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Surprising Survival Methods of Cockroaches

If you have never encountered a cockroach, consider yourself lucky. Unfortunately, this domestic pest has been around for hundreds of millions of years, even before the dinosaurs, and doesn’t plan on leaving anytime soon. In fact, it is predicted that cockroaches will, most likely, outlive us all. So, what is their secret to survival?


During the late Paleozoic Era, about 300 million years ago, was the Carboniferous, or “carbon-bearing” Period. This era was also referred to as the “Age of Cockroaches,” due to an influx of insects quite similar to what are considered “modern” roaches. The appearance of today’s cockroach has changed very little from their prehistoric ancestors. However, the pest has an uncanny ability to adapt in order to preserve their species.


One of the reasons cockroaches have been able to stick around for as long as they have is that they’re able to change with the times. These insects survived the mass extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs, and now they’re adapting to resist our efforts to eradicate them. And it’s not just about their ability to adapt – it’s about the speed at which they do it. According to a study from North Carolina State University, the cockroaches tested on were able to change their internal chemistry in just a few generations. Scientists found that the cockroaches had a “reorganized” sense of taste, making them perceive the glucose used to coat poisoned bait taste bitter instead of sweet.


It’s not uncommon for a female cockroach to give birth to 40-60 live offspring. And if that isn’t enough to make your skin crawl, the female American cockroach is equipped for parthenogenetic reproduction, a type of asexual reproduction, or “virgin birth.” Like other arthropods that can reproduce this way, cockroaches tend to do so under conditions when males aren’t available.


Cockroaches are flexible, durable, and fast – traits attributed to their longevity. They are able to fit into tiny spaces and hold their breath for a long time. Additionally, roaches can last more than a month without food and over a week without water. But what is most impressive is that roaches can remain alive for a week without a head! The good news is, eventually, a headless roach will die of starvation or as a predator’s meal.

People may joke about it being near impossible to kill cockroaches…but the truth is, they’re right! Cockroaches can spread harmful bacteria and pathogens on surfaces they come in contact with. You don’t have to share your home with these prehistoric pests, but you will need professional help.

If you have a cockroach problem in your home, let Antex Exterminating help. We offer free estimates of cockroach extermination and cockroach infestation prevention. Learn more about our extermination services by visiting the Antex Exterminating website or calling (910) 822-0099 for Fayetteville or our Pinehurst location at (910) 295-5881.