Fun Forest Cockroach Facts For Kids


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Do you know that there are over 4,000 species of roaches in the forest covers across the world? The human world is still oblivious to innumerable forest insects that are existing peacefully out of our knowledge. Also popularly known as the lesser cockroach, forest cockroaches (Ectobius sylvestris) are forest-dwelling insects. This species is diurnal, meaning that the roach is mostly active during the bright daytime, preferring the light more than darkness. These roaches can chiefly be traced in the months of May to September. The adults perish between September and October.

Cockroaches play a crucial role in maintaining balance in the environment. Not only do they contribute to the food chain, but these roaches also consume leaf litter, decaying, and other vegetative materials that are broken down into smaller particles. Nevertheless, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), cockroaches can be dangerous as they can cause a number of illnesses. They have been called unhygienic scavengers. The bacteria transmitted by these roaches can cause allergic reactions, asthma, as well as, diseases like typhoid, cholera, and other chronic diseases from food poisoning.

If you enjoyed these not-so-popular facts, then keep reading more about the lesser cockroach. Here are some more intriguing facts about the hissing cockroach and oriental cockroach.

Forest Cockroach Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a forest cockroach?

Forest cockroaches are an insect species categorized under the Ectobiidae family. These roaches are commonly considered to be pests throughout the world.

What class of animal does a forest cockroach belong to?

Belonging to the Ectobius genus, the lesser cockroach has been classified under the class Insecta like grasshoppers and beetles.

How many forest cockroaches are there in the world?

These cockroaches are hardly visible. They are restricted to the boundaries of forests encompassing North America, Europe, and several places in Asia, making it almost impossible to calculate their numbers with accuracy. Moreover, the adult population has not been quantified.

Where does a forest cockroach live?

Forest cockroaches can be traced all over Europe, North America, and northern Asia, apart from China.

What is a forest cockroach's habitat?

As can be inferred from the name, these roaches can be found abundantly in forests. They are replete in forest edges, alpine, and subalpine regions. Wood roaches found in the moist woodlands resemble this species. However, we do not know if lesser cockroaches prefer moist spaces.

Who do forest cockroaches live with?

The social behavior of lesser cockroaches needs to be investigated.

How long does a forest cockroach live?

The longevity of every cockroach species differs depending on habitat, food availability, climate, and other factors, but normally, the average life expectancy of cockroaches is about a year. The lesser cockroach is believed to enjoy a life span of around 180 days. Also, did you know that a roach can survive a couple of days without its head?

How do they reproduce?

Breeding information about lesser cockroaches is limited. In general, roaches are known to be oviparous. However, their eggs are laid on the surface and concealed by foliage. The females carry the oothecae (the egg sac full of eggs) for about one to two days, somewhere in the middle of June to September. Generally, the eggs hatch with nymphs occurring during spring. They go through the developmental stages, ultimately becoming adults. This growth period extends for about two years. Normally, roaches multiply at a fast rate. Although these roaches might not multiply as quickly as German cockroaches, they expand pretty quickly.

What is their conservation status?

The lesser cockroach is plentiful within its habitat range, and this is perhaps the reason that they haven't been categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. This species is, therefore, Not Evaluated. However, other species like the brown-hooded cockroach and the German cockroach are classified as Least Concern.

Forest Cockroach Fun Facts

What do forest cockroaches look like?

Forest cockroaches exhibit a dark brown body, brownish or yellow-tan tegmina (the outer wings) that come with little spots in the midsection, and a brownish-black pronotum that turns transparent near the tips. The species possesses long antennae, which is perhaps the most important physiological part as it aids in establishing communication, as well as, defending against predators. Unlike the males, the females cannot fly as their wings are not fully developed. The males and females look alike.

These forest cockroach facts are all about these diurnal insects.

How cute are they?

The dark brown coloration and shabby appearance of this species are not so appealing to the eyes. However, some people do not get grossed out by cockroaches!

How do they communicate?

The antennae are extremely important in the communication process. Vibrations, odors, and movements can be detected and sensed through the antennae. Normally, roaches interact with each other by releasing pheromones.

How big is a forest cockroach?

There's a divided opinion regarding the size of this cockroach species. This cockroach either falls within the range of about 0.28-0.43 in (7-11 mm) or a bit larger, measuring 0.35-0.55 in (9-14 mm) in length. Cuban cockroaches are bigger than forest cockroaches.

How fast can a forest cockroach run?

These roaches are known to be swift in motion. Nevertheless, the accurate speed limit of this species remains an unsolved mystery.

How much does a forest cockroach weigh?

The average weight of these roaches is presently unknown. However, they're not as bulky as Australian giant burrowing cockroaches with a weight exceeding 1.1 oz (30 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no distinct names for male and female cockroaches.

What would you call a baby forest cockroach?

The babies of forest cockroaches are generally referred to as nymphs.

What do they eat?

These omnivorous roaches feast on anything available in the forest. Their diet comprises plant materials, decaying organic matter, starch, and meat.

Are they dangerous?

It can be quite scary to see a cockroach zooming past you in your house, but they are actually quite harmless. However, one must steer clear of them as these roaches can be potential carriers of disease-causing bacteria.

Lesser cockroaches can be rarely found outside the forest habitat as opposed to the wood roaches. This is why the former is an uncommon house pest, while the wood roach or even German cockroaches can wreak havoc in your house!

Would they make a good pet?

Absolutely not! Although Madagascar hissing cockroaches are popular in the pet market, it is unsafe to have roaches as pets, especially because they are carriers of disease-causing pathogens. Also, they're not ideal pets to be kept with children or other pets.

Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as a potential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner is very rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with the legislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat. Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list, and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.

Did you know...

Did you know that cockroaches are fried, boiled, sautéed, toasted, and consumed? Surprised? The question remains is the forest cockroach edible? Yes! Roaches actually taste delicious. Moreover, scientific evidence proves that they're absolutely safe for human consumption. However, it must be ensured that before indulging in such delicacies, the roaches are free from bacteria.

Although minute in size, these winged roaches have super flexible legs and wings, capable of attaining tremendous speeds. The average speed of a cockroach has been recorded at 3 mph (5 kph). These tiny insects can even outdistance humans!

How many subspecies of forest cockroaches are there?

Two subspecies of the lesser cockroach have been identified. These are the Ectobius sylvestris discrepans and Ectobius sylvestris sylvestris.

How to tell male and female forest cockroaches apart?

Identification of the males and females can be challenging as they do not have much difference concerning their appearance. Female cockroaches are flightless as their frontal wings are not fully developed. They are also comparatively smaller. The males project a slender abdomen that becomes pointed at the tip.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods from our German cockroach facts and four toothed mason wasp facts pages.

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

Second image by Bernard Dupont

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