Roach Facts

Roach Facts
Image source: "American-cockroach" by Gary Alpert - Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Commons -
The American cockroach sometimes is commonly called as waterbug,palmettobug,ship cockroach, kakerlac, and Bombay canary.

1. THE cockroach is also one of the oldest insects in the world. Species very similar to present-day cockroaches have been found in deposits dating back to the Carboniferous period. This means that cockroaches are an astonishing 400 million years old. 

2. Cockroaches are insects of the order Blattaria, and are one of the most common household pests. In the wild, cockroaches perform a useful role by consumption  of decaying organic material.

3. The American cockroach, Periplaneta americana, is the largest of the common peridomestic cockroaches measuring on average 4 cm in length. The  antennae  extending  from  the  head  are equally as long as the body if they are intact. 

4. The adult is a shiny reddish brown to dark brown and has a yellow margin on the region directly behind the head.  Immature American cockroaches (nymphs) are also reddish brown to dark brown in color. Large nymphs often have yellow markings on the abdomen.

5. Adult  American  cockroaches  have  wings  and  will occasionally fly. However, they are awkward fliers and prefer to run when disturbed. Male and female American cockroaches are about the same size and look very similar. 

6. Both have a pair of finger-like appendages (cerci) at the tips of their abdomens. They are used to detect air movement in the cockroach’s surroundings.

7. Male cockroaches have an additional set of appendages called styli on their abdomens. The styli are located between the cerci but are smaller and more delicate. The presence of styli is the easiest way to distinguish male  from female cockroaches.

8. Immature American cockroaches resemble adults, except they are smaller and wingless. The American cockroach egg capsules are mahogany brown and about 1/3 inch long. The egg capsules resemble small ridged purses and are often stuck to the outside of boxes, or along baseboards in locations where the cockroaches are infesting. 

9. Cockroaches are relatively primitive, having only three stages in their life cycle: egg, nymph and adult. 

10. The female deposits its eggs in groups surrounded by a leathery, bean-shaped egg case or capsule called an ootheca. Some species, such as the German cockroach, carry the ootheca for several weeks attached to the back end of the body. Most others deposit the ootheca after one or two days. Oothecae are very distinctive and can frequently be used to determine the species present. Depending on the species, temperature and humidity, the eggs hatch after 1–3 month

11. The young cockroaches, or nymphs, are wingless, and usually only a few millimetres long; they are white on hatching but darken within a few hours. They grow in stages by repeatedly shedding the cuticle or skin. They are fully grown after several months to more than a year, depending on the species. The adults may or may not possess wings, consisting of one outer leathery pair beneath which is folded a membranous pair.

12. Cockroaches are implicated in the transfer of disease. They are bearers of pathogens such as salmonella, E.coli, hepatitis E, diarrhoea, dysentery and staphylococcus. They have been linked to outbreaks of gastroenteritis, typhus and skin diseases, and are particularly associated with the transfer of bacteria on their legs from dirty areas  to food and food preparation surfaces. Contact with cockroaches can lead to a number of  allergic illnesses, including dermatitis, rhinitis, bronchitis and asthma.
The underside
Image source:  "Amerikanische Großschabe 1" by User Preiselbeere on de.wikipedia - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 de via Commons -

13. Common expressions using cockroaches: 
a.  This is a real roach motel. 
b.  The roach coach.

14. The popular Latin American song "La Cucuracha" means The Cockroach.

15. The common German Cockroach can survive for over a month without food, but less than 2 weeks without water.

16. "Roach Art" has been performed by at least one "artist", who poses dead roaches in life-like backdrops with various props around them that suggest settings such as beauty parlors, department stores, restrooms, bowling alley, restaurant, and others.

17. Doctors in some inner city areas report that one-half of the foreign objects they removefrom children's ears are cockroaches. 

18. In the classic short story "The Metamorphosis", by Franz Kafka, the main character of the story wakes up one morning to find himself transformed into a giant cockroach. 

19. The Madagascar Hissing Cockroach, a species about 3 inches long, can force air outthrough its breathing holes-its "spiracles" - to make a distinct hissing sound, very similar to the sound of a snake. 

20. The Death Head Cockroach is called this because of the "death mask" image that appears on its thorax. Cockroaches will feed on people!! They feed at night when people are sleeping, consuming protein materials such as eyebrows and fingernails.

21. Cockroaches are among the fastest land-moving insects. They are capable of moving 50body lengths each second! If a human had this potential he could run a 100 yard dash in 1 second, reaching a speed of 200 miles per hour. 

22. Cockroaches can detect changes in barometric pressure, and thus instinctively know when a severe rainstorm is imminent. In Bermuda, about an hour before a downpour, thousands of cockroaches have been observed running across the roads.

23. There are about 4 000 species, about ten of which live close to humans. The others can be found in the natural environment, mostly in the Tropics. 

24. The largest species can be almost 12 cm long and the smallest just a few millimetres.


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