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How Did Cockroaches Get Their Name?

Cockroaches have been around for millions of years, and almost every corner of the Earth hosts these interesting insects.

There are over 4000 species of cockroaches, each with its own unique characteristics. However, all species share some similarities, including their biology and behavior.

Cockroaches get their name from the Spanish word Cucaracha, which was adapted into English in the 17th century. Roaches are members of the scientific Order, Blattodea, which also includes termites. This name comes from the Latin word Blatta, meaning “an insect that shuns the light.” 

Where Do Cockroaches Come From?

Close-up photo of a cockroach on a white background.

Approximately 350 million years have passed since the first cockroach ancestor appeared on our planet, and modern cockroaches have existed for around 150 million years. 

Scientists don’t know the exact origin of cockroaches, but they have found fossils of prehistoric roaches dating as far back as 235 million years ago. 

They do know, however, that every continent except Antarctica has at least one roach species indigenous to the area.

What Do Cockroaches Do?

To survive and thrive, cockroaches congregate in groups in warm, moist, and dark environments. 

The main functions of a cockroach are to socialize, eat, nest, and reproduce.

These insects are omnivores and feed on plants, animals, or even their own kind. 

While cockroaches are called opportunistic eaters because they consume anything they can find, they do have a role in nature. 

Since roaches eat dead plants and animals, they directly contribute to the nitrogen cycle, which is essential for plant growth.

Some species are also directly involved in pollinating plants, contributing to the ecosystems in which they live.

Cockroaches are also low on the food chain, so other animals, such as lizards and birds, prey on them.

What Do Cockroaches Eat?

Close-up photo of cockroach eating crackers beside another cockroach.

Cockroaches are an annoying pest in many households. They can survive without food for extended periods of time (but cannot survive without water for longer than a week).

Since they’re small, nocturnal, and can squeeze into tiny spaces, it’s easy to miss them until they go looking for sources of food and water.

Roaches are also experts at staying hidden, congregating in dark corners, behind equipment and work surfaces, and only coming out at night or whenever they won’t be disturbed. 

You can also find cockroaches eating almost anything, including the contents of your pantry, your garbage, hair, toothpaste, soap, and even plastic bags.

Cockroaches will also eat each other.

How Do Cockroaches Get In a Home?

Cockroaches can enter a home or business through various entry points, including air vents, pipe gaps, windows, and doors. 

 As long as there is an opening, it’s easy for a cockroach to get inside. They can fit in cracks less than half an inch (1.27 cm) wide and less than 0.1 inches (0.3 cm) high.

Cockroaches or their egg sacs can also hitch a ride in/on cardboard boxes, clothing, or shoes. 

After getting inside, they tend to hide under sinks, behind cabinets, and in cracks and crevices in walls. 

You never know where you might find different species of cockroaches in your home since they all prefer different areas.

How Do You Get Rid of Cockroaches In a Home?

Close-up photo of a dead cockroach on the floor.

If you find cockroaches in your home, you can do a few things to get rid of them. 

Certain species may be more difficult to remove than others, but you can try these methods with any.

Remove Hiding Places

Don’t give cockroaches a place to hide. The most important thing you can do is to clear your house of clutter.

Cockroaches love cardboard stacks, magazines, and newspapers. 

If possible, keep everything off the floor. If you must store things at ground level, use plastic bins that seal tightly. 

After clearing up, grab a flashlight and search your home thoroughly for any gaps, cracks, or holes where cockroaches might enter. Don’t forget to check the edges of your floorboards and behind your appliances. 

Make sure any visible insulation in the basement and attic are not cracked and that all cables, hoses, pipes, and ducts entering or leaving the house are completely sealed.

Remove Attractants

In order to survive, cockroaches must find food and water. By removing all sources from your home, you can make it unappealing. 

Store as much food as possible in the fridge or freezer, and keep all flour, cereal, grains, sugars, and other cooking supplies in airtight plastic containers.

Always clean up thoroughly after eating and cooking. Cockroaches won’t have anything to eat if you sweep the floor after meals and wipe down the pantry. 

Set Baits/Use Pesticides

After you’ve decluttered and deep cleaned, the best way to remove cockroaches is to set bait traps or use pesticide sprays or powders.

You can call an exterminator, buy commercially made pesticides or traps, or create your own out of Borax (boric acid) or baking soda and sugar. 

Place the traps under appliances, in corners, and anywhere roaches congregate. 

You might also want to consider cockroach repellents as part of your arsenal.