How Long Can A Cockroach Live Without Its Head? – The Truth

How Long Can A Cockroach Live Without Its Head?

Cockroaches are known to be one of the oldest and most robust of all the worldly species, and astonishingly, they can live up to a week without their head. Said to be a species as old as the dinosaur, cockroaches are known for their tough survival skills. But let’s get straight to business, how long can a cockroach live without its head?

How Long Can A Cockroach Live Without Its Head?

Cockroaches can live up to a week without their head. Cockroaches breath via spiracles which are little holes in their body rather than relying on the brain the regulate their breath or blood-flow through their body. Since roaches don’t use a mouth or head to breath, this allows them to survive without their head!

How Does a Cockroach Survive Without Its Head?

A headless cockroach can continue to survive sans its head for up to a week, because they have tiny holes across their body segments, meaning they don’t need their heads or mouths to breathe.

Because of this open circulatory system, a cockroach could actually live up to three weeks without its head; however, it requires its mouth to consume water and nourishment, so it isn’t the lack of oxygen that eventually kills them after decapitation, it’s dehydration. A decapitated cockroach could otherwise survive up to one month without food for they eventually die.

Survival Skills of the Cockroach

Cockroaches are said to be so robust, they’d survive a nuclear war, so it makes sense that they can survive for several weeks without a head. They can also hold their breath for up to forty minutes! This includes being submerged in water. This is part of the reason roaches have such a long lifespan, they are great survivalists!

This is why a cockroach infestation can be difficult to deal with, and often requires the services of a professional pest control team to fully eradicate cockroaches.

How to Protect Your Home From a Cockroach Infestation

Cockroach species are known as one of the most adaptable creatures, and can survive in both indoor and outdoor locations, as well as most extreme weather types.

Cockroaches are often attracted to our homes because of food sources. Other than being rather unsightly, cockroach problems need to be dealt with quickly because they are unsanitary insects that are notorious for their ability to spread germs. They are no friend of the human being because they can also trigger allergies and carry diseases, such as salmonella and gastroenteritis.

Even a headless cockroach in the home is a problem because it is able to sustain life, even with spinal cord damage or detachment, and therefore can continue spreading their disease-filled excrement in your home.

American cockroaches are a common pest in our homes if we’re not careful. Roaches and other insects need to be kept out of the home to keep us safe from the unsanitary issues they cause. Ways to protect your home includes:

  • Keeping food locked away and cleaning up the kitchen regularly after food preparation.
  • Keep all room-temperature foods sealed properly.
  • Any cracks and unnecessary crawl spaces should be sealed up/covered. This includes pipes and other open drainage parts.
  • Cockroaches love damp environments, so basements, attics, pantries, kitchens, etc., should be kept dry.
  • If you notice one or more cockroaches in your home, call a professional exterminator. This is the quickest and most effective way of eradicating cockroaches from your environment.

What Happens When a Cockroach Loses its Head?

When separated from its head and brain, its nerve tissue agglomerations continue to function, meaning it can still move, be reactive to touch, and carry oxygen.

Contrary to popular myth, a cockroach cannot regrow its head. However, it can regenerate other lost limbs in its life, such as legs and eyes.

Cockroaches Facts:

  • Cockroaches are warm blooded animals, but because they have multiple nervous systems, they can survive extensive injuries (until dehydration sets in).
  • Cockroaches are fast runners! Despite their little legs, they can run up to three miles per hour.
  • They are notorious disease-carriers. Their feces can spread bacteria infectious to humans, such as salmonella, gastroenteritis, and even hepatitis. They can also trigger asthma attacks in humans too.

Cockroach FAQs

Why Are Cockroaches So Hard to Kill?

Cockroaches have a strong immune system and a tough shell. Also, their blood vessels are different to that of us humans, meaning if they sustain an injury (such as decapitation), their extremely low blood pressure prevents them from blood loss, and the wound will seal itself.

What Do Cockroaches Eat?

Cockroaches will eat literally anything – including each other. They love human food (double points if it’s rotten) and will even eat inanimate objects, like cardboard, newspaper, and soft wood types.

Why Do Cockroaches Love Trash and Filth?

Cockroaches are attracted to anything foul-smelling and unsanitary because it transmits a powerful smell that alludes to new sources of food for them.

What Are the Signs of a Cockroach Infestation?

If you have cockroaches in your home, chances are it won’t take long before they alert you to their presence. Other signs to look for include:

  • Roach egg casings (these are white and oval-shaped)
  • Roach feces (they look similar to ground coffee)
  • Bodies or body parts of dead roaches
  • Damage to cardboard boxes or other items they may chew (these may look like little holes).

Overall, I hope you’ve enjoyed this guide on how long can a cockroach live without its head! These roaches are pesky little insects that can survive nearly anything, including a decapitation! So now that you know roaches can live without a head, you know you’ll have to take an infestation seriously!


About The Author:

David Floyd has 20 years of experience working as a pest control technician as well as running his own pest control company. His main goal is to provide accurate and helpful DIY tips to keep your home pest-free and how to identify different types of household pests!