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10 Cockroach Facts, Myths and Misconceptions Explained

Picture of Laura Michael
By Laura Michael on December, 6 2022
cockroach on the table

COCKROACHES! There are a few people in the world who do not cringe at the thought of those vulgar insects. It wouldn’t be so horrible if they kept to their own space, but no… they have to invade ours. There are, however, a lot of misconceptions about cockroaches that many of us have taken as truth, yet in actuality, they are entirely made up. Others, however, are very true.

Here is a list of the top ten myths about cockroaches that are both interesting and quite disturbing:

  1. Stepping on a roach will release its babies – FALSE
    Let’s just say for argument’s sake the average person weighs 150 pounds, whereas an average cockroach weighs just over an ounce (so you have to add an extra stamp if you ever wish to mail one). To us, it would be the equivalent of being squashed by an elephant. Could you survive?
    Now let’s take an ostrich egg, which is about the equivalent of two dozen chicken eggs. Do you think it would crack under the pressure of an elephant’s weight? Oh, you bet! By stomping on a pregnant cockroach, any eggs she might be caring are as good as scrambled. Now… there have been cases where a cockroach was only half-stomped from the head up, and she still released her egg pouch. When stomping, be sure to give any cockroach a proper smashing just to be certain.
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  2. Cockroaches only live in dirty homes – FALSE
    No matter how clean you keep your home, as long as you prepare or store food, it will always be on a cockroach’s interest list. Cockroaches don’t really care how clean you keep your home, just as long as they can find food. Often cockroaches will enter through the walls of your home and grab pieces of food where you had no idea there was any. Take for instance, when was the last time you pulled out your stove or your refrigerator and cleaned? They’re not places we often think of, or can even get to, but tiny tidbits of food do fall under appliances and between cabinets. Where there’s a hungry bug, there’s a way.
  3. Do Cockroaches fart? – TRUE
    This is a rather interesting fact, cockroaches actually do pass gas.  In the US, cockroaches release up to 35g of methane a year. That’s quite a lot considering that’s more than 43 times of their average body weight! Cockroaches do tend to release gas more if they have a high fiber diet, so make certain to keep your oatmeal and apples in a place a cockroach won’t find them, or else you’ll be wondering what that noise is in the kitchen.
  4. A Cockroach can live without its head – TRUE
    If King Henry the 8th married a cockroach, she just might have survived beyond the ax… well, for a little while. Cockroaches can live up to, and possibly beyond, a month after being decapitated. A cockroach doesn’t require a mouth to breathe. They breathe through spiracles, which are located on each segment of the body. Also, cockroaches don’t need much food to survive, so their body simply uses what it has previously stored up.

  5. Do Cockroaches bite? – TRUE
    Cockroaches are omnivores. What does that mean? They can and will eat anything they can, which includes humans! Don’t get too worried yet. Keep in mind just how large their mouth is. Tiny bug, tiny mouth, right? There are very few species of cockroach that could actually break the skin of a live human. (Dead on the other hand, well.) Cockroaches typically only eat things that have rotted or have been sitting around a while. And if one did happen to bite you, it’s doubtful you would feel it or even know.

  6. Can Cockroaches survive a nuclear explosion? – FALSE
    In the unfortunate event that a nuclear bomb exploded, you would be happy to know that cockroaches won’t survive. They’re quite resilient to many things, but a nuclear explosion is not one of them. Though, to their benefit, they will survive a tinge longer than humans. A cockroach can survive up to a 125 percent higher dosage of radiation than humans. They will die… eventually.

  7. Light causes Cockroaches pain – FALSE
    Cockroaches are crafty little creatures. They know most of their predators venture out during the daytime like birds, reptiles… humans. Light to them represents danger, that’s why they’re primarily nocturnal. If they can be seen, they’re more apt to be eaten or face the shoe. When the light appears, it’s their signal to hightail it to safety.

  8. Envelope glue attracts cockroaches to lay eggs. – FALSE
    This is one of the more bizarre urban legends floating around. It usually starts with a secretary having licked a few dozen envelopes. She realizes one day her tongue has swollen up. She goes to the doctor to find out what happened, only to find that she has been incubating a cockroach egg sack in her tongue.
    First off… EW! Whoever thought up this was really trying to scare the dickens out of someone in their office. Although cockroaches do love to nibble at glue, not just envelope glue, there is no way a cockroach egg sack could get stuck in your mouth, let alone be incubated. Cockroaches carry their eggs in a firm-walled brown sac about the size of a dried bean. Something that size could not get inside a small cut in a tongue, lip or into the gum line. There’s nothing to worry about. Besides, who licks envelopes anymore?

  9. Can Cockroaches fly? – TRUE
    This little fact will make you keep the bug spray close at hand. Yes, some adult cockroaches do have wings and can fly… a limited distance. It’s more like a hop-glide to the ground, but neither the less still frightening. They don’t tend to fly, and they’re more likely to rely on their fast legs (up to 3 miles an hour) to carry them where they want to go.

  10. Cockroaches carry disease? – TRUE
    You bet those pesky insects carry disease. Look at where they come from. They’re known for living in sewers, under wood piles, in the garbage. They eat anything and everything, dead, alive… rotting!  One of their favorite meals is rotting rodent under filth. It goes to figure they’re one of the major spreaders of disease. If you suspect a cockroach has been nibbling at your food, toss it out immediately.

If you suspect cockroaches are taking over your home and you’re up to your ears in bug sprays that won’t work, then it’s time to call in the cockroach specialists.

The pros at AIPM will put an end to your cockroach problems once and for all. AIPM is owned and operated by University graduates who majored in Biology and Pest Management. They know how to handle all types of insect and pest issues. They can eliminate the threats to your property while setting up a custom plan to ensure that you never have to face the same type of infestation again. Contact us to receive a free consultation!

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