The cockroach is one species of insect that has been around for millions of years. This prehistoric insect is also one of the most feared and dreaded invaders of our homes and businesses. Cockroaches have a bad reputation because of their tendency to seek food and shelter in our homes, but poor housekeeping is often the reason for infestations. Take our quiz to learn more about these annoying insects and how best to keep them out of your home.
How many species of insects do entomologists estimate exist on Earth?
Somewhere between eight and 16 million
Somewhere between five and 10 million
Entomologists estimate that there are between 5 and 10 million species of insects on Earth and we know that some of them are really scary. However, if asked which insect they hate the most, many people would have no trouble choosing the cockroach.
They can spread Salmonella or Shingella to humans.
A cockroach infestation can also cause allergies and can aggravate asthma.
Both of the above are true of cockroaches.
Because roaches eat garbage and waste, they can spread bacteria like Salmonella and Shigella from place to place. The proteins contained in cockroach saliva and waste can cause allergies and aggravate asthma symptoms in humans.
What is the main reason that most people are slow to notice a cockroach infestation in their home?
They are very good at hiding from human eyes.
They hear very well and run to hide if anyone in the home is awake.
They are a nocturnal insect.
Although roaches are good at hiding, the main reason that most people fail to detect them until it is too late is because they are nocturnal and only move around when a room is dark. Most often the first time you notice a roach is if you switch on a light in the middle of the night and you surprise each other.
What does the majority of roaches in the world feed on?
garbage and food scraps
small bugs and insect eggs
decaying wood and leaves
Many cockroaches live in warm, tropical areas and feed only on decaying wood and leaves. They help break down this organic debris; in the process, they fill an important role in our ecosystem by adding nutrients to the soil through their waste.
How many years do experts believe that cockroaches have existed in the world?
320 million years
Experts consider that cockroaches have thrived for some 320 million years. That is amazing, considering that dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago and roaches survived what ever killed off the dinosaurs.
Roaches breathe through openings in their antennae.
Roaches breathe through holes in their sides.
Roaches breathe through holes on the surface of their underside and through holes just behind their head.
Roaches draw air through spiracles, or holes in their sides and tubes called tracheae, which deliver oxygen from the spiracles to organs and tissues. This is the other reason a headless roach can live so long and when a headless roach finally dies, it dies of thirst.
At how many body lengths a second can a roach propel itself across a horizontal surface?
The very long metathoracic legs are the roach's back legs, and they move the roach forward, in fact by using these legs, a roach can move about 50 body lengths in a second. A human moving that quickly would be going 200 miles per hour (322 kph)!
A roach can rise up on its back legs only with the force of the moving air helping hold it up.
A roach will use its short front legs as brakes to help it weave, turn or stop as it runs.
Both of the above are often true of running roaches.
A roach can rise up on its back legs for increased speed, with the force of moving air holding it up as it speeds away. A roach will also use its short front legs as brakes to help it weave, turn or stop as it runs with its middle legs moving back and forth to regulate speed.
What function does the hook-like tarsus or ankle/foot help a roach the most with?
The tarsus helps move food from a horizontal surface to a roach’s mouth.
The tarsus helps a roach climb walls and to walk across a ceiling.
The segmented tarsus acts like an ankle, a foot, and helps a roach climb walls or to walk upside down on ceilings. When a roach runs upside down on a ceiling, it takes longer steps in an attempt not to fall down.
The tarsus has sensors that help a roach maneuver after their antennae have already passed over a surface.
What will a wasp often do after it stings a roach into submission or removes its antennae?
The wasp will eat the roach over a period of several days.
The wasp will use a helpless roach to guard its ground opening from predators until her eggs hatch.
The wasp will lay its eggs inside the roach that it incapacitated.
Some species of wasp use cockroaches as incubators for their eggs. A female wasp will sting a roach or remove its antennae to disable it; she will then lay her eggs inside where they will grow until they hatch.
What does a roach use to help it digest wood fibers?
A roach uses a crop to hold swallowed food until a toothy section of the digestive track can pulverize it.
Sacs called the gastric cacea hold enzymes and microbes that help digest food, especially cellulose or wood.
Both of the above systems are used by the roach before food reaches the midgut for absorption into the body.
A roach's digestive system has a few extras that let it eat cellulose or other tough materials, like the crop that holds swallowed food until a toothy section of the digestive tract, called the proventriculus, can pulverize it. Sacs called the gastric cacea hold enzymes and microbes that continue to digest the food before it reaches the midgut for absorption.
How is it that roaches can move out of the way so quickly when you try to swat, squash or catch them?
Roaches compound eyes can see in little light with a sight radius of about 300 degrees.
Roaches have two cerci on their lower abdomen that communicate with a nerve that can detect air movement.
Two segmented cerci lie on the exterior of the lower part of a roach's abdomen and they can behave as sensory organs. A nerve inside the roach allows it to detect air movement around its cerci, which signals an object moving quickly toward them.
Where do roach eggs develop with most female roaches?
Most young roaches grow in eggs within a sac attached to the outside of a mother’s abdomen.
Most young roaches grow in eggs within a sac attached to the outside of a mother’s abdomen. Many mothers drop or hide the egg sac just before the eggs hatch and may roaches care for their offspring after they hatch.
Most young roaches grow in eggs within their mother’s abdomen before being delivered as nymphs.
Most young roaches develop in a fluid inside their mother’s abdomen similar to the way most mammals do.