Cockroaches - Interesting Facts

  • Common expressions using cockroaches:
    1. This is a real roach motel.
    2. The roach coach.
  • Cockroaches are some of the most ancient insects. Fossil records show their relatives have been around, virtually unchanged in appearance, for over 350 million years.
  • The popular Latin American song "La Cucuracha" means The Cockroach.
  • Recent studies have confirmed that cockroaches are a major cause of allergies and asthma. In some inner city areas up to 45% of the children are allergic to roaches, and many of them have developed asthma as a result of constant exposure.
  • The common German Cockroach can survive for over a month without food, but less than 2 weeks without water.
  • Cockroaches have been found to carry, on their bodies, the pathogens that cause tuberculosis, cholera, leprosy, dysentery, and typhoid, as well as over 40 other bacteria or viruses that can cause disease.
  • "Roach Art" has been performed by at least one "artist", who poses dead roaches in life-like backdrops with various props around them that suggest settings such as beauty parlors, department stores, restrooms, bowling alley, restaurant, and others.
  • Doctors in some inner city areas report that one-half of the foreign objects they remove from children's ears are cockroaches.
  • In the classic short story "The Metamorphosis", by Franz Kafka, the main character of the story wakes up one morning to find himself transformed into a giant cockroach.
  • The Madagascar Hissing Cockroach, a species about 3 inches long, can force air out through its breathing holes - its "spiracles" - to make a distinct hissing sound, very similar to the sound of a snake.
  • The Death Head Cockroach is called this because of the "death mask" image that appears on its thorax.
  • Cockroaches will feed on people!! They feed at night when people are sleeping, consuming protein materials such as eyebrows and fingernails.

Cockroaches are among the fastest land-moving insects. They are capable of moving 50 body lengths each second! If a human had this potential he could run a 100 yard dash in 1 second, reaching a speed of 200 miles per hour.

  • Cockroaches can detect changes in barometric pressure, and thus instinctively know when a severe rainstorm is imminent. In Bermuda, about an hour before a downpour, thousands of cockroaches have been observed running across the roads.
  • Cockroach populations can be huge:
    1. in 1965 in Indiana over 6,000 cockroaches were found in a single beer carton
    2. in 1947 a 4-room apartment in Texas was treated, and over 100,000 roaches killed
    3. in 1967 a treatment killed 133 pounds of American Cockroaches that were living in the cage around a Chicago zoo's prize gorilla
    4. an estimated 1 million or more cockroaches were living in a house in New York, along with a family, 24 dogs, 20 cats, 2 mice, and a parrot. The house was so saturated with roaches that they had flowed out over the lawns, tree trunks, and walls of nearby homes, and into the sewers. This happened in 1979.