3 Truths And Myths About Cockroaches

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The cockroach is the butt of jokes, the villain of horror movies, and the nightmare of homeowners. Pop culture lore around cockroaches, along with their large bodies and quick movements, make them one of the most feared pests. Here are some myths and facts you may not know about cockroaches.

1. Types of Cockroaches


The most common roaches in the United States are:

  • German cockroaches: A pale brown and very common roach that measures about 13 to 16 mm long. They produce more eggs than other species and can live up to a year.
  • American cockroaches: These roaches have darker reddish-brown bodies and wings capable of flying. They’re commonly in homes around food and can grow quite large — up to 53 mm. They can live up to two years.
  • Brown-banded cockroaches: Small roaches (13 mm) with a short life span of a few months. Their color is pale brown with yellow bands, and only the male is capable of flight.
  • Oriental roaches have a glossy brown or black body and are 25 mm (males) to 32 mm (females) long. They are incapable of flight and live about six months, feeding mostly on decaying organic material.

2. Myths About Cockroaches

Cockroaches Live Forever

You may have heard the joke “after the apocalypse the only thing standing will be the roaches.” As we’ve seen, most species have a fairly short life span. It’s true that they have developed some evolutionary skills that can make them difficult to kill, like breathing through other body parts than the head, holding their breath in water for 30 minutes, and surviving without food for up to a month. And they can reproduce quickly.

All Cockroaches Are Pests

The four species mentioned are the ones that are considered troublesome for humans in the United States. But there are thousands of other species that are a vital and important part of the larger ecosystem.

Roaches Only Invade Dirty Houses

You can skip the judgment and recrimination. Roaches enter places with easy access to food and water. They will eat anything. Regular housekeeping is important, along with home maintenance to seal up any holes. Seek advice and treatment from a professional pest control company.

3. Truths About Cockroaches

Roaches Are Dirty

Though roaches do clean their own bodies and antennae, they are transporters of pathogens and bacteria that can be harmful to humans. Oriental roaches, in particular, feed on decaying material and trash and then infiltrate other surfaces in your home.

Roaches Are Nocturnal

Most of their movement and searching for food happens at night. They hide behind appliances, in dark corners of cabinets, and even behind walls if there’s an opening. They can flatten themselves and hide almost anywhere. They have excellent night vision and tiny hairs on their legs that sense movement, which is why they scurry away from humans.

If you’re worried about roaches in your home, don’t panic. A professional can help rid your home of an infestation and offer tips to prevent a future one.