Insect Trivia – Cockroaches

January 15, 2014
  1. Cockroaches are believed to have been on the earth for 280 million years.
  2. Cockroaches are among the fastest land animals.  They are capable of moving 50 body lengths per second.  If a human could do this, he could do a 100 yard dash in one second reaching speeds of 200 miles per hour.
  3. There are over 5000 species of cockroaches worldwide.
  4. There are 70 species of cockroaches found in the United States.
  5. The German cockroach can survive 2 weeks without water and over a month without food.
  6. Cockroaches are a major cause of asthma and allergies.  This is especially important in inner city areas.  In one subsidized living area, 45% of the children were allergic to cockroaches and many developed asthma as a result of the constant exposure.
  7. In some inner city areas, over half of the foreign objects removed from children’s ears are roaches.
  8. Cockroaches will feed on sleeping people, they eat protein materials like finger nails and eyebrows.
  9. Cockroach infestations can be huge.  In 1967 a treatment killed 133 pounds (yes pounds) of American Cockroaches in a Gorilla cage at the Chicago Zoo.

Cockroaches are one of the most recognized insects in the world, it is generally accepted that they can survive a nuclear blast. There are over 5000 species of Cockroaches worldwide and the earliest fossilized Cockroach dates back 280 million years – 80 million years older than the first dinosaurs. Below are some interesting tidbits about some of the different species:


They vary in size from the largest which is 6 inches long and has a 12 inch wingspan to the smallest which actually reside in ant nests. The fastest cockroach can move 50 body lengths per second which is the equivalent of a person running about 200 mph and they can change direction 25 times per second. Some cockroaches – when they break a leg – can grow another. Most cockroaches can live 2 weeks with no water and 4 weeks with no food. Some can live up to 9 days without a head. They can hold their breath for up to 40 minutes and they can and do regularly swim up sewer and drain lines. Some females will mate once and remain pregnant for life. Females can lay up to 2 million offspring in a year. Cockroaches spend about 75% of their time resting. Some cultures eat cockroaches fried in oil and garlic as a cure for indigestion and they have been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. One such use is for the treatment of stingray stings. Cultures have changed – They were once considered a guest of honor in homes and it was customary to actually release them in new dwellings.

Click here for WRDW story on winter weather’s affect on summer bug infestations.

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