What are Cockroaches, and How to Avoid an Infestation

So, you’ve been unfortunate enough to deal with cockroaches (possibly quite recently), and now you’re probably desperately searching for effective ways to get rid of them once and for all.

Or maybe you’re just a naturally curious person, and it just happens that you want to know more about them.

Whichever the case, read on to find out some not-so-fun facts about cockroaches and how to dispose of them for good!

What are cockroaches

Cockroaches are scavenging insects with oval, flattened bodies and long antennae. 

There are over 5000 known species worldwide, but only several types have now become established as household pests, especially during winter.

Some of the most prevalent ones are the American cockroach, the German cockroach, and the Oriental cockroach. 

Oh, and there are even flying cockroaches, but while many have wings, only a few do so.

Male roaches have more rectangular-like bodies, while females have more oval shapes. 

And that distinction is crucial, for it’s the latter that you must watch out for, for they’re the ones who lay the eggs that can cause an infestation.

Cockroaches incubate their eggs in sacs – a female cockroach can produce multiple egg cases in her lifetime and carry them with her until the eggs are ready to hatch or attach to a base unit. The eggs are protected by being enveloped in a thick protective case called an ootheca.

Feeding Habits

Cockroaches are opportunistic scavengers who are not really picky eaters.

Sure, they will love to feast on human and pet food, but they’re omnivores and have no problem eating just about anything.

You may find it surprising, but they also love alcoholic beverages (especially beer).

Here’s some bad news for bibliophiles everywhere: cockroaches feed on paper too.

They will also consume cardboard boxes, stamps, glue, and even unsightly things like hair, fingernails, and faeces.

If this weren’t gross enough, they wouldn’t mind eating their own kind too much, either.

Even worse, when they have access to human or pet food, they can transmit many terrible bacteria and viruses that can lead to food poisoning, diarrhoea, and other illnesses.

Why are they so hard to deal with in the first place

Cockroaches like a tight fit – they enjoy being squeezed into small spaces allowing their bodies to feel something solid on all sides. They actively look for cracks and crevices. Even pregnant females will take this form of close-fitting seclusion.

Cockroaches are fast – they can detect approaching threats by sensing changes in air currents. They also can turn very quickly. Research has proven that a cockroach can sprint at speeds of 80 centimetres a second.

Cockroaches can survive without food for ages, making them a challenging household pest to control. They’re natural scavengers and will eat almost anything, but they can last up to six weeks without sustenance.

Some common myths about cockroaches

When dealing with cockroaches, it could really help to distinguish between fact and fiction.

Myth #1: Cockroaches only live in dirty houses – this is untrue, as cockroach infestations can occur in the cleanest properties. They only need a crack or a crevice to wriggle through, or they can even come through a pipe into the basement or bathroom. However, a clean property is much less attractive than a dirty one or one with open access to food sources.

Myth #2: Bigger cockroaches are more dangerous – the size of the cockroach doesn’t play any part in the risk business! Giant cockroaches are often kept as pets because of their friendly nature.

Myth #3: All cockroaches fly – they don’t – in some species, only the male has wings. Some have wings but don’t use them. They simply jump. Pest cockroaches aren’t able to fly.

Myth #4: Cockroaches are nocturnal – most forest cockroaches are actually active during the day, and the cockroaches that are household pets tend to be the ones that are awake at night.

Myth #5: There’s a common myth that cockroaches don’t bite – they actually do! Some species will bite you, causing skin irritation, lesions, and swellings. Wounds may get infected if not cared for properly.

Now that we have got that out of the way, it’s time to learn to safeguard yourself against these pesky little critters.

Tips on preventing a cockroach infestation

Here is some bad news: if you don’t deal with these bugs early on, they can infest your home quickly.

And not only is an infestation really difficult and time-consuming to get rid of, but it also comes with many health hazards and property damage.

The first thing you will need to do is limit access to any food sources and water. 

Keep all your snacks safely out of reach in the fridge, freezer, or tightly sealed mason jars. As cockroaches possess a keen sense of smell, they will know if there’s food around, even if it’s only a little bit.

And while you’re at it, you will also have to secure your trash because the little pesky bugs don’t mind feasting on whatever’s there too.

The other important thing you need to do is to locate and block all possible entry points. That will prevent new roaches from getting into your property.

However, indoor infestations do not end quickly, even if you get all the roaches. That’s because if a female has managed to lay an egg within 4-8 weeks, that’s up to 16 newborn bugs that will hatch, ready to reinfest your home.

So, your best bet to deal with cockroaches is to hire cockroach exterminators that will then assess the situation and offer the best solution to deal with the problem. Pros will often locate and help you seal the cockroaches’ entry points. 

One last thing: you must clean thoroughly after treatments to get all the eggs before they hatch, so you won’t have to deal with the same issue again in a month or two.


Cockroaches may be the stuff of nightmares for some people, but dealing with an infestation is even worse.

However, now that you know more about them and how to prevent them, you won’t likely have to deal with them.

And sometimes, there’s an absolute peace of mind in knowing that.