Cockroaches aren’t very popular among humans, but many animals and insects eat them in the wild and in your home. As with all insects, cockroaches are part of the food chain, so they have natural predators that feed on them, such as lizards, rodents, and spiders. However, you won’t want some of these in your home.
Written by: A O’Neill, Licensed Pest Control Professional
Does Anything Eat Roaches?
Yes, cockroaches have many natural enemies that prey on them. However, this is not always the case when you have a roach infestation in the home.
Cockroaches, especially German cockroaches, are attracted to your home because it provides shelter (as well as food and moisture). And shelter provides them with harborage areas away from any natural predators.
This is one of the reasons your home can be overrun with these pests in no time at all.
What Eats Cockroaches?
Cockroaches have a variety of enemies ranging from animals to parasites in the natural environment and indoors. Here are some of them:
Do Lizards Eat Roaches?
Cockroaches are an insect that monitor lizards, bearded dragons, and others lizards dine on in the wild.
Pet lizards, such as iguanas and geckos, can eat roaches, but only ones bought from a pet store as the roaches in your home can be harmful if they have eaten any roach bait.
Do Spiders Eat Cockroaches?
Spiders are beneficial insects both inside and outside of the home. The larger spider species that prey on roaches include the huntsman, false widow or cupboard spider, brown recluse spider, house spiders (I often see roaches caught up in their webs), and wolf spiders among others.
However, they aren’t likely to make a difference in a cockroach population because of how fast they reproduce, especially German cockroaches.
Most people probably won’t want a house full of spiders even if they could eat an entire population of cockroaches.
You can also add the tarantula spider to the list as these giant spiders eat roaches in their natural habitat.
If you have one as a pet, you might want to reconsider feeding it a roach found in your home in case it’s a poisoned one.
What Birds Eat Roaches?
Birds don’t just feed on berries and worms, and species like robins, crows, magpies, woodpeckers, owls, and others may eat roaches in the wild.
Nevertheless, as cockroaches are nocturnal and seek out places of harborage most of the time, the opportunities for a bird to snack on a roach won’t be that often.
Does Anything Else Eat Roaches?
The above are just a few, but other predators will make a meal out of a cockroach or two, such as:
Opossum – this is North America’s only marsupial, and it isn’t too fussy about what it eats and includes cockroaches in its diet.
Parasitic wasp – The Emerald cockroach wasp stings cockroaches (American, Oriental, and brown-banded) and paralyzes them so it can lay eggs on the zombified roach. The newborn wasps eat the insides of the roach after hatching.
Ants – these insects usually eat a cockroach when it’s dying or already dead.
House centipedes – these will eat a range of insects like bed bugs, ants, and of course, cockroaches.
Rodents – mice and rats outdoors and indoors prey on roaches.
Despite this, you certainly don’t want a rodent infestation in your home.
Here are a few more predators to add to the list that happily feast on these pests:
Frogs and toads
Related: Bugs That Look Like Roaches
Do Cats and Other Pets Eat Cockroaches?
Cats have natural hunting instincts, so they chase, kill, and sometimes eat small mammals and insects, and cockroaches are no exception. Cats may not always eat them and just kill them instead.
Do dogs eat roaches? Dogs are also likely to do the same as cats.
While this would unlikely cause a problem if they caught and ate one out in the wild, eating cockroaches that are part of a household Infestation could be harmful to your pet because:
1) Roaches are carriers of harmful bacteria and parasites that can affect your pet.
2) Roaches may have ingested cockroach poison or have it on their feet and bodies by coming into contact with it.
This is another reason you don’t want your pet eating any roaches it finds indoors.
Do Cockroaches Eat Other Cockroaches?
Yes, they do! Some types of cockroaches are cannibals.
In crowded infestations, German and Oriental roach adults and nymphs eat dead and dying roaches; and when food sources are scarce.
Related: What Is a White Roach?
Natural Predators of Cockroaches – Good or Bad?
In the outdoor environment, it’s good that some animals and insects eat cockroaches as it keeps population levels stable. But, as you’ve read, when some of these roach predators are in your home, they can be harmful to you and your pets.
No one wants an infestation of any of the above just so a few cockroaches get eaten.
Besides that, roaches, especially the German species, reproduce at such a high rate that even the best predator wouldn’t be able to eat its way through an entire infestation.
If you have seen a roach or two, try and identify what type it is and check for signs of them.
If you have a small infestation, read the guide on how to get rid of roaches without an exterminator.
It is best to hire a pest control professional if you’re unsure and have them get rid of this pest for you. Fill in the form below to get free quotes from local exterminators in your area.