Do Cockroaches Eat other Cockroaches? – Fact & Information

Do cockroaches eat other cockroaches? Are roaches cannibalistic? Do cockroaches eat other dead cockroaches? Roaches are known to feed on almost anything from rotting wood, garbage, and dead decaying animals among many other things. They can also eat each other including dead roaches. They are known for their survival tactics and will eat other insects if they are starving.

Although it may sound strange, but cockroach will eat another cockroach when there is no other food. This can happen when the population grows beyond the available food source and in cases where there is conflict in mating.

Roaches can therefore described as cannibalistic. The reason for eating another cockroach is purely for survival and preservation. Rarely do cockroaches eat alive cockroaches, they prefer eating dead cockroaches.

When roaches lack food they can turn on each other. The larger roaches will be forced to feed on their eggs, the nymphs and smaller adult cockroaches. This is a typical case of survival for the fittest. Other than eating dead cockroaches, they can also eat other insects such as bed bugs and the sheds of other cockroach skins.

Will A Cockroach Eat Another Cockroach?

Yes, a cockroach will eat another cockroach. But a cockroach will not eat another cockroach as its primary source of food. Instinctively, cockroaches will not feed on another unless under severe cases of starvation. In this case, roaches will not chose the type of food to eat.

Cockroaches as mentioned eat on anything including rotten wood, decaying matter, fruits, berries, dead decaying animal including other insects.

At home where there quite a number of food sources such left overs, trash or organic waste, roaches will rarely feed on another unless the food supply is limited and their population is growing rapidly.

Also Read: What Do Cockroaches Eat?

Are Roaches Cannibalistic?

Yes, roaches are cannibals. Cockroaches are scavengers which means that they aren’t choosy at all. They will eat anything including fruit, cardboard, glue, feces, etc. They will also eat other roaches just to survive hunger.

They are cannibals but this trend is believed to be so for some reasons majorly food and population regulation. As the infestation grows, food becomes scarce for the roaches. Their cannibal trait comes out clearly here where they have to eat other roaches and also to reduce the ever increasing population size.

Do Roaches Kill Each Other?

Once cockroach invade your home, they will build a colony where they live and hide. This means roaches have social skill and do not kill each other. In fact, cockroach tend to carry food to other roaches in the colony to feed on. But if the infestation grows larger such that resources become scarce, some roaches, the weaker ones will be forced to move out. The conflict of scarce resource may arise in attempt to survive.

Do Cockroaches Eat Other Dead Cockroaches?

Since cockroach have the cannibalistic tendency, a cockroach will most certainly eat another dead cockroach. This is not just primary for food or self-preservation tactic but this is a natural norm that benefits the ecosystem.

Cockroaches eat dead decaying plants such as leaf, rotting fruit and decaying animals. This is a way nature recycles what other animals leave behind upon death. While eating dead cockroaches, the process leads to waste which in nature fertilizes the soil for new growth.

Nature has a way of turning dead cockroaches to something useful. When cockroaches eat dead cockroaches, nitrogen is released into the air.

Note that roaches don’t just eat dead cockroaches right away. Once the roaches die, they release a bad smell which compromises of oleic acid.  The acid has death scent that send signals to other cockroaches usually warning them of potential danger.

As soon as the death smell fades away, the dead roaches become food to nearby hungry roaches.

Do Roaches Eat Their Nymphs?

Do cockroaches eat their young or nymphs? Yes, cockroaches eat their young, this is according to the Journal of Economic Entomology. As mentioned earlier in the post, roaches are cannibalistic meaning they will eat other roaches for two primary reason; for food and population control. If the infestation grows larger, food become scarce and the need to reduce the population becomes inevitable. But they don’t seek their young as meal but they will be driven to it as the colony grows and resources become strained.

Also Read: What Do Baby Roaches Look Like?

Why Cockroaches Eat Nymphs?

Why would roaches turn on their young ones? Here are the reasons:

Nymphs are Weak to Fight Back

Roaches are scavengers meaning they cannot hunt despite the fact that they are cannibals. They don’t fight for their food making it easy to feed on the nymphs. But they will turn on the nymphs when forced by circumstances.

Nymphs are can’t fight back since they have smaller bodies and don’t have the same strength as the adult roaches. Although some cockroach species such as the German roaches tend to release pheromones that repels adult roaches.

Nymphs Have Soft Exoskeletons

Nymphs are still going development stages and it happens as soon as they have hatched. During this phase, the nymphs are vulnerable. Their exoskeleton is still soft to protect them from attacks from adult roaches. The exoskeleton is still new; easy to tear and bite through.

Nymphs Are Slow to Escape

Compared to the adult roaches, nymphs aren’t quick to escape. As the population grows larger straining the food sources, the colony tends to turn to cannibalism. Here the law of the jungle applies, “survival for the fittest”. The nymphs are usually the easy target since they are not as quick to escape like other small cockroaches.

Do Cockroach Nymphs Eat Each Other?

Cockroaches are cannibalistic regardless of their age. Most of the cockroach species are naturally independent creatures. Once the nymphs are hatched, they begin feeding themselves. It is goes without saying, some baby roaches may also eat other to survive in case they food source is scarce.

A Journal of Insect Physiology describes cockroach larvae as cannibals. They eat their dead counterparts. As roaches grows they increase in size every molting phases, this requires nutrients. If the resources are strained to meet their body requirements, they will eat other young roaches to survive.

Also Read: How to Get Rid of Baby Cockroaches, Pictures, Natural Home Remedies

Do Cockroaches Eat Their Own Eggs?

Remember when we said cockroaches eat on almost anything? Roaches will feed on their eggs if the food source becomes scarce. When the population grows and food becomes limited roaches will turn on their own eggs as nutrients to basically survive.

Do Roaches Eat Their Own Poop?

The fact that cockroaches will eat everything means that they can also feed on their own poop. As strange as it may seems, roaches can feed on feces of other animals too. Yes, cockroaches will feed on their own poop but not primary as their source of food. They will only eat their poop when they are starving and have no other alternative source of food- The Medical Entomology and Zoology

Cockroach poop or any other animal poop has few nutrients, though roaches cannot sustain their diet on their own poop. Young roaches or nymphs will also eat their own poop.

Also Read: Do Cockroaches Poop?- Is it Poisonous, How to Get Rid & Clean

Do Cockroaches Eat Their Molted Skins?

Cockroaches are not choosy when it comes to food. Anything that smell and looks like food is edible to cockroaches. Both adult and nymph roaches will eat their shed molts. The molts have nutrients even after they are shed off.

The exoskeleton is made up of chitin, fiber and polysaccharides. This is what makes the exoskeleton hard. Cockroaches when starving due to population increase, they will eat the skin molts to survive. But if there is reliable food source, cockroaches will not eat the molted skin, instead allow it to rot and become food later on.

Do Cockroaches Eat Other Insects such as Bed Bugs, Ants?

Yes, cockroaches will also eat other insects such as bed bugs or ants. Remember that roaches are not picky when it comes to their diet. Dead insects such as bed bugs can also become their food. Other than dead insects roaches will also feed on their shed skin, larvae and eggs.

They may not eat the insects directly once they are dead but will wait when the carcass begins to decay. The mandibles are not strong enough to feed on dead insects right away. They find it hard to chew through their exoskeleton case in example of a beetle.

Cockroaches aren’t hunters they cannot take on a live insects or more dangerous bugs. Unless the bugs are injured such that they are unable to fight or escape, the bugs must either be sickly or weakened by insecticide.

Note, roaches will not go directly for other insects. This happen as a last resort when they have nothing else to eat usually when they are starving such that food is scarce.

Is it Possible to Make Roaches to Eat Each Other?

Not possible at all. There is no way you can influence or force roaches to feed on each other. You cannot manipulate their choice of diet. But you can only reduce or limit the nest to access food which will reduce infestation in your home. But an already existing colony will be forced to turn to cannibalism if you starve them.

Can You Use Cockroach Cannibalism to Poison Roach Colony?

Yes it possible to use cannibalism to poison the colony through roach trap in the form of a poisoned bait. Once a cockroach eat other poisoned roaches, it may return to the colony and then be eaten once it dies. The cockroaches that feed on the dead poisoned cockroach will then die as well.

This require patience as it is time consuming compared to other pest control methods but it will still work. Make sure you limit available food source such that roaches are left with no option but to feed on other roaches, including their own poop and nymphs.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here