Can Ants and Roaches Live Together: Are They Friends or Foes?

There’s something about ants and roaches that just doesn’t sit right with many people. The idea of having them both in the same house just seems inherently wrong. But can they actually live together peacefully?

Surprisingly, the answer is yes! In fact, ants don’t see cockroaches as predators, and some documentation suggests that the two species actually help each other out. As long as there’s enough food to go around, these unlikely friends can actually make quite a good team.

While it’s certainly not the most common sight, ants and roaches living together is not as impossible as it may seem. While this may be a good thing for ants and cockroaches living in your home, this may bring you no comfort. Because they won’t kill each other, expect that there’ll be double the trouble once you have an infestation.

Ants and Roaches Aren’t Friends: They Have a Symbiotic Relationship

While ants and roaches can certainly live together, that doesn’t mean that they’re friends. In fact, the two species have what’s known as a symbiotic relationship. This means that while they don’t necessarily need each other, there are benefits to being around one another.

dead cockroach and ants surrounding it

For instance, ants feed on sugar from cockroach droppings, which is an excellent food source. On the other hand, cockroaches eat any leftover crumbs that the ants miss, which helps keep their area clean. While this might not seem like much, it’s actually a pretty big deal for these two species.

One of the benefits that cockroaches get from being around ants is protection. Ants can detect when predators are near, and they will warn the cockroaches to be on their guard. This is a pretty big deal for cockroaches since they’re among the most common prey animals.

Another benefit that ants get from being around cockroaches is warmth. Cockroaches can regulate their body temperature better than ants, so ants can stay warm during cold weather by being near them.

So while ants and cockroaches might not be friends, they certainly have a symbiotic relationship that benefits both species. If you have an infestation of either one, expect to see the other soon enough.

Which is More Harmful Ants or Roaches?

Both come in the night, scurrying across your countertops and floors searching for food. They are relentless and able to squeeze through the smallest cracks and crevices. And no matter how many you kill, more always seem to take their place. Ants and roaches are two of the most common household pests, but which one is more harmful?

Most people would say that ants are worse than roaches. After all, they’re always marching around in big groups, getting into everything. Plus, they can be hard to get rid of once they’ve infested your home. But roaches have their own unique set of problems. They’re much bigger than ants, so they’re harder to miss (and easier to step on).

So which one is more harmful? Generally speaking, both can be nuisances, ants bite (especially the red ones), but they rarely carry diseases to humans. Cockroaches are more harmful because they like to nest in areas where trash and food are present, which can easily spread diseases to humans.

Ant Infestation Challenges

Despite their small size, ants can be a big problem when they invade your home. They’re hard to get rid of and can quickly become a nuisance. Here are some of the challenges you may face when dealing with an ant infestation:

They are Hard to Kill

Small but mighty. These little pests are hard to kill. Even if you manage to squish one, there’s a good chance that more will take its place.

They’re Always Marching Around

Ants are always on the move, which can be pretty annoying (not to mention gross). You’ll find them marching across your countertops, floors, and even walls in search of food.

black ants marching by the door

They Can Be Hard to Get Rid of

Once they’ve infested your home, ants can be hard to get rid of. The worker ants will keep coming, and the queen will continue to lay eggs. Unless you target their colony, you’ll never be able to get rid of them completely.

They’ll Eat Just About Anything

Ants will eat just about anything. You’ll often find them in your kitchen, where they’ll feast on crumbs and other bits of food.

Can Ruin Your Trees (If You Have One)

Ants are attracted to the sap in trees. You’ll often find them crawling along the branches and the tree trunk, which can weaken the tree and eventually kill it.

Roach Infestation Challenges

While roaches may not be as hard to kill as ants, they can still be pretty difficult to deal with. Here are some of the challenges you may face when dealing with a roach infestation:

They Carry Diseases

Roaches can carry several diseases, spreading to you and your family. These diseases include Salmonella, E. coli, and hepatitis.

They’re Hard to Kill

Roaches are hard to kill because they can survive without food or water for long periods of time. Even strong pesticides may not be enough to kill them all. But, if you get rid of their food sources and ensure that your house is kept clean and they have no access to food, cockroaches are more likely to leave your home and look for another place to live.

Diseases Spread Quickly

Cockroaches like to crawl on sewers, dirty floors, and other filthy areas. Because of this, they can easily spread diseases to humans.

They Make a Mess

Cockroaches are known for making a mess. They’ll leave droppings and shed their skin all over your home. Not only is this gross, but it can also be dangerous if you have asthma or allergies.

cockroaches with crumbs on floor

Final Thoughts

Ants may be annoying, but they’re generally not as harmful as cockroaches. These two pests aren’t necessarily enemies, and they can cohabitate without too much conflict. They have a symbiotic relationship in which the ants help to clean up the roaches’ droppings, and the roaches provide the ants with food. However, if you have an infestation of either one, it’s best to call a professional pest control company to get rid of them. Trying to do it yourself will likely be unsuccessful and may even make the problem worse.