Cockroach facts

  • Cockroaches are considered one of the most successful groups of animals, Because they are so adaptable, cockroaches have adjusted to living with humans much more readily than humans have adjusted to living with them.
  • Cockroaches thrive in nearly every corner of the globe, despite our best attempts to eliminate them.
  • Cockroaches can hold their breath for 40 minutes.
  • Cockroaches have 6 legs and at least 18 knees. If a cockroach breaks a leg it can grow another one.
  • Cockroaches spend just resting 75% of time.
  • A headless cockroach can survive for a couple of weeks. Its life would finally end due to starvation! 
  • German cockroaches can survive for up to one month without food and two weeks without water.
  • If a vacuum cleaner approaches from behind a cockroach, the wind goes from its head to the nozzle. It thinks the attack is from the front and it turns round and runs straight into the nozzle.
  • If food is scarce, adolescent cockroaches can live on a very reliable resource — their parents’ feces.
  • Young cockroaches need only a crack as thin as a dime (about 0.5 mm wide) to crawl into. Adult males can squeeze into a space of 1.6 mm or the thickness of a quarter.
  • A cockroach breaks wind every 15 minutes.
  • Cockroaches (Periplaneta americana) can can run at speeds of nearly 3 km/hr (0.8 m/s). They can make up to 25 body turns in a second - the highest known rate in the animal kingdom.
  • There are nearly 4,000 species of Cockroaches (Dictyoptera, Blattodea) in the world, of which only 25 to 30 (or less than 1%) have any pest status (i.e., American, German, Oriental, brown-banded, smoky brown, and Asian), the rest are innocent members of the Earth's fauna, some of which are clean living, non-aggressive and slow moving, and as such make great pets.
  • At walking speed intact cockroaches simply tapped their antennae on the arena wall, but the faster an insect moved the more time the two stayed in contact. When the researches experimented with simple antenna amputations, they found that the shorter an insect's antenna, the closer it walked to the wall at all running speeds, apparently using sensory input from other body parts, such as its legs, to glean information about its position relative to possible obstacles. And experiments with the pleat-sided arena showed that cockroaches can respond remarkably quickly - after around 29 milliseconds - to the sensory cues that their antennae deliver.
  • Camhi and Johnson set cockroaches (whose antenna and other sensory organs they disabled in various ways) the task of negotiating their way around a circular arena with either straight or pleated sides. As the duo report in The Journal of Experimental Biology, their slightly macabre manipulations revealed that the insects navigated the space by staying close to the wall at a strikingly fixed distance and dragging their antenna along it as they went.
  • Cockroach allergy and exposure have been reported in asthmatic children, allergic conjunctivitis and slum people in Bangkok with perennial nasal symptom and wheezing which the prevalence is increasing. This study was aimed to investigate the infestation of indoor cockroach species in some urban and rural dwellings of Thailand. Cockroaches were caught by placing commercial sticky traps for three days. They were from 33 living rooms and 38 bedrooms of 36 houses and 33 office units in Bangkok. The dominant species of urban indoor cockroaches were Periplaneta americana and Supella longipalpa which the nymphal stage was the highest. In Bangkok, houses were infested with P. americana 81.7% and S. longipalpa 18.3% where P. americana were significantly higher in living rooms than bedrooms. In contrast, offices were infested with P. americana 52.3% and S. longipalpa 47% where S. longipalpa were significantly higher than those on houses. The average cockroaches per trap from office (14.5) were higher than home (3) the monthly variation was studied in single cockroach species of the infested areas. By this trapping, the density S. longipalpa was peaked on the second month and markly declined later to reach the zero within ten months but no variation for American cockroaches. From rural dwellings of 12 provinces, five species of cockroaches were found which were P. americana, Periplaneta australasiae, Blattella germanica, Neostylopyga rhombifolia, and S. longipalpa. The most common is P. americana and the highest density was found in kitchen.
  • Female cockroaches prefer males at the bottom of the social pecking order, and dominant males try and stop them from having their way. But when females do get the low-ranking man of their dreams, they produce fewer sons, apparently in an effort to avoid passing on his wimpishness.
  • In the darkness, Periplaneta americana do not crash into things. This is due to the presence of their antennae.
  • In the natural world, dodging disaster is vital if you are not going to be pounced on by predators. Now, the world champion dodger has been crowned - the cockroach
  • Insect legs, by contrast, are designed for scurrying over rocky or uneven surfaces. To that end, University of Michigan researchers studied cockroaches, which any urban dweller knows can move with astonishing speed. The result is RHex, a six-leg robot that runs over rubble with ease, not to mention leaping obstacles and climbing stairs. RHex could be used in search-and-rescue operations, either to scout for survivors amid the rubble of disaster zones like the World Trade Center site or to bring back information from places where humans fear to tread.
  • It is almost impossible to squish a cockroach before it shoots out of sight behind the refrigerator while it is often quite easy to zap it with the nozzle of a vacuum cleaner. It is due to the fact that the jet-propelled bug thinks with its behind.
  • Male cockroaches transfer sperm to females in a "gift-wrapped" package called a spermatophore. Some males cover the package in a protein-rich wrapping that the female can eat to obtain nutrients to raise her young. 
  • Other scientists in Europe and America have also connected neurons to microchip circuitry and a team in Japan has been able to stimulate the muscles in a cockroach leg with electrical signals so that its movements can be controlled.
  • Scientists claim some female cockroaches prefer weaker partners because they like gentle sex. A University of Manchester team has concluded stronger male cockroaches are too aggressive and often injure their partners. However, the females produce fewer babies with weaker partners. The scientists studied the sex life of the Tanzanian cockroach Nauphoeta cinerea and have published their results in the science journal Nature.
  • Scientists have actually performed brain surgery on cockroaches.
  • Some female cockroaches mate once and are pregnant for the rest of their lives.
  • The cockroach is able to sense minute changes in the air flowing round its body using tiny hairs on two posterior appendages called “cerci”—and that includes your foot coming down. Signals from those hairs feed into a group of 14 vital nerve cells which process the information. The result—now you see it, now you don’t.
  • The earliest fossil cockroach is about 280 million years old – 80 million years older than the first dinosaurs!
  • The largest known Cockroaches in the world are (largest wingspan up to 18 cm) Megaloblatta longipennis, largest body, Macropanesthia rhinocerus from Australia weighing in at up to 50 grams.
  • While many insects use sound, the Madagascar hissing cockroach has a unique way of producing its hisses. In this insect, sound is produced by forcibly expelling air through a pair of modified abdominal spiracles. Spiracles are breathing pores which are part of the respiratory system of insects. Because the spiracles are involved in respiration, this method of sound production is more typical of the respiratory sound made by the vertebrates. In contrast, most other insects produce sound by rubbing body parts (e.g. crickets) or vibrating a membrane (e.g. cicadas).
  • The New Zealand Y2K Readiness Commission has given new meaning to the phrase 'millennium bug'. The commission employed Ken, a computer-generated cockroach, to urge New Zealanders to hoard essential supplies in case the world ended on New Year's Eve, 1999. In the event that you found yourself starving, however, the commission helpfully included the following 'succulent' cockroach recipe in its press kit.
  • The oldest insects on Earth are the cockroaches – they date back as far as 300 million years.
  • The researchers have found that blinded and deafened cockroaches are able to navigate completely normally, even if their average speeds were lower than their sighted and air-current-sensitive counterparts.
  • The smallest known cockroach is Attaphilla fungicola which lives in the nests of Leaf Cutter ants of the genus Atta in North America and feeds on the fungus they farm, it is about 4 mm long.
  • Can a cockroach survive a nuclear war? Humans can safely withstand a one-time exposure of 5 rems (A "rem" is the dosage of radiation that will cause a specific, measured amount of injury to human tissue). A lethal dose is 800 rems or more (people are exposed to about 16 rems during their lifetime). The lethal dose for the American cockroach is 67,500 rems and for the German cockroach it is between 90,000 and 105,000 rems!! In truth the amount of radiation that cockroaches can withstand is equivalent to that of a thermonuclear explosion.


  1. A Nuclear War and Life of Cockroaches
    Yuck. Cockroaches are dirty, endless hunter which can be unaffected by using radiation. In a post-apocalyptic international, it is going to be those grimy little critters that survive. We’d be better off without them.

Post a Comment
Previous Post Next Post