How Long Can Cockroaches Live Without Food?

Cockroaches are creepy nocturnes commonly found in homes and public buildings where they get warmth, moisture, food, and shelter. These insects are not only creepy creatures, they can pose a threat to you and your pets. Cockroaches would infest your home in search of their livelihood but can live for a while without food.

Cockroaches will live for about a month without eating. This is because they are cold-blooded insects and are very much adaptable.

Their ability to become slow and decrease activity during cold weather isn’t just a coincidence. It is a survival tactic.

When food is not available, cockroaches will reduce their activity to sustain energy. What makes this even more possible is that they depend more on moisture to survive. There are about 4,600 species of cockroaches in the world and some can live without food longer than others. 

How long can cockroaches live without food?

Cockroaches are annoying creatures that invade your home and contaminate your food. They trigger asthma attacks and cause allergies in children. There are varying species but the most common household roaches are the American, German, and Oriental cockroaches. They all can survive for weeks without any food intake. But for how long? We’re about to find out.

How long can German cockroaches live without food?

German cockroaches are smaller species of cockroaches. They are the most commonly found roaches in homes. German cockroaches are light brown and can be identified just with the two parallel dark stripes located on their back.

Female species of German roaches can survive longer than their male counterparts. For females, they can survive for about 13 days without food and water while males would only last for about 8 days. Water is essential for the sustenance of their body’s metabolism.

They depend on it more than they depend on food. So without food alone, German cockroaches will survive for about a month, which is approximately 30 days. You should know that even the tiniest crumb can sustain a cockroach when it comes to food. 

READ MORE: Can Cockroaches Jump?

How long can Oriental cockroaches live without food

Oriental cockroaches are also known as water bugs.

They depend so much on the water for their survival. One reason they prefer dark, humid places and survive in colder climates. This species of cockroaches have shiny dark to dark reddish-brown skin and are one of the largest cockroach species in existence.

Oriental cockroaches are usually found outdoors but would infest homes if there is a shortage of food outdoors. Oriental cockroaches can live without food for a month.

This is because they will lower their activity to a bare minimum to sustain energy when there is no food.

However, they can’t do as much without water. Since they depend more on water, their survival is slim when there is an absence of it. Oriental cockroaches would live for 7 days without water but one month without food. 

How long can American cockroaches live without food 

American cockroaches are reddish-brown and possess wings that are not often used. They are about 1.5 – 3 inches long, possess a yellow band behind their heads, and can survive for a while without food. American roaches are the largest roach species and are usually found outside, in humid climates.

When indoors, they also look for shelter in moist places and feed on just about anything in your house. Usually, in their lifetime, they can live for up to 362 days but without food, they would live for nearly a month. Just like German cockroaches, American roaches need more water than food to survive. 

How long can Dubia cockroaches live without food?

Cockroach Cockroach Blaptica dubia Dubia cockroaches stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

Just like other species of cockroaches, Dubia roaches can live for months without food. They survive with the barest minimum of food. On average, a Dubia roach can live for a month without food.

Much like Oriental roaches, Dubia roaches need a constant supply of water to survive. Without it, they may not survive for more than 10 days. Dubia cockroaches’ also known as Orange-spotted cockroaches are often great feeder insects for your pets.

They are often dark brown or black and have light orange stripes on their body. Their length is between 40-45 millimeters. If they infest your homes which is very unlikely, they’ll eat any and everything they can find.

READ MORE: What do Baby Cockroaches Look Like?

How long can cockroach nymphs live without food?

Cockroach nymphs are baby roaches recently hatched from the Ootheca ( egg case which houses about 10 – 40 eggs depending on the species) and are developing into adult roaches. They possess white bodies that they shed over time during molting.

These insects need more food to survive because of their growing stages. When there is no food, a cockroach nymph will only live for about 10 days which is quite shorter compared to an adult cockroach.

Nevertheless, it is almost impossible for this to happen because cockroaches lay their egg cases in places where there is the availability of food so when the eggs hatch, the nymphs would have enough to complete their growth process. 

READ MORE: Do cockroaches lay eggs?

Can cockroach eggs live without food?

Cockroach eggs live in cases and will not need any food until they’re hatched into nymphs. This implies they can live without food. They only require air for the egg nymphs. The Ootheca that houses cockroach eggs has a small ridge.

These ridges help the newly hatched egg nymphs to suck in air to make them big enough to come out of the egg case. So yes, cockroach eggs can live without food.

Will cockroaches leave if there is no food?

Can cockroaches live without food

When cockroaches infest a home, they are hardly seen during the day. This makes it hard for the house owner to detect an infestation. Except of course at night.

On occasions where these insects are seen during the day, then there is a heavy infestation and a cause for alarm. In a situation where you clean up regularly, cockroaches may eventually leave but it would require much more than just scarcity of food.

Cockroaches eat just about anything and can survive on the tiniest crumb because they do not depend largely on food for their survival.

They would result in eating your furniture, appliance, wood, books, your clothes, and even you. Though unavailability of food would not readily get cockroaches to leave, it is a step in the right direction as regards elimination.

When food is scarce, it would force cockroaches to scavenge for food during the day and would give you an insight into the level of infestation you’re dealing with. At this point, you can proceed to take other steps to eliminate them. You can either use natural insect-repelling remedies or insect sprays to kill these insects. When you have done that, proceed to get rid of the dead roaches to avoid reinfestation. Cockroaches feed on other dead cockroaches when food is scarce. 

READ MORE: What Attracts Cockroaches?

Taking steps to eliminate roaches

The scarcity of food alone will not make cockroaches go away as they can live for a while without food. You can use gel baits, boric acid, and other insect-killing sprays to get rid of cockroaches. 

Ensure to seal off cracks, pack foods properly in sealed containers and dispose of your waste regularly.

When there is no food available, what can cockroaches live on? 

Cockroaches are not picky pests. They are scavenging freebooters that eat just about anything that can be found just about anywhere in your home.

Cockroaches would feed on the wood on your cupboard, your clothes, furniture, books, paper bags, their fellow dead cockroaches, and on some occasions the hair on your body. Also, they would feed on dry skin cells on your body, your fingernails as well. Some cockroaches are even known to like alcohol.

One instance is the American cockroach. It is attracted to alcoholic beverages like beer. What it does is to take out the sugar content in it. Species like Oriental cockroaches would feed on their eggs and baby nymphs when there is no food.

Other things they are likely to feed on include soap, toothpaste, snail eggs, pet food, spiders, and poop. Usually, these insects forage for food at night due to their nocturnal nature.

So if there is no availability of food in your home, they might be forced to come out during the day. Which is their usual resting time. Cockroaches need water to survive more than they need food. When water is available, cockroaches will live longer but when it’s not, cockroaches might not live longer than a week. 

Can cockroaches live without water?

Cockroaches might survive for a month without food, but without water, not so much. One reason cockroaches would infest your home is because of moisture.

Water is essential for the metabolism process required for their sustenance and survival. So cockroaches will not last for more than a week without water. Some species might live for about 10 days. The oriental cockroach can survive without water for only 7 days.

While a German cockroach can live without water for a week. Though a female German cockroach can live for about 13 days without water. 


Cockroaches can live for a while without food. This makes the elimination process tedious. The good thing is they will be unable to reproduce or lay eggs during this period and it will give you an idea of the level of infestation. You can contact a pest control team to help you get rid of an infestation. 

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.