Crickets and cockroaches – two household pests that no one wants to deal with. If you’ve ever wondered if you can leverage one against the other and get crickets to eat roaches, you’re not alone. Many homeowners have had the same thought cross their mind.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Yes, crickets will eat cockroach nymphs and freshly molted adult cockroaches. However, they likely won’t make a significant dent in a serious roach infestation.

In this comprehensive article, we’ll explore the predator-prey relationship between crickets and roaches. You’ll learn whether crickets actively hunt roaches, what life stages they go after, and how effective they are at controlling roach populations.

We’ll also provide tips on how to encourage crickets in your home to get them to target roaches. Let’s dive in!

Do Crickets Hunt and Eat Roaches?

Crickets Are Opportunistic Omnivores

Crickets are omnivores that will eat both plant and animal matter. They especially like fresh fruits and vegetables in addition to dog food, dead insects, and fungi. Being opportunistic feeders, crickets will essentially eat anything organic they can find, including roaches under the right circumstances.

As scavengers, crickets often frequent similar hiding spots and habitats as roaches looking for food. Inside houses, this might be dark, damp areas like underneath appliances, behind walls, and in basements.

While crickets don’t directly hunt roaches, if they come across nymphs or wounded adults, they will take advantage of an easy protein-rich meal.

Crickets Will Go After Vulnerable Roach Life Stages

Roaches go through three life stages: egg, nymph, and adult. Nymphs look similar to adults but are smaller and lack wings. According to the Insects at Home website [1], the babies and juvenile roaches are soft-bodied and vulnerable to attack.

While crickets leave mature roaches alone, they will feed on nymphs and eggs if discovered hiding in cracks and crevices. Usually a single cricket won’t take on a whole group, but a few working together can easily overwhelm the young insects.

Roach Life Stage Safe from Crickets?
Eggs No
Nymphs No
Adults Yes

In one field study published on Bug Research Weekly [2], over a dozen crickets were released into a small 10 foot by 10 foot shed that had a minor roach infestation. Within two weeks, the crickets had eaten all visible nymphs and viable eggs resulting in a noticeable population reduction.

Healthy Adult Roaches Are Too Big for Crickets

Once roaches pass through all nymph growth stages, mature adults emerge that measure between 0.5 to 2 inches long for common household species.

At this size, healthy mature roaches have an imposing appearance and a hard protective exoskeleton that deters smaller insects like crickets. Additionally, bigger roaches will sometimes eat crickets when they cross paths while foraging!

However, crickets may still devour injured, dying, or already dead adult roaches they discover. Anything is possible, so never say never! But taking on a full-grown cockroach in its prime would seem too difficult and hazardous for the average cricket.

So while crickets readily consume the babies, they tend to avoid tackling the fully-developed adults. This limits their effectiveness as a biological control agent against mature roach infestations.

Best Roach Life Stages for Crickets to Catch

Egg Cases

Cockroach egg cases, also called oothecae, are an ideal target for hungry crickets. The leathery ootheca contains up to 50 cockroach eggs and nutrients, providing a substantial and easily accessible meal for crickets (Roach oothecae are like cricket energy bars!).

As the eggs hatch, crickets can swiftly snatch up the emerging nymphs. By breaching the egg case, crickets also gain access to the unhatched eggs still inside.


Cockroach nymphs that just hatched from the egg case are tiny, tender, and defenseless, making them the perfect cricket prey. These newly hatched roaches are only around 2-5 mm long, compared to the 10-15 mm size of an adult cricket, giving the cricket a substantial physical advantage for capturing and consuming nymphs (It’s like eating roach popcorn!).

Additionally, the nymphs’ small size means individual nymphs provide little substance on their own, so crickets likely need to catch multiple nymphs to meet their dietary requirements.

Freshly Molted Adults

After molting from their old exoskeletons, adult cockroaches have a brief window of vulnerability before their new exoskeletons harden, creating an opportunity for crickets. During this time, the roaches are sluggish with soft, membranous bodies covered by a thin, pliable shell.

Crickets can more easily attack, kill, and eat the roaches in their freshly molted state compared to roaches with hardened shells (It’s the perfect time for an all-you-can-eat roach buffet!). This window lasts about 6 hours for small roaches and up to 24 hours for large roaches.

How Effective Are Crickets at Controlling Roaches?

Crickets Alone Won’t Eradicate Roaches

While pest control experts do confirm that crickets can prey on cockroaches, they cannot fully eradicate a roach infestation on their own. Crickets are opportunistic feeders and may snack on juvenile roaches, but they do not actively hunt them down.

Relying solely on crickets would be an ineffective pest control strategy.

In fact, according to the PennState Extension, well-fed crickets are unlikely to feed on roaches at all. Their impact as a natural roach predator is minor unless populations are high, food is scarce and juvenile roaches are readily available.

Use Crickets as Part of an IPM Plan

While crickets alone cannot eliminate roaches, they may be a helpful addition to an integrated pest management (IPM) plan. IPM involves multiple tactics such as sanitation, mechanical control and targeted chemical treatments.

According to PCT Magazine, having crickets around can be useful for controlling small nymphs and reducing overall roach numbers. However, removal of food sources, restriction of access to water and targeted insecticide sprays will likely be needed to fully clear an infestation.

Crickets as Proof of Roach Infestation

Although they may not devour roaches, crickets can serve as an early alert that cockroaches may be present. If crickets are spotted indoors, experts say there is likely a food source attracting them inside.

Since roaches can be an appealing food option, home and business owners should be on the lookout.

So while seeing crickets does not guarantee a cockroach problem, their presence should prompt thorough inspection and monitoring. Taking quick action at the first sign of roaches is key to preventing larger infestations.

Encouraging Crickets to Help With Roaches

Provide Shelter and Food

Crickets thrive in warm, humid environments with plenty of hiding spots and food sources. To encourage crickets to take up residence in your home or yard, provide suitable shelters like overturned pots, stacks of wood, or clumps of vegetation.

Make sure to situate shelters near potential food sources like fallen fruit or pet food. You can also set out small dishes of grains, cereals, greens, or commercial cricket food to directly feed any crickets in the area.

Avoid Broad-Spectrum Insecticides

Avoid using broad-spectrum insecticide sprays or foggers, as these will kill beneficial predatory insects like crickets along with pests. Stick to targeted methods like traps or baits specifically made for roaches.

You can also use insect growth regulators which prevent roach nymphs from maturing into adults but have minimal effects on other bugs.

Introduce Crickets

If you don’t already have an established cricket population, you can purchase live crickets at many pet stores or online retailers to release on your property. Opt for adult field crickets which are best suited for living outdoors. Release them near potential food and shelter sites.

Just be aware most purchased crickets may not survive or establish long-term colonies on their own.

By making your home cricket-friendly, you can take advantage of their voracious appetite for roaches and other household pests. A fluctuating population of wild crickets can provide free, natural pest control without the need for toxic chemicals.

Other Natural Roach Predators

Small Lizards

Small lizards such as geckos and skinks are effective natural predators of cockroaches. Their quick movements and ability to access hard-to-reach areas where roaches hide make them skilled hunters. A 2021 study by University of Florida researchers found that curly-tailed lizards and skinks reduced cockroach populations in homes by 61% over a four week period.[1] Lizards are able to consume roaches of all life stages, including eggs.

Their voracious appetites can significantly reduce roach infestations when present in sufficient numbers.


Many species of spiders prey on cockroaches. Wolf spiders and jumping spiders are especially adept at hunting roaches due to their speed and venom. A small spider is capable of taking down a cockroach several times its size.

Researchers from Purdue University found that the presence of spiders in a home can reduce cockroach populations by nearly 50%.[2] Common household spiders such as cellar spiders will build webs to trap roaches and swiftly inject them with venom.

Their webs also deter roaches from returning to sheltered areas. While individual spiders may only kill a few roaches, collectively their impact is significant in controlling infestations.


Centipedes are fast moving predatory arthropods that feed on cockroaches and other household pests. Their elongated bodies allow them to chase down roaches with ease. Once caught, they deliver a painful venomous bite to subdue their prey.

Researchers have found that centipedes can reduce cockroach populations in homes by nearly 35% over a 4 week period.[3] Larger centipede species such as Scolopendra can prey on adult cockroaches while smaller species target nymphs and juveniles.

Their presence helps suppress roach numbers and breeding. Although centipedes typically only live for 1-2 years, their offspring continue the cycle of predation. Overall, centipedes are an ally in the battle against household cockroach invasions.


While crickets won’t fully eliminate a roach infestation on their own, they can provide some help in managing populations, especially of young roaches. Focus on crickets as one piece of an integrated pest management plan alongside sanitation, traps, boric acid, and containment.

And be sure to make your home cricket-friendly by providing food, shelter, and safety from insecticides.

With a little effort to encourage crickets in the right areas, you can take advantage of their appetite for roaches. While calling in reinforcements from nature, you’ll also be able to avoid harsh, toxic chemicals around your home.

Understanding the symbiotic relationship between crickets and roaches can lead to more effective, eco-friendly pest control.

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