However, the vast majority of homeowners are oblivious to the ethology and ways of a cockroach. Since you’ve found this article, I assume you want to learn a few interesting facts about cockroaches.
Shall we get on with it then?
Interesting Facts About Cockroaches You Probably Didn’t Know
Sometimes it’s best to allow curiosity to get the better of us. I’ve written so many articles about pests and insects, including aphids and the nuts and bolts of what they eat, but I didn’t believe I’d be covering anything about cockroach facts.
These are some of the most hated creatures but, perhaps, learning some fun and interesting facts about cockroaches may provide a bit of insight into their world.
Too Many Species to Count
There’s more to the kingdom of cockroaches than the domesticated kinds scavenging in and around your home.
Cockroaches are classified into different groups, and according to information that’s out there, some 4500 different species exist.
Most species prefer the tropics, so there’s no need to get anxious about them rushing to dine with you. Plenty of cockroaches prefer to stay outside, rather than lounge on your couch and sip on a ‘gold mine cocktail’.
There Is Such a Thing as a Giant Cockroach
If you think the cockroaches lounging on your couch and chilling in your kitchen are gigantic, wait until you meet this cockroach.
Megaloblatta blaberoides is considered the largest cockroach of its kind (along with two others belonging to the same genus).
On average, it’s a whopping 3.8 inches, but if you include its wingspan, it might go up to 7.9 inches. Just imagine, for a moment, this gigundo of a roach crawling up your face while you snooze.
But, no worries! These guys prefer trees to your home. They also won’t get angry when handled.
Megaloblatta blaberoides often appear oval, flattened, and in various colors, including brown, green, reddish-brown, and dark.
Cockroaches Give Live Births, Too
This point had to make the list of interesting facts about cockroaches. Most people believe that cockroaches only deposit oothecae that host their eggs, but some species of cockroaches have live births, much like a woman does (Well, not quite).
Cockroaches of the Blaberidae family, for example, keep their eggs internally and later produce these as living roaches. The Diploptera punctata roaches carry their offspring in the uterus and even produce milk to nurse them.
Interesting, isn’t it?
Cockroaches Are Governed by a Biological Clock
Have you ever wondered why you rarely spot a German cockroach scurrying for shelter during the day?
This is because they have an innate biological clock that operates a particular way.
As humans, we’re programmed to sleep at night. No wonder, as soon as darkness begins to engulf the earth, our bodies begin to shut down and we feel this overwhelming urge to sleep.
That’s our biological clock.
We were made to function that way. On the other hand, the German cockroaches’ biological clock is set up so that it springs into action during the night but is less active during daytime periods.
Knowing this interesting fact about cockroaches, you might be able to set up a pest control strategy to deal with a roach problem if you have them.
Cockroaches are Great at Mimicry
While the German cockroaches’ biological clock sees that it’s most active during the night, others are active during the day.
Cockroaches that are active during the day tend to sport vivid, bright colors. Some have special markings to mimic other insects.
These markings (aposematic) serve as warnings to would-be predators and are often protected/defended by a chemical reaction.
They also perform what is dubbed Batesian mimicry. This happens when a harmless species copies a harmful species. They often mimic beetles, including the brilliantly colored lady beetle, wood-boring, and carrion beetles.
Like butterflies that perform this type of copying to avoid falling victim to predators, cockroaches do it to avoid confrontations.
Cockroaches are Great at Fasting
If you’re someone who practices intermittent fasting, perhaps to lose weight or to assist the body in repairing certain tissues, you’ll be envious of cockroaches.
Cockroaches are great at fasting. In fact, as scavengers, they can go without food and water for up to 40 days.
With only water to run on, cockroaches may live between 60 to 90 days. If a cockroach does get hungry, it’s not uncommon that it feeds on its shed cuticles.
Some research has also revealed some form of biting and cannibalism among cockroach species.
Cockroaches are Attracted and Arrested by Poop
This one had to make the list of interesting facts about cockroaches. We hate cockroaches for many reasons, and this is one of them.
The domesticated ones we know aren’t big on hygiene. Not only are cockroaches attracted to poop, but they are arrested by it.
This means that fecal pellets may stimulate them to cease all movement and congregate in a particular area. While they love the chemical emission from their poop, they aren’t species-specific.
They may also be lured to fecal matter from other species.
What does this fact mean? If cockroaches congregate in a specific area of your home, there is poop there.
Cockroaches are Nurturing Mothers, Too
This interesting fact about cockroaches might not be obvious, but mother cockroaches do show signs of affection for their unborn. Not only do cockroaches carry their oothecae around, but some go through the trouble of concealing them from danger. Some also defend their eggs.
Make no mistake, some mother cockroaches are careless, as they may leave their oothecae out in the open. Not every cockroach is cut out to be a mother, right?
Some cockroaches also go through a behavior called ‘brooding’. Young ones may swarm around their mother, even for a day. This act allows a newborn cockroach to harden its exterior or cuticle.
Some cockroaches have brood chambers that house their newborns for up to 7 weeks. During this time the neonatal is fed by its caring mother.
By the way, papa cockroach is often absent.
Cockroaches Aren’t All Useless, Ya’ Know?
It’s not uncommon to question the existence of cockroaches. Most of us believe that their mere presence is to create havoc and stress for us humans.
Perhaps they enjoy pooping in our cupboards and picking at our food when our backs are turned. We might never know.
But, to your surprise, cockroaches serve a useful purpose. Yes, you read right. Cockroaches are useful to the ecosystem. Like many other organisms, they break down organic matter to release nutrients.
As a cockroach diet mainly consists of organic matter, they make a superb addition to the soil. Nematodes, protozoa, and microfauna, including mites and springtails, benefit from the pellets excreted from cockroaches. It’s not the pellets themselves they find useful, but the fungi and bacteria that grow on them.
The German Cockroach is the Most Widespread of the Species
The German cockroach (Blattella germanica) is said to be the most widely distributed of more than 4500 species. They mainly live indoors and have exacting moisture requirements.
This is one of the reasons why they flourish in kitchens and bathrooms. An adult cockroach may live up to 6 months and produce up to 8 egg cases. An ootheca may contain up to 28 nymphs.
They are the most abundant species, and are a growing concern, especially since they mainly develop resistance to chemicals.
Interesting Facts About Cockroaches, Conclusion
Are there any interesting facts about cockroaches that you know that aren’t included in this article? Let me know in the comments section and I’ll include it.
Also, if you’re looking for tips to oust cockroaches from your home, consider reading this article.
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