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What Do Cockroaches Do? And How They Are Helpful

All of us have seen these menacing six-legged nightcrawlers that scavenge for anything to eat. I am talking about cockroaches and they have been the uninvited guests that just refuse to leave. While we may have seen these insects, a question that comes to our minds (at least mine) is what do cockroaches do when they are alone, sitting in some damp drainpipe? Or in the grander scheme of things, what is the point of a cockroach? 

We’ll take a look at the positives (yes) and negatives of having cockroaches in our ecosystem and how they can be a sign of trouble and concern if found in your house. What they eat, where they live, and what they do will also be answered here. And finally, how cockroaches have managed to survive for so long and still can in dire situations. 

The life of a cockroach 

Cockroaches are one of the fastest-growing pests. The female lays about 200-230 eggs in her lifetime and the incubation period is also around a month. So if there is a happy couple hiding in your house, within a few months, you’ll see a family of 200! Cockroaches truly represent insects with six legs and a chitinous exoskeleton. 

Cockroaches grow in places humans considered dirty and too gross to visit (or even look). Cockroaches look for dark, damp areas with warmth and a supply of rotting food or organic material such as cardboard, paper, other smaller insects, feces (yeah, they don’t care). But their most favorite food is glucose or sugar. This is why one of the best ways to lure roaches is to leave something sweet out. Just like I run for pastries in the fridge at night. 

So they have food, water, a heater and a place to relax. Try finding such spaces in your house and if you have cockroaches in your house, those spots would probably be my best bet to look for. Sink pipes, drainages, kitchen drains are the places where roaches love to be. 

Illustration of a german cockroach
A German Cockroach. Drives an Audi.

What do cockroaches do? 

Cockroaches are a menace when they infiltrate a house and start making it theirs. But in the outside world, even in the urban environment, roaches are not bad. In fact, roaches are helpful for the environment and even people! Let me explain. 

The world is littered with organic garbage both behind a dumpster and in the alleyway where perhaps Batman’s parents were killed. These organic wastes if left outside are consumed by bacteria; the process being decomposition. This can get rid of this waste, but there’s a huge problem.

The process of decomposition is a very stinky one. And there’s a good amount of chance that rodents and insects can bring these bacteria to your house. If only there were some insects that could eat the waste. Did the bulb light up?

Cockroaches are great at getting rid of waste. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. In this case, it’s food. So cockroaches are helpful in that way, but this isn’t all good.

Food and warm place allows cockroaches to reproduce and since they breed like…well, roaches, their number explodes before you can say “cockroach”. And then they can carry diseases in your house. 

So cockroaches are not very helpful, but they are not useless or always harmful. And cockroaches are very resilient. They can survive without food for a month and without water for a week. This resilience is one of the reasons why roaches are so successful evolutionarily. If you see it this way, cockroaches are awesome. 

Expect they are gross, they bring in diseases and you should get rid of them as soon as possible because you don’t want baby cockroaches running around in your house with cholera. This concludes the article. 

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