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There is a belief that cockroaches will not eat margarine.

However this Yahoo Questions answer argues against it.

This seems to be a common urban myth, and seems to be widespread on sites that are dedicated to the latest boogie-man of trans fats.

(A related claim is about ants will eat it, but I am focussed on cockroaches here.)

Do cockroaches eat margarine?

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    I must be missing something very important because it sounds like crazy satire question - To whom would it matter if cockroaches doesn't eat margarine, that is, why is it relevant? – pipe Oct 18 at 18:00
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    @pipe It seems to be held up as evidence that margarine is extremely unhealthy. I'm guessing the reasoning is something like: "Cockroaches will happily eat rotting garbage, but they won't eat margarine, so therefore margarine must be even worse for your health than eating rotting garbage!" – plasticinsect Oct 18 at 18:15
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    @plasticinsect Wow, ok, I'm not sure that selecting your diet based on cockroaches is a healthy thing but then I understand the importance of the claim. – pipe Oct 19 at 6:57
  • @Schmuddi the links were placed mostly to prove notability of the claim, as the site requires. – Mindwin Oct 22 at 14:38
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    @GrumpyCrouton I can neither confirm nor deny that claim. – plasticinsect Oct 23 at 16:31
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It looks like there is some basis to this:

Attractiveness of Certain Popular Food Products to the German Cockroach, Blattella germanica, Adults under Field Conditions:

Oily Products: The data summarized in Table (5) indicated that peanut butter was the most accepted product for both sexes and significantly attracted more insects (12.0 and 9.5 insect / hr. for males and females, respectively) than the other materials and the control. There were also significant differences in the numbers of attracted insects to coriander oil (5.7 male / hr and 3.0 female / hr) and peppermint oil (5.0 male / hr and 2.5 female / hr) from the control (0.3 male / hr. and zero / hr females). Dill oil and chicken fat reduced the number of males attracted, while no females were attracted. Animal fat and margarine did not attract any males or females.

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    How can chicken fat attract and animal fats not? The former is an example of the latter. – Display name Oct 19 at 19:31
  • Does the article in full describe the nature of "Animal Fat"? That seems generic enough that it could either be an inorganic substitute, or processed and combined fat of some kind. – Zibbobz Oct 21 at 13:41
  • @Displayname I think based on the wording that they mean they added a bit of dill oil/chicken fat to the other substances, and found it reduced the number of males. I had the same question though, the wording is bad enough that I'm just guessing. – JMac Oct 21 at 16:12
  • @Displayname - Perhaps "mammal fat" was the intended distinction. – PoloHoleSet Oct 21 at 16:36
  • @Displayname That's a good question. I read the whole paper, and nothing in it specified exactly what was meant by "animal fat". It seems like this term should logically include chicken fat and maybe butter as well, but it doesn't seem to include those things as it is used in this paper. Maybe this is just an imperfect translation by a non-native speaker of English? – plasticinsect Oct 21 at 18:09

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