Many people likely agree that a dead cockroach is the best kind of cockroach to come across. But have you ever noticed that you tend to find these insects belly up? Why do cockroaches die on their backs?

dead cockroach on back

How Cockroaches Die in Nature

Believe it or not, cockroaches in the wild do not always perish with their feet in the air. In fact, it’s far more likely that they’ll meet their end in the stomach of a predator.

Additionally, a roach that manages to make its way to a death due to “old age” is capable of dying with its belly on the ground. So, long story short, there’s no magnetic field or anything that automatically flips dead roaches onto their backs.

So, Why Do Cockroaches Die on Their Backs?

As you probably well know, some species of cockroaches have a nasty habit of making their way into our homes, whether they’re searching for food or water. Now, think about your house in comparison to the outdoors. You probably have smooth tile or wooden floors in at least a couple of rooms. Additionally, you most likely do not have twigs, blades of grass or trees dispersed throughout your kitchen or bathroom.

Have you ever seen a cartoon in which a turtle falls on its back and then can’t get up? Well, in a way, the same thing happens to cockroaches. While it is possible for healthy roaches to rock until they flip over, they can’t always right themselves without a little help. In nature, they have access to branches, rocks, patches of vegetation or tree trunks. The wild roaches can grab onto these and make their way back into an upright position.

Cockroaches that end up on your smooth linoleum or hardwood flooring, however, don’t have the luxury of these natural assisting elements. And if they’re stuck long enough without food or water, they could die. Ever come back from a lengthy vacation to find several roaches belly up on the floor? This could be why.

The Effects of Insecticides on Cockroaches

When a cockroach’s nervous system has been compromised by an insecticide, it can result in the insect flipping over onto its back. Because the roach is not healthy and is experiencing muscle spasms, it is less likely to be able to return to an upright position.

There’s a lot more you can learn about cockroaches. If you have more questions, check out the following cockroach facts and myths.