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10 Cockroach Facts You Need to Know



The first mention of cockroaches can often make your skin crawl and your hairs stand on edge. This is because we all know that these crawling insects that are synonymous with dirt and filth are capable of spreading disease by contaminating human food with germs they pick up in places such as latrines and garbage dumps.

Despite how you feel about them, here are some facts about cockroaches you need to know!

Facts about cockroaches

1. Cockroaches are cannibals

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Cockroaches are opportunistic eaters. They will eat anything available to them - from most of the foods you like until things you even don't think can be eaten at all, such as glue, paper, leather and decaying organic matter. Even worse, they are not reluctant to eat other cockroaches if food sources are hard to find.

Cannibalism in cockroaches is believed due to two reasons: food and population. When cockroach infestations reach large numbers and food is scarce, they will often turn cannibal as both a source of food and to help reduce population size.

2. Cockroaches are one the oldest living insect

A shred of evidence suggests that these insects have been around for a very long time. Many science studies in the past few years which identify cockroaches explains that fossil evidence shows that cockroaches fossil ever found was 300-350 million years old.

3. Cockroaches can breed rapidly

Cockroaches are prolific breeders. A female cockroach produces their eggs in an egg capsule known as ootheca.

Female cockroaches don't need a mate to lay their eggs, and in favorable conditions the females can produce 300 - 400 eggs in a lifetime at a rate of 20 - 30 a day. Commonly, female cockroach gestation period is between 30 - 60 days before it hatches into the next stage of lifecycle, nymph.

Although it depends on the types of cockroaches and the conditions in which they breed. On average the cockroach life cycle is ranging from a little over a month to almost 2 years.

  • German cockroaches: needs 40-125 days to fully mature from eggs into full grown adult-cockroach.
  • American cockroaches: needs 400-600 days to fully mature from eggs into full grown adult-cockroach.
  • Australian cockroaches: needs up to 150 days to fully mature from eggs into full grown adult-cockroach.

Find out more about cockroach life cycle here

4. Cockroaches can squeeze through the tiniest of gaps

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Can cockroaches squeeze through small spaces? The answer is yes. Similar to rats and mice, cockroaches can also squeeze through the smallest of cracks.

This is all down to their amazing exoskeletons. Cockroaches are able to fit through a gap as small as a quarter of their body height by flattening their flexible exoskeletons and splaying their legs to the side.

5. Cockroaches can survive a week without their heads

Yes, you did read that right. Approximately, cockroaches without a head can survive up to a week!

How do cockroaches survive without a head?

The reason behind why cockroaches live without a head  is because they don’t need their mouths to breathe. In fact, cockroach respiratory systems use small openings or spiracles located on the side of their body to inhale and transport oxygen.

Combine this with the ability to survive without food for a month and you have an insect that can last without its head for a week.

6. Cockroaches can’t fly

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Many people think they are being attacked by cockroaches when seeing roaches fly towards them. But can cockroaches fly? The answer to this question is no. Cockroaches can’t actually fly but rather “fall with style”.

Even though many species of cockroaches have wings and many of them can fly, yet most of them don’t fly at all. Their wings only allow them to glide and flutter for short distances in a short period of time. They prefer to crawl around on the ground because it's the quickest way for them to scavenge for food.

Find out more about flying cockroaches here

7. Cockroaches can run very fast

Cockroaches are insanely quick and resilient. Being prey for a large number of predators, and running fast it’s their only defense mechanism. They even can scamper over uneven terrain and small obstacles.

Although they are small in size, cockroaches can run at speeds up to 1.5 meters per second. This means they can spread diseases and cause serious allergic reactions throughout a property very quickly.

8. Cockroaches can hold their breath for 40 minutes

Although it might sound impossible, studies have shown that cockroaches can hold their breath for 40 minutes, and can survive underwater for 30 minutes!

A cockroach’s ability to hold its breath for long periods of time is believed to be a result of regulating water loss. Unlike us, cockroaches don’t use their mouths to breathe but rather use small tubes in their body called spiracles.

These are also used to transport water vapor out of their body, so if they need to conserve water they will simply keep the tubes shut.

9. Cockroaches can taste food without eating it

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Cockroaches don't have a tongue with taste buds as we do. However, they have little 'tasting' hairs located all over on their legs, feet, wings, and around the mouthparts. These taste hairs function the same as taste buds on the human tongue to detect the taste of sweet, bitter, and also chemical substances in food.

10. Cockroaches trigger asthma

Studies have shown that cockroaches have been linked to asthma as well as other allergy symptoms. This is not surprising if we refer to their filthy dwellings and interest in consuming decaying organic matter.

In fact, cockroaches can carry and spread a variety of different bacterias that can impact your health. Their fecal droppings, salivas, and shed skins that are kicked out to the air is known as the source of potent allergens which can cause bouts of rhinitis or asthma for some individuals.

For more interesting pest facts please visit our page here

Best way to get rid of cockroaches

Cockroaches are capable of adapting with different environments. This is the reason why controlling and eliminating a cockroach problem at your property on your own is not easy.
Once an infestation is established, cockroaches can spread quickly to neighboring properties. This makes prompt action at the first signs of activity critical to enable fast and effective cockroach control.

The best way to get rid of cockroaches is by enlisting the help from the professional cockroach control near you. In Rentokil, we will help you to control and remove your cockroach infestation for good, as well as to find where the crawling insects are getting into your home or business premises.

Contact Rentokil today for more information about our cockroach control services.