What Do Cockroaches Eat?

Cockroach on a scrap of food

Cockroaches—nature’s crafty little survivalists—aren’t picky about their menu. They’ll chomp down on anything from kitchen crumbs to the glue on your shoebox!

These adaptable pests can turn your home into their buffet if they find just a trace of snacks lying around.

Curious about keeping them out? Stay tuned to learn more about these sneaky critters and how to keep your home roach-free. 

Key Takeaways

  • Cockroaches eat a wide range of foods, including sweets, meats, starches, and even unusual items like book bindings and soap when preferred sources are scarce.
  • Their diets vary significantly depending on their environment and species, with some preferring sugary foods while others thrive on decaying organic matter.
  • Cockroaches are more likely to infest areas with plentiful and accessible food sources, increasing infestation risks in such environments.
  • Understanding cockroach dietary preferences is crucial for effective pest control, allowing for targeted baiting techniques that incorporate a variety of attractive food items.
  • Professional pest control strategies often utilize a cockroach’s dietary habits, employing specific treatments and regular services to manage and prevent infestations.


Cockroaches have no favorite foods and will notoriously devour anything. This adaptable feeding habit allows these omnivores to survive in various environments.

General Overview of Cockroach Diets

Here’s what you’ll discover about their eating habits. Whether in your kitchen or the wild, these pests have quite an eclectic palate:

Aspects of DietDetails
SweetsCockroaches have a marked preference for sugary foods, often found scavenging on spills or residues.
MeatsNot only do they consume meat, but they eat leftovers on dishes or scraps in garbage bins.
StarchesMaterials rich in starch, like bread, are favored for their energy content.
Greasy FoodsThey are particularly attracted to greasy foods, which provide a high-calorie feast.
Omnivorous NatureDemonstrating their adaptability, cockroaches eat plant- and animal-based foods.
AdaptabilityIn urban environments, cockroaches may consume anything from dropped pieces of pet food to crumbs of human food, while their counterparts in the wild might prefer decaying organic matter.
ScavengersTheir opportunistic feeding behavior allows them to take advantage of whatever food sources are available.
VarietyCockroaches’ ability to digest various organic matter enables them to thrive in challenging environments.

Unusual Items Cockroaches Consume

Unusual Items Cockroaches Consume

You might be surprised by the range of unusual items cockroaches can turn into their next meal, especially when their preferred food sources are scarce.

Here’s a closer look at some of the unexpected things they might be nibbling on in your home:

  1. Book Bindings: Containing starchy glues, some cockroaches consume them without better food sources.
  2. Cardboard Boxes: The glue found in cardboard can be a food source.
  3. Wallpaper Glue: The wallpaper paste can be appealing to them.
  4. Dead Insects: In scenarios with scarce food, cockroaches exhibit cannibalism.
  5. Toothpaste: Residuals can be eaten due to their consistent search for organic matter.
  6. Soap: In dire conditions, even soap may be part of their diet, likely for the fats.
  7. Hair: They may consume hair for its slight nutritional value.
  8. Organic Matter: A catch-all category that encapsulates the variety of natural substances they consume.


Knowing cockroach diet preferences can significantly boost pest control efforts. This insight is beneficial for designing targeted interventions that effectively draw out and eradicate these pests.

Targeted Baiting 

To outsmart these not-so-picky eaters, you can use baits that incorporate a variety of food items cockroaches can’t resist.

For example, a dab of sweet jelly or a piece of bread can attract cockroaches more than traditional bait traps. Other food items you can consider:

  • Sweet baits: Jellies, sugar solutions
  • Protein-rich baits: Peanut butter, cheese
  • Complex carbohydrate baits: Bread crumbs, cereal pieces


Cockroaches can be a bit of a handful, to say the least. They scuttle around, exploring every nook and cranny of your home, seeking out snacks.

What’s on their menu? Well, they’re not picky. They eat just about anything, from food crumbs and leftovers to paper and fabric.

If they’re turning up like uninvited guests to a party, again and again, it’s time to call in the pest control pros.

Whether you’re in New Orleans or Baton Rouge, seeking expert help should be easy. For immediate intervention for a severe infestation, let Lajaunie’s cockroach control specialists tailor a solution that’s right for your home.

For more information about the areas we service, visit our location page.