1.877.837.6464

COCKROACH BEHAVIOR: WHY IN MY HOUSE?

04/13/2015

You are standing in front of a gaping refrigerator door in your kitchen, questioning what to have for dinner, when a roach scurries past your feet. You slam the door, pull the shoe off of your foot and take aim, but the roach is gone. Cockroach behavior is strange. Your kitchen is immaculate. How did a cockroach end up in your home? And how did it get away so quickly?

Understand cockroach behavior to get rid of them easier

If you’ve found a roach in your home, chances are, it’s not alone. Cockroaches are social creatures. A young roach left to mature on its own will suffer from “isolation syndrome” according to Dr. Mathieu Lihoreau of the National Centre of Scientific Research in France. An isolated young roach will have a more difficult time becoming a part of a roach community later on in life and finding a mate, Lihoreau says.

This is unusual because roaches are typically good at communicating with one another, using chemicals called cuticular hydrocarbons. These chemicals are expressed on roach bodies and sometimes in feces left behind by one roach to alert another roach to a travel path. Cockroaches also use these chemicals to communicate as a group about the best place to hide for the day or to distinguish a brother or sister, according to a BBC article titled, “Why cockroaches need their friends.” In fact, not only do cockroaches live in large communities, they also tend to live among multiple generations of family members, but avoid mating with relatives, unlike some other insects.

Know their patterns

Understanding this type of cockroach behavior can shed light on how roach infestations spread so quickly, and why it may seem like the roaches in your home have certain hunting preferences. A single roach may have communicated to others as to which location in your house is the best for finding food scraps. Perhaps it’s in little Johnny’s room? You’ve probably told him a hundred times not to put candy bars under his bed and now the cockroaches are in on his secret.

This type of cockroach behavior may also explain how or why a roach entered your home in the first place. Roaches are very successful at slipping into small crevices. They can fit under gaps as thin as one-sixteenth of an inch, meaning a neighboring roach might catch a whiff of your home on the one night you didn’t do the dishes and shovel back to tell his roach friends that he’s found the jackpot.

The most common culprit

The German cockroach is one of the most common household pests. A female German roach will live, on average, for six months. But during that time, she can have anywhere from 180 to 320 offspring. If her offspring also multiply at a similar rate, which they will, a roach infestation can quickly build into the thousands.

Why roaches are so elusive

Wondering how that roach evaded the shoe attack? An American cockroach can travel over three miles per hour. While that may not seem fast, that’s 50 lengths of the roach’s body every second. For comparison, a cheetah, the fastest land animal, can only run 18 of its body lengths per second. Comparatively speaking, the American roach is faster than a cheetah. Add this speed to the unique ability that some roaches have to use their back legs as claws to do a 180-degree swing. This allows them to move rapidly from crawling on the top of a surface to crawling beneath it, explaining why they are such elusive insects.

Pest management professionals have the best understanding of cockroach behavior. A specialist will know where to search your home, locate an infestation and kick those scroungers to the curb. Terminix® has no mercy for unwanted intruders.