Do spiders eat cockroaches?

Dave Campbell

Cockroaches have quite a reputation for being resilient. They are known to be six to fifteen times more resistant to radiation than humans, but how well do they fair the sting of the spider venom?

Cockroaches are pesky little insects that are quite hard to control. There are actually 4600 species, of this, only a fraction of a percentage live amongst humans. And only about 4 species are actually pests you’d find in your home. Cockroaches are social insects and some even exhibit parental care behaviour. One of the peskiest pests of all the species is the feral American and German Cockroach. They usually live in groups and are active at night. During the day, you’ll find them hiding in many inconspicuous locations like inside electric devices, in cracks and crevices in walls, animal houses and drain and sewage systems. Cockroaches are omnivorous, so they feed on pretty much any organic food content there is in the house and make a nasty little pest. They are mostly attracted to sweet, meaty and starchy foods and are also known to eat hair, books and other decaying matter. They are also known to spread diseases because they feast on human faeces and can easily go on to feed on human food. According to the World Health Organisation, cockroaches are proven or suspected carriers of diarrhoea, dysentery, cholera, leprosy, plague, typhoid fever, and viral diseases such as poliomyelitis. They also carry eggs of parasitic worms. This is enough reason to deem these vermin and all the more reason to ensure they stay out of your home. There are many ways to get rid of cockroaches from your house, whether it be through pest control services, natural predatory methods, or organic means – this article covers the ins and outs of these methods. Focussing mostly on the predatory method with respect to spiders.

Cockroaches aren’t an apex predator. They are eaten by other animals as well. So, do spiders eat cockroaches? If so, what kind of spiders eat cockroaches? We also investigate what eats cockroaches in general.

What kind of spiders eat roaches

It’s the Circle of Life, Elton John sings. And predatory pest control employs this philosophy. Spiders’ diet is quite diverse. Spiders are carnivores, and common house spiders: Yellow Sac Spider, Black House Spider, Brown House Spider, Domestic House Spider, Hobo Spider, Common Cellar Spider, Common House Spider, Black Widow Spider, Brown Recluse Spider, Wolf Spider and the Daddy Long Legs spider. Most of these are generally harmless to humans, though their webs can be really annoying. Though they feed on exoskeletal insects like roaches, they do not have teeth. So they employ their webs to catch their prey and inject their venom through their fangs and sip on the insect’s insides like a banana split smoothie. The cockroach is one such prey. They can get trapped in a spider’s web and become midnight lunch. Some spider venom is known to cause a disturbance in German cockroach nervous systems. Giving them what feels like a seizure-like shock.

Do Daddy Long Legs eat cockroaches

Daddy Long Legs are not exactly like spiders, to begin with. They do not have venom, nor fangs or silk shooting butts so they do not build spiderwebs. In fact, these arachnids, also known as Harvestmen, are more like scorpions than they are like spiders. Harvestmen are what we call Opiliones. The Harvestmen looks like a ball with long legs. They are omnivores and can even eat other spiders especially if they get caught in their webs or even casually in times of famine. They then also eat plants as well. But, do they eat cockroaches? Yes – indeed they do. Even though they do not have venom to mushy up the insides, they often find away. They are fast enough to catch a cockroach, and they, therefore, make a suitable “live-and-let-live” style pest controller.

There is another similar looking creature also called Daddy Long Legs, which is actually a spider.  Cellar spiders are similar-looking creatures with long legs and a yellow to light-brown body. These are the spiders that like to vibrate when threatened, bother them while they’re on their webs you’ll see it. They feed on small insects like mosquitos and flies. These house spiders also feed on roaches, dead or alive. They will devour a cockroach if it gets caught in its web or if it finds it dead somewhere.

What other animals eat cockroaches

Though you can use spiders like the Huntsman and Brown Recluse by keeping them as pets to get rid of pests in your home, there are other animals too which feed on cockroaches. Some of these include:

  • Frogs
  • Toads
  • Bearded Dragon Lizards
  • Iguanas
  • Rough Green Snake
  • Ringneck
  • Wasps
  • Praying Mentis
  • Centipede

To name a few which can actually be kept as pets. You can use many of these, above house spiders, and more to control the level of pest infestation at your home: cockroach won’t stand a chance. Ants are also known to eat roaches when they find them in confined spaces in which escaping is difficult. Fire ants and Black sugar ants are notorious for this. Some types of mites and centipedes also prey on roaches. It’s a dog-eat-dog life out here and it gets more interesting. There are some parasitic wasps (parasitize American) that can lay their eggs inside some roaches’ egg casing. Then when the wasp hatches they eat the roach egg and exit the casing; trojan horse style!

But using pets for pest control is not exactly practical especially if

  1. You don’t want pets
  2. You don’t like pets

And employing other animals to do the dirty work may also get out of hand. In the beginning, you may have one or two spiders, and before you know it the population explodes and your home is a haunted castle of some magical fairytale. So, usually, prevention is the best medicine they say. Below we discuss this and some other methods of getting rid of roaches in your home that don’t involve predation.

How can I get rid of cockroaches in my house

One of the best deterrents to implement in your home is cleanliness. Keep your home clean, no dishes or food particles lying around. Though this may not be practical all the time and sometimes one is already faced with an infestation. And cockroaches can also be found in very clean houses, though less likely in colonies. Chemical treatment by the use of insecticides is often a reasonable temporary measure which should always be accompanied with primary means of deterrence like making it hard for these pests to access your food. Be aware that some cockroach species are, or can be resistant to certain types of insecticides. Another way to kill them organically is through the use of diatomaceous earth which is known to remove their exoskeleton, dehydrating them to death within 48 hours, or exposing them during the day since they will seek out hydration more. Providing you with a chance and a way to trap them in their not-so-smart-but-need-to-really-survive way of living.

These seemingly indestructible pests have some predators and weaknesses to exploit to reduce them as an infestation. These are highlighted above, but at the end of the end – it’s best to remember to just keep your house clean and make your food hard to access.

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Do spiders eat bed bugs?


Dave Campbell

I'm Dave Campbell and the owner of You can read more about me and my background on my About Me page.

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