Most of us screech when we see a cockroach. These little animals have an interesting way of keeping themselves alive when it seems not many people want the same. I did some research on them and this is what I found.
Cockroaches have many ways of staying alive, even after being attacked, from their bodies surviving after their head has been cut off to the head surviving after the body is removed as well as being able to survive in microwaves and supposedly nuclear explosions. This article details how this is possible and more.
What happens after you spray them?
If your bug spray is worth anything then it should kill them promptly. Bug sprays work so well because the sprays contain pyrethroids. This is what is found in many household bug sprays as well as professional-grade bug sprays. The chemicals in the bug sprays are of a low concentration meaning it will kill bugs but not you
When exposed to cockroaches these toxins paralyse and kill them. Note that even though the chemicals do not harm healthy people they can harm sensitive people with weak immune systems as well as fish or other aquatic animals because the dangerous chemicals don’t dissolve properly.
Take a look at this article for products that will get rid of cockroaches.
Cutting its head off
Cockroach’s bodies are made in such a way that cutting the heads of won’t result in immediate death. In humans, if the head cut off then we will die very quickly. In cockroaches, if this happens the blood coming up to the neck will clot up and seal off preventing fatal uncontrolled bleeding.
They are able to breathe through their skin through a number of holes. These holes are present in each part of the body. Unlike humans, they do not need a head with a nose or mouth to breathe and carry oxygen around the body. The holes can direct oxygen to the tissues thus they conveniently do not need a brain to make these functions happen in the body.
We as humans would not be able to survive three days without food or water. Cockroaches can survive 30 days without food and 7 days without water. This is possible because of their cold-blooded nature, they do not need as much food as humans. Thus even if they didn’t have a head they can survive on the previous meal for weeks without having to eat anything. A legitimate reason to die before the 7/30 days is if they get eaten by a predator, they can also die if they get infected by mould, bacteria or a virus
The head, after being removed from the body is still able to move the antennas for several hours before running out of energy. If the head is provided with food and nutrients as well as refrigeration it can last as well.
Surviving nuclear explosion
The belief that cockroaches can survive a nuclear explosion is incorrect. Yet is true that they are more tolerant to radiation than humans because of how their bodies are designed.
Their bodies are designed in such a way where they have slower cell cycle enabling them to tolerate higher levels of radiation than humans. Human cells divide faster than cockroach cells, this is what enables them to survive longer if exposed to radiation. Cells are more sensitive to radiation when they are in the dividing stage, in humans our cells are changing on more or less a regular basis thus rendering the cells vulnerable, cockroach cells divide less making them less vulnerable
The previous example explains why they can handle radiation, this doesn’t mean they can survive a nuclear explosion. They cannot protect themselves against the heat and energy created as a result of a nuclear explosion. No living organism can protect themselves from this.
It’s not only cockroaches that can survive this, other insects can also be unaffected by microwaves, but this is also because microwaves only create heat 7.5 cm long. Microwaves work by creating radiation from one side, the other side reflects this back to the centre of the microwave. The microwaves short wavelengths are only directed to 5 points. These points do not reach the area of a small insect. You can see this phenomenon occur when you microwave food and not all of it gets heated the same
Another reason for cockroaches not getting heated up is because when anything is microwaved the water molecules vibrate thus heating up, you can see this in your food as it warms up. The cockroaches do not have much water in their bodies so they will not be affected as much when the molecules vibrate, making it able to survive in a microwave.
They are also unaffected because cockroaches have exoskeletons, this is a great barrier against threats, these threats include radiation.
What would happen if all cockroaches died?
There are certain animals which need cockroaches as a part of their diet. If cockroaches all of a sudden disappeared then animals such as mice, rats, mammals and birds would reduce in size. Parasitic wasps, which feed on specific cockroach eggs would become extinct if cockroaches suddenly disappeared.
Cockroaches are very helpful in the nitrogen cycle as they feed on dead and decaying matter. This matter is a trap for large amounts of nitrogen, as the cockroach’s feed on this, it then releases the nitrogen in their faeces. Soil and plants use it to survive using nitrogen during photosynthesis. if cockroaches disappear this wouldn’t be able to happen and forests and everything in it would suffer
The dangers of cockroaches
Cockroaches can cause allergies in humans as their faeces, saliva, urine and leftover parts of the body after shedding can trigger asthmatic symptoms. To help deal with the symptoms it is recommended to use an air purifier.
Cockroaches can contaminate your food. They are drawn to it and when they eat from it, touch or walk over it they spread bacteria and parasites such as salmonella
The cockroaches can give you typhoid which is a bacterial infection that can lead to diarrhoea, vomiting and a high fever.
If cockroaches can enter your body cavities through your nostrils or other open cavities this can also give you diseases and the cockroaches can eat you from the inside
In extreme cases (because cockroaches can eat nearly anything) they have been known to prey on humans who have been too young, old or sick to remove them. Thus enabling the cockroaches to feed on them. this can be seen in poverty and abuse situations
To kill these creatures you can use insecticide such as boric acid which will stick to the outer layer of the cockroaches and dehydrate them. Alternatively, you can call a professional.
Cockroaches can run as fast as 3 miles an hour making their travelling spread as well as the spread of disease in your house very rapid
Common cockroaches such as German roaches can develop into adults in 36 days. This enables them to mate sooner and multiply the population quicker.
The American cockroach seems to have an attraction to alcoholic beverages, especially to beer. They are attracted to the mixture of hops, alcohol and sugar
There are over 4000 species of cockroaches on the planet. In America, the most common ones are the German cockroach and the American cockroach
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