Myth debunked: OMG it’s a cockroach!

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.

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.

Will I get cockroaches if I have a spotless house? Cockroaches might enter clean homes, depending on ease of access to the water and food sources in the home. Dirtier homes just provide easier access, so they are more common there. This is why it is important to not only keep your home clean, but also to ensure that cracks and points of entry for roaches and other insects are properly sealed.

Do roaches live for decades? Cockroaches can live anywhere between a few months to a couple of years, depending on the species.

Can cockroaches live without a head? 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. Since it does not need its head to breathe, it can survive without one for a short time. However, without a way to drink water, the cockroach will eventually die of dehydration.

Unfortunately here in Malta cockroaches are found ubiquitously, crawling in the streets and lurking behind kitchen cabinets.  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!

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