Can A Cockroach Survive A Nuclear Blast? Here's The Truth! | Kidadl


Can A Cockroach Survive A Nuclear Blast? Here's The Truth!

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The truth is that cockroaches can withstand more than ten times the nuclear radiation that humans can, but cockroaches cannot survive the heat of a nuclear event

There are more than 4,000 types of cockroaches, and about 55 of these types are found in the United States. Some of these cockroaches are beneficial to their natural environment, and some are considered pests.

The climate, food, and habitat affect the lifespan of a cockroach. On average, cockroaches can survive without food for a month but cannot survive without water for more than a week. The estimated life of a German cockroach is about 100 days, and American cockroaches can live up to one year. Roaches are adaptable to most environments; however, they cannot survive in Antarctica.

The Bush cockroach lives in the bushes, and Australia has more than 500 species of these cockroaches. These cockroaches are harmless and are not the pest species you find in your home as they avoid human habitats.

Microorganisms are required to produce bioactive molecules sourced from insects like cockroaches. The bacteria in cockroaches produce less toxic antimicrobial compounds than soil bacteria. A lot of nitrogen is trapped in decaying organic matter, which feeds the cockroaches. The nitrogen is released in their feces, which are fertile and used by plants. Eradicating cockroaches will have an enormous impact on the health of the forest where all the species live.

Classification Of Cockroaches

There are six levels of classification for a cockroach: Kingdom – Animalia; Phylum – Arthropoda; Subphylum – Hexapoda; Class – Insecta; Superorder – Dictyoptera; Order – Blattodea.

The biological Order name of the Cockroach is Blattodea. Cockroaches are classified in the Class Insecta as these household insects tend to run despite having wings, and breath through an evolved network of tubes called tracheae. This system of tracheae is attached to the spiracles and does not include the head; hence all such insects, including cockroaches, breathe without a head and taste with their feet. Researchers claim that German cockroaches repel glucose and avoid sugar-based insecticides due to genetic mutation. Since cockroaches produce offspring every few months, the gene mutations move through generations quickly.

The German species cockroach (Blattella germanica) is believed to be one of the more troublesome species of cockroach. German cockroaches are small cockroaches about 1.1-1.6 cm ( 0.43-0.63 in) long. They are difficult to identify in the dark due to their long dark antenna and light brown tan coloration and hide in cluttered areas. These cockroaches feed on starches, sweets, grease, and meat products, and their principal source is the garbage. Boric acid is used to kill these cockroaches effectively. The low toxicity makes it a favorable choice as it restricts the cockroaches from producing viable eggs.

American cockroaches (Periplaneta americana) live in warm, dark, and wet areas like sewers and basements. These cockroaches are typically reddish-brown with an eight pattern on the back of the head in yellowish color. The cockroach adult sizes range between 1 ¼-2 1/8 in (32-54 mm) in length.

Adult male oriental cockroaches (Blatta orientalis) are generally found in basements and cellars and crawl around service ducts, toilets, bathtubs, radiators, sinks, and pipes. These dangerous pests tend to sting, carry diseases, and make you sick. These cockroaches have shiny apparencies and are dark brown to nearly black.

What is a nuclear blast and radiation?

Nuclear explosions release uncontrolled amounts of thermal radiation as visible in infrared and ultraviolet light known as a 'flash'.

These flashes are hazards that cause burns and eye injuries. The fusion and fission of atoms produce an enormous impulse followed by a wave of heat, air pressure, and thermal radiation. The produced fires burn the skin over large areas, ignite explosions, and combine into a firestorm, leaving no option for survivors to escape. The nuclear bomb blast is also called a nuclear detonation that produces radiation, radioactive material debris, and its injuries will appear for many years.

Radiation is released only during nuclear explosions. Several types of radiation are emitted, including gamma rays, neutron, and ionizing radiation, formed during detonation (initial radiation) and carried on for more extended periods caused by residual radiation. Those nearest to the impact get killed by the initial blast wave and thermal pulse, and only a small proportion of deaths are affected by the initial radiation exposure. People close to the impact area may receive lethal radiation doses and get killed by the nuclear bomb blast wave and thermal pulse. Calculations show that one megaton of fission, equivalent to a two-megaton H-bomb, produces enough beta radiation to black out an area 250 mi (400 km) across for five minutes.

Radioactive substances like plutonium and uranium are used to manufacture atomic bombs, which create a nuclear explosion.

Why can a cockroach survive a nuclear blast?

In 1945, after the incident of the Hiroshima bomb, reports appeared that cockroaches were the only species that survived the blast as they were seen roaming through the rubble. This narration was supposed to be the basis of this well-known cockroach myth.

Based on various tests conducted on German cockroaches at varying radiation levels, it was found that they could survive radiation of up to 10,000 rads. In comparison, humans could survive a relatively low amount of radiation up to 1,000 rads and could last around ten minutes. However, we can conclude that cockroaches cannot survive a nuclear apocalypse if they are exposed to the heat caused by the nuclear bomb, even if they survive the radiation of the nuclear explosion.

What other animals can survive a nuclear blast? 

Nuclear explosions affect all living beings in many ways, from the initial blast to the ionizing radiations released in the air. It all depends on the resistance capacity of all living beings, which varies.

Experiments on common European black ants have shown that ants could survive powerful radioactive sources that kill humans. Harvard scientists have found that bdelloid rotifers, a common class of freshwater invertebrate animals, have extraordinary resistance to ionizing radiation. A few more to name are the Baraconidae wasps, Tardigrades, scorpions, the humble fruit fly, mummichog, and the Deinococcus Radiodurans, who can survive nuclear attacks.

Written By
Srija Chanda

<p>An aspiring media professional, Srija is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Mass Communication at St. Xavier's University, Kolkata, after completing her degree in journalism. With experience in PR and social media, she has also honed her leadership skills through her participation in a youth parliament. Srija's interests include devouring books, watching movies, and exploring new places through travel.</p>

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