  • Paper (including shelf backing)
  • Fruits, vegetables and plant fibers
  • Nylon clothing items (such as stockings)
  • Starches from clothes as well as book bindings

Cockroaches can digest a wide variety of substances, as their digestive tract contains a wide variety of protozoa and bacteria. They are nocturnal feeders. During the daytime, they hide in cracks and crevices in walls, furniture, roof voids, sub-floors, crevices and cracks in the kitchen and bathroom.
Cockroaches are insects that belong to the order Blattaria. There are approximately 4000 species of cockroaches. They are found in a variety of habitats, most commonly in tropical and subtropical climates. There are about 30 species, associated with human habitations. Cockroaches generally like warm, moist environment with abundant food. Oriental Cockroaches are an exception as they prefer cooler surroundings such as sewer pipes. Some of these species are considered as pests as, besides causing damage to various household items, they contaminate food and other surfaces by defecating and/or regurgitating on them. This causes the spread of various parasitic diseases such as cholera, dysentery, tuberculosis, typhoid and leprosy. Hence, it is very important to keep your surroundings clean and roach-free.