Can Roaches Eat through Plastic Bags? (Garbage, Bread, Ziplock)

If you are facing roach infestation and want to protect your food, you may have a question: can roaches eat through plastic bags or not?

Roaches can make you ill by contaminating your food with certain bacteria and viruses, so making food inaccessible to roaches is the first step towards your protection.

In this column, I have provided details about bags and containers of various materials and whether a cockroach can access food placed in them or not.

I have been working on pest control methods for a long time, so I am confident to provide you with veritable information. So let’s get started.

Can Roaches Eat Through Plastic Bags?

Plastic quality decides whether it is edible for roaches or not. A bag made of low-quality plastic, such as for garbage and bread, is not strong enough to resist biting. However, cockroaches cannot bite through multiple layers of well-built plastic. So if you want to keep your things or food safe, choose a bag that can bear the attack of roaches biting structures.

Moreover, the smell of food provokes roaches to bite vigorously, so they chew with more effort, which results in holes in plastic bags. These holes allow cockroaches to enter and eat food inside.

Can Roaches Chew Through Plastic?

I carried out various experiments to check the qualities of different types of plastics and came to the conclusion that not all plastics are edible for roaches.

In general, if you keep your food in a standard plastic bag or bread bag, there are chances of contamination by roaches as they are among one of those insects having powerful mandibles.

Cockroaches can bite with a force that is 50 times more than their weight. So they can quickly eat plastic or bite it to get food inside.

The biting structures of roaches play a vital role in their ability to eat anything. However, roaches are more likely to eat natural materials, but they can also bite through artificial ones.

So if you want to keep your food protected, proper sanitation is not enough, as some pathogens can resist chemicals in detergents and cleaners.

Therefore, I advise you to keep your food inside good quality plastic bags such as those made by Tupperware.

What Are the Mandibles of Roaches?

As you know, we humans have teeth attached to our jaws that assist in biting, crushing, and grinding food.

But cockroaches don’t have teeth; instead, they have similar structures called mandibles that help them to eat and chew different materials like plastic.

The mandibles of cockroaches can exert 50 times more force as compared to their body weight to eat, bite and chew.

In terms of appearance, they are pyramid-shaped, which makes them sharp enough. Moreover, they are present in the form of pairs inside their mouth, covering both sides.

In addition, they contain a hard layer of chitin that adds something to their strength and helps roaches to bite through rigid materials.

Are Ziplock Bags Edible for Roaches?

I have used zip-lock bags for the storage of garbage as well as food, but unfortunately, you have to follow strict conditions to keep products inside; otherwise, they are also not safe.

Ziplock bags have chemically weak organization, so cockroaches can quickly eat through these bags. 

They differ from standard plastic bags in terms of their protection as they have a moveable zip, but it only works to restrict food smell released in the outside environment.

The odor of food is a vital factor for attracting roaches as they detect food by using their smelling sense; cockroaches don’t even know about food until they smell it.

So ziplock bags can help to protect food in this way but not for a long time. If you placed your food three days ago in an old ziplock bag that is placed outside, roaches would get the smell.

Can Cockroaches Eat Through Plastic Bread Bags?

The short answer to this question is no. If you compare ziplock bags with bread bags, the former will win in terms of protection.

Cockroaches can eat through bread bags effortlessly as they do not have enough solid composition to bear the force exerted by roaches’ mandibles.

However, they also do not contain any zip-to-seal bags, so the smell of food can be released outside, and roaches are intelligent enough to detect the smell.

Moreover, the plastic of the bread bag is so fragile that we can easily tear it unintentionally.

Biting Strength of Different Insects

Eating any material depends on how strong the biting structure of any insect is. I have listed the biting forces of different insects.

NoInsectsBiting strength
1Cockroaches50 times their body weight
2Ants300 to 500 times their body weight
3Termites156.2 mn
4Mosquito18 mn

Can Roaches Eat Through Garbage Bags?

As you know, almost all cockroaches are attracted to garbage; therefore, they are also considered dirty insects. This is because they feed on garbage and get nutrients for normal body functioning.

The decaying smell of garbage forces cockroaches to head toward it. Garbage bags are also made of plastic, which is edible for cockroaches.

Garbage bags are flexible, which is their weak point in terms of resistance against cockroaches biting structures. The pliability of plastic bags is directly proportional to damage by the biting of roaches.

A plastic garbage bag is so insubstantial that cockroaches can make holes in it effortlessly and without intention by applying a little force.

So now you just want to ask how to protect garbage bags from cockroaches; as I have explained that garbage bags produce smells to attract roaches and are also made of low-quality plastic.

So, you can use the same trick of smell to keep them away from garbage bags. Use bleach to clean your garbage bags; roaches consider this smell toxic, and avoid coming in contact with it.

Moreover, it is also capable of killing disease-causing bacteria spread by cockroaches. I also suggest you do not use the same garbage bag again and again.

Do Plastic Bags Attract Roaches?

Plastic bags have nothing to attract roaches unless they are contained with food and moisture. It is the smell of food or garbage in plastic bags that appeals to cockroaches.

So if you want to protect your food placed in a plastic bag, use one with high quality that doesn’t allow the smell of food to release outside.

There is no plastic bag that can lock the smell; a zip lock bag even fails after a few days. So don’t use the same ziplock bag again and again.

Moreover, water also attracts roaches because they need only a tiny amount of water to carry out their body processes, hydration, and remain active.

So remove the source of attraction to protect your plastic bags.

Can Cockroaches Survive in Plastic Bags?

Cockroaches rely on the temperature, availability of food, moisture, and protection for their survival. The choice of shelter depends on certain conditions.

Cockroaches go for plastic bags only to get food inside. They don’t consider it a safe place to live; plastic bags are transparent, allowing light to pass through them.

On the other hand, roaches prefer a place having less light exposure, so they can only choose garbage plastic bags for living that are not transparent and contain enough food inside.

They also choose a safe shelter for their eggs, but plastic bags have a continuous interaction with humans that disturb roaches and their eggs.

Are There Strong-Quality Plastics?

I have tested various plastic bags, including those for bread and garbage but didn’t find any that can bear the force of cockroaches’ mandibles.

Then I head towards a well-known brand for making plastic containers and bags, which is named Tupperware; it is known for making thick plastic bags.

There are only two ways to protect the food inside plastic bags. First, use a plastic bag with a thick and robust configuration; second, the plastic should be airtight.

Tupperware plastic bags meet both requirements; however, they also manufacture some bags having small holes instead of zips to place and take away food.

But I will advise you to use airtight bags in place of bags containing small spaces because roaches can enter these bags. Moreover, these bags also allow the release of food odor. 

How Long Can Cockroaches Live in a Plastic bag?

As I have mentioned above, a plastic bag is not a preferable place for roaches to live. But, if it has water and moisture and it is not airtight, roaches can be attracted to it.

A roach will live inside a plastic bag until the bag provides it with food and moisture. Airtight plastic bags having no food and moisture can cut out the supply of oxygen for roaches.

Cockroaches are intelligent insects and can detect changes in the air; therefore, they don’t want to risk their lives by living inside an airtight plastic bag for a long time.

Although a cockroach needs less oxygen as it has a petite body enclosing less complex organs and a small number of cells as compared to humans.

So they can live inside an airtight plastic bag as there are small holes in a plastic material that we can’t see with the naked eye; these holes allow the entrance of gasses.

Moreover, roaches can eat plastic and survive on it and even live inside without food for one month.

However, roaches can’t live without water for more than 7 days, so blocking the moisture availability and trapping them in an airtight plastic bag can cause severe dehydration and death.

But, if the plastic is not of good quality, roaches can create holes by biting and escape before death.

Can Roaches Eat Through Plastic Containers?

One alternative method is to store food or other products in plastic containers. Plastic containers are safe, and you can use them in place of plastic bags.

I have stated why I prefer plastic containers over plastic bags, so let’s look!

  • Cockroaches can’t eat through these containers.
  • Plastic containers don’t release the smell of food.
  • Cockroaches are not attracted to plastic containers.
  • The plastic is of strong, thick, and good quality.
  • Plastic containers come with different types of locks that don’t allow cockroaches to get inside.

Do Takeaway Containers Prevent Roach Attacks?

I have examined different types of containers for food storage and concluded that typical plastic containers are more reliable than takeaway containers.

  • Takeaway containers are only designed for temporary food storage.
  • Plastic is not of high-end quality.
  • They are breakable.
  • Cockroaches can enter small cracks and holes by compressing their body.
  • They allow the smell of food to release outside, which can attract cockroaches.

Can Cockroaches Eat Through Plastic Jars?

The short answer to this question is no; the credit goes to the strong quality and well-built plastic used to make these jars.

You can store food in plastic jars without fear of roaches contaminating it. These jars don’t give a clue of the presence of food to cockroaches by locking the smell inside.

However, if these jars are not correctly closed, cockroaches can smell the food and enter inside as they can climb and crawl on plastic jars and even glide to a small height.

The plastic used is of such high quality that it appears as glass having polyethylene in its structure, which is responsible for its rigidness.

Ending Lines:

Roaches spread various diseases by contaminating food, so the urge to store food often raises a question: Can roaches eat through plastic bags? 

In this blog, I mentioned the best method to store food. Unfortunately, plastic bags are unreliable for storing food, as cockroaches can eat through them if they are made of low-quality material.

I hope you have found this article helpful.


Can Roaches Eat Through Chip Bags?

Yes, roaches can eat through chip bags as it is made of low-quality plastic, and cockroaches can easily create holes using their mandibles.

Do Cockroaches Love Paper Bags?

Yes, they do because paper bags are more easily torn. Moreover, the paper contains cellulose that is digestible by roaches.

Can Roaches Eat Through Aluminum Foil?

Yes, roaches have biting solid structures that can easily create holes in aluminum foil, and cockroaches may face difficulty in chewing if it is thick.

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