The National Pest Management Association discusses five hardy characteristics of cockroaches

FAIRFAX, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Cockroaches have been around for millions of years, evolving into some of the most adaptable pests on Earth. Aside from their creepy appearance, cockroaches display some unique behaviors and survival tactics that help them thrive in many different environments, including homes. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) explores what makes these pests so difficult to control.

Resilience. A cockroach can live for a week without its head and can hold its breath for 40 minutes. Some species can even withstand freezing temperatures.

Small size. Cockroaches are small pests, so they can easily hide in cracks and crevices. Male cockroaches can fit through an opening as small as 1/16 inch in width or the thickness of a quarter.

Quick speed. Cockroaches are very fast for their size and can run up to three miles in an hour. A newborn cockroach, which is about the size of a speck of dust, runs nearly as fast as its parents.

Irregular feeding habits. Cockroaches can survive for up to one month without food and two weeks without water. They are omnivores, so many types of food are attractive to them including sugars, proteins and fats.

Rapid breeding. A female cockroach and her offspring can produce as many as 30,000 cockroaches in one year.

“Not only are cockroaches hard to eliminate, but they can pose health risks to humans if they find a way inside,” said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the NPMA. “Cockroaches are known to spread diseases, trigger allergies and exacerbate asthma symptoms. This makes pest-proofing the home all the more important to protect your family and property.”

Practicing good sanitation is crucial to prevent an infestation. NPMA experts recommend storing food in sealed containers, keeping kitchen counters and pantry cabinets free of crumbs, vacuuming often and disposing of garbage on a regular basis. If an infestation is suspected, contact a licensed pest professional to treat the problem.

The NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 7,000 members, was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry’s commitment to the protection of public health, food and property. For more information visit

National Pest Management Association (NPMA)
February 27, 2014