What Eats Cockroaches? | All You Need to Know

As we all know, cockroaches are very disgusting house pests since they eat human waste and carry diseases. They also move fast and can quickly hide in tiny cracks.

A lot of people are very afraid of roaches, but they also run away once they see us. But then, roaches have natural enemies other than humans.

There are lots of animals and insects that eat roaches. This includes ants, beetles, birds, centipedes, frogs (and toads), lizards, spiders, and parasitic wasps. Some small mammals, such as rats and mice, also feed on cockroaches. Jewel wasps also eat live cockroaches, but they paralyze them first.

For many people, cockroaches seem to be good at cheating death. Aside from being hard to kill, they can easily adapt to almost all kinds of environments.

Sometimes, you might think that you are running out of ideas on how to get rid of them. This article will teach you some interesting facts about killing roaches.

What Is the Natural Predator of Cockroaches?

What Is the Natural Predator of Cockroaches

Humans and some animals are among the natural enemies of cockroaches. Nonetheless, the most important natural predator of roaches is the parasitic wasps.

Aprostocetus hagenowii is a black wasp, about 2-3 mm long, and attacks egg cases (oothecae) of American, Oriental, and smokybrown cockroaches.

On the other hand, the natural predators of brown-banded cockroaches (Supella longipalpa) are the parasitic wasps – Comperia merceti and Anastatus tenuipes. These three parasitic wasps are not harmful to humans and pets. Meanwhile, there is no known parasitic wasp that specifically attacks German cockroaches.

Another common natural predator of cockroaches is the jewel wasp. Also known as emerald cockroach wasps, jewel wasps will first sting their prey and will inject venom into the front legs and brain.

After about an hour, the cockroach will be paralyzed. The wasp will bring it to its nest and eat it alive with its larvae.

How Do Cockroaches Protect Themselves From Predators?

Cockroaches protect themselves from predators by running away. Roaches are known for being one of the fastest running insects. In fact, an American cockroach (Periplaneta Americana) once held the record for being the fastest runner. The said roach ran at a maximum speed of 3.4 miles per hour (1.5 m/s).

According to a study, cockroaches escape by running at an angle of 90-180 degrees away from an attacker and can stop at any point. Roaches can also play dead and will start to move and run away once the threat is gone. Amazingly, they can also hold their breath and be underwater for more than 30 minutes.

Do Cockroaches Have a Favorite Food?

Do Cockroaches Have a Favorite Food

Cockroaches don’t have a favorite food but rather eat any decaying organic matter. As omnivores, they eat plants and animals.

But as scavengers, roaches also eat human food, paper, glue, human waste, animal feces and protein, and dead insects. In short, cockroaches feed on almost anything available to them. 

Do Cockroaches Eat Each Other?

Cockroaches eat each other, but only the dead ones. If you kill a cockroach with your shoe and it died, leave it. After a few minutes, some roaches will eat it.

This is because dead roaches release a pungent smell that attracts the living ones. But in most cases, roaches will only eat their dead if there is a lack of food.

Can You Die From Eating a Cockroach?

Can You Die From Eating a Cockroach

You are not likely to die from eating a cockroach. This is because the insect will die inside your digestive system. But then, the effect on your body depends on where the roach came from.

As creepy as it seems, a farmer in China named Li Bingcai has been breeding cockroaches for years for human food and medicine.

Meanwhile, cockroaches living in a dirty environment carry various diseases such as E. Coli, Listeriosis, and Salmonellosis.

Therefore, people who will eat foods contaminated with bacteria due to roaches may be infected with these illnesses. Accidental eating of a cockroach may not lead to death but can make you sick.

Back in 2012, a man in Florida died after eating dozens of live cockroaches in a cockroach-eating contest. According to a news report, the man collapsed right after the contest and was rushed to the nearest hospital.

The medical examiner said that the man died of asphyxia due to choking but not due to bacteria.

Are Cockroaches the Dirtiest Insect?

Are Cockroaches the Dirtiest Insect

Cockroaches could be the dirtiest insect. However, the answer depends on the species and where they have been.

Oriental cockroaches are usually found feeding on any kind of waste and garbage, making them one of the dirtiest roach species. Cockroaches are also known for carrying 33 different kinds of bacteria. 

But like other animals, cockroaches also clean their bodies. According to a 2013 study, roaches groom themselves frequently by rubbing their mouths on their antennae and legs.

This is to remove contaminants so they can perform basic functions better, such as finding food and potential mates and avoiding predators. 

Can Roaches Crawl on Me at Night?

Can Roaches Crawl on Me at Night

Roaches can crawl at you at night, especially if you don’t move much while you are already sleeping. Cockroaches rarely bite humans, but they may bite you if you have food particles on your body.

Roaches are not parasites, but they may crawl into your mouth and ears in search of soft tissues or earwax they can eat.

In fact, a 2006 study conducted at the Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa revealed that 24 insects were removed from their patients’ ears within 2 years, from 2001 to 2003. Among them were 10 German cockroaches (Blattella germanica), which represent 42% and the most number of insects collected.

Will Keeping Lights on Drive Roaches Away?

Keeping lights on will not drive cockroaches away, whether day or night. That’s because cockroaches are not afraid of the light. Despite being nocturnal creatures, they may also be active during the day or when the lights are on. However, roaches avoid light to hide from predators and humans as well.

On the other hand, cockroaches are startled if they are in a dark room and you suddenly turn on the lights. They will run and hide in tiny, dark areas but not because they are scared of lights.

It’s because roaches know that sudden changes and movements in their surroundings are signs of an upcoming danger.

Where Do Roaches Hide in the Bedroom?

As mentioned earlier, cockroaches hide in dark places to avoid predators. So, if there are roaches in your bedroom, they could be hiding in your bed frame, under your bed, on top of your closets, and inside the closets.

Nonetheless, roaches hate bedrooms that are too cold for them and have no sources of food and water.

Can Roaches Survive in a Clean House?

Roaches can survive in a clean house. Contrary to what many people think, you can still have cockroaches even if your house is clean. This is because they are also attracted to moisture.

Hence, cockroaches will stay in a house with leaky pipes and faucets, clogged toilets, and water in drip pans under refrigerators.

Since roaches eat paper, they will damage your books, newspapers, magazines, and important documents. Roaches also eat fabrics, which means that they can eat your curtains, dirty laundry, and clothes inside your closet if you leave them open. Cockroaches will not live in a house only if it is empty and has no water. 

What Do Cockroaches Dislike?

Cockroaches are not picky eaters and have an excellent sense of smell. They are attracted by the smell of human poop. Roaches are not also afraid of humans and lights, but they dislike any sudden changes in their environment. With this, here are some of the scenarios and scents that roaches hate and can repel:

  • Roaches hate hot and cold temperatures. They prefer temperatures between 25 and 46°C (75 and 115° F).
  • Roaches hate loud sounds such as screaming, clapping, slamming of doors, and banging of metals.
  • Cockroaches are repelled by the strong smell of bleach, cucumbers, garlic, ground coffee, onions, and vinegar.
  • Some essential oils can also repel cockroaches. This includes clove, eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint, oregano, and rosemary.

What Food Can Kill a Cockroach?

Chemically known as sodium bicarbonate, baking soda is known for being a natural roach killer. According to a study, baking soda can kill cockroaches within 12-24 hours. But then, it depends on how much baking soda you use. Also, dehydrated cockroaches that will eat baking soda may delay their death.

Baking soda also has a strong smell and unpleasant taste that roaches tend to avoid. To make baking soda attractive to them, try mixing sugar with it. However, another study suggested that German cockroaches have inherited a trait called glucose aversion. This means that they are becoming less attracted to sugar.

What Attracts Cockroaches and Kills Them?

If you want to attract cockroaches and kill them, use roach bait stations such as Combat Max 12 Month Small Roach Bait StationThese products contain powerful attractants that cockroaches cannot resist but eat. With this innovative approach, cockroaches will bring the bait to their nest and share it with others.

Unlike aerosol sprays that cannot reach tiny cracks where roaches hide, bait stations work like a chain reaction with less effort on your part. Just place them under the sink, behind refrigerators, or any place where you see roaches.

It also saves you money since it takes about a year before you need to replace the bait.


Killing cockroaches can be challenging, especially if the infestation is already in its early stage. In most cases, you will need a combination of treatments to control them.

You should also locate their habitat and monitor their activities. Otherwise, you will kill only some of them, and the rest will continue to reproduce.

Related: How to Keep Roaches Away While You Sleep? | A Detailed Guide

List of Sources

Escaping Away From and Towards a Threat

Insects Groom Their Antennae to Enhance Olfactory Acuity

A Cockroach Crawled Inside a Woman’s Ear, and It Can Happen to You

Immortals to Mortals – Home Remedies for Control of Indoor Pests and Their Efficacy

Cockroach Biocontrol: Parasitoids and Parasites

Least Toxic Methods of Cockroach Control