What Do Cockroaches Eat and Where Do They Live When There are No Houses Around?

What Do Cockroaches Eat and Where Do They Live When There are No Houses Around?


Sneaky and skittering, invasive and indomitable,
the disgusting peridomestic cockroach is a formidable enemy for anyone unlucky enough
to live among them. Interestingly, however, they are surprisingly
delicate, and at least one species is utterly dependent on humans for its survival. Of the 5,000 known species of cockroaches,
those that most plague people are the American cockroach (Periplaneta Americana) and the
German cockroach (Blattella Germanica). American Cockroach Americana is the largest cockroach encountered
in human constructions, growing to an average length of 1.5 inches (4 cm); it is not common
in homes in the northern U.S., preferring a warmer environment, although it will be
around – especially in larger, particularly commercial, buildings like grocery stores
and restaurants. Unlike their German counterparts, the American
cockroach will live outdoors (in warmer climates), and in places like Florida, they can be found
around garbage, in trees and in woodpiles. During periods of heavy rains, this species
is known to “mass migrate,” and overrun a building. The bugs are managed around homes by caulking
cracks, removing rotting vegetation and keeping areas around the structure as dry as possible. Indigenous to Africa, the American cockroach
was introduced across the pond in the 17th century and is usually found below ground
in drains, steam tunnels, sewers and basements. Prolific, one community of Americana that
was discovered in a single sewer manhole consisted of 5,000 members. On average, each female of the species will
produce 150 eggs over a 10-month period and will deposit them, in clusters inside a hard-shelled
case, near a food source – sometimes “gluing” the case to the source with her spit. After hatching, the American cockroach goes
through several stages of development, but during each it actively forages for food. Opportunistic, they enjoy whatever is at hand
and will eat decaying matter, as well as bread and fruit, paper and clothes, hair and even
shoes. Because of their proclivity for sewers and
human waste, the American cockroach spreads over 22 species of organisms that cause disease
in humans, including protozoans, viruses, fungi and bacteria, as well as several species
of parasitic worms. German Cockroach Americana’s cousin, the German cockroach,
is the jerk you’ve probably met at one point or another if you’ve ever had a cockroach
problem in your house. Adults of this species reach on average about
0.5 inches in length (10-15 mm). Secretive, the German cockroach spends most
of its time (about 75%) in hiding. This is likely due, at least in part, to the
fact that Germanica cannot live without humans and our modern comforts. So if they didn’t stay hidden, they’d
quickly find themselves squished in most homes. In fact, at least one study has shown that
the species will die out in the winter in northern climates in homes that do not have
central heating. Inside of a residence, the German cockroach
lives in large groups, clustered in dark places often in the kitchen; favorite haunts include
the walls and cabinet voids as well as under and behind the stove, dishwasher and refrigerator. They find each other by scent, which comes
from the poop that they deposit in set areas (called “fecal focal points”). Like its American counterpart, this species
eats pretty much anything it can sink its mandibles into, although they particularly
love garbage, sweets, grease and meat. Females of the Germanica species hold onto
their egg cases for far longer American cockroaches and only drop them within 24 hours of the
eggs hatching; additionally, each case has more eggs, holding anywhere from between 30
and 48 at a time. A single female of the species can produce
over 200 eggs within her lifetime, and according to Penn State University’s College of Agricultural
Sciences, “in one year over 10,000 descendants can be produced…” As with its cousin, German cockroaches go
through many stages of development, although from the time they hatch (appearing in nymph
form), they also forage for food. Continuously breeding, any particular community
of this species will usually be comprised of only 20% adults and about 80% nymphs. Since Germanica also transports pathogens,
things like diarrhea, food poisoning and dysentery may be transmitted to humans where there is
an infestation. In addition, the German cockroach’s excrement
as well as its molted skin (with both species, each stage of development is marked by molting
– or a sloughing off of the old skin), have been known to cause allergic reactions in
some people, including triggering asthma and the development of skin rashes. German cockroaches are notoriously hard to
get rid of due to their secretive nature and prolific fertility. Nonetheless, preventative measures such as
maintaining a fastidiously clean home (e.g., not leaving dirty dishes out overnight), storing
food items in bug-proof containers and emptying garbage cans frequently can greatly help. Common methods of killing the German cockroach
include using chemicals like hydramethylnon and fipronil, as well as shaking poisonous
dusts like boric acid into the crevices and spaces where they congregate (although be
careful, these can be toxic for children and pets). Surprisingly, the entomologists at Penn State
University say that foggers not only don’t work, they may make the problem worse by temporarily
dispersing the roaches, only to have them return later.

100 thoughts on “What Do Cockroaches Eat and Where Do They Live When There are No Houses Around?”

  1. When I was a kid I would spend a lot of time hunting roaches in the house and setting them on fire or feeding them to spiders or throwing them in any piles. Eventually we where roach free.

  2. This is why I don't kill the spiders in my house. They do a good job of keeping the roaches and house centipedes at a minimum. As far as I'm concerned, they earn their keep 🙁

  3. Fun fact, bug bombs and sprays wont actually kill them all. Some will survive and their offspring will adapt. Even tenting a building off and gasing them some can survive and will. When that happens then your only hope is to physically move them out of your home.

    Have fun with this thought.

  4. I hope the Editor did not have bad dreams after this video. Mice, rats, cockroaches, and mosquitoes, please go extinct. Pretty please with a cherry on top! Let's send them to the Predator's and Alien home planets. Then take bets to see who wins. Mmm, did I just come up with an idea for a video game, or another crappy movie?

  5. Boric acid
    This stuff is proof that God loves us.
    Take the outlet covers off, spray the powder in (light switches too)
    Under the fridge and the stove.

    Drop some on the kitchen floor and flick it under the base boards with a broom.

    On top of cabinets , inside the beds box frame, pull the drawers out of the dresser and dust the inside of the dresser.

    Try not to giggle as you place one IED after another in your home (Improvised Extermination Device)

    Do you feel guilty ? No! They deserve to die !

    Bwahahahahahaha ha ha…..

    At first your wife thinks your crazy , then she figures out WHY you're doing it , then she wants to join in.

    Oh , you should see the nasty surprises she thinks up for them.

    (Seriously , this stuff works so good you can actually get carried away with it.)

  6. As the roaches are quite sturdy and adaptable to chemicals, I usually use the fire method. "Hans, nimm den Flammenwerfer!" There's the risk of fire, but if your do it in small scale and a controlled manner, it's safe enough and quite effective.

    Here's what I do for the ones in narrow spaces I couldn't reach: ~1/3 second of gas from refill canister for gaslighter blown into the nook then immediately ignited with result in a weak and localised gas fire or explosion. Repeat twice more. It's not enough to ignite the wooden stuffs, but beware of plastic and paper. The roaches usually don't die directly from that fire, but their antennae and legs will be damaged enough that the smaller ones will be immobilised and stay down until starvation or eaten by ants. The bigger ones might flee to more open space where you can hit them with newspaper roll or fire (I use a mist sprayer filled with ethanol 95% and lighter). Again, be very mindful of flammable materials. Repeat everyday for a week.

    This method will reduce their local popolation enough that the chemicals spray has better chance to wipe the rest out.

  7. Surprisingly, I have seen roaches in Alaska. They were the Asian kind brought by Asians who moved there. They are rare and generally don’t survive the winter but can survive if they infest a home kept warm through winter. The only thing worse is bed bugs.

  8. Hello Simon! I would like to make a suggestion for a future video 🙂 Why do dogs like to chew our things, most notably shoes/socks and underwear? Is there anything we can do to make these items less tempting to them? (Keeping them out of reach is obviously one but that doesn't always work when you have a sneaky little dog like mine!)

  9. 7:07 "Cockroaches, like misery, love company." That would be a terrific opening line to a poem. Might use that. If I do, I'll credit you!

  10. Hey can you guys check out why we say “bless you” when someone sneezes? It’s so weird to me. Everyone does it and I don’t need blessings for it.

  11. Thankfully we don't get them here….. but more importantly…. are you wearing a cardigan???? 😂😂😂

    Scarlet for your ma!!!!

  12. I think of this quote often whenever I see videos on animals like rats, pigeons, cockroaches, and any other animal which benefits/depends on humanity for its survival: "You can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep."

  13. I didn't have a problem with this; although I am terrified of cockroaches, because I just scrolled to the comments and listened to the episode without watching it. Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.

  14. Oh boy! No picture of a German cockroach? Too bad. You also didn't say anything about the brown-banded cockroach. It infests more homes than the American cockroach. Also you should know that boric acid is not a poison to humans. It is a salt and the way it kills a cockroach is by scratching their waxy coating and then they died from desiccation. If you look at the ingredients of an eye drop such as Visine you will see that it contains boric acid. It's also often times used in laundry detergent.

  15. Thanks for the warning as much as I absolutely hate bugs …cockroaches and spiders the most. Just the mere mention of them gives me the willies.

    Unfortunately for me I'm curious and I want to know things..lol this included

  16. Lovely walking through a swarm of gnats/midge I'm actually walking through a giant gnat/midge orgy …..LOOOVVVEEELLLYYYYYY
    LOL

  17. In the same vein and far worse: bed bugs are like the zombie apocalypse in that killing them off for real takes several tries and are a hellish experience.

  18. Cockroaches are delicious, people should be open-minded and try them. If they become a delicacy, they will quickly cease to infest homes.

  19. i have a proper fear of these things dont even want to type it but trying to watch it, CBT/facing your fears right? :/

  20. As an investigator, who inspected food facilities for 20 yrs, I can tell you where huge troves of roaches usually are.

  21. My dad lives in Florida and cockroaches are in the woods. They are not the German type they are cockroaches proper. You can pull off some bark from a rotting log and roaches are under it. Surprisingly this realization made roaches less icky to me. Something about them being a natural being instead of only existing in our detritus.

  22. I had a year-long german cockroach infestation so bad that sometimes at night I would switch the light on in the kitchen and there would literally be hundreds of the little buggers on the floor. I'm now roach free. How I hear you ask? Persistence and turning it into a full-on tactical WAR. first I trained the cat and dog to hunt the little buggers (they seemed to instinctively know when one was around) then I went and bought one of those post-it note stacks with like 500 individual 4 inch square paper sheets i then placed a dab of nest killer gel bait with borax on about fifty of them and placed them under the fridge stove tv chairs drawers and anything with a tiny dark space. the cockroaches took the bait and most of them died off… Round Two … yep, the next generation seemed to have learned that the bait was poison and no longer ate it soooo i modified the bait by adding some butter mixed with sugar mixed with bait and re-laid another fifty or so bait traps … the same thing lots dead but the next generation wouldn't eat that bait either soooo out comes the bacon fat mixed with bait … then the peanut butter and bait then back to just bait. iv still got that block of post-it notes and there are about two hundred left. I havent seen a roach for over two years. i still lay a cpl of bait traps under the stove and fridge from time to time just in case but I beet the little bastards into submission and retreat. ALL HAIL THE MIGHTY VICTOR … (it was quite a battle i tell ya)

  23. Mormon crickets? I didn't know they went to church. Haha. I wonder if they are the ones that descended on Utah farm fields only to be eaten up by a sudden seagull invasion.

  24. Boric acid is the way to go. It eats up their insides (like humans if they swallow broken glass) and kills them and there is no building up immunity as with sprays. They are usually gone in one or two generations. Boric acid is safe around pets and humans.

  25. There's a meme out there saying "Everyone's a badass until they see a palmetto bug flies" (the big Florida cockroach.) 🦗

  26. I fought roaches and won. Moved into a house that was so bad, you couldn't put down a can soda for more than a minute without a cockroach crawling up on it. Land lord wouldn't do anything about it so I had to DIY it. I got 3 cans of raid. (Raid, not Hot Shot. Hot Shot sucks.) 2 packs of this paste stuff you squirt into cracks and crevices, and a bunch of bait traps.
    I filled every crack I could find in the house with the paste, sprayed EVERYTHING down with raid, and put at least 3 bait traps in each room and 2 in every closet.
    Within a week they were gone.

  27. Today I Found Out:
    Some cockroaches can fly!
    I can run the 100 meter dash in under 3 minutes! Lol
    Also gnat swarms are flying orgies.

  28. The cockroach has been around for millions of years and will certainly outlive humans on this planet.
    Though I hope not, they may become the next intelligent species in a billion or so years……..

  29. Please. Simon. The real freak show going is presented with…drum roll please…the Mind Reading Experiment being thrown in to the heinous equation. You cannot imagine how crazy it is.

  30. What do you mean they like garbage?!? People eat from garbage cans. Are people cockroaches? Can you elaborate on that statement? Your perfectly good Chinese takeout leftovers you throw away automatically become garbage. That's a…. Well, yes, a stupid statement.

  31. If you have German cockroaches it's because you're gross. If one of your gross friends accidentally brought them over to your house, as long as you're not gross they're actually easy to get rid of. Do not use sprays do not use boric acid. Several varieties of bait's available on the market. Unlike sprays you use the Cockroaches NeverEnding appetite against it. And they will go bye-bye as long as you are not a disgusting Pig.

  32. I once dropped a big red pea on the ground only to see a roach ran out, looked at it for 2 seconds then ran off with the entire pea.. I was facinated by it's reaction to just grab the entire thing and go. I've never seen that before.

  33. Is the infamous palmetto bug an American cockroach? We see them Here in Florida, and they are preposterously big. They seem to live outside (I actually shot one with a .40 cal while camping) and can fly.

  34. i have ptsd from childhood from cockroaches

    glad i accidentally whiped them out of my flat by "accidentally" leaving windows open for an entire winter. lucky no pipes exploded. flat is still free of them but once per year one from neighbours comes to visit

  35. Boric Acid is about as harmful as table salt to humans and most pets. Maybe smaller pets might be a concern. I made sure to research this because I have a dog. It doesn't 'poison' the roaches, they get it stuck on their legs and they lick it off and it makes them dry out… they also take it back to the hive where it kills other roaches… it kills by removing moisture. Roaches need a lot of water to live. I know they're mostly gone now, because the German ones smell really bad, it smells like rotten natural gas smell, its strong. Poison to kill the close ones, Boric acid to kill the hidden ones… I put it in places where they would have to go, so they had no choice but to step in the stuff… They can get huge too like 6 in. I think.

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