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How Long Can Roaches Live Without Food?

Last Updated: 16.06.24


Having a roach problem around your home is a serious problem that needs to be dealt with right away before it gets harder to manage. In case you would like to know more about the effective ways in which you can get rid of these revolting insects, you can check it out here.

One of the first things you need to be aware of is that roaches are one of the hardest types of insects to exterminate, which means that you need to be thorough in your efforts and employ more than one solution in order to get the job done effectively. In case you are dealing with a more severe infestation, don’t hesitate to get an expert’s opinion on what you can do.

What makes things even worse is that these insects carry over 33 kinds of bacteria around, including salmonella and E. coli, so this in not simply a matter of comfort, it’s also a matter of keeping yourself and your loved ones protected against diseases.

Among the risks associated with such an infestation are asthma attacks or allergies getting triggered, so you can only imagine why it’s crucial to take measures right away.

However, in order to know how to tackle such an issue, you might need to learn a bit more about roaches in general, and for this reason, in this article, we will discuss some interesting facts about these insects as well.

After all, they might look absolutely revolting, but they do have some incredible physical abilities and are also known (according to popular beliefs) for their ability to survive nuclear attacks. It’s true that this fact still needs to be checked, but it’s enough to understand that these are pretty special creatures.


Going without food

Since roaches are cold-blooded creatures, they don’t need to eat food in order to maintain a certain body temperature. Due to this, they have the ability to adapt to the temperature of the space or area where they are in. This is just one of the first things that show us how adaptable they are, and why it’s hard to get rid of them.

Their cold-blooded bodies also enable them to go for a very long time without food, which might explain why you keep on finding roaches around even though everything is spotless clean around the house. One of the first things you need to do is to carefully store away food and avoid leaving any kind of residues behind.

However, this is certainly not enough since these pesky insects can feed on pretty much anything they find, including things such as plants or paper. This means that even though you are extremely careful, chances are they are going to find something else they can eat.

Even if they don’t, they can still go for as long as a month without food, depending on the particular type of roach we’re talking about. Since there are thousands of species across the world, there are several options in terms of how long they can survive without food, so it’s better to take the 1-month scenario into account since this is around the maximum limit.

But how about water?

Even though the information above might make you think they are indestructible, just like any other creature in this world, roaches do have a weak spot – water. Even though they can go for an impressively long time without food, it’s not the same case when it comes to water.

If this resource is taken away, they can survive for around a week or two. In case you’ve wondered why cockroaches love spending time around bathrooms, now you know the reason. These places are their heaven since they definitely enjoy the moisture.

That’s why one of the first measures that you need to take right away if you notice signs of a potential infestation is to identify and eliminate any water leakages around the house. You might need to check pipes and possible condensation that might appear on or around various spots.

The bad news is that even a small drop of water can be enough to prolong a roach’s life for weeks, so you need to take your time and check the entire house. Furthermore, there are several other particularities that make these insects both scary and fascinating.


Roaches can live without their heads

Yes, you read this right. Although some might consider this to be just a myth, the truth is that the way in which a roach’s body is anatomically constructed allows it to live without its head for impressive periods. The explanation is quite simple, namely that they don’t actually breath through the head, which makes it sort of disposable.

In terms of breathing, roaches have an open circulatory system that allows them to breathe through holes placed all around their bodies. The nervous system is also spread throughout the body, which means that if an individual loses its head, it doesn’t mean it loses its brains that allow basic functions.

According to some expert sources, roaches can survive for up to 3 weeks without a head. As we said, they are both scary and fascinating at the same time. However, this doesn’t make these insects any less revolting and potentially dangerous for the health of your family.

Another interesting fact about roaches is that they can hold their breath for a very long time compared to other creatures. An adult can go as long as 40 minutes without oxygen, while they are capable of functioning underwater for up to 30 minutes. This goes without saying, but these guys were built to not only survive but thrive in humid conditions.

Since we’ve talked about interesting facts we have another one to add to the list, namely that roaches can cover up to three miles in the course of a single hour. However interesting, this is definitely not an exciting piece of information since it also means that they can run around your home, spreading bacteria at their leisure.


Getting rid of them

Even though we’ve spent quite a lot of time covering some of the most interesting facts about roaches, the fact remains that you need to do everything you can do get rid of them. The first step in this process is to determine the level of infestation you are dealing with.

If you see a roach here and there around the house from time to time, then things are probably not as bad, so looking for solutions that you can implement on your own are likely to do the trick. These include keeping any food out of their reach and keeping your kitchen and bathroom as dry as possible.



You also need to thoroughly clean hard-to-access spaces such as behind the stove, the refrigerator and everything around it, toasters, the dishwasher and any other kitchen appliance that might have food residues around it. You can also limit food consumption to only one room in the house since this eliminates the risk of accidentally scattering crumbs or spilling food.

Since these insects are most active during the night, make sure that the kitchen is left clean before going to sleep. Otherwise, they will take it as an open invitation to come and check out the offerings. You should also make sure that trash cans are kept closed at all times, that you take the trash out often, and that any pet food is stored away as well overnight.

On the other hand, there are those cases of more severe infestations that cannot be controlled by simply cleaning the space and placing traps around, and that’s when it’s a good idea to talk to an expert that can help you find the most effective and tailored solutions.




1) Why are they so hard to kill?

2) The German cockroach

3) Some roaches can fly

4) Why do I have cockroaches in my home?

5) A Cockroach Can Live without Its Head



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