Hey there, folks! Are you tired of seeing those creepy crawlies scurrying around your house? Well, you’re not alone! Cockroaches are a common household pest and they’re definitely not welcome guests. But, have you ever wondered what these little buggers are chowing down on? Well, let me tell you, it’s not just leftover pizza and Chinese takeout.
Contrary to popular belief, cockroaches aren’t just dirty creatures that live off of our scraps. In fact, in the wild, these critters munch on a variety of plants and other insects. But, when they find themselves in human environments, well, that’s where the real trouble starts. They’ll pretty much eat anything they can find. Crumbs, spills, garbage, you name it. And, let’s be real, that’s not exactly hygienic, now is it?
So, let’s dive into the world of cockroach cuisine, shall we? You might be surprised at what these little pests are chowing down on, which hopefully isn’t you as many question can cockroaches bite. And, who knows, maybe you’ll learn a thing or two about how to keep them away from your own kitchen.
Cockroaches as Opportunistic Feeders – They Ain’tPicky
Cockroaches are opportunistic feeders, they’ll eat whatever they can find. And let me tell you, they’re not picky. According to the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Cockroaches are scavengers and will eat just about anything they come across, whether it is food or non-food items. They’re survivors, and that’s why they’re so hard to get rid of – even when rats come after them.
And, you know what’s really wild? Cockroaches also have mutualistic relationships with certain species of ants, where they help provide food for them in exchange for protection. (Source: “Ecological Interactions of Cockroaches” by J. Silverman)
Cockroaches’ Food Preferences
- Sweets: Cockroaches have a preference for sugary foods, such as candy, soft drinks, and desserts. They are also attracted to sweet-smelling foods like fruits, syrups and jams.
- Starches: Cockroaches also have a preference for starchy foods, such as bread, cereal, pasta, and potatoes. They are also attracted to processed foods like crackers, chips and pretzels.
- Greasy and fatty foods: Cockroaches are also attracted to greasy or fatty foods, such as butter, cheese, oil, and meat. They also like to eat pet food, which is often high in fats and proteins.
- Fermented foods: Cockroaches are also attracted to fermented foods, such as beer, vinegar, and pickles. They are also attracted to spoiled food which is often high in fermented compounds. According to a study by the University of Florida, cockroaches are attracted to the smells of fermentation, which is why they’re often found in kitchen and pantry areas.
Types of Food Cockroaches Eat
- Human Food: they’ll eat anything from crumbs on the floor, bits of food in the sink, and leftover pizza in the trash.
- Non-food items: Cockroaches are known to consume non-food items, such as glue, leather, paper, and even soap and toothpaste. According to a study by the Journal of Economic Entomology, cockroaches have been known to consume a wide range of materials, including paper, books, wallpaper paste, and clothing.
- Other Cockroaches: they are also known to be cannibalistic, meaning they will eat their own kind if they are hungry enough.
- Other Insects: They’ll also snack on other insects, like beetles, caterpillars and termites. (Source: “Cockroaches as a Model for Evolutionary and Developmental Biology” by M. Scharf and M. Wund)
But, here’s the thing, cockroaches play a pretty important role in the ecosystem, they help break down organic matter and recycle nutrients. (Source: “Cockroaches in Ecosystems” by M.W. Scharf and J. Silverman)
Why Cockroaches are Attracted to Certain Types of Food
Cockroaches are attracted to certain types of food because they provide the nutrients they need to survive. Sweets, starches, and greasy or fatty foods are high in carbohydrates and fats, which are essential for cockroaches to survive. Fermented foods also provide nutrients that cockroaches need, as well as the smells of fermentation which is attractive to them. If you have any of these in your house, make sure they are sealed.
HOW OFTEN DO THEY EAT?
Cockroaches will eat as often and as much as they possibly can. I mean, they’ve been around for a long time. However, in the wild it’s harder for them them to come across food so they have to forage for their food. So, they might not be eating every single day. But, when they do find food, they’ll chow down as much as they can, because you never know when the next meal is coming.
Now, let’s talk about the cockroaches that we’re more familiar with, the ones that invade our homes. When these critters find themselves in human environments, it’s like an all-you-can-eat buffet for them. They’ll chow down on crumbs, spills, and garbage. And, since they have a constant supply of food, they can pretty much eat whenever they want which is why they carry diseases.
But, here’s the thing, cockroaches are not just foodies, they also need water to survive. So, if you see cockroaches in your house, it’s a good indication that there’s also a source of water nearby.
Now, you might be thinking to yourself, “well, if they’re always eating, how come I never see them chowing down?” And the answer to that is that cockroaches are nocturnal creatures, so they do most of their eating at night when you’re sound asleep. But don’t worry, they’re not eating your food, they’re eating the crumbs and spills that you missed when you cleaned up.
By the way, cockroaches also need water to survive. So if you do see them, they aren’t only munching on your food, but they are drinking liquids somewhere near.
- University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Cockroaches. https://www.ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7411.html
- University of Florida. Cockroaches are Attracted to the Smells of Fermentation. https://entomologytoday.org/2017/06/19/cockroaches-are-attracted-to-the-smells-of-fermentation/
- Journal of Economic Entomology. Cockroaches. https://academic.oup.com/jee/article/103/5/1580/2758288