Amazing Cockroach Facts & Myths
Cockroaches have a reputation for being notoriously hard to kill. In fact, most people believe that these hardy insects are even able to survive a nuclear blast! But, while it is true that cockroaches can survive a dose of radiation that’s ten times the lethal dose to humans, the insects are susceptible to the effects of radiation. Believe it or not, the humble moth is actually better suited to survive a heavy dose of radiation than a cockroach.
Another common myth about cockroaches is that they prefer darkness. In reality, only certain species of cockroaches flee any time they’re exposed to light. Some species are actually attracted to light.
Arguably no other insect is as disliked as much as the cockroach, and for good reason. These bugs carry a wide range of disease-causing pathogens and they can be incredibly destructive in large colonies. Here, we take a closer look at the cockroach and uncover some of the insect’s amazing traits.
The Scientific Names for the Cockroach
Cockroaches belong to the Phylum Arthropoda class of insect and Order Blattodea. But, there is a wide variety of species under this Order. Some of the most common species of cockroaches (and their scientific names) include:
- The American cockroach (Periplaneta americana)
- The Australian cockroach (Periplaneta australasiae)
- The Florida woods cockroach (Eurycotis floridana)
- The Madagascar hissing cockroach (Gromphadorhina portentosa)
- The Oriental cockroach (Blatta orientalis)
- The German cockroach (Blattella germanica)
- The Asian cockroach (Blattella asahinai)
- The Surinam cockroach (Pycnoscelus surinamensis)
- The brown-banded cockroach (Supella longipalpa)
- The smoky brown cockroach (Periplaneta fuliginosa)
- The Pennsylvania woods cockroach (Parcoblatta pennsylvanica)
- The brown cockroach (Periplaneta brunnea)
What Do Cockroaches Eat?
Cockroaches prefer sweets, meats, and starches, but they will essentially eat anything, including such things as hair, books, sewage, and decaying matter. A cockroach can live for up to a week without water!
Do Cockroaches Have Predators?
Cockroaches aren’t indestructible. Like every animal and insect in nature, they have their predators. Frogs, toads, geckos, iguanas, and beetles are among the most common predators, but there are certain parasitic wasp species that actually target cockroaches. There is also an entomopathogenic fungi that has proven to be very lethal to cockroaches.
Common Cockroach Activity
Cockroaches prefer dark, warm, and moist areas inside of a structure. Some species are known to thrive in sewers while others can be found predominantly outdoors. In the home, they tend to stick to darker areas, such as those found behind furniture and appliances, under refrigerators and stoves, and in cupboards or cabinets. Cockroaches are most active at night, as that is the time they forage for food and mate.
Cockroaches that live outdoors hibernate in the winter. They go into a suspended state of development in autumn. Then, when spring returns, they awake and resume their activity.
Cockroaches are social insects, meaning they are almost always in groups. They communicate with and attract other roaches via pheromones.
Understanding the Cockroach Anatomy
A cockroach has a brain, a heart, a colon, two eyes (each containing more than a thousand lenses), a mouth, salivary glands, antennae (responsible for their sense of smell), a reproductive system, legs, esophagus, gastric caecea, fat bodies, and malpighian tubules.
A cockroach also has two small appendages (the cerci) on its abdomen that act as sensors. Meanwhile, the cockroach’s mouth moves from side to side and is capable of processing smell and taste at the same time. Along the sides of the cockroach’s body are spiracles. These are used for breathing.
Have a Cockroach Infestation? Call JP McHale Today!
Cockroaches are nothing if not resilient. As such, they can be incredibly difficult to get rid of once they claim residence. But, at JP McHale, we have the skill, experience, and pest-eradicating products necessary for keeping your restaurant, hotel, or facility free of cockroaches. We not only get rid of the infestation, we help you ensure they don’t ever come back.