How Long Can Roaches Live Without Food and Water?

How Long Can Roaches Live Without Food and Water?

How Long Can Roaches Live Without Food and Water

Cockroaches have been known for being extremely tough, with a hardened exoskeleton, durable bodies, and a massive survival instinct. They've survived being decapitated and drowned underwater, which means they can survive almost anything! However, every creature needs food and water, and cockroaches are no different.

Cockroaches need food and water, but they can survive for a long time without it. How long can these durable bugs go without food and water, and what happens when they finally run out of food and water? Here are those answers.

What Do Cockroaches Eat?

Cockroaches are very omnivorous eaters and will eat just about anything. Plants, dead skin cells, human food, garbage, and feces are all on the menu for roaches. They aren't picky and will go anywhere to find food, both throughout your home and beyond. 

Since cockroaches will eat anything, and it is almost impossible to starve them out. Once they finish off one food source, they will find another, and some roaches have even been known to practice cannibalism as well. You will not outlast a cockroach infestation when it comes to their eating habits.

They drink water, just like humans, and drink just about any type of water, from rainwater to dirty water. Some cockroaches even drink beer and alcohol for the sugar content! If they can find an area with adequate food and water, then they can remain there forever. 

Why Do Roaches Eat What they Do?

Cockroach species like the German cockroach and the American cockroach can eat what they do due to their guts. They have bacteria in their gut system that are very beneficial, and they have a symbiotic relationship where the bacteria use the roach as a host. In return, cockroaches get the ability to digest things like feces, glue, hair, and cardboard without harming themselves.

The bacteria in roaches are important for digestion, with a large part of their DNA dedicated to turning toxic and dangerous material into food and energy. This is a part of their adaptation, which enables them to live on almost anything.

Roaches can eat all sorts of paper-based products, including straws and paper towels. They eat these materials for the sugar content, which they extract from the cellulose.

Cockroach Cannibals

Finally, even if there is no other scrap of food available in your home, cockroaches will still be eating something. They will eat their kin and turn cannibal if they are backed into a starving corner. However, they aren't predators of their kind. Cockroaches eat the bodies of their dead or wounded brethren.

cannibal roaches population control

Since one adult female cockroach will lay around 384 eggs in her lifetime, the cockroach population can easily grow far too large. Cannibalism becomes an effective way to control the population and ensure that the roaches aren't starved out of all of their food sources. Additionally, just like the black widow spider, female cockroaches can devour their mates after the reproduction process is done!

They aren't cannibalistic by choice, and most roaches only turn to it whenever food is extremely scarce, or the population is in danger of really overflowing.

Do Cockroaches Drink Water?

Cockroaches do need water and will only survive a week without it, and ironically enough, whenever you behead a cockroach, the lack of water is what kills it after a week. They breathe through the holes in their sides, so lack of air isn't a problem. They solely use their mouths for water. But they will drink any type of water available to them and live near a water source.

Cold Blooded and Food Needs

There are two common types of animals in the world, those that are cold-blooded and those that are warm-blooded. A warm-blooded animal can regulate its body heat, and it has a constant temperature. To generate heat, the warm-blooded animals consume food and then turn that into energy through metabolism.

Warm-blooded animals need to consume as much food as possible to keep their temperature stable, which is the opposite of cold-blooded creatures. They take on the temperature of their surroundings. If the cockroach is in a hot environment, it will be hot as well, and if they are in a cold environment, it will be cold.

Muscle activity and energy generation are dependent on temperature. They burn far more energy and have higher muscle activity when they are warm, but whenever they are cold, these reactions happen much more slowly.

 Cold blooded insects can convert more food into mass than a warm-blooded animal can. They can do more with less food, and when that happens, cold-blooded animals can survive for much longer without food and water.

The cockroach metabolism slows down, and they can live without food for one month and go up to a week without water.

Killing Roaches With Food

Thankfully you can turn the cockroaches' love of food against them by mixing things like boric acid or other natural pesticides with sugar; the roaches will eat it and then die after a few hours. Even table salt can repel cockroaches from an area because it sucks off the thin layer of moisture that keeps them alive and healthy.

Using boric acid for roaches

You can also make sure to do a deep clean of your kitchen and remove any crumbs. Roaches might still eat inorganic matter that you might not be able to prevent, but at least you can prevent them from running around your kitchen and eating food that has been left out. 

You won't be able to starve or dehydrate a roach to death, so make sure to find other ways to repel or kill them. Then you will have a cockroach-free home once more, and who doesn't want that? 

If roach bait has not worked for getting rid of your cockroach infestation, we recommend getting in contact with a pest control professional as soon as possible.

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