Everyone has heard the catchy Spanish folk song, “La Cucaracha,” about a cockroach unable to walk because he has lost one of his six legs. While the song may be loved by children and fun to sing along to, it is highly unlikely that anyone feels the same affection for this ick-inspiring and disease-spreading pest!
Most homeowners are aware of the health and safety risks associated with cockroach infestations, including the allergies and asthma triggered by cockroach allergens, and the germs and bacteria they have been known to spread. What may not be as widely known is the fact that cockroaches are a very interesting and resilient pest that exhibits some very odd behavior and survival tactics. For example, cockroaches spend 75% of their time resting and can withstand temperatures as cold as 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
Here are ten of the most fascinating cockroach facts:
- A cockroach can live for a week without its head. Due to their open circulatory system, and the fact that they breathe through little holes in each of their body segments, they are not dependent on the mouth or head to breathe. The roach only dies because without a mouth, it can’t drink water and dies of thirst.
- A cockroach can hold its breath for 40 minutes, and can even survive being submerged under water for half an hour. They hold their breath often to help regulate their loss of water.
- Cockroaches can run up to three miles in an hour, which means they can spread germs and bacteria throughout a home very quickly.
- Newborn German cockroaches become adults in as little as 36 days. In fact, the German cockroach is the most common of the cockroaches and has been implicated in outbreaks of illness and allergic reactions in many people.
- A one-day-old baby cockroach, which is about the size of a speck of dust, can run almost as fast as its parents.
- The American cockroach has shown a marked attraction to alcoholic beverages, especially beer. They are most likely attracted by the alcohol mixed with hops and sugar.
- The world’s largest roach (which lives in South America) is six inches long with a one-foot wingspan. Average cockroaches can vary in size from ½”- 2″ long.
- Cockroaches are believed to have originated more than 280 million years ago, in the Carboniferous era.
- There are more than 4,000 species of cockroaches worldwide, including the most common species, the German cockroach, in addition to other common species, the brownbanded cockroach and American cockroach.
- Because they are cold-blooded insects, cockroaches can live without food for one month, but will only survive one week without water.
These facts prove that cockroaches are some of the most adaptable creatures on earth, which makes controlling and eliminating a cockroach infestation all the more difficult. To get rid of cockroaches in your home, experts suggest keeping food sealed and stored properly, particularly in the kitchen, which should be cleaned daily to prevent crumbs and trash from building up. Garbage should be disposed of regularly and stored in sealed containers. Homeowners should seek out and seal all cracks and holes in homes, including entry points for utilities and pipes, as these can serve as entranceways for the pest. In addition, basements and crawl spaces should be kept well ventilated and dry.
Prevention tips on how to get rid of cockroaches
The most effective way of preventing cockroaches is to deny them them access to food, water and shelter. Other housekeeping tips you can employ to get rid of cockroaches are:
- Store food in tight containers or in sealed plastic bags and do not leave food sitting on counters. Do not leave water or liquids in sinks or buckets.
- Clean up all food waste and spillages immediately, and be sure to clean food debris from beneath fridges or kitchen appliances. Also ensure that used crockery and cutlery are cleaned immediately. German Cockroaches tend to favor kitchens and can be attracted to crumbs and food residues.
- Empty bins daily and keep refuse or compost in sealed bins or waste containers.
- Remove pet food, water and litter trays overnight.
- Take care of soiled nappies or dirty clothing.
- Remove stacks of newspapers and magazines, unused cardboard boxes and all other forms of clutter from the floor or bottom of cupboards. Cockroaches release an aggregation pheromone in their droppings telling others they have found a safe harborage.
- Seal wooden shelves or finishes by varnishing or painting them, and be sure to regularly wipe them clean.
- Deny cockroaches access by sealing entry points. The main risks are gaps around pipes, drains and common walls with neighboring properties when dealing with German, Oriental and American cockroaches. Small cracks around skirting boards and behind electrical sockets should also be plugged to reduce potential hide-out areas.
Cockroaches are very resilient and while DIY products and housekeeping practices can deal with the immediate problem, treatment by a qualified pest control technician is often necessary to get rid of cockroaches in the long-term. Call us for free survey