Cockroaches are a pest that can be found almost anywhere in the world. They feed on food as well as leave behind droppings, saliva, and other materials. Cockroaches can also carry diseases such as salmonella and dysentery among other things. Cockroach infestations often occur in areas with high humidity or moisture which is why they are always on their back, right? Wrong! Cockroaches play dead to survive by pretending to have been killed so predators will no longer find them a tasty meal.
Do Cockroaches Play Dead?
Cockroaches are insects that have a bad reputation. Cockroaches can spread diseases and they even help to destroy our food supplies. But do these disgusting little pests play dead? Well, some species of cockroach will roll onto their back when threatened by predators such as lizards or birds. They stay in this position for as long as it takes for the predator to lose interest and walk away from them before righting themselves again once they feel safe. Cockroaches are also very likely to play dead if they feel threatened in any way. Cockroach’s instinct when threatened is to run away, this makes it difficult for them since cockroaches can’t actually run fast enough or far enough from their predators meaning that playing dead temporarily stuns and confuses the predator giving the cockroach more time to escape.
People have suggested many different reasons as to why some species of insect play dead. Many people believe that by playing dead insects are trying to avoid being eaten but there hasn’t been much evidence that supports this idea so scientists aren’t sure exactly. Cockroaches may not be acting selflessly when they choose to play possum instead of running away because most studies that these nasty little creatures don’t tend to play dead when they are hungry. Cockroaches like many other insects tend to play dead more frequently as the temperature increases and it has been suggested that this could be because cockroaches find warm conditions pleasant which would explain why their numbers increase in hotter climates such as Australia and America where summer temperatures can reach up 40 degrees Celsius.
Why Are Roaches Always on Their Back?
The cockroach’s outer skeleton covers its wings and legs, making it difficult to turn over when flipped onto its back by a predator with large enough paws such as cats or dogs. Cockroaches react to being turned upside down by flipping themselves upright quickly using sensory structures in their legs called campaniform sensilla which sense gravity-dependent forces exerted upon the legs. But if roaches are injured or dying then they don’t have the strength to flip themselves back over and they accept their fate.
Cockroaches also have a special organ called the cerci which are used to sense air currents, and they can use these to help flip themselves right-side-up when turned over by humans or predators who do not yet realize that roaches move very slowly!
Signs That a Cockroach Is Playing Dead
Cockroaches will often play dead when they are in a corner and feel threatened by your presence or find themselves cornered without an escape route. You might see them lie flat on their backs with all six legs extended straight up in the air, this is called being ‘prone’. Cockroaches have special glands that produce a liquid to make them slippery which makes it easy for predators like lizards and spiders to get a good hold of them before eating because cockroach feet don’t stick well to smooth surfaces such as glass or plastic. However, if you manage to pick one up but realize it’s alive then its glandular fluid may run out making it easier for you to keep hold of him while he thrashes about trying desperately to escape.
- Cockroaches are motionless and maybe in a position of the body that is unnatural for living insects.
- Cockroach’s antennae may stop moving, though its legs might move if it’s being prodded.
- Cockroaches emit a foul, rotting smell.
- Cockroach’s laying motionless for hours could be signs of illness or injury and not playing dead because they feel threatened. Cockroaches may also appear to play dead if there is no food available and the only way to survive is by going into hibernation mode kind of like bears do in winter months.
- Cockroaches will sometimes emit an unpleasant or bad smell when they die. Another sign of a dead cockroach is liquid coming out from their bodies.
- Cockroaches that are laying flat.
- Cockroaches with their legs up in the air and antennae sticking out straight from their head.
- Cockroaches playing dead in a pile of their droppings
- Cockroach carcasses that look like they have been run over by your shoe. There will also be an oily trail near them and there is usually more than one cockroach lying on the ground.
If you see roach parts scattered around, such as severed antennae or legs then it could mean that a predator has killed them and dropped some body parts while carrying off the rest of its prey (which was alive). You might even find live cockroaches wandering around with missing limbs which may take weeks to regrow if at all. Eventually, those insects will die from starvation because they can no longer care for themselves without fully functional mouthparts and limbs.
How To Get Rid of Cockroaches
Cockroaches are common household pests that carry bacteria and cause allergies. Cockroach infestations can be especially challenging to control since they often live in hidden areas, like wall voids or behind cabinets where the insects cannot readily receive their daily dose of insecticide bait treatments. Cockroaches reproduce quickly so it is important to act fast when you spot an infestation by using a combination of sanitation, traps, and residual aerosol sprays for a quick knockdown on contact. These products will kill cockroaches immediately after spraying along with any eggs that may have been laid nearby too! Cockroaches require water every day which means keeping your kitchen clean with no dishes left overnight is key to controlling creepy crawlers. If there are water nearby cockroaches will be, so make sure to fix any leaky pipes or faucets in your house. Cockroach populations often explode during the spring and fall seasons when they are mating which means now is the time to act before it’s too late!