- There are 5,000 species of cockroach. Only about 30 of these species are know to be commonly found in human homes.
- Most cockroach species are found in the tropics.
- Different behaviors are hardwired in nerve groupings throughout a cockroach’s body so that they don’t necessarily need their brain to perform actions such as walking or breathing.
- Cockroaches don’t have blood vessels like a mammal does, and their blood is not used to carry oxygen. Their blood is usually white or clear in color. The cockroach’s blood is not really pumped by their heart, either. It kind of sloshes around the cockroach’s body.
- Cockroaches become more active during earthquakes.
- Cockroaches can walk up walls because of many small hairs on their feet that can create suction.
- Large cockroaches are more likely to wander around than small cockroaches.
- Cockroaches can live for a month without food, and a week without water.
- Cockroaches can live for a week after their head has been cut off. This is because their breathing is not regulated by their brain and because they do not lose much blood because they don’t have blood pressure like a mammal. They will eventually die of dehydration.
- Female cockroaches prefer weaker males over dominant males when they mate. The dominant males must fight for the females to prevent them from mating with weaker males. This seems to go against Darwin’s theory. Research has shown that dominant males often injure the female during mating, but the females will produce more offspring when mating with the dominant males.
- Female cockroaches sometimes mate once and stay pregnant for life.
- Cockroaches usually have three knees per leg for a total of eighteen knees.
- The cockroach has lots of hairs on its legs which give it the sense of touch.
- Cockroaches often die if they land on their backs in human environments. In the wild there is often leaf litter or debris around to which the cockroach can grab on to if it becomes overturned. On a flat floor with nothing around it is much harder for the roach to right itself. Also, pesticides that are sprayed in homes often affect an insect’s nervous system and cause muscle spasms. The roach might flip itself over accidentally and be unable to coordinate itself to turn right side up.
- The cockroach’s antennae are a little longer than the length of its body. It uses the antennae to navigate, usually trying to stay in close proximity to a wall when it is inside.
- The cockroach antennae have between 150 and 170 segments each.
- The mouthparts of cockroaches chew sideways.
- Cockroaches can sense danger coming from behind them because of a nerve that runs the entire length of their bodies.
- A cockroach can run up to three miles per hour. That is fast for something so small.
- When cockroaches run they have three legs on the ground at any given time.
- The cockroach is the world’s fastest turner. The cockroach can change directions up to twenty five times in a single second.
- The cockroach can survive at freezing temperatures.
- The cockroach can survive for forty minutes underwater.
- Cockroaches spend 75% of their time resting.
- The largest cockroach is six inches long and has a wingspan of one foot.
- The movement of cockroaches has been studied to create robots that mimic them. The robots are very effective in crossing rough terrain. These robots might someday be used for surveillance purposes to go into battle zones or dangerous locations.
- Japanese scientists have been able to attach electrodes to the legs of cockroaches so that they can control their movement. The cockroaches might one day be fitted with micro-cameras and be used for surveillance purposes.
The American cockroach may have only recently been introduced to North America but they have been around for far longer. Fossil records indicate that cockroaches have been around for over 300 million years. They are successful little pests, you have to give them that. Their ability to survive over such a long span of time is attributed to their amazing ability to adapt to their environment. Good for them. Not so good for us.
There are numerous reasons for people not to be fond of these abundant arthropods. They’re ugly, they smell, they eat your food without asking. However, the most annoying, or more precisely, hazardous quality of American cockroaches is that they spread numerous kinds of pathogens harmful to humans. Some studies indicate that American cockroaches can spread up to 33 different kinds of bacteria, six kinds of parasitic worms, and at least seven other kinds of pathogens. The highway for these pathogens lies on the cockroach’s legs, which contain spines that have a knack for picking up all sorts of disgusting material as they crawl through their nasty habitats. Many of the sickening gifts that they spread through their travels can cause food poisoning, diarrhea and dysentery. Furthermore, American cockroaches produce allergens in their fecal matter and can cause allergic dermatitis and childhood asthma.
Cockroaches are gross. Thanks for the breaking news. So, how do we deal with them? Chance favors the prepared mind. First, let’s assess what we are up against. The American cockroach is large, about 1-1/2 to 2 inches long, and is glossy, reddish-brown with yellow outlining on the head and markings on the abdomen. Stylish indeed! It has a pair of cerci on the end of its abdomen, which are appendages used to detect air currents. Males and females are comparable in size with the exception of their wings, being slightly longer in females. Yes, these little buggers can fly when necessary, but usually prefer to run when startled, and run quickly, at that.
Okay, so now we know what to look for. Next step is to know where to look. Like most vile creatures that come out in the night American cockroaches like to find nice damp, dark, warm places to call home. City dumps, sewers, basements, steam tunnels of restaurants, boiler rooms. You know, cozy places where they can feast on decaying organic matter. While they prefer damp spots, they can also live in dry areas. In fact, adults can live up to 2-3 months without food and a month without water. And you thought they were cool because they could survive a nuclear holocaust.
American cockroaches have a relatively long life span when considering arthropods. They have been known to live up to 15 months, during which time females can produce an average of 60 ¼-inch long egg capsules containing an average of fourteen eggs each. That’s an average of 840 eggs per female, per lifetime. That’s a lot of cockroaches meandering over food and countertops contaminating everything they touch. Oh, and did I mention they smell? Well, it’s worth a second mention, In fact, an experienced pest control professionals can usually tell whether a place is infested without even seeing one of these nasty critters.
If you happen to notice an American cockroach in your house, you can bet there are a lot more where he came from. But, fear not. There are ways to get rid of cockroaches and they’re not as painful as you might think. First, be a clean person with a well-kept household. Sanitation is about the best prevention method out there. Don’t leave food out, standing water, damp towels, moist, decaying stuff will attract them, (and probably a few other things as well). Limiting a cockroach’s incentives will do wonders for keeping your home from becoming their home. American cockroaches, like most insects, can fit into tiny cracks and crevices. It is important to seal crevices to take away insect hiding places. In uninhabited homes or commercial buildings, frequently flushing the toilet will stop them from invading via plumbing traps. Weather proofing your windows and doors is not a bad idea either.