Cockroaches: Starve ‘em Out – Does it work?

One of the first things you need to do when you discover you have a pest or specifically roach problem is lock up your food. In practice this means that all open food is stored inside containers, where the roaches can’t get to it. You’ll also need to clean all the surfaces in your home thoroughly and regularly to ensure there are no food traces to attract the roaches.

Cockroach - Cockroaches: Starve ‘em Out - Does it work?

In theory this will deprive the roaches of food and prevent them from wandering round your home. However, if you speak to any pest control service you’ll quickly realize that this approach will only work if it is part of an extermination plan, here’s why:

Tiny Amounts Of Food Are Sufficient

The sad fact is that a roach can live off very little food. Even the small traces of food on a dirty plate will keep them alive. The simple fact is that a cockroach can live for about a month without any food. That means you need to go for at least a month without leaving a trace of food in your home.

Unfortunately the reality is that the smallest crumb will feed a cockroach for a week, trying to starve them is an exceptionally difficult task. You would need to contain or your food and only open the containers outside your home; as well as eating outside your home. Of course, this doesn’t mean a crumb wouldn’t be brought back in on your clothing!


The other factor to consider is that the roaches will have built a nest somewhere in your home. It could be in the walls or under the floor but they will not want to move on in a hurry. If they have a nest they are probably multiplying and you will find it could take significantly longer than a month to starve them all and persuade them to leave their nest. After all, they can always source food elsewhere and bring it into the warmth of their home (which is also your home).


It is worth noting that although they can go without food for a month they can only survive without water for a week. You’ll have more chance of successfully eradicating them by getting rid of all sources of water.

However, again, this can be an issue as water can be found in many places and some of them are within your home but can’t be seen by you.

Humans as Food? There have been cases when cockroaches have taken a bite of a human, this happens when you have a large infestation and not enough food. It is therefore possible this could happen if you were to attempt to starve the cockroaches although unlikely.

An Alternative Approach

The problem with starving the roaches is that it is difficult to know if you have been successful or not and it is virtually impossible to successfully eliminate all their sources of food. A better approach is to speak to a local pest control expert and find out more about the natural and artificial treatments that can be used.

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