Local Pest Control Expert

The Long History of the Cockroach

cockroach history in Massachusetts by Boz Pest Control
October 25, 2019

Cockroaches are a well-known pest with over 4,600 different species located worldwide. In America, we have about 55 species of these nocturnal bugs to deal with. While humans are more than capable of destroying them, the cockroach as a species has a longer history than our own. In this week’s blog post, Boz Pest Control wants to tell you about the history of the cockroach, which dates back to hundreds of millions of years ago.

The history and prehistory of the cockroach

The earliest cockroaches were present around 320 million years ago in the Carboniferous period. This was the geologic period when most of the world’s coal beds formed. As a species, they’ve survived many extinction events, such as the Chicxulub impactor which wiped out the dinosaurs. When humanity came onto the scene, cockroaches were quick to start living alongside us, whether we wanted them or not. Early trade routes helped them become a worldwide nuisance. They survive best in tropical areas but can live anywhere humans live.

There aren’t many differences between the first cockroaches and the cockroaches that exist today. However, there are a few changes that helped the species survive. One of the main differences with the prehistoric roachid, or blattopteran, was the lack of internal ovipositors, which is an organ used for laying an ootheca, or egg sac. Having one of these helps cockroaches keep their young safe from predators and other threats. Modern cockroaches also have fat bodies with a wide variety of symbiotic microbes in their guts. Cockroaches are known for eating almost anything, and these microbes help them digest their wide mix of foods.

The nuclear myth

No discussion about cockroaches would be complete without talking about the classic cockroach myth. A common myth about cockroaches is that they’re hardy enough to survive humanity should we wipe ourselves out via Mutually Assured Destruction. They’re the fastest insect on Earth, they’re much more resistant to radiation compared to humans (up to about 15 times our lethal dose,) and can survive for a month without food. They are also known for developing tolerances and even immunities to toxins and poisons, making them a headache for exterminators like ourselves. So while they’ll still die from a nuclear explosion, they can likely survive the radiation.

However, they won’t be the only insects left after the nukes go off. In the show Mythbusters, the team tested cockroaches, flour beetles, and fruit flies to see how they’d fare against radiation. In the end, flour beetles managed to survive the radiation better. Other organisms could likely survive the nuclear apocalypse. Tardigrades, also known as water bears, are extremely tough. Scientists have discovered that they’re even capable of surviving solar UV radiation and the hard vacuum of space. At least for a time.


How can Boz Pest Control help me deal with a cockroach infestation? Learn about our history!

Bozarjian Pest Control is a full-service, licensed Massachusetts pest control company owned and operated by North Shore’s popular “Richie the Bug Man” Bozarjian. Specializing in effectively treating bed bugs, carpenter ants, bees, fleas, mice, rats, roaches, spiders, and termites, Richie the Bug Man draws on 25 years’ experience in the pest control industry to provide state-of-the-art technology and methods to address even the most troublesome pest problems. We have hundreds of satisfied customers all over Boston and the North Shore. Bozarjian Pest Control is the trusted pest control service provider for several housing authorities on Boston’s North Shore. Call today to learn how we can keep your home pest-free!

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