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The Answer to a Mysterious Question- Can Cockroaches Bite?

April 28, 2018
cockroach

We all have seen a cockroach and may have even come across them plenty of times and every time most of us may have felt only one out of the two things - annoyance or a little fear. Many of us may also have wondered 'can cockroaches bite?' But one thing can be more or less a surety - that most people will not like their presence. Whatever we may have felt ourselves, but it is a known fact now that the insect is one of the most primitive winged creatures on the planet. There is data to corroborate that the insect has been there for more than 320 million years. At least 4600 species of the insect still abound the earth. The word cockroach comes from the Spanish Word Cucaracha. What attracted roaches to earth is still not very clear for researchers but one thing that is very clear is that they have a ‘never say die’ attitude, due to which they have been able to keep themselves afloat for so long.

Physical Characteristics of Cockroaches:

It has an oval flat body, a shiny brown or black leathery covering, and a long delicate looking antenna. Unlike other insects, the head of a cockroach is usually bent downward and all parts of its mouth point downward and backward so that it is quite typical of this insect.

People have always wondered, ‘can cockroaches bite?’ regarding its small mouth. In fact, the answer can be both a yes and a no. They generally like to eat vegetables and meat. There have been instances where cockroaches have been known to eat human flesh, both living and dead. Cockroach bites can be irritating or may produce a swelling. They may be expected to take a bite on feet, fingernails, hands or eyelashes. But these can only be in extreme cases. Usually, cockroaches are shy insects and may not show up easily, remaining confined within their area.

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The Physical Structure of a Cockroach:

cockroach

A male cockroach has a pair of wings whereas the female of most species may be devoid of it. In some species, the female may exhibit a pair of vestigial wings. A female cockroach is responsible for producing eggs in typical egg cases that are known as oothecae. Oothecae can be left protruding from the body of a female roach or can be glued in some protective area. After deposition of these oothecae, gentle white nymphs may emerge out of them. Initially, their body may be quite soft on the back portion but with the advent of time and growth, the exoskeleton may harden producing a brownish color. Most roaches, including the American cockroach, have a distinguishing body structure that is typical of the creature and though there are minor differences, they can be easily recognizable.

There are certain cockroaches that may have a wingspan as large as 4.7 inches and that can be quite massive for any insect! Due to their typical body features and certain distinct traits, the creature is very much desired in laboratory experiments to this date. A lot of research has already been done on it and many more are under study. Queries like 'can cockroaches bite?' and 'can they be alive in all-weather's?' still abound the zoological circles.

The Diet and Living Environment of Cockroaches:

cockroach

Cockroaches generally prefer to live in a dingy, warm and dark environment. This small insect can be expected worldwide to be present in a place that has sufficient moisture so that breeding becomes easier for it. It is also the reason why these are abundantly found in mild and tropical climates throughout the world. People generally ask ‘does water attract roaches?’ and the answer is a definite yes, as long as there is no flooding. Though there are some varieties of cockroaches that can actually be alive even under water for a few minutes like the German Cockroach, that has the ability to stop breathing for a few minutes!

Unlike popular perceptions, there are only a few species of cockroaches that can actually be considered as pests. However, it also must be mentioned here that wherever this creature lives, it can thoroughly emit a pungent smell and that can be a huge turn-off for anyone. Moreover, the insect may damage more materials compared to what it consumes itself and therefore a lot of trash can be created by it. As to the question, ‘what attracts cockroaches in your home?’ there can be a lot of answers but then people must maintain cleanliness all around a place so that there is no accumulation of dirt and dust. Dirt and dust tend to welcome these creatures and they can easily live and multiply within a very short time.

As far as the diet of the insect is concerned, it can practically live off anything! It consumes plant as well as animal products ranging from clothes, food, books, paper to dead insects like bedbugs. They can also stay without food for a long time and even months together and that is a specialty of this creature. They generally nibble on anything that has a nutritional value! This can provide answer to some of the moot questions like 'can cockroaches bite?' and so on.

Health and Safety Risks:

cockroach

What attracted roaches to us is still unknown but one thing that is sure is that they can be quite a risk as far as finding them in one’s home is concerned. They can easily trigger Asthma and allergies in patients that can have a lethal effect on our health. Roaches may carry many different types of germs, bacteria and allergen that can have disastrous results. At most places, brownbanded cockroaches can be found even with a little effort and they can easily spread diseases. Hence, it is very important to keep them away as far as possible so that healthy living can be ensured. With increasing awareness about them, there are a lot of steps that are being taken these days both on domestic as well as community levels. Simply using a lot of chemicals for getting rid of it can work but at the same time, it can leave some side-effects on our families and community. So, it is always better to go for natural ways of getting rid of roaches. Here, we take a look at some of those methods.

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1) Ensure everything is kept clean -

A brownbanded cockroach can be easily attracted to a dirty place. So, it is very important that after every meal or a breakfast, the place is wiped off carefully, so that there is no residue left. Roaches get attracted to grease and therefore, at the end of a day, it can be a wise decision to ensure that there are no dirty dishes left in the sink, the stovetop is cleaned and wiped off and the floor is swept off any residual dust or dirt.

2) Seal any hole, fissure or crack -

An American cockroach and many other insects like living inside wall and hole cavities. Therefore, it can be worthwhile to get rid of these holes and cracks, especially if one lives in a shared apartment. It is because neighbours may not maintain the same level of hygiene and cleanliness and it can be worthwhile to take care of them independently. Hence, any fissure in between a wall and countertop, baseboard and the pantry should be kept sealed. This can take some time but results can be long-lasting.

3) Get rid of any water leakage -

 People who wonder about ‘what attracts cockroaches in your home’ will be assured to find out that any water leakage can work as a source of cockroach infestation. This is the reason why a person may find a large number of roaches under the kitchen sink. They can easily survive without food for days but not without water. Hence, it is very important to cut off their water supply by repairing any water leak source that needs immediate attention. Also, try not to overwatering any indoor plant and build-up of any water in the sink.

4) Some natural cockroach bait can be helpful -

cockroach bait

 All people who want to know ‘what attracted cockroaches?’ will be happy to know that they can be attracted to sugar and this can also be used to keep it under check. A mixture using boric acid and sugar can be made to get rid of it. Mix one part of the sugar with three parts of boric acid and keep the mixture at all probable place of its visit like under the sink, behind the refrigerator, dishwasher, and stove, etc. Sugar can lure it for consumption while boric acid will neutralize the insect. People wondering 'can cockroaches bite?' can get a very good understanding from this potion too because in place of sugar, any dead insect can also be mixed.

5) Try calling in the experts -

If there is a very massive infestation of roaches all around a house, it can be a wise idea to call in the experts to get rid of it. There are many types of natural pest control companies that are there in this business and can be helpful to get rid of roaches within a home. They exactly know what attracts cockroaches in your home so that they can do the needful accordingly. Many companies use an item called diatomaceous earth inserted into the walls of homes. It is a type of mechanical insecticide that does not take help of any chemicals which may be hazardous for the residents staying inside it.

6) Try to keep the living area cool -

It has been found in recent studies that an American cockroach may not like the winter climate much due to which they may not be spotted frequently during the period. Hence, keeping an area cool can be one of the ways of getting rid of the insect. During the summer season, as heat increases, they can use their muscles more effectively due to which they are usually, more active. Anyway, weather may not be in our control but keeping a house cooler can be possible to confine these insects into their Burroughs.    

7) Alternative methods may also be there -

cockroach

Surely, there are some alternative ways of keeping them in check too so that they may not unnecessarily disturb or annoy anyone. Try keeping a solution of soapy water and spray them on it if detected. Actually, like every other insect, roaches too breathe through their skin and the soap water can be suffocating for them and therefore they may give away.

However, if none of the above may work, there is always an option of stepping upon it without the fear of 'can cockroaches bite?' But that can be quite disappointing, at times and it may also make a place dirty. Therefore, employing any one of the methods can be the best.

The Vision of a Cockroach:

With regard to its eyes, all types of roaches, including the German cockroach, have compound eyes, as in every other insect. Some of them may get attracted to lights at night but mostly, they keep themselves confined to the soil and are mostly nocturnal creatures. The antennae of a roach help it to find food and make its way through. Therefore, it can be one of the most important organs of its body.  

The diurnal species of roach can be found in shrubs and foliage of trees. Most species of cockroaches are unconnected to mankind but some of them like Panesthia Regalis and Theria Petiveriana can be quite beautiful due to the alternate orange band on a dark body and with superb spots of white.

Conclusion:

The life cycle of a cockroach can be quite varied as it initially starts from the egg, goes through the nymph and finally develops into an adult. In most species of roaches, they can easily live more than a year. Certain species of roaches are known to live from one to four years too. Moreover, it can stay in many different types of climatic condition, vegetation, and circumstances. A very typical type of rural roach species is the Neostylopyga Rhombifolia that can easily be found in thatched hut roofs and breed in them.

Roaches are adaptable to many types of different conditions and that makes this insect quite versatile. A lot has been known and documented about this insect while a lot more remains to be known because there are a lot of subspecies within it. However, with increased knowledge, there is a better understanding of the insect than ever before. Also, with increased knowledge about the insect, many areas of its life cycle is also being understood.