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 disease-spreading
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 the
fact that cockroaches 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 Fahrenheit.
Here are ten of the most fascinating cockroach facts:
- 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. In fact, 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, in
addition to other common species, the brownbanded cockroach and
- Because they are cold-blooded insects, cockroaches can live
without food for one month, but will only survive one 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
Cockroach control and management are important for health and
safety reasons. If you suspect a cockroach infestation, use our zip
code locator to find a licensed pest control professional in your
Watch this Cockroaches 101 video for more facts and information
on different types of cockroaches. Learn and how to keep these
creepy crawlers out of your house.