According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, 63 percent of homes in the U.S. are infected by roaches. Chances are, you are a sufferer of this statistic.
Don’t you wish there was someone who would march into your house and expertly hunt down these annoying roaches?
Newsflash! It’s not impossible.
While the thick, slimy cockroaches seem to be too resilient and stubborn to be eliminated by insects, birds, or rodents, they routinely become prey to these living organisms in the wild.
Are Cockroaches Hunted in the Wild?
Most homeowners resort to strong pesticides, and industrial chemicals or even hire expensive exterminators to combat a roach infestation, but in nature, the roach population is maintained by numerous hunters.
These natural predators help to keep the cockroach population in check and prevent it from growing unsustainably large.
The unlucky roaches contribute positively to the ecosystem by acting as a food source for other living creatures.
What Eats Cockroaches?
Cockroaches are eaten by birds, lizards, spiders, amphibians, etc.
While they often evolve to become resistant to chemicals, medicines, and other fumigation techniques, they are ultimately gross creepy crawlies with an expiry date.
Their clever hidden spots, shady behavior, and precautionary scuttering all fall short in front of these predators.
Lizards That Eat Cockroaches
Lizards are the most common predator of roaches in the wild. Most lizard species do not have teeth and are yet successfully able to eliminate and consume roaches.
They depend on their strong digestive process to break open the rock-solid exoskeleton slowly and absorb nutrients from the pulp.
Lizards are also swift attackers, and easily tackle the cockroach’s speed of movement by utilizing their fast-moving tongues.
However, lizards only attack and devour bugs that have a length equal to the space between their eyes.
Common House Gecko
Most of us have witnessed a gecko sitting strategically on our walls, patiently waiting for its prey. The gray-brown lizard is almost a house pet, eliminating flies, spiders, and other creepy crawlies for us.
Another favorite snack of the gecko is a cockroach. It can consume up to 20 roaches per serving.
Geckos are swift, nimble, and intelligent hunters, who leap and catch roaches with their tongues. Plus, they reside in warm, humid, and dark environments- the same as a roach’s preferred surroundings. This allows them to spot and attack their prey more efficiently.
Common Garden Skink
Skinks are flexible, slithery creatures that resemble snakes and usually munch on larger invertebrates like crickets, ladybugs, wasps, etc.
They also love attacking insects with an exoskeleton, making the roaches common prey.
Green Iguanas are majestic, colorful creatures. While generally categorized as herbivores, they often need to prey on insects to sustain themselves when the supply of green leaves, shrubs, and grass falls scarce.
Good at adapting to different environments, iguanas are often kept as pets in homes, to eliminate roaches and other insects.
What Insects Eat Cockroaches?
Are roaches only attacked by lizards, snakes, or iguanas?
What about their contemporary creatures in the insect world?
Many insects are experts in preying on roaches. Similar environments, competition for survival and food, and general enmity are the most common causes of roaches losing their lives to other insects.
The following are the most common predators of roaches:
Infamous for their strong talons and ruthless hunting instincts, these stealthy predators have an insatiable appetite. With sharp claws and swift moves, they can consume anything- bees, roaches, and even small rats.
The praying mantis is skilled at ambushing roaches and eliminating them within seconds.
The Centipede is another common roach killer.
With their multiple legs and strong, flexible bodies, they curl around their prey and crush them to death.
What Spiders Eat Cockroaches?
Spiders are born killers. With their skill of building intricate webs to trap their prey, roaches are a minor concern for them.
Certain arachnids predate cockroaches, including:
These spiders get to work at night. Unlike conventional spiders, recluses don’t spin webs to trap prey. Instead, they use fatal venom to shock and eventually kill roaches.
Just like the recluse spider, they don’t need a web to capture their prey. This nocturnal predator also secretes a strong neurotoxin to immobilize its prey.
Do Birds Eat Cockroaches?
Birds have great vision and often swoop down to prey on nutritious insects. Roaches form a big part of their diet, serving as a source of protein and other calories for them.
Should You Keep Natural Predators at Home?
While there are several insecticides, natural gels, sprays, and powders to eliminate cockroaches from your house, many people also domesticate roach hunters.
These predators are VERY effective at their job and eliminate not just roaches, but other annoying pests from your house. However, such insects should be approached with caution.
Many of these animals aren’t safe for your home and prefer residing in the wild.
They’re also unlikely to remove an entire infestation single-handedly.
Roaches may seem like annoying insects that refuse to die after repeated attempts. While evolution has made them resilient and strong, they are a popular snack in the wild for their size and nutrients.
Cockroaches play a vital role in the food chain and keep the world in a self-sustaining cycle. Therefore, the complete extinction of their species is not the solution.
As a homeowner, you can opt to employ a roach predator to reduce your infestation issues, but always ensure that your new pet is otherwise harmless and well-suited for a closed environment.