It is that time of the year again, when a shout in the middle of the night means my wife spotted one of the most nefarious and vicious insects in the kitchen. But is the cockroach’s reputation and its ability to evoke fear, justified? Here are some myths we dispel about our six-legged visitors.
(i) Can a cockroach survive a nuclear blast? NOPE. This is one of the most common myths to be quoted as a fact. The truth is that a cockroach can withstand ten times more radiation than a person, but they would not survive a nuclear event.
(ii)Will I get cockroaches if I have a spotless house? YUP. German Cockroaches are hitch hikers e.g. come in on a package or gift or flowers. They don't care if your home is clean or not- they just get on with making an infestation. Gisborne cockroaches wander into your house by mistake and can't get out. They don't give too hoots if you house is dirty or not. Once an infestation gets going, access to food (dirty home) will help it along.
(iii)Do roaches live for decades? NAW. Cockroaches can live anywhere between a few months to a couple of years, depending on the species.
(iv)Can cockroaches live without a head? YUP. This one is actually true. A cockroach body can survive without a head for up to a week. This is because cockroaches breathe through small holes in its body segments and have an open circulatory system. Their brain is a long- tube like structure e.g.sausage like, and is inside the head and the throax. So when you remove the head you only take part out. Their balance and wing grooming parts of their brain are left behind. So they can stand on your window sill for a while. Since it does not need its head to breathe, it can survive for about three days. However, without a way to drink water, the cockroach will eventually die of dehydration.
(v)If I stand on a cockroach will I spread its eggs? NAW. This is a myth. If you stand on a cockroach you will kill it and all its eggs ( if it has any). The myth comes from the ability of a female cockroach to shake off and throw away her ootheca -sack of young cockroaches - ( please see image above) to safety. When you stress out a female say for example with fly spray, she will flick her ootheca (young) to safety before dying. But if you stand on her and the ootheca, its curtains for all of them! So go ahead and stand on a cockroach!
It is unfortunate we have been unable to scientifically debunk one last myth: that they are more afraid of you than we are of them! Happy hunting!
edited from original article https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20180812/life-features/myth-debunked-omg-its-a-cockroach.686637