Cockroach Facts

Facts Chief

Facts Chief

13 Oct 2015

  1. Scientific Name: Blattaria
  2. Number of Species: 4,600 species
  3. Common Types: German cockroach, American cockroach, Australian cockroach, Oriental cockroach
  4. Diet: Omnivore. Cockroaches eat sweets, meats, starches, decaying matter
  5. Predators: Birds, spiders, small mammals and reptiles
  6. Reproduction: Up to 4 litters of young every year
  7. Average Lifespan: 1 year
  8. Average size: 1 inch long
  9. Found: Worldwide
  10. Risks: Can spread diseases such as dysentery, gastroenteritis, diarrhoea, and typhoid
  1. Reproduction: A Female Cockroach Can Lay Up to 90 Eggs at One Time
  2. Habitat: There Are Roaches on Every Continent
  3. History: Cockroaches Are as Old as Dinosaurs
  4. Diet: Cockroaches Can Eat Anything
  5. Anatomy: A Cockroach Has 18 Knees
  6. Survival: Cockroaches Can Survive a Month without Food
  7. Survival: Cockroaches can go without Breathing for up to 40 Minutes
  8. Health Risk: Cockroaches Spread 33 Different Kinds of Bacteria
  9. Behavior: Cockroaches Spend a Lot of Time Resting
  10. Anatomy: Cockroaches Have Wings, But Most Cannot Fly
  1. Cockroaches have a taste for Beer
  2. A Cockroach can live without its head for up to 2 weeks
  3. Whet your appetite with a live Roach eating contest
  4. Roaches are incapable of learning new things in the morning
  5. Roach fighting is a very old sport
  6. Roach racing for a good cause
  7. There is a Cockroach that glows
  8. One million Cockroaches were found in a house in New York
  9. Cockroaches are popular demand in China
  10. The largest species of Cockroach can be 3 inches long
Table of Contents

A Female Cockroach Can Lay Up to 90 Eggs at One Time

There is a reason why they say if you see one cockroach, there must be another hundred of them! One of the basic cockroach facts is that this insect can reproduce super fast. On average, a female cockroach will lay between 10 and 90 eggs at one time. The eggs hatch within days and the baby cockroaches will become fully grown within a month. Each female cockroach can lay eggs up to four times a year. At this rate, given a good habitat, cockroaches can multiply pretty quickly!

There Are Roaches on Every Continent

Cockroaches are probably one of the most adaptable species on Earth. They can live in a wide range of climates and environmental conditions. There are different types of roaches on every continent on Earth. In total, 4,600 species of cockroaches have been identified. Thankfully, for those who aren’t fans of cockroaches, only 30 of these species share human habitats. Of these 30 species, there are four common types that you are most likely to run into: the American cockroach, the German cockroach, the Australian cockroach and the Oriental cockroach.

Cockroaches Are as Old as Dinosaurs

Because of their incredible adaptability, cockroaches have survived the many harsh periods of environmental change on Earth. The oldest roach fossils ever found date back as far as 350 million years ago. This means that cockroaches are as old as dinosaurs. While dinosaurs are extinct now, cockroaches are still surviving well, and have experienced few changes to their genetics over the years. The study of fossils suggests that the modern cockroach is smaller than its ancestors, however. Back in the time of dinosaurs, cockroaches could be as big as 20 inches long. But otherwise, there has been little change in their appearance.

Cockroaches Can Eat Anything

Cockroach Eating Crumbs
Cockroach Eating Crumbs

There are many cockroach facts that explain this creature’s amazing survival skills. Cockroaches have survived for as long as they have partly because of their varied diet. As omnivores, they like to eat everything, including meats, starches, sweets and decaying matter. In fact, wild cockroaches are important to the ecosystem because they digest decaying wood and other organic waste. In a way, the cockroach plays the role of cleaner in the wild. Cockroaches that live near humans, however, do not have such a clean reputation. They eat pretty much anything, including our food, dead skin cells, hair, garbage and even faeces.

A Cockroach Has 18 Knees

The anatomy of a cockroach can be quite interesting and reveals many fun cockroach facts. A typical cockroach has 6 legs and a total of 18 knees. Why so many knees? This is because, with multiple joints, cockroach legs can adapt to many different terrains. This is why they can move very fast when running away from predators. Another fun fact about cockroach legs is that they have tiny hairs that can detect movements of air. This helps the roach stay alert to any potential threat and makes it very hard to catch.

Cockroaches Can Survive a Month without Food

Cockroaches are surprisingly good dieters who can survive a whole month without food. This is because they are a cold-blooded species. A cockroach needs much less food than a human does in order to survive. Research shows that cockroaches kept in a sealed jar without any food can last a whole month. Cockroaches need access to water, however. Without any water to drink, they will die within just one week. This is why cockroaches are often found near water sources, such as kitchens.

Cockroaches can go without Breathing for up to 40 Minutes

Not only are they able to survive for long periods without food, but cockroaches can also go without air for much longer than you might expect! Studies show that certain types of roaches can go as long as 40 minutes without breathing. Because of this fact, they also make excellent divers. Cockroaches can survive under water for up to 30 minutes. The reason why cockroaches can hold their breath for so long is because they may need to do so to regulate water loss. They use the same tube to breathe and to transport water vapour out. When roaches need to retain water in their body, they shut this tube, and therefore, need to stop breathing.

Cockroaches Spread 33 Different Kinds of Bacteria

Most people don’t like cockroaches and associate them with dirty places, and that is for a good reason. Cockroaches can spread up to 33 different kinds of bacteria. Among these are salmonella and E.coli, which can cause severe food poisoning or gastroenteritis. Cockroaches shed their skins from time to time, and the dead skin can carry bacteria and contaminate human food. The skin and cockroach droppings can also cause allergic reactions and other illnesses. Cockroach allergy is also known to trigger severe reactions among people with asthma.

Cockroaches Spend a Lot of Time Resting

Cockroaches can move quite quickly when necessary, and can run as fast as three miles per hour. Even a one-day-old baby roach can run almost as fast as a grown-up one. However, roaches only move quickly when they detect danger. The rest of the time, they are not as energetic as you might imagine. A cockroach spends approximately three-quarters of its time just resting in one spot. Roaches that live near humans spend most of their time hiding in dark, secluded places. They can happily survive in just a few inches of space.

Cockroaches Have Wings, But Most Cannot Fly

Cockroaches Have Wings
Cockroaches Have Wings

Cockroach facts suggest that roaches rely on their feet more than their wings when trying to get away from predators. Although many species have wings, most cockroaches can only fly over a short distance. Some species of cockroaches cannot fly at all. American cockroaches, for example, only use their wings to glide from a high spot to a lower surface. The wings of the roaches are often quite tough and sturdy, so they also act as a shield. But the tough wings, coupled with a relatively heavy body mass, make it difficult for roaches to fly efficiently.

Cockroaches Have a Taste for Beer

There is one thing that cockroaches may have in common with their human housemates: they are attracted to alcoholic beverages, especially beer. This does not mean that you will ever find a thriving party where cockroaches drink to enjoy themselves. Studies show that roaches are more likely to be attracted to the mixture of hops and sugars. This is one of the cockroach facts that prove helpful for pest control. Many people successfully create a homemade cockroach trap with just leftover beer, a bottle or a jar, and some cooking oil.

A Cockroach Can Live without Its Head for up To 2 Weeks

One of the creepiest cockroach facts is that a cockroach can roam around headless for up to 2 weeks. This is because, unlike other insects and animals, the brain of a cockroach is located inside its body instead of its head. When the head is cut off, the brain is still intact and can continue to control the rest of the body.

Cockroaches also breathe through little holes throughout the body, so the head is not needed for breathing purposes. Also, cockroaches do not have blood pressure and an open circulatory system like we do. When the head is cut off, the bleeding will simply stop because of clotting at the cut. Eventually, after two weeks or so without its head, the cockroach will die, but only because it cannot eat or drink, not because of nerve damage or lack of oxygen.

Whet Your Appetite with a Live Roach Eating Contest

As part of their promotion for Halloween in 2008, the Six Flags theme park came up with one of the craziest contests. To win this contest, competitors had only one goal: to be the one to eat the most cockroaches in five minutes. The winner would win free park passes for his or her victory. A doctor advised against this contest because certain microorganisms living inside the insects can pose serious health risks. This apparently didn’t deter brave contestants, however, because in 2011, the contest was brought back due to “popular demand”.

Roaches Are Incapable of Learning New Things in the Morning

Cockroach facts tell us that cockroaches are nocturnal, but did you know that they really are unable to function properly in the morning? Research shows that cockroaches are not able to form new memories at the break of dawn. To test this theory, researchers tried to teach roaches to like the smell of mint, which is not usually their favourite smell. Group of roaches were given mint-scented sugar water at different times of the day. If the mixture was given in the afternoon or at night, the cockroaches eventually learned to like the scent. If the mixture was given in the morning, however, the roaches failed to recognise the scent of mint as a good signal.

Roach Fighting Is a Very Old Sport

With roaches walking the earth since millions of years ago, it’s no wonder that humans eventually found ways to be entertained by them. The first game of cockroach fighting is believed to have taken place in China. The practice was brought to the United States around 100 years ago. The New York Times reported a story in 1886 about a group of Chinese men who staged cockroach fights in different cities, attracting thousands of dollars in bets. That was a significant amount of money at the time, especially considering the fact that they probably recruited the fighters for free.

Roach Racing for a Good Cause

If roach fighting is too exciting for you, roach racing may offer a more lighthearted way to be entertained by cockroaches. This sport actually is international, having a presence in the US and also in Australia. In Maryland, students of Loyola University started a tradition of roach racing every fall. Cockroaches are raised and trained for the race. They are even given names such as “the Green Machine”. In Australia, roach racing became a regular charity event in a Brisbane pub. The tradition has been raising funds for different causes for over three decades.

There Is a Cockroach That Glows

In 1939, scientists discovered one of the rarest species of cockroaches in a remote area of Ecuador. This species is named Luchihormetica luckae. To date, there has only been one specimen of this species found. The special thing about this cockroach is that it can glow. The cockroach appears to be quite similar to the bioluminescent click beetle, a toxic bug. The light that it produces may confuse predators and give it the protection that the beetle also enjoys. Unfortunately, the area where this specimen was found was later destroyed by a volcano, so the roach may have become extinct.

One Million Cockroaches were Found in a House in New York

In 1979, a house in New York was so crowded with cockroaches that they could be seen pouring out onto nearby lawns, tree trunks and even the walls of neighbouring houses. It was estimated that there were a total of 1 million (or even more) cockroaches in the house. Aside from the roaches, the house was also home to 24 dogs, 20 cats, 2 mice and a parrot. When the police arrived to investigate complains about a barking dog, they saw that every wall inside was covered with cockroaches. A 64-year-old woman was found in the house with roach bites all over.

Cockroaches Are in Popular Demand in China

Fried Insects Stall
Fried Insects Stall

In most places around the world, cockroaches are unwanted, and pest control measures are taken to get rid of them. One of the more surprising cockroach facts, therefore, is that they are actually hot commodities in certain places. Cockroaches are raised in farms in China. Many consumers in the country believe that dried cockroach is an effective ingredient in various health and beauty remedies. Cosmetics companies use cockroaches in powdered form to add into their products. The biggest cockroach farm in China has 10 million crates filled with cockroaches.

The Largest Species of Cockroach Can Be 3 Inches Long

The sight of a giant burrowing cockroach might not be pleasant for the faint of heart. This cockroach is known as the heaviest species of cockroach in the world. A burrowing cockroach can weigh up to 1.2 ounces, or 35 grams, and can grow over 3 inches long. This cockroach can live as long as 10 years, while a regular roach generally only lives to be a couple of years old. The giant burrowing cockroach is native to Australia. Despite its massive size, the giant burrowing cockroach is actually quite friendly and is not considered a pest.

Cockroach Facts – Facts about Cockroaches Summary

Cockroach FactsThe cockroach is one of the most common creatures on Earth and can be found on every continent. There are many surprising cockroach facts that can help us understand more about this insect. The anatomy of the cockroach proves to be quite interesting: each cockroach has 18 knees, and its brain is located within the body instead of the head. This means a cockroach can live for almost two weeks without its head. Roaches can carry over 30 types of bacteria, and can cause serious health issues for humans. Roaches are in demand in a few places, however, such as China, where they are farmed.


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