Facts About Cockroaches

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How much do you know about cockroaches? We are willing to bet that there are many facts regarding cockroaches and infestations that would surprise you—and the last thing you want is to have cockroaches surprise you. Right? That's why we've put together this quick fact sheet. Here, you'll find lots of helpful facts about these insects and how they behave inside your Colorado home or business.

american cockroach crawling on floor of denver home

How much do you know about cockroaches? We are willing to bet that there are many facts regarding cockroaches and infestations that would surprise you—and the last thing you want is to have cockroaches surprise you. Right? That's why we've put together this quick fact sheet. Here, you'll find lots of helpful facts about these insects and how they behave inside your Colorado home or business.

What it means to see a roach

When you see a cockroach, it's a bad sign. Cockroaches are rarely seen at first. They prefer nocturnal activity, hide in tight spaces, and only certain roaches are bold enough to come out of hiding in search of food. Most cockroaches wait for the "bold" roaches to let them know that food is available. When food is found, the "timid" roaches come out quickly to feed and return to hiding just as quickly.

What you should know about cockroach droppings

Cockroach excrement looks a lot like black pepper. When you find it sprinkled about in various indoor locations, there are a few things you should know.

  • Cleaning roach droppings can allow you to return to the area to see if there is continued activity.
  • Roaches eat foul things, and their excrement can have disease-causing organisms. Wear protection when cleaning.
  • It is essential to clean cockroach droppings as they contain a congregation pheromone that will attract more roaches.

The waste material left by cockroaches is one of the best warning signs of roach activity. Use a flashlight to search every dark space to figure out where roaches are exploring for food.

Cockroaches don't eat what you think

Will a cockroach eat human food? Sure, but it eats other food sources as well. It will eat bird food, dog food, cat food, and more. A roach also eats things that aren't food. Here are a few to consider:

  • Dead skin
  • Eyelashes
  • Hair and fur
  • Paper
  • Cardboard
  • Glue
  • Soap
  • Book bindings
  • Wallpaper
  • Fecal matter
  • Dead insects
  • The shed skins of other roaches
  • Toenails

We could go on, but you get the point. If you try to get rid of roaches by protecting food and keeping indoor spaces clean, you're not likely to get rid of all the food they can eat.

A cockroach can survive without its head

This fact is as startling as it sounds. A cockroach can survive a week without its head. Why? It is because roaches don't breathe from the head; they breathe from tiny spiracles in the sides of their bodies. After a week, a cockroach doesn't die because it has run out of air. It dies of thirst.

But it is easy to think that a headless cockroach is just holding its breath—or that it doesn't need to breathe at all—if you've ever tried to drown a cockroach. A roach can stay under longer than you have the will to drown it. It can go without breathing underwater for thirty minutes. That's impressive, but there is no way it can stay underwater for a week.

It is helpful to understand strange facts like these because roaches sometimes get into structures in strange ways. For example, if you find a cockroach in a toilet, it doesn't mean that you have an infestation. While rare, it is possible for a cockroach to come up from the sewer system and end up in a toilet. If it can't scale the slippery porcelain when it emerges in a toilet, it eventually drowns.

There is such a thing as a super roach

Cockroaches shed their skins as they grow. When they develop new skins, they're able to make them resistant to harmful materials found in the environment. For this reason, some roaches develop protection from control materials. What's worse is that the alteration is genetic. Some roaches are born with protection from certain products.

Some cockroaches are born picky

Another startling fact is that cockroaches can learn to avoid dangerous foods. When bait is improperly deployed, roaches can start ignoring it. Bait aversion can also become genetic. Researchers have found that some populations of German cockroaches are born with an aversion to the sweet glucose in common cockroach baits.

What to do about cockroaches

It isn't easy to control cockroaches because they are so robust, resilient, and adaptive. If you're dealing with a cockroach problem, contact a licensed pest management professional. Your local professional has the training and experience to apply cockroach control.

Are you in Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs, or Northern Colorado? The EnviroPest team uses science-based methods and products to outsmart cockroaches and get results. Contact us for effective and award-winning home pest control services or for help eliminating roaches and other pests from your business!

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