True, cockroaches are fascinating! These creepy insects can make an excellent conversation topic. So just before you reject the idea, read on:
First, let’s look at a number of important facts about cockroaches. Scientists report that the world has about 4,000 species of cockroaches. They are considered harmful organisms because they can carry disease but these clever insects can live for a month or even a little more without food, and a week without water.
Although they are nocturnal creatures they are not afraid of the light. If anything, they are afraid of us – humans. And probably the main reason we are so disgusted by them is that we know they can live anywhere and under just about any conditions.
Here are some more fascinating facts about cockroaches:
It is quite likely that you will agree that the only thing worse than a cockroach crawling along the floor is one flying above your head! But you should know that not all cockroaches can fly. Currently, one of the only species that is capable of flying is the Megaloblatta Longipennis whose wings are capable of spreading up to 185 mm! Fortunately, it is found mainly in Central America and South America.
Cockroaches and Global Warming
Studies show that cockroaches release gas every 15 minutes on average. It turns out that even after they die, they continue to emit methane gas for up to 18 hours. On a global scale, all insects emit gases and it is estimated that this equates to 20% of methane emissions on the planet. This is basically how cockroaches are major contributors to global warming. Other major contributors in the insect world are termites and, representing the mammal word, another major contributor is cows.
Dead on Their Backs
In most cases, dead cockroaches end up as food in the stomach of a bird or other animal. But cockroaches that die in our homes often die on the backs. Have you ever wondered why this happens? Well in houses there are no leaves, branches or stones which in nature would be the natural habitat of the cockroach to cling to. Instead, for example, there are floor tiles and tiles are something which a cockroach cannot cling on to. So when a cockroach succumbs to pesticide or being hit with something it will cause them to lose muscle contraction as well as cause muscle atrophy, which causes them to roll over onto their backs, unable to turn or move any muscles and they will eventually die.
The word ‘Cockroach’
Cockroach is the English name which has been in use since the early 17th century. The word derives from the Spanish origin ‘Cucaracha’. Since this insect is found in every corner of the world, the word ‘cockroach‘ is international and is translated into every tongue.
Cockroaches do not need a head to survive. For comparison and biological perspective, we humans use our heads for three main functions:
1 . Breathing through the nose and mouth controlled by our brain
2 . Without a head we will lose blood and blood pressure is essential to transfer oxygen and nutrients to our body
3 . We eat with our mouth.
It’s completely different for cockroaches:
1 . They breathe through all their body cells.
2. The brain does not control the function of breathing.
3. Cockroaches do not have blood pressure and they do not bleed.
4. Cockroaches are cold blooded. Therefore a cockroach can survive for a period of time without its head.
Cockroaches Cause Asthma
A case of allergy caused by cockroaches was first reported 50 years ago. Cockroaches can cause Asthma and it can be very dangerous. Studies in Israel have found that between 5% to 10% of the population suffer from cockroach induced allergies, particularly shortness of breath. Studies show that each average house has between 900 to 300,000 insects in it which would explain the increase of allergy sufferers.
The Most Common Cockroach – The German Cockroach
The most common cockroach Blatella Germanica, more commonly known as the German Cockroach, is a cousin of the flying cockroach we have already discussed in this article. The German Cockroach lives only about six months on average but it is powerful. The pregnant female carries an egg case containing about 40 eggs. Females can give birth between 6-8 times during its lifetime. Calculate this figure and you are looking at around 240 to 230 offspring from one single cockroach. From the offspring there will only be around 10 breeding females. We are talking about thousands of these gruesome insects being born within a few months.
Cockroaches are Fast
Studies saw the maximum speed recorded in the USA to be around 75 cm per second. For the size a cockroach is, this is a pretty impressive speed. Relatively speaking, if the cockroach was the size of a cheetah he was would be moving at a distance of around 50 miles an hour.
Cockroaches and Radiation
There is quite a bit of talk about whether a cockroach could survive a nuclear war. However there is no scientific proof and no reasonable evidence to justify this perception. But what is true is that while humans are able to withstand radiation of up to 500 rad (unit of radiation exposure), cockroaches can withstand radiation of 6400 rad!