10 Fascinating Cockroach Facts Dr. Jim Fredericks
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Everyone has heard the catchy Spanish folk song,
“La Cucaracha,” about a cockroach unable to walk
because he has lost one of his six legs. While the song may be
loved by children and fun to sing along to, it is highly unlikely
that anyone feels the same affection for this ick-inspiring and
Most homeowners are aware of the
health and safety risks associated with cockroach infestations,
including the allergies and asthma triggered by cockroach
allergens, and the germs and bacteria they have been known to
spread. What may not be as widely known is that they are a very
interesting and resilient pest that exhibits some very odd behavior
and survival tactics. For example, cockroaches spend 75% of their
time resting and can withstand temperatures as cold as 32 degrees
Here are ten of the most fascinating facts about
- A cockroach can live for a week without its head. Due to their
open circulatory system, and the fact that they breathe through
little holes in each of their body segments, they are not dependent
on the mouth or head to breathe. The roach only dies because
without a mouth, it can’t drink water and dies of thirst.
- A cockroach can hold its breath for 40 minutes, and can even
survive being submerged under water for half an hour. They hold
their breath often to help regulate their loss of water.
- Cockroaches can run up to three miles in an hour, which means
they can spread germs and bacteria throughout a home very
- Newborn German cockroaches become adults in as little as 36
days. The German cockroach is the most common of the cockroaches
and has been implicated in outbreaks of illness and allergic
reactions in many people.
- A one-day-old baby cockroach, which is about the size of a
speck of dust, can run almost as fast as its parents.
- The American cockroach has shown a marked attraction to
alcoholic beverages, especially beer. They are most likely
attracted by the alcohol mixed with hops and sugar.
- The world’s largest roach (which lives in South America) is six
inches long with a one-foot wingspan. Average cockroaches can vary
in size from ½”– 2” long.
- Cockroaches are believed to have originated more than 280
million years ago, in the Carboniferous era.
- There are more than 4,000 species of cockroaches worldwide,
including the most common species, the German cockroach, as well as
brownbanded cockroaches and American cockroaches.
- Because they are cold-blooded insects, cockroaches can live
without food for one month, but will only survive a week without
These facts prove that cockroaches are some of the most
adaptable creatures on earth, which makes controlling and
eliminating a cockroach infestation all the more difficult. To get
rid of cockroaches in your home, experts suggest keeping food
sealed and stored properly, particularly in the kitchen, which
should be cleaned daily to prevent crumbs and trash from building
up. Garbage should be disposed of regularly and stored in sealed
containers. Homeowners should seek out and seal all cracks and
holes in homes, including entry points for utilities and pipes, as
these can serve as entranceways for the pest. In addition, basements
and crawl spaces should be kept well ventilated and dry.
Cockroach control and management are important for health and
If you suspect a cockroach infestation, visit our Find a Pro
page to find a pest
control professional in your area.