Cockroach Facts: By the Numbers
Numbers are used to count numerous things, and when it comes to counting cockroaches only large numbers will do. For example, cockroaches have been walking the earth for around 320 million years. They are supremely able to adapt to any changes in the environment.
Today there are around 4,500 different cockroach species of the Blattodea order. Thirty of these species live in human habitats but only 4 species are considered pests: American, Oriental, German, and Asian cockroaches. When it comes to reproducing, those bugs are prolific breeders. Female American roaches mate once and remain pregnant for months.
During a single year, the female can produce 3 to 5 generations. These roaches mate with each other, resulting in around 800 offspring within a year - from a single roach. If that’s not bad enough, a single German cockroach and her offspring produce around 300,000 babies in a year. When you consider that a single roach colony has thousands of breeding females in it, you can understand why cockroaches greatly outnumber humans. In New York City alone, there are around 100 million cockroaches and 14 million people, or seven roaches for every person.
Numbers also explain why roaches are excellent survivors. A cockroach can hold its breath for 40 minutes, can be submerged underwater for 30 minutes, live 2 weeks without water, and up to 4 weeks without food. Since cockroaches breath through little holes called spiracles, located all over their bodies, and they do not bleed, they can live without their heads. A headless cockroach can wander about for a roughly one week and only dies because it can’t drink water.
Want to kill some roaches with your shoe? They can reach speeds of 2.6-feet per second. That’s about 40 of its body lengths in one second, and is comparable to a human running 98 mph. They are able to sprint and turn on a dime due to the three knees they have in each leg.
While you might consider killing a cockroach, the bugs are possibly carrying a number of different pathogens that are potentially dangerous to humans. These include the plague, gastroenteritis, typhoid fever, and possibly polio, hepatitis, and other diseases. Cockroaches can also carry over thirty three different kinds of bacteria which may be transferred to humans.
Cockroaches are also working to destroy us on a meta-scale. Insect flatulence may produce one-fifth of all methane emissions on earth and the gas contributes to global warming. Cockroaches break wind every 15 minutes and continue to release methane gas for 18 hours after they die. Resistance is futile.