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15 Interesting Facts About Cockroaches

Cockroaches are known to be dirty nuisance pests that track bacteria, germs, and other grossness wherever they go. You never want to find them in your home, but most homeowners are aware of the unpleasantness associated with cockroach activity indoors. If cockroaches get a good enough foothold in your home, they can even contaminate food and trigger allergies and asthma for you and your family. 

Not only this, they are amazing survivors and very hard to get rid of. The more you know about them, the more you can act quickly to get rid of cockroaches at home when they show up. 

Below is a list of several facts that might interest you about cockroaches that you may or may not have already known.

15 Interesting Facts About Cockroaches

15 Interesting Facts About Cockroaches

  • There are more than 4,000 cockroach species worldwide. Only about 30 of those species can live around human beings. In North America, the four species you'll likely ever encounter include the German cockroach, American cockroach, Brown-banded cockroach, and Oriental cockroach.
  • The majority of cockroaches present in your home remain hidden from view. If you see a cockroach or two, you could likely have hundreds, possibly thousands more, living in a covert nest nearby. Acting fast before a roach population can multiply more can help you get rid of cockroaches within a week, or possibly a few weeks, depending on the size of the infestation.
  • Cockroaches are lazy! But are incredibly fast when they move. These insect pests spend up to 75 percent of their time resting. When they move, however, watch out. Have you tried to catch a roach before? They can run up to 3 mph (about 50 of their own body lengths per second). That's like a human running at over 200 mph! 
  • Baby cockroaches can hustle almost as fast as their parents. Already super elusive and super fast, even at just a day old, and the size of a speck of dust.
  • Cockroaches know when you're sneaking up on them. Roaches are extremely sensitive to even the smallest vibrations. By the time you start moving in on a cockroach, it will likely already have taken off to escape. 
  • Cockroaches thrive in warm, humid climates. But they can withstand temperatures that get down to freezing, as well. 
  • Cockroaches are not only amazing survivors, they have been surviving for a LONG time. Scientists believe that cockroaches emerged back in the Carboniferous era, more than 280 million years ago.
  • A cockroach can live up to seven days without its head. Not unlike fish breathing through their gills, cockroaches breathe through small holes all over their bodies, so they really don't need their heads for oxygen. They do, however, need their heads (equipped with their mouths) to eat and drink. Even though they can live up to a month without food, cockroaches will die of dehydration without their heads. But not for about a week.  
  • Cockroaches are powerhouses. With their solid and flexible exoskeletons, roaches are known to be very difficult to squash. A  cockroach can hold up under 900 times its body's weight.  They also use this flexibility to cram themselves into incredibly tight spaces, cracks, and crevices. 
  • Female cockroaches don't necessarily need males to reproduce. Talk about survival skills! Like other insect pests, cockroaches are very fast, frequent, and prolific breeders. But when females don't have male roaches nearby to reproduce, they can do so without them using a process known as parthenogenesis (i.e., reproduction from an ovum without fertilization).
  • Cockroaches can survive underwater for up to 40 minutes. Roaches are already used to holding their breath frequently to help reduce the hydration their bodies often lose. 
  • Cockroaches can be trained. Japanese scientists have discovered that cockroaches can be trained (well, conditioned) in ways similar to how Pavlov conditioned his dogs. By combining pleasant scents just before giving cockroaches a sweet treat, the experimental roaches were noted to be drooling when their antennae detected one of the scents nearby. 
  • American cockroaches have shown an affinity for adult beverages. Like other insect pests, American cockroaches are drawn to some alcoholic beverages, like beer, in particular. Don't judge, though. They are most likely trying to get to the hops and sugar, not trying to get a buzz.
  • The longest cockroach in the world measures up to 6 inches in length! Compared to typical cockroaches that measure between 1/2" and 2", these monster roaches are only found in South America, and they have a wingspan of about a foot!
  • Newborn German cockroaches can develop into adults in just over a month. Yet another reason German roaches are the most common species you will encounter.

Getting Rid of Cockroaches at Home

Get Rid of Cockroaches at Home

  • Clean up your kitchen, and home, being careful to wipe up all spills, grease, and crumbs on counter tops and underneath/between appliances, in cupboards, etc. 
  • Get rid of roach hangouts like empty boxes, newspapers, magazines, etc.
  • Repair any leaky plumbing/pipes/faucets indoors and outdoors
  • Seal up cracks in your home’s foundation, make sure screens and weatherproofing are in good repair, cover vents with mesh, seal gaps between windows and doors and outer walls, and seal areas where utility hardware enters your house.

Use A Reliable Cockroach Killer

Reliable Cockroach Killer

Cockroaches can be spot-treated and killed directly by spraying them with an effective plant-powered roach killer spray like Maggie's Farm Ant & Roach Killer Spray or Maggie’s Farm Home Bug SprayMaggie's Farm Roach Killer Gel or Maggie’s Farm Bed Bug Killer are longer-lasting treatments for out-of the-way areas where you've seen roach activity including underneath counter tops, inside cabinets, in wall voids, etc.  

Always follow directions on any pest control product you use.

How Long Does It Take to Get Rid of Cockroaches?


How long it takes to get rid of a cockroach infestation depends on several different factors, including:

  • How many roaches there are
  • How fast you respond once you discover cockroach activity (remember, they multiply quickly!)
  • How old your home is (older homes mean more cracks/crevices/wall voids)
  • How clean/tidy you keep your home (Don't fret too much - even the cleanest homes can get cockroaches)

Cockroach infestations typically take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks to eliminate. Keeping up with prevention methods and consistent treatments is key for making roaches feel unwelcome in your home.

For more information on getting rid of cockroaches, check out:

Get Rid of Roaches

Cockroaches: Control Strategies and Products

Cockroach Control Checklist

Types of Cockroaches

Got tips and tricks to get rid of cockroaches at home? Post a comment. We’d love to hear from you!


For scientifically-tested, effective cockroach control in your home that is friendly to the environment, try Maggie’s Farm pest control products. Our promise is that our plant and mineral-based products are developed by scientists and seasoned pest control professionals to be the most effective.

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