Have you ever seen a cockroach in a high place and wondered how it got there? Can they climb? Learn more about the anatomy that allows different species of cockroaches the ability to climb better than others.

Can Cockroaches Climb?

Climbing Cockroaches

Cockroaches can climb. When you encounter cockroaches, you're not only likely to find them scampering across the floor or a countertop but also possibly climbing a wall or crawling across a ceiling.

The “foot” at the end of some cockroaches’ six legs resembles a claw. This is called a “tarsus.” At the end of the tarsus is the pretarsus, which are essentially toes. These claws and pad-like structure are what allows the cockroaches to climb and walk across the ceilings.

Surfaces Cockroaches Can Climb

Unfortunately, many of the materials used in home construction — wood, drywall, brick and stone — offer cockroaches plenty of gripping surfaces, enabling them to climb vertically and walk upside down on a ceiling.

Surfaces Cockroaches Cannot Climb

There are some surfaces in our homes that are usually too smooth for cockroaches to climb. These include:

  1. Porcelain
  2. Glass
  3. Smooth metal
  4. Granite
  5. Marble surfaces

Rapid Inversion

Rapid inversion refers to cockroaches’ ability to swing their bodies from the top of a surface to its underside in a split second. A cockroach will run rapidly toward the edge of a surface until most of its body clears the edge. At the last moment, the rear legs grip the edge and the cockroach swings its body around to grip the underside of the surface. This article explains how different animals, including cockroaches, perform rapid inversion. You can also checkout this video from the University of California, Berkely. 

When to Contact a Cockroach Control Professional

Very few people are excited about discovering cockroaches in their homes. Cockroaches can be mechanical vectors for salmonella and E. coli, as well as trigger allergies and asthma in some people. They also secrete an oily substance with a sickening odor, which can affix itself to dishes, food and clothes. It’s pretty clear that cockroaches are very adaptable creatures on earth, surviving and multiplying on tiny amounts of food and moisture virtually everywhere.

If you’re dealing with a roach problem, contact Terminix® and let our trained technicians help you combat these pesky invaders.