How Long Can a Cockroach Live Without Its Head?

Facts about Cockroaches for Kids

Cockroaches have been around for more than 280 million years. This means that they existed millions of years before the first dinosaur! To outlive the dinosaurs, among other animals, cockroaches have developed some unique survival skills that set them apart from other insects.  

Just How Tough Are These Bugs?

Most animals cannot live without their head because it’s one of the most important parts of their body. For cockroaches, however, it’s a different story.

So, how long can a roach live without its head? Well, here’s the answer…up to a week! Unlike humans, cockroaches breathe though little holes found in each of their body segments, so they don’t need their mouth or head to breathe. However, they do need their mouths to drink water, so they will eventually die of thirst after a week or so. If they didn’t need to drink water to live, cockroaches could survive without food for one month.

Besides their ability to live without a head, cockroaches have even more interesting survival tactics. For example, cockroaches can hold their breath for forty minutes! They can even survive being submerged underwater for up to thirty minutes.

Cockroaches are also very fast. They can run up to three miles per hour—about as fast as a person can walk. Even a one-day-old baby cockroach can run nearly as fast as its parents! Unfortunately for us humans, this also means that they can spread germs and bacteria throughout our homes very quickly. This can make us very sick and trigger asthma symptoms.

Because cockroaches are some of the most adaptable creatures in the world, dealing with a cockroach infestation at home can be very difficult. To avoid having these pesky insects come over uninvited, there are a few steps that you and your family can take.

An American Cockroach - How Long Can a Roach Live Without Its Head?

How to Fight Back Against Cockroaches

  • Pest experts recommend that families keep all food sealed and put away properly
  • The kitchen should be cleaned daily, so there are no crumbs or trash to attract unwanted visitors like cockroaches
  • All cracks and holes in the home, including entry points for utilities and pipes, should be sealed up
  • Basements and crawl spaces should be kept dry, as some cockroach species such as the American and Oriental cockroach love damp spaces

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