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What Do Cockroaches Eat? What Keeps Them Coming to Your Home?

Oriental cockroach
Cockroaches are many people’s nightmares and with a good reason. They crawl, they run fast, they get inside of your home, they can climb anything and scare you in the middle of the night.

It is not unheard of people waking up and finding one on the pillow next to them staring into their eyes. And if this is isn’t a nightmare come true…

There is a reason they are in your home. They are searching for food, water and shelter. But one of the big questions people ask is “What do cockroaches eat?” Why are they looking for food in your home?

To start off let’s first talk about…

What Do Cockroaches Eat in the Wild?

There are over 5,000 species of roaches in the world, that we know of, and most of them live in the wild. Only 30 of all species are pests, with only four of them being common to the UK. And they are the American, the German, the Oriental and the Brown-banded cockroach.

The ones who live in the wild eat only organic matter. Some species live in sewers and feed on whatever they find there. Some species live on trees and feed on dead wood and dead plants, plus smaller decaying insects.

What and When Do Cockroaches Eat in Your Home?

What Do Cockroaches Eat?

They would eat many other things, too. Some of roaches favourite things to eat are:

  • Starchy foods – potatoes, bread, pasta, paper, wallpaper, glue, etc.
  • Other insects; also soft leather, human fingernails and hair
  • Sweets and sugar- anything you leave out in the open
  • Meat – anything they can find

This type of pests are not picky eaters at all. All cockroaches species are omnivores. The ones that infest people’s homes would also eat anything that is organic. Their favourite food is decaying matter, which is more easily found than you might think.

That’s why you will find them more in places that have a lot of food – your kitchen, your pantry, restaurants, etc.

Other things cockroaches can eat: foods rich in lipid, or protein and carbohydrates, cheese, dried wood, soap, fat, dead insects, etc.

And any other dwelling that is not cleaned and offers any of the food they can eat. They cannot survive without water. So it is extremely important for them to find a source to drink from. If your home offers such a place, you can bet they won’t be leaving soon.


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Do Cockroaches Eat Pet Food?

They love it. This is the perfect food source for pests. Pet food is rich in a variety of nutrients and minerals to help your pet be healthy, and it can serve as a great meal to cockroaches and other pests. Especially the dry pet food.

Improper storage of pet food or leaving the pet’s bowl full of food at night can easily attract cockroaches to your home. If you are not feeding your pet just the right amount of food at a certain time, but just leave its bowl full so they can eat at any time is one of your biggest mistakes.

If you keep your pet food in open bags or boxes, this also means easy access to pests. You should try storing the food in plastic containers and close them tightly.

What Do Baby Cockroaches Eat?
Cockroaches and Cannibalism

When Do Cockroaches Eat?

Unlike many other bugs, cockroaches are actually afraid of light and movements. That’s why they are most active during the night. Cockroaches eat when the house is dark and quiet. They come out at night scavenging for food and water.

They have a specific rhythm and usually come out about four hours after the lights are out. They will start roaming your house in search of any food they can find – breadcrumbs on the floor or table, pet food, garbage, any food left that they have easy access to.

They can come out during the day too but that’s rare occasions. It can mean either that you have a serious case of infestation and they are no longer scared to come out during the day, in that case you might have to look for cockroach exterminator. Or that there is a scarcity of food during the night and they are forced to come out at daytime to search for it.

cockroach control in London by Panther Pest Control

Why Cockroach Infestation is Dangerous?What Health Problems Do They Cause?

Cockroaches are a major threat to your home because they can be the carriers of many dangerous bacteria and diseases. Some pass through or live inside sewers, dumpsters and other extremely unhygienic places and then come to your home and walk on everything. They may be spreading harmful bacteria all over your home. What is more, they are proven to cause diseases such as Dysentery, Typhoid fever, Poliomyelitis, Cholera, and more. They are also linked to germs such as streptococcus and staphylococcus, and many more.

They can also cause allergies, or cause people with allergies to have more severe symptoms. Symptoms of allergic reactions to cockroaches are watery or red eyes, swelling under the eyes, sneezing and runny nose, rashes, heavy breathing and more intense asthma symptoms.

Their saliva, direct contact, shed body parts and droppings can activate any allergic reaction.


Cockroach Control and Prevention

What you can do to make your home inhospitable to roaches and cut their water and food sources is to clean regularly.

  • After every meal, wash your dishes right away, vacuum daily.
  • If possible, seal all cracks in walls, and near pipes and windows.
  • Store food in tightly closed containers or in the fridge.
  • Keep your garbage and waste products in a rubbish bin with a lid and take it out often.
  • Use liquid soap instead of a bar of soap so cockroaches can’t use it as food.
  • In case you try cockroach treatments on your own and they fail, you should turn to a professional pest company before the infestation has reached its peak.

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