The Joys of Cockroach Composting. No, really.


    We’ve all been there in one way or another – you awake at 3 am and groggily make your way to the bathroom.  No need for the light you think, it’ll just wake me up.  And then, halfway through relieving yourself, you feel a giant thing scrabble madly down the back of your neck, under your shirt and across your unprotected back.

    That’s the type of image that comes to mind for most people when they hear about “cockroach composting,” or at least that’s what I gather from the facial expressions I get when I bring it up at polite dinner parties.

    It’s not like that though!  I promise.  When you buy them from the store (they are sold as critter food in pet stores), they are captive-bred, free of disease and general “plaguiness.” You can purchase species that can’t climb so they are easily kept within bounds – no fear of a black crawling swarm scrabbling and clawing over you while you sleep.  They are meticulously clean considering they eat everything including feces, fats and oils, meat and dairy, coffee grounds and anything else that has a bit of nutrients to it.  And they are voracious eaters, so unlike worms and other more socially acceptable composting creatures, they finish what they eat and it doesn’t start stinking up the place.  Their appetite also allows me to dispose of a ton of nasty waste that would normally be lost.

    You want to see a cockroach composter in action?  Check out the aquarium below.


    And the compost it produces is amazingly rich and dense and full of bonuses like chicken bones, catfish skulls, crustacean shells, and whatever else of the kitchen scraps was too hard to eat.   In the picture below you can see the bedding material harvested from the tank, ready for the garden – some bones are sticking out as well as egg case shells (great chitin for the garden), some beetle larva that found their way in, and other odds and ends.  It’s great!


    So why not try your hand at cockroach composting?  Just don’t visualize them getting outta control, breaching their enclosure some night and washing over your sleeping form like some monstrous dark tide of roiling claws and teeth.  Haha.

    Click here for the technical details of how to do cockroach composting.


    1. How fascinating Patrick! I have to say it would be hard for me to jump on this bandwagon, especially since I haven’t seen 1 cockroach in my 25 years of living here in Oregon. I’d hate to be responsible for inadvertantly introducing the species to my area! But I see the beauty in this composting method.

      • Ha! I know what you mean, I’m a native of Oregon too! I live in Asia though now, so I see roaches on a regular basis.

        You can actually use some species of roaches to compost there no problem – the species that are warm weather lovers wouldn’t survive the winters in Oregon. Of course you’d have to keep them warm in the winter somehow. 🙂

      • Haha, yeah, my wife took some convincing before I was able to start.. But they don’t climb so it’s pretty limited chance of escape which was the major concern… They’re quite clean too! In a gross kind of way.. 🙂

    2. I’ve tried to talk my husband into getting a bee hive for years, but I’m not even going to suggest this. It would kill him.

      • Haha you know, these kinds of comments have inspired me to write an article “Tactics to Get Your Significant Other On Board With Your Weird Gardening Ideas” or something similarly titled. It’s quite a challenge and will require quite a bit of research but I’m up for it. Maybe it will help you.. 🙂

    3. Spray an environmentally friendly pesticide outside and inside your home.

      Furthermore, you’ll most likely find the utilization of ant lure beneficial.

      The problem is they will only work for a couple of weeks
      and then the Roaches come back and then you will have to spray

    4. Place a bait inside tthe container, preferably something
      that has a strong sweet odor like sugar or apple cider. DE
      lacks killing power when it’s wet buut is effective upon drying again. If you have pets,
      sit their water dishes outside or empty them out.

      • Hi, is there a type of cockroach that works even during winter? Here the temperatures are not very cold and rarely drop below 4 degrees. I was interested in BSF but their are only useful during summer.

    5. We seem to naturally attract cockroaches as I only rarely turn the soil, and allow it to stay very moist. On the other hand, worms seem to die off no matter how hard I try. Our compost always smells a bit “swampy” though.


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