What Do Cockroaches Eat? What Attracts Cockroaches?

Do you have a cockroach problem in your home? Do you wonder what attracts these pesky pests and what they feed on?

In this blog, you will learn what cockroaches eat, both in the wild and in your home. 

What Do Cockroaches Eat

What do cockroaches eat? 

Cockroaches can eat almost anything that comes from living things, like plants and animals. They especially like foods that have starch, sugar, fat, or meat, but they are not fussy.

They will eat things like cardboard, books, wallpaper, stamps, leather, poop, nails, hair, toothpaste, soap, their own skin, and even other roaches. 

>> Read more: Does toothpaste kill roaches

What Attracts Cockroaches in your house? 

Cockroaches are one of the most common and annoying pests that can infest your home. They are attracted by various factors, but mainly by food, water, and shelter.

Here are some of the things that can attract cockroaches to your home:

  • Food: Cockroaches are not picky eaters. They will feed on almost anything that contains organic matter, such as crumbs, spills, leftovers, pet food, garbage, paper, glue, and even feces. They are especially drawn to strong smells and sugary or starchy foods.
  • Water: Cockroaches drink water to stay hydrated and to dissolve their food. They can go for weeks without food, but only a few days without water. Therefore, they are attracted to moist and humid environments, such as pipes, drains, faucets, sinks, bathtubs, toilets, and puddles. They can also get water from condensation, leaks, or damp materials. Additionally, cockroaches are attracted to toothbrushes. The problem of Cockroaches on Toothbrushes is an issue that needs to be addressed promptly.
  • Shelter: Cockroaches like to hide in dark and cozy places where they feel safe from predators and disturbances. They are attracted to cracks, crevices, gaps, holes, and other openings in walls, floors, ceilings, cabinets, furniture, appliances, and electrical outlets. They can also hide under carpets, rugs, cardboard boxes, paper bags, books, magazines, and clothes.

What Do Cockroaches Eat

How Long Can a Cockroach Survive Without Food? 

Cockroaches need water more than food to survive.

They can last for a few days to a week without water.

But they can live for months without food if they have water. If they have dry food but no water, they will die faster. 

What do German cockroaches eat?  

The German cockroach is a kind of roach that likes to live inside the house, not outside. It likes places that are warm, wet, and hidden, and close to food.

That’s why you can often find them in kitchens, dining rooms, and bathrooms. 

German cockroaches are not very picky about what they eat, but they really like some foods in your home, such as: 

  • Bread or cereals 
  • Sugar, soda, or juice 
  • Meat products 

>> Read more: Cardboard Roach: Effective Tactics to Get Rid of Them.

What do American cockroaches eat? 

The American cockroach is a type of roach that usually lives outside the house, in places that are warm, dark, and damp.

But sometimes they come inside the house, especially when the weather is hot or dry, and they look for food.

They can live in places like sewers, floor drains, or bathtubs. 

Outside, American cockroaches eat things like: 

  • Dead or injured roaches 
  • Small bugs 
  • Rotten leaves 
  • Fungi 

Inside, American cockroaches like to eat: 

  • Food crumbs on the floor 
  • Spilled food in the sinks 
  • Tea and milk 
  • Cheese and other fermented foods 
  • Bread and other baked goods 

What Do Cockroaches Eat


Do cockroaches eat bed bugs? 

Cockroaches are not picky about what they eat, and they will eat bed bugs if they find them in your home. They may take advantage of a large bed bug infestation in your room and feed on them.

But you should not count on roaches to help you get rid of bed bugs. They may not be able to eat all of them, and they may also bring other problems to your home. 

Do cockroaches eat mothball?

No, cockroaches do not have an appetite for mothballs for roaches.

Mothballs are small balls or pellets containing chemicals like naphthalene or camphor, designed to repel or kill moths and other insects.

Cockroaches dislike the strong and bitter odor of mothballs and actively avoid them.

>> Read more: Do mothballs repel roaches? A Comprehensive Guide.

Do cockroaches eat each other? 

Cockroaches can be cannibals and eat their own kind. Oriental and German cockroaches will feed on the dead bodies of other roaches. Some will also eat roach eggs and babies when they are hungry and have no other food. Some female American cockroaches will even kill and eat their male partners. 

Do cockroaches eat wood? 

Cockroaches are very good at finding food in different places. Outside, they can eat plants and wood that are rotting.

In sewers, they can live on the waste, sewage, and water, because they like places that are wet, dark, and warm. 

Do cockroaches eat cardboard? 

Cardboard is a food source for roaches, who can digest the glue that holds it together.

They can eat various kinds of paper products as well. 

Do cockroaches eat ants? 

Roaches are not picky eaters and will consume any slow-moving or dead creatures.

They do not prey on living ants, but they will not hesitate to feed on their corpses.

Ants are not part of their regular diet. 

Do cockroaches eat clothes? 

Fabric is not a preferred food for roaches, but they will nibble on clothing that has food or drink spills on it.

This can damage the fabric and leave behind brown stains from the roaches’ droppings.

These stains are hard to remove without using bleach that does not contain chlorine. 

Do cockroaches eat poop? 

Roaches are attracted to the nutrients in feces and will consume it from any source.

They will feed on the droppings of rodents and other animals, as well as their own kind.

This is another reason to keep things clean and prevent roaches from infesting. 

Do cockroaches eat humans? 

Roaches can eat both plant and animal matter.

They sometimes bite humans, alive or dead, and prefer to target the nails, lashes, feet and hands.

The bites can be annoying and cause wounds and swelling. 

Can cockroaches eat through plastic? 

Paper, cardboard or thin plastic are not strong enough to stop roaches from eating the food inside them.

To keep roaches away from your food, you should store it in containers that roaches cannot get into. 

Do cockroaches eat termites? 

Termites and cockroaches are both insects that live in many parts of the world and have a taste for wood.

But cockroaches sometimes eat termites too, especially when they are very hungry and cannot find other food. 

Do cockroaches eat crickets? 

Roaches are not fast enough to catch live crickets, but they will gladly eat their corpses.

Dead crickets are a tasty meal for cockroaches. 


We hope you enjoyed this blog post about what do cockroaches eat. You learned that roaches are not picky eaters and will consume almost anything, from paper to fabric to feces.

If you want to learn more about roaches and other pests, check out our other blogs at Pestweek.

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