Fun Cockroach Facts For Kids

Georgia Stone
Aug 29, 2023 By Georgia Stone
Originally Published on Oct 26, 2021
Cockroach facts shed light on this amazing arthropod.

Ever wondered why are these creatures called cockroaches? The word 'cockroach' comes from the Spanish term 'cucaracha'. This term in turn comes from the Latin term 'blatta'. 'Blatta' means 'an insect that shuns the light'.

The cockroach habitat is diverse. Roaches are believed to have originated around 280 million years ago in the carboniferous period. It is an ancient bug. A group of cockroaches is called an intrusion.

When an intrusion invades human settlements, it is called an infestation. It is very difficult to control cockroach infestations. Cockroach control requires expertise and it is best to consult pest control and pest management.

Though they have wings, cockroaches tend to glide more. Cockroaches do not fly like bees. Cockroaches are opportunistic eaters. Cockroaches do have some ecological benefits.

They transfer pollen grains from one place to another. Cockroaches are mainly nocturnal creatures. However, some of them are attracted to bright light. These creatures reproduce very efficiently.

Intrigued about roaches and want to know more cockroach facts? Let's move on.

If you like reading about cockroach facts, you may also like reading about the yellow jacket wasp and stink bug.

Cockroach Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a cockroach?

Cockroaches are insects belonging to phylum Arthropods, subphylum Hexapoda, and the order Blattodea.

What class of animal does a cockroach belong to?

The cockroach belongs to the class Insecta, meaning it is an insect.

How many cockroaches are there in the world?

It is believed that there are about 4,600 species of cockroaches around the world. There are around 40 different types of cockroach species in America. As many as 36,000 cockroaches may exist in some buildings in certain parts of the US. The total number in the world might be in tens of millions.

Where does a cockroach live?

Roaches are found all across the world especially in the tropics and the subtropics. Cockroaches can live in the Arctic regions as well.

What is a cockroach's habitat?

Roaches are found in a wide range of habitats. They are found in stumps, leaf litter, caves, forests, and amongst human settlements. These species prefer dark and humid surroundings. It helps the pest to grow and survive.

Who do cockroaches live with?

Cockroaches are social creatures. They live and survive together.

How long does a cockroach live?

On average, the cockroach lifespan is of one year. The lifespan varies with the species of cockroach. German cockroaches can live for about 100 days. On the other hand, American cockroaches can live for a year.

How do they reproduce?

Female cockroaches produce eggs in egg cases. The eggs are not visible, however the brown or tan egg case is visible. These egg cases are called oothecae. These are attached to the body of female cockroaches or they are deposited in a safe place.

The nymph emerges from a brown egg case. It is soft and white in color. The lifecycle of cockroaches has three stages- the eggs, the young roach or the nymph, and the adult roach.

The features of egg cases and the number of nymphs vary with the species. German roaches have 38-40 developing nymphs. American roaches have 14-16 nymphs in an egg case. The oriental roaches have 12-16 developing nymphs.

What is their conservation status?

Facts relating to the conservation status are not available for a majority of roaches. However, the Nocticola gerlachi is classified as Endangered by the IUCN.

Cockroach Fun Facts

What do cockroaches look like?

A cockroach has three parts in its body. These three parts are the head, the thorax, and the abdomen. It has three pairs of legs. Roaches are reddish-brown in color.

Many cockroaches have wings and cockroaches can see humans. The eye of the roach is like a compound lens that is made up of 2000 mini lenses. The eyes have photoreceptors and the eyes can see in the complete dark.

An ancient roach, cockroaches have been around for longer than humans.

How cute are they?

These creatures are not cute. They might be considered gross due to their appearance.

How do they communicate?

Roaches communicate amongst themselves with the help of pheromones. These pheromones are used to transmit messages, intentions, and suggestions. A roach uses these to warn other roaches of approaching danger, encourage mating, suggest food sources, and invite other roaches to a good place to shelter. Some species make a chirping noise while others make a buzzing noise.

How big is a cockroach?

The height and the length vary with the species. The German cockroach is about 5.1 in (13 cm) in length. The giant burrowing cockroach (Macropanesthia rhinoceros) is about 3 in (7.6 cm) long.

The American cockroach is about 1.6 in (4 cm) in length. The giant burrowing cockroach (Macropanesthia rhinoceros) which is found in Australia is the heaviest roach in the world. The American cockroach has the largest body size.

How fast can cockroaches move?

Cockroaches can be very fast. They are known to run at speeds of more than 3 mph (4.8 kph). This helps them to deter predators. It is also the reason why cockroach control at home is difficult. It is better to contact authorities for pest control and pest management.

How much does a cockroach weigh?

The weight of the cockroach depends on the cockroach species. The giant burrowing cockroach (Macropanesthia rhinoceros) weighs about 1 oz (28.3 g). On the other hand, German cockroaches weigh about 0.003 oz (0.08 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no such separate names for a male and a female cockroach.

What would you call a baby cockroach?

A baby cockroach is called a nymph.

What do they eat?

The cockroach diet is omnivorous. Cockroaches feed on both plant and animal material. They feed on insects and bedbugs.

Toads, wasps, frogs, lizards, and many other creatures feed on cockroaches. It's a protein-filled snack for these predators. Roaches lie at the bottom of the food chain.

Are they harmful?

Cockroaches are very dirty and are known to carry germs for various intestinal diseases. They are harmful to humans. These can cause diarrhea, dysentery, and other diseases. A cockroach bite is rare and may not kill. They tend to scratch humans, however the scratch may get infected. Allergic reactions can occur in some cases.

Would they make a good pet?

Cockroaches are easy pets. They are suitable for kids who are not afraid of bugs. Cockroaches are low-maintenance pets.

Did you know...

For humans, the flying cockroach is a menace.

Facts tells us that the hissing cockroach is one of the largest species of cockroaches, native to the island of Madagascar. The island lies off the continent of Africa. This creature emits a hissing sound when it feels scared or it wants to attract a mate.

The cockroach life cycle is the longest for American cockroaches. It is about 700 days.

The main functions of the pest include reproducing, socializing, transporting, and eating.

Cockroaches help in adding nitrogen to the soil.

Northern outdoor cockroaches hibernate in the winter months. They come out in the warmer months.

Cockroaches have bodies that are top-heavy. Before these creatures die, they lose strength in their muscles, especially in their legs. They cannot support their body weights, topple over, and die on their backs.

Cockroaches undergo metamorphosis and they molt as well. These are resilient to a variety of chemicals. They can withstand harmful radiation way better than humans. These creatures have learned to adapt over time. They evolve very well from one generation to another. It makes it very difficult to eradicate cockroaches from human settlements.

Cockroaches cannot sense the carbon dioxide that humans exhale. These carry over 33 different types of bacteria, human pathogens, and parasitic worms.

What are the craziest facts about cockroaches?

A cockroach can survive without its head for a week. It is definitely a special feature. It passes away as it has no mouth to drink and dehydrates. If a cockroach loses its head and brain, the nerve tissue agglomerations continue to work.

They can stand, move around, and react to touch. Cockroaches can breathe without their heads and they will not suffocate. Even after losing its head, blood will not pour out from the wound.

It will clot at the neck. It will have a nasty wound but will not die from excessive bleeding. They can survive a month without food. Though the pest can survive a month without food, it will die faster without water.

How to get rid of cockroaches?

Cockroaches are attracted to homes because of pet food on the floor, unwashed dishes in the sink, food crumbs, garbage, shelter, moisture, and water. Insecticides are used in controlling roaches. Pest control and pest management authorities can help reduce roach infestations.

It is better to kill them. Peppermint oil, cypress oil, and cedarwood oil keep cockroaches at bay. Household items like bay leaves, coffee grounds, lemons, cucumbers have smells that repel these creatures with wings.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these water beetle facts and stag beetle facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable hide beetle coloring pages.

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Written by Georgia Stone

Bachelor of Arts specializing in French with Film Studies, Bachelor of Arts (Year Abroad) specializing in Literature, History, Language, Media, and Art

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Georgia StoneBachelor of Arts specializing in French with Film Studies, Bachelor of Arts (Year Abroad) specializing in Literature, History, Language, Media, and Art

Georgia is an experienced Content Manager with a degree in French and Film Studies from King's College London and Bachelors degree from Université Paris-Sorbonne. Her passion for exploring the world and experiencing different cultures was sparked during her childhood in Switzerland and her year abroad in Paris. In her spare time, Georgia enjoys using London's excellent travel connections to explore further afield.

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