Can Cockroaches Eat Through Plastic Bags?

You may be concerned about the safety of your kitchen food if you don’t know what kind of roach infestation you’re dealing with. After all, most of us store leftover and uncooked items in zip locks, Tupperware, and other plastic containers.

Roaches have a powerful bite that is capable of breaking through plastic packaging. The thinner, single-use goods are simple for roaches to gnaw through. Plastic shopping bags, garbage bags, bread bags, and ziplock bags are all examples of this.

Can cockroaches eat through plastic bags?

What Do Cockroaches Eat?

Cockroaches eat pretty much anything and everything! They are omnivorous, meaning they eat plants and animals. They particularly like to feed on starchy foods, such as bread and cereal, but will also consume sugary snacks like cookies or candy bars. Protein sources include eggshells, dead bugs (particularly grasshoppers), meat scraps (cat food is a favorite), and other undercooked or spoiled foods.

They can also eat what we would call trash; paper, cardboard, rotten foods, overripe fruits, dead animals and insects, or even feces. 

Do Plastic Bags Attract Roaches?

Cockroaches are not attracted to plastic bags, but the things they contain and transport do. Even airtight ziplocks can eventually be permeated with food aromas. Cockroaches have a high sense of smell and will pick up these scents from a distance.

They are natural scavengers which means they will go where food is available, even if it’s crawling inside a bin and attempting to breach a plastic garbage bag.

If plastic bags are left in an environment with other food sources, cockroaches will ignore the bag because there are plenty of other options available. They are not attracted to the bags but to the food around or inside them.

Can Cockroaches Bite Through Plastic?

Cockroaches have a very powerful jaw structure (known as mandibles) that can deliver significant power when biting. It is enough to chew through many natural and manufactured materials, including plastic bags.

Cockroaches can chew through these delicate plastics with ease, gnawing through this flimsy material without much effort.

However, thicker plastic bags are often difficult for cockroaches to bite into as the material requires them to exert more energy so they will tend to avoid a plastic that looks like too much hard work.

Thicker polyethylene plastics used to create plastic jars are the best source of cockroach-proof containers.

Thicker plastic storage containers prove to be too difficult for cockroaches to chew through, so these thick polyethylene storage solutions are the best method to keep food safe.

Can Roaches Eat Through Bread Bags?

Bread bags and standard zip-lock bags don’t do much to protect against hungry cockroaches if you have an infestation or some nearby.

These bags have a thin kind of plastic that is easily penetrated by a cockroach. They will take tiny bites at the plastic which eventually turns into a larger hole and exposes the food inside.

This kind of food bag can also be easily exposed without you knowing. This is because the seal isn’t airtight due to the flimsy plastic. The presence of this odor will entice roaches to come in search of the food.

Because the design of a bread bag is so flimsy, people will tear holes in it without even realizing it. These holes would be a perfect invite for cockroaches to crawl through because they can fit through the tiniest gaps.

If food is left exposed in a bread bag and a single cockroach finds this, their presence will attract other cockroaches as it returns to their nest and back for more food.

As it travels between the food and its den, other cockroaches will pick up the scent

Can Roaches Eat Through Garbage Bags?

Cockroaches are drawn to a garbage bag because of its function. It’s packed with organic waste and food after being used. This releases a fragrance long before the meal begins to decay and decompose.

Garbage bags will have a similar level of protection as bread bags if they are made from standard thin plastic.

The flimsy plastic is easily penetrated by cockroaches who want to feed on the garbage inside. However, their presence can also be detected as they crawl along the bag and leave traces of their odors which other roaches pick up.

However, if the garbage bag is thick and made from tough plastic like polyethylene, roaches should be kept out. The thicker material will make it harder for roaches to bite through and exploit holes in the plastic.

The only way that they might get through this type of bag is by coming across an already existing hole or tear in the bag. This kind of hole will allow roaches to get through and for others to follow along so you must always check for any holes when putting your garbage bags out for collection day.

Cockroach in kitchen looking for food

Can Cockroaches Live In Plastic Bags?

Cockroaches are nocturnal creatures who primarily live in dark places.

Because they come out at night, they will often seek shelter inside bags that have been left out during the day or abandoned by their owners.

There is also a chance for them to be living in your rubbish bin if you put it outside with food wrapped up in a plastic bag.

Roaches can feed on this leftover food and even lay their eggs inside. Once they’ve finished feeding, they will retreat inside the bin and begin to make it their home.

This means that roaches will live alongside the rubbish you put in your trashcan because of these reasons.

They can easily hide among the bags or even inside the bin. To kill the cockroaches inside, you may have the idea that if you tie the bag they could suffocate.

Unfortunately, this isn’t going to work; cockroaches can survive for several minutes without air and gases can still pass through microscopic holes in the plastic.

Even if you stored the roach in a plastic bag for an extended period of time, it would survive. This suffocation method will not kill cockroaches because they require such a small amount of oxygen. A plastic bag even tied tightly can’t form a vacuum that will exclude oxygen entry.

Can Cockroaches Get Inside Plastic Storage Containers?

The most durable material for storing food is thick plastic storage containers, which will be particularly resistant to roaches. Cockroaches aren’t strong enough to cut through hard plastic.

It’s best to purchase containers that are made from thick, solid plastic to keep roaches out. This is because they will be able to chew through easily if they were thinner.

If you need a container for storing food, make sure it isn’t too thin, and invest in containers that are secured with a lid.

This will keep roaches out and prevent them from getting into your food. The container should also be secured if it isn’t airtight so that you can always check for any holes in the container when putting it away.

A roach can chew through plastic, but thicker materials provide more resistance than thin ones such as the average plastics used to wrap food.

Will Plastic Kill Cockroaches?

Plastic is an indigestible substance and by biting through plastic bags to get to your food, the cockroach will swallow some plastic.

Whether this plastic in the cockroach’s stomach kills it depends on the amount of plastic that’s ingested. Plastic will most likely enter the cockroach’s system in small amounts. If the cockroach consumes too much plastic, it might suffocate due to obstruction.

Dead cockroach that has eaten plastic

Are There Cockroach-Proof Plastics?

Plastic containers are difficult for cockroaches to bite through, therefore the best option for food storage is inside airtight Tupperware. These thick plastic containers will prevent food scents from escaping and also form a strong barrier between cockroaches and their desired feast.

Tupperware storage containers come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials. Some have vents for pouring food and allowing steam to escape. These types aren’t always airtight, though.

Avoid any Tupperware products with ventilation holes as these may even be big enough for the resilient and versatile cockroach to squeeze through and enter the container.


Storing food in airtight containers or even plastic bags can be very effective for keeping cockroaches out, but it only works if the container is thick and strong enough.

Some plastics are more resistant to chewing than others, so make sure to choose one that’s thick enough to avoid being pierced by the roach’s teeth.

Leaving food in an open cupboard is a sure way to attract roaches. Even if the cupboard is filled with Tupperware containers, opening and closing the door can allow an unwelcome guest inside.

Investing in Tupperware sets will keep your food safe from cockroaches and also ensure that it stays fresh for longer.

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