Cockroaches have been around for over 300 million years – even longer than the dinosaurs! These pests are resilient and adaptive with odd behaviors and survival tactics which have helped them survive for so long. While most homeowners are aware of the health risks associated with roaches, including allergies, asthma, and the spread of germs and bacteria, there are lots of interesting facts about cockroaches you might not realize. Here are 7 things you might not know about cockroaches.
- They’re everywhere! There are almost 4500 species of cockroaches worldwide with new species still being discovered. German cockroaches are the most common species. The largest species is found in South America. This cockroach averages 6 inches in length with an impressive 1 foot wingspan! The average cockroach is only 1/2″ to 2″ in length.
- They like their beauty sleep. Roaches spend 75% of their time resting. They are also not morning people. When roaches awaken they are unable to form new memories. It takes them time to become functional and they don’t start to retain new information until later in the day.
- They are flexible. Roaches can squeeze through a gap as small as 1/4 of their body length. They accomplish this feat by flattening their bodies and turning their legs to the side.
- They are speed demons. Roaches are fast movers reaching speeds of up to 3 mph. Even babies can move at these rapid speeds. This not only allows them to quickly invade new spaces but also allows them to spread bacteria and germs at a much faster pace.
- They can go without food, water, and their heads. Roaches can go up to a month without food and up to a week without water or their heads. They could actually live longer without their heads but the absence of their mouth leaves them unable to eat or drink. Roaches will eat anything from dead insects to soap, cloth, and glue. They have even been known to eat other roaches when food supplies are low or the infestation gets so large in an effort to reduce the population.
- They can hold their breath. Roaches are master breath holders. They can submerge in water for up to 1/2 an hour and hold their breath for up to 40 minutes. This is mostly due to their efficient breathing system that allows them to breathe through holes in their body segments rather than their mouths. Holding their breath also helps regulate their loss of water.
- Roaches are found in chocolate. Yes, you read that right! There are an average of 8 insect parts in each bar of chocolate you consume.The FDA has deemed this a safe amount for consumption. The solution to this dilemma is to apply more pesticides which would be more harmful than actually consuming the insects. These parts can also trigger allergic reactions when they are consumed. That chocolate allergy might, in fact, be a cockroach allergy instead. This can lead to rash, itching, respiratory problems, and even migraines.
Cockroaches are one of the most highly adaptable pests on earth which makes them extremely difficult to control or eliminate. To prevent cockroaches keep food sealed and stored properly; clean your kitchen daily; don’t leave food or pet food out overnight; dispose of garbage regularly and use cans with sealing and locking lids; identify any small cracks or holes around your home and seal them; and make sure basements and crawlspaces are kept dry and well ventilated. If you suspect you have a cockroach infestation, contact a professional pest control company who can provide you with a thorough evaluation and appropriate treatment and prevention plan.