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What Do Cockroaches Eat?

Most people believe that if doomsday arrives, cockroaches will be the only surviving creatures left on earth and they are probably right. 

Cockroaches are insects of the order Blattodea. There are 4,600 species of cockroaches but you likely only encountered about 4 species that are labeled as pests and are commonly found inside homes.  Only 30 out of the 4,600 species of cockroaches are associated with human contact.

Cockroaches are some of the toughest creatures in existence.  This is because these creatures can withstand temperatures as low as 32 degrees F, it can hold its breath for 40 minutes, they can live without food for a month and scientists believe that they are resistant to nuclear exposure.

Cockroaches are also tough creatures because of their flexible diet.

What Do Cockroaches Eat?

Cockroaches have sucking mouthparts as well as chewing mouthparts.  In most cases, cockroaches are labeled as pests.  But there are some who choose to keep and breed cockroaches as a food source for other animals like lizards and reptiles. 

Some cockroach species are also safe for human consumption.  Roaches that are prepared under laboratory conditions for food purposes are fed on healthy fruit and veggie diets and they are toasted, fried, sautéed or boiled and served as high-protein treats in some countries. 

These creatures are omnivores meaning they can consume both plant and meat matter.  Their food intake can be quite diverse.  Here is a quick look at the main foods that cockroaches enjoy eating;

Insects

Cockroaches are scavengers.  They will pray on any type of dead insects they can find and may even consume small insects.  These creatures also have cannibalistic tendencies and will feed off dead co-species.

Meat

Roaches are very happy to consume meat.  They will feed off dead carcasses and are often attracted by leftover foods inside homes.

These insects also live on skin flakes and hair left behind by humans and other animals.  They are happy to consume just about any type of flesh they can find including dried out flesh.

Plant matter

Roaches can also consume just about any edible plant matter.  They will feed off softer food types like fruits and veggies and may also choose to consume a variety of other plant sources like leaves, roots and certain elements inside the bark.  

Roaches that are kept for food are usually raised on healthy plant matter to optimize their growth, eliminate bacteria in these insects and to increase the nutritional value of these roaches.

Water

A cockroach can survive without food for months but it will die if it doesn’t get water at least once a week.  It can draw moisture from food sources such as fruits and veggies but if supplied dried food, it can dehydrate and die.  

Animal feces

Cockroaches will consume animal – and all other types of – feces.  They feed off undigested foods and can flourish on these food sources. These insects can consume the feces of just about any other living organism.

Diet Variations

Their digestive tract is incredibly strong.  Inside their guts, they have bacteria that can digest cellulose.  This enables them to consume a great variety of non-food items such as paper, glue, book bindings and much more.  They cannot consume metals, building materials, plastics, rubber, and other sturdy non-food items.

How to Feed Cockroaches

With such a versatile diet, cockroaches are very easy to feed.  When you are keeping these insects as feed for animals they need to be offered a healthy meal to boost the nutritional value of the cockroach.  When these nutrient-rich cockroaches are fed to other animals, they promote the health of these animals a great deal.

Cockroaches that are kept as a human food source need to be kept in laboratory conditions because they can contract and spread various germs and bacteria.  In laboratory conditions, roaches are kept in a clean, bacteria-free environment and they are fed on healthy foods. 

To feed cockroaches you can simply add foods to their enclosures.  If you offer dry food then it is important to also include water in your cockroach enclosures.  If you offer lots of moisture-rich foods like fruits or soft vegetables then your cockroach can get the needed hydration from these food sources.

How Much Do Cockroaches Eat?

Cockroaches can consume a huge variety of foods in just about any condition.  They are perfectly fine consuming decaying foods. 

It is unclear exactly how much a cockroach can eat but they do have healthy appetites.  Most cockroach farmers will offer plentiful foods to their roach pens because plenty of foods promotes healthy and fast growth of these insects. 

You can choose to offer food every day although these animals can survive without food for well over a month.  A good way to offer sufficient food is to add specific amounts and to wait until all foods are consumed. Wait a day or two before adding new foods.  You will quickly find out exactly how much food your cockroaches need and can easily draw up a feeding schedule for these hardy creatures.

What do Baby Cockroaches Eat?

Baby cockroaches are just as agile as their parents from the moment they hatch.  A baby cockroach can run almost the same speed as a fully grown cockroach – 3 miles per hour. It can also feed off the same foods as an adult cockroach but in smaller quantities.  They will focus on smaller pieces of food but are perfectly capable of consuming huge chunks of food one bite at a time. 

What Do Wild Cockroaches Eat?

In the wild, cockroaches will consume just about any food source they can find.  They will also dwell near areas where food is plentiful resulting in cockroach infestations in that region.  Wild cockroaches often prefer moist and humid areas and they do tend to shield underneath items like rocks, trunks and more.  At night and even during the day, they will go foraging for food and will consume any tasty morsels of plant or flesh matter they can find.

For some, cockroaches are gross pets but others find these creatures immensely interesting and quite handy.  They are superb foods for various animal species and can also be consumed by humans.

Although they might seem more like pests, these creatures are invaluable for keeping the environment clean and for creating rich soil.