Are cockroaches predators?

Table of Contents

The ecosystem works in an interesting way. Humans exist at the top of the food chain buy tiny creatures like mosquitoes and fleas feed on human blood. In some cases, a predator can end up becoming prey to its prey’s prey. It is an interesting cycle. Cockroaches are pests to humans, messing up our home and eating our foods. In some extreme cases of infestation, they may even eat fingers and hairs of humans while they are fast asleep.


are cockroaches predators
Are cockroaches predators

In this article, we will be looking closely at the behavioral pattern of roaches to learn about their predators and prey. You will find out the answer to the question, “are cockroaches prey?” as you read on.

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Do Cockroaches have Natural Predators?

Cockroaches are a common type of insect known for their role as pests in the home. They have a habit of encroaching into human habitats and establishing territory there. 

Some cockroaches, such as the Australian giant cockroach, which is considered as one of the largest insects can grow to be up to 3.5 inches in length.

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Even though most people hate roaches and would not come near one with a long pole, some humans around the world have them on their menu. However,  these people who enjoy eating roaches are few, and most humans hate them with utter disgust. 

What Creatures eat Cockroaches?

Some animals and insects prey on roaches, and we will be discussing a few of them shortly. 

Humans: Several cultures around the world have been preying on cockroaches for many years. If you’ve ever been to China, you’ve probably seen some cockroach delicacies in their local markets. The reason for consuming cockroaches may range from nutrition to medicinal value. Chinese pharmaceutical companies are some of the biggest buyers of roaches in the world. They process the roaches into powder and sell it for the sake of curing several ailments. According to them, the drugs are very effective and come with no side effects.

In one way or another, cockroaches have been part of Chinese culture for thousands of years. You may think that a cockroach can’t create art, but you’ve entered a modern art exhibition and noticed that it was created by a man, a cockroach, or a cockroach masked by a sea cucumber. 

Lizards and Snakes: Most lizard species are expert predators of insects, including more common species which for example include monitor lizards and geckos. Insects make up the major part of their diet, and they enjoy feasting on cockroaches. 

Other species of lizards that are eaters of roaches include the dragon lizard and the iguana. Small snakes like rough green snakes and ringnecks eat cockroaches.

Insects and Arachnids: Several insect species eat cockroaches and their eggs. Insects such as the praying mantis and the millipede are always delighted to take part in a meal of cockroaches. Similarly, some larger spider species, such as the brown recluse and huntsman, will help to deplete the cockroach population in your home. Some of these insects are listed below:

Wasps: Wasps employ special survival and reproduction techniques when dealing with roaches. They carefully wait in ambush and fall on top of a cockroach. On landing on the roach, they will deliver a dreadful sting into its brain. The venom from the sting induces the cockroach into a state of trance and paralyzes the roach. 

Even though the roach is alive, it cannot fight back against the wasps due to the venom in its brain. The wasp then moves on to drag the roach into its burrow, where it continues to lay eggs in the lower abdomen of the roach. 

Eventually, the wasp’s egg will hatch and feed on the cockroaches, remaining alive but paralyzed.

Huntsman spider: The Huntsman Spider is an insect known for its role as a natural enemy of the cockroach. Its body is about 8 to 10 cm long, which is a pretty large size for a spider. The most prominent feature of the Huntsman spider is its long legs.  

Its size might seem intimidating to humans, but in reality, they are not a threat to us but a good companion to help wipe out our enemies. They deplete the population of cockroaches, so we ought to be grateful as they catch more than 30 cockroaches a day.

This specie of spider is a very swift hunter. The fastest cockroach is not a match for the speed of the Huntsman spider. Apart from Huntsman spiders, some other smaller species of spiders also eat cockroaches and cockroach larvae. It can be said that small spiders are useful insects to humans because they help us eat up our enemies. 

Millipedes: Millipedes are poisonous creatures and can bite humans, so they are not an ideal predator solution for roaches. However, roaches are a favorite meal of theirs. Millipedes love to eat cockroach larvae, so they will readily eat them. However, it is not worth keeping them in your yard. There are better options for insects that you can raise in your house to eradicate roaches.

House Centipede: Most people have seen a house centipede while cleaning house, especially around the water areas. 

Contrary to its aggressive appearance, it is not an insect that harms humans. Unlike millipedes, if not aggravated, it will not bite.

In addition to eating cockroaches, these centipedes also love other pests, such as termites and mites. A centipede quickly approaches the target, grabs it from a height of several meters, and eats it. Their speed is greater than that of cockroaches. 

Apart from getting rid of roaches from your house, they are also very clean. They clean their limbs after eating. Therefore they are not vectors of disease pathogens. 

Bee: Some species of bees eat cockroaches. In addition to eating cockroaches, their offspring survive from the nutrition they derive from cockroach eggs. They lay their eggs where cockroach eggs are concentrated, and their larva feeds on the cockroach eggs. Due to this ecology type, the number of people who keep these species of bees has been on the increase. They keep the bees as a countermeasure against cockroaches. 

Cockroaches are eaten not only by insects but also by other popular creatures— here is a presentation of animals that combines cuteness with cockroach hunting skills.

Other Predators: Apart from insects, there are several other animals that prey on cockroaches. Some are listed below.

Frogs and toads enjoy eating cockroaches whenever they get a chance. Many insects and birds also hunt them, though they hardly get the chance to eat cockroaches since they prefer to live inside the house with humans. However, whenever these predators finally see an opportunity to eat a cockroach, they make the best of it. These predators attack roaches in different ways. They can reach for a roach with their long sticky tongues and crush them with their powerful jaws.  

Some spore species of entomopathogenic fungi infect cockroaches, killing them slowly over several weeks.

Hamster: The cute hamster also has special qualities befitting for the title of a cockroach hunter. Because hamsters are rodents, they are classified among them. Most rodents, including mice, are also omnivorous and can eat cockroaches. Hamsters are, therefore, very good cockroach eaters.

Squirrel: Just like hamsters, squirrels are rodents too. It is said that some wild squirrels prefer insects, so those species are good cockroach assassins. 

Cat: A well-fed cat will rarely eat cockroaches. However, they can eradicate cockroaches by using them as play toys. Due to their hunting instinct, cats are always happy to catch things such as insects. Therefore your cats will help you reduce the population of roaches in your house. Suppose you consider keeping a cat as a countermeasure against cockroaches. In that case, it is a good idea to keep a cat with a lively and curious personality. 

Mixed breed cats are recommended because many of these cats have lively personalities.

Dog: Dogs also eat cockroaches. Cockroaches contain a high amount of protein and thus are a valuable source of protein for dogs. 

Slow Loris: Slow loris are like monkies and mainly eat fruits and insects. That is why cockroaches are one of their favorite meals. Their friendly personality makes it easy to keep them at home as pets. However, it is now considered an endangered species, so it will not be easy to keep one as a pet.

Geckos: The favorite meal of geckos are small, well-moving insects. For a long time, they have been valued as animals that eat termites, flies, and cockroaches. 

However, they cannot eat big roaches due to their size. 

Lizard: Lizards feed on insects such as flies and ants. 

Cockroaches, which are insects, are also favorites of lizards. Lizards do not have teeth, so they swallow them whole. We can say that the lizard digestive capacity is quite strong.

However, like newts, lizards cannot eat cockroaches that are larger than themselves. It is better to feed the larvae than adults.

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Frog: Amphibious frogs, like lizards, can eat cockroaches with their small larvae. 

All of these natural cockroach predators have their own, but very effective, way of catching cockroaches and digesting them. Roach meal is an inexpensive and nutritious diet for many types of pets, such as iguanas. Many lizard owners know that you can usually feed your pet cockroaches that are roughly the size of the distance between your pet’s eyes.  

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Can Roach Predators Be Beneficial to Humans?

If truly the enemy of our enemy is our friend, then cockroach predators may be of some benefit to us. Most humans hate to see a cockroach; thus, any animal that reduces cockroaches’ total population favors humans by hunting one of the unwanted insect species. 

If you have a lively natural habitat that accommodates predators of roaches, the less likely it is that your home will suffer from a cockroach infestation. By eating cockroach larvae and even adult cockroaches, these predators will help you secure your home from those unwanted guests and carefully fish them out for eating while you are resting quietly on your easy chair. 

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Are Cockroaches Predators?

Around the early 20th century, scientists discovered that cockroaches are natural predators of both bed bugs and their eggs. Cockroaches are one to two inches long, and they do not always make use of their wings. Most species of roaches are red and brown and can move very quickly. Cockroaches prefer to feed on starch, food crumbs, and debris; they also eat hair and dead skin. 

Since cockroaches can metabolize almost anything and can run very fast, they do not have a staple diet. Scientists discovered that roaches sometimes eat bedbugs. However, cockroaches are not a reliable treatment for bed bug infestation because bed bugs reproduce faster than the rate at which a cockroach feeds on them. Also, roaches have many other options to feed on, so they do not primarily feed on bedbugs. In addition, bedbugs are mostly found in the bedrooms in most homes where they exist. On the other hand, cockroaches prefer to live in kitchens, stores, and every other place where food is kept in a hole. If they see the bugs, they will eat them; if not, they will eat something else.

Are Cockroaches Aggressive to Humans?

Only a few things can make the average adult tremble with fear, such as the sight of a cockroach scurrying on the floor during the day. The mere mention of “cockroach” can freeze an adult in fear. Sometimes on sight, the person can make the whole family go in different directions, including mom and dad.

For their size, cockroaches are very fast and can run 3 miles in an hour. A newborn cockroach, the size of dust, runs as fast as its parents. Without food, cockroaches can live up to 1 month, while without water, they can live for two weeks. Because they are omnivores, they are attracted to many foods such as sugar, protein, and fat. Female cockroaches and their offspring can produce up to 30,000 cockroaches per year.

As you read this article, we will look at a few factors that could be responsible for this fear, and you could decide whether roaches are mean or whether we do not understand them.

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Are cockroaches Harmful

When many people encounter cockroaches in their bedrooms, they are instantly struck by fear like a terrible nightmare. That fear existed for

Thousands of years and a great deal of research has shown that even the ancient Egyptians had an incantation that they sang to keep this insect away from them.

Come on, think about it, are cockroaches as dangerous as people make them seem? There is no doubt that they are resilient creatures, as scientists have counted them among those animals that can survive a nuclear war.  

Roaches have shared our civilization with us as far as most written documents can tell. 

According to biologists, more than 55 known species of cockroaches live in the US and worldwide. The most common types of cockroaches that you will find in most American homes are American types, German types, Oriental types, smoky brown types, and brown types. Australian species are also found in parts of the country.

Although they carry bacteria and pathogens, they are not active carriers of disease in households like house flies, transport pathogens from house to house several kilometers away. Humans are more responsible for bringing home more diseases than these insects. This is due to our mobility and our social culture of interacting with many other people daily. Unlike us, cockroaches live less socially and stay in a household for many years as long as the climate is favorable enough for them. 

However, when a member of the cockroach community brings home a pathogen, it spreads quickly.

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Is it OK to kill a cockroach?

Roaches in a social climate where different people interact daily (e.g., in hospitals, schools, and public restaurants) are more dangerous than roaches that live in apartment buildings. The reason is that they can very rapidly spread a disease from one person to another. Research has shown that cockroaches can transmit almost any known infectious disease.

Also, cockroaches are a major cause of asthma in children. Therefore, parents should not expose their children to an environment where there are cockroaches. Serum proteins used to build cuticles in cockroach bodies trigger cockroach-related asthma in children. When the cockroach sheds these cuticles, it melts, and its pieces settle on the carpet of the house. This deposit is very dangerous, especially for crawling children. They can inhale this antigen as they crawl on carpets and floors, and an asthmatic reaction can occur.

This antigen, known to cause asthma in children, is active in more than 4,500 species of cockroaches. Parents with young children should do everything possible to keep cockroaches away from their children.

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From several points, it is worthy to note that cockroaches are indeed predators of bedbugs, even though they will not go looking for them in the bedroom when they have several options to feed on in the kitchen and other parts of the house. Also, there are many predators of roaches that you can raise in your house to help eradicate a roach infestation.

Cockroaches do not attack humans as bees do. Their brain is not as developed to understand an enemy or hold a grudge. They only understand certain vibrations and respond to them. In a situation of extreme infestation, cockroaches may be drawn to eat dead skins or hair of a human host.


Luis Gillman
Luis Gillman

Hi, I Am Luis Gillman CA (SA), ACMA
I am a Chartered Accountant (SA) and CIMA (SA) and author of Due Diligence: A strategic and Financial Approach.

The book was published by Lexis Nexis on 2001. In 2010, I wrote the second edition. Much of this website is derived from these two books.

In addition I have published an article entitled the Link Between Due Diligence and Valautions.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the information published on this website is accurate, the author and owners of this website take no responsibility  for any loss or damage suffered as a result of relience upon the information contained therein.  Furthermore the bulk of the information is derived from information in 2018 and use therefore is at your on risk. In addition you should consult professional advice if required.