There isn’t much that cockroaches won’t eat. Though disgusting, feces is a rich source of nutrients that roaches will consume to stay alive. Poop is also readily available, particularly in drains and sewers where they like to live and yards where pets go to the toilet.
Cockroaches eat human and animal feces, including the poop of dogs, cats, mice, rats, and birds. While roaches prefer to eat foods containing carbs and starch, poop is a rich source of fats, proteins, trace vitamins, and minerals, enabling them to survive when their preferred food items are unavailable. Cockroaches don’t eat their own feces because roach poop contains few nutrients.
Even though cockroaches don’t eat their own poop, roach feces contains bacteria that provide chemical location cues about their location. They use the scent to ascertain where to assemble, form large groups, and strengthen the colonies they live in.
Do Cockroaches Like Poop?
If there’s one thing to understand about cockroaches, it’s that they’re not fussy eaters. They’ll eat any organic material they find, including poop. As omnivorous scavengers, they eat both plant and animal matter, absorbing and utilizing the essential nutrients they need to survive.
Cockroaches also live in sewage systems and drains where human and animal excrement is commonly found. Cockroaches aren’t fussy about the type of feces they eat and will consume any poop they encounter. The only poop they won’t eat is their own.
Do Cockroaches Eat Human Feces?
If cockroaches can find human feces, they’ll eat them. The only trouble for roaches is that we tend to do our business in the toilet, so there’s not as much of it around for them to eat. That’s why cockroaches more commonly eat animal poop. That being said, cockroaches are more likely to thrive in poorer countries with little sanitation and toilet hygiene.
As mentioned, human feces end up in sewers and drainage systems, giving cockroaches that live there enough sustenance to survive. It goes without saying that keeping your bathroom clean and flushing your toilet helps keep cockroaches away. The smell of human poop alone is enough to attract cockroaches into your home.
Do Cockroaches Eat Animal Feces?
Cockroaches are known to eat animal feces. While this seems disgusting, animal poop contains certain nutrients that roaches need to survive. It’s also readily available in the environments cockroaches live. If you don’t clean up after your pet, you’re at risk of attracting roaches into your home.
Do Cockroaches Eat Dog Poop?
Even though dog poop contains harmful bacteria, cockroaches are attracted to it. They don’t mind whether it’s fresh or decaying – they’ll eat it as they find it. Dog feces are often left in the yard, either because owners can’t see it or haven’t had the chance to pick it up.
Unfortunately, it’s not only cockroaches that are drawn to dog poop. Once cockroaches get into the home, they’ll look for more nourishing, carbohydrate-rich foods. If you leave it festering for too long, it’s only a matter of time before you attract other insects and pests.
Do Cockroaches Eat Cat Poop?
Cockroaches will eat cat poop. Outdoor cat feces is harder to clean up than other animal poop because cats do their business all over the place. The foul smell attracts cockroaches, particularly in hot, arid climates.
Similarly, if you have a litter tray and don’t clean your cat’s poop up immediately, you’re unwittingly inviting cockroaches into your home. To keep cockroaches away from cat feces, increase the frequency you clean the litter tray and scoop out poop as soon as you see it. You should also try crystal litter, which roaches can’t eat and will avoid.
Cockroaches are also attracted to cat food, which owners commonly leave out on the kitchen side or floor. In fact, roaches prefer cat food, so it’s only a matter of time before the food sources available to the pests cause a full-scale infestation.
Do Cockroaches Eat Mouse Poop?
Mouse poop looks similar to cockroach feces, but mouse droppings are slenderer. Despite the similarities in appearance, cockroaches will eat mouse poop.
In a study published by Medical Entomology and Zoology, smoky-brown cockroaches preferred mouse feces over dried carcasses and their own feces. This means roaches will thrive in your home if you have a mouse infestation, causing a pest control nightmare for homeowners.
Mice are also known to eat cockroaches if they catch them. Don’t count on mice to control your cockroach infestation, though, as the two creatures depend on each other for survival. Cockroaches eat mouse droppings, while mice eat the occasional roach. This symbiotic relationship makes it difficult to eradicate the two pests naturally.
Do Cockroaches Eat Rat Poop?
Rats and cockroaches are commonly found in food establishments’ kitchens, posing significant sanitary problems for business owners. Cockroaches are more likely to feed off the food they find on the floor and down the backs of cabinets, but they’ll also eat rat poop to survive, particularly when there are no other food sources available.
Do Cockroaches Eat Bird Poop?
Bird poop is organic, so cockroaches eat it. Bird feces contain high quantities of nitrogen, which cockroaches need to make proteins, amino acids, and DNA. When cockroaches experience depleted nitrogen levels, they eat bird poop and other nitrogen-rich foods to increase them. In turn, they release nitrogen as they poop, which gets into the soil and benefits plants and trees.
The reality is cockroaches are unlikely to go near a living, breathing bird to eat its poop. That’s because there’s too much risk of danger, as they’re likely to be eaten in the process. However, if you have a pet bird, it doesn’t hurt to spot clean its cage every day to remove feces that cockroaches could eat. That way, you minimize the risk of cockroaches using bird poop as food.
Do Cockroaches Eat Their Own Poop?
According to Medical Entomology and Zoology, cockroaches only eat their own poop if they’re starving and in desperate need of food because there’s nothing else available.
Cockroach poop doesn’t contain many nutrients, so the pests can’t use it to sustain themselves. Not only that, but eating their own poop dramatically reduces their lifespan. Many animals recycle and eat their feces (cecotropes) because they contain several essential nutrients. Cockroaches cannot do this, so they rely on the poop of other creatures to survive. Animal poop contains a greater amount of:
- Trace vitamins
An experiment using smoky-brown cockroaches found that they’d even resort to cannibalism before eating their own poop. That being said, nymph roaches are more likely to eat their own feces, though scientists aren’t quite sure why.
Are Cockroaches Attracted to Poop?
While feces aren’t a suitable source of food for cockroaches, the scent of their own poop encourages them to congregate, according to Smithsonian Magazine. The bacteria living in cockroach guts leave chemical signals that the pests are attracted to, leading them to one another.
Even when they have to detect it from a distance, they’ll head towards the droppings. This survival tactic allows them to seek safety in numbers, strengthening the colony and ensuring its survival. To support this theory, researchers discovered that when the bacteria are missing from the gut or feces, cockroaches go it alone.
Unfortunately, cockroaches are some of the hardiest insects in existence. Even human and animal poop’s enough to sustain them, at least until they find something better. If you have pets, be sure to clean up after them as quickly as possible and use a scented disinfectant wherever possible to eliminate the smell of poop.