Can Roaches Drown? Here’s All You Need To Know!

Cockroaches are one of the most robust insects.

You cannot ignore the fact that roaches are hard to kill.

But are you wondering if roaches can be drowned and if they can die underwater?

Well, the answer is yes and no!

Let me explain.

Cockroaches have an impressive capability to stay underwater for 30 minutes without needing oxygen.

However, the question is, can they be killed if they drown longer than 30 min?

So, let’s dive straight into it and begin.

Can Cockroaches Drown?

The answer to if cockroaches can drown is yes and no.

Let me explain:

Cockroaches have an impressive adaptation to hold their breath for 30 to 40 minutes.

Therefore, drowning them is a challenging task.

However, that also means that if you can somehow make it possible to keep the cockroaches drowning for longer than they can hold their breath, they can surely die due to drowning.

But as I said earlier, it is not that simple.

So, let’s consider the factors which make it hard for cockroaches to drown.

Why Is It Hard To Drown Roaches?

Cockroaches are tiny insects but have several advantages to their unique structured body, making it hard for them to drown.

Unique Respiratory System of Roaches

Cockroaches do not take breath from their mouth or head. Instead, their unique respiratory system makes them an interesting insect.

Therefore, cockroaches utilize a network of tiny tubes called tracheae instead of relying on the lungs.

These tiny tubes directly deliver oxygen to the cells, making cockroaches survive without requiring a centralized respiratory system.

Also, when a cockroach is fully submerged under water, its tracheal system helps hold its breath.

The spiracles are on the back of the body of the cockroaches, which contain those tiny tubes with air. When submerged under water, the spiracles (tiny openings on the body) are closed, and thus, it prevent the water from entering the cockroaches’ respiratory system.

Therefore, cockroaches’ unique ability allows them to survive underwater for 30-40 minutes without needing oxygen.

Cockroaches’ Capability To Hold Their Breath

Apart from cockroaches’ unique internal body structure, another adaptation of cockroaches is their ability to hold their breath.

Cockroaches can hold their breath for 30 minutes underwater ands 40 minutes on land.

That means, apart from their body structure, their skill of holding their breath also helps them survive while drowning.

When a cockroach falls into the water, it traps the air inside its body.

Then, the trapped air acts as the buoyancy aid, which allows the cockroach to float on the water surface instead of sinking.

Thus, by holding their breath and floating, cockroaches can quickly increase their chances of finding a way out of the water.

Strong Running And Climbing Skills

Do you know American cockroaches are one of the world’s fastest-running cockroaches?

Yes, and it is why you can observe cockroaches scurrying away within a blink of an eye.

And therefore, it becomes pretty hard to catch them at the very first step.

Even when you catch them, they have the notorious skill of climbing quickly. Their unique leg structures (18 knees and tiny hairs for sensing movements) allow them to rapidly climb up vertical surfaces and traverse ceilings.

It is why when you submerge a cockroach in the water, they can easily climb out with their remarkable skills and scurry away in no time.

This is especially observable when no external force applies to cockroaches for submerging underwater.

What Factors May Affect Cockroach Drowning Time?

Now you know the factors that make it challenging to drown cockroaches.

So, now, let’s consider the factors that affect cockroaches’ drowning time.

Species Of Cockroaches

Just like American cockroaches are way faster than German cockroaches, different species have different and varying levels of resistance to drowning.

Some cockroach species have a better level of adaptation and a high tolerance level for submersion, while some may not have such a level of tolerance.

For instance, the American cockroach (the fastest one) and the Oriental cockroaches have more resistance to drowning.

That means they will be hard to drown compared to the other species of cockroaches.

Remember, here I am using the ‘hard’ word. Therefore, even though some cockroaches may be hard to drown, that doesn’t mean they cannot.

Physical Condition Of The Cockroach

It is evident that if a cockroach is physically not at its full strength, it will undoubtedly impact its drowning time.

A healthy and robust cockroach may have a better chance of enduring submersion, while a weak or injured cockroach may not.

Similarly, cockroaches impacted by pesticides or respiratory infections are more susceptible to drowning than other cockroaches.

Duration Of Submersion And Depth

Again, it is obvious that the longer you submerge the cockroach underwater, the more chances for the cockroach to die.

Therefore, submersion’s depth and duration play a crucial role in the cockroach’s survival.

That means roaches may survive in a short duration of submersion with shallow water as they conserve oxygen for a comparatively longer duration.

However, if you submerge the cockroach in deeper water for an extended time (also with external force applied), the chances of drowning the cockroach increase significantly.

Do Roaches Survive In Water?

You should already know the answer to this question.

As mentioned earlier, cockroaches can thrive underwater for up to 30 minutes while holding their breath.

That means roaches can survive in water but not for a longer duration.

Therefore, if cockroaches can be submerged underwater for longer (more than 30 minutes at least), then their chances of drowning increase.

That is why, for drowning cockroaches, it may even take up to hours of submersion. With longer duration, the cockroach may eventually die, because of lack of oxygen and not from the water.

It may take up to hours for cockroaches to completely drown in the water.

Can Cockroaches Swim Underwater?

This is a crucial question as well.

Because cockroaches can hold their breath longer, people are curious if they can swim underwater.

However, the answer is no, as cockroaches do not know how to swim.

The light body of cockroaches allows them to float. Also, their spiracles, which trap air inside for some duration, help them keep on the water’s surface.

Therefore, by blocking their spiracles, cockroaches can hold their breath and float on the water’s surface but cannot swim underwater.

As cockroaches do not breathe oxygen from their nose like humans, even if their head is submerged underwater, they can still get oxygen from the breathing holes in their back (spiracles).

How Long Can Roaches Hold The Breath?

Cockroaches can hold their breath for up to 30-40 minutes.

But this duration of holding breath varies depending on multiple factors, including physical damage, insecticide impact, etc.

Therefore, if the cockroach’s body is weak, they can die faster inside the water.

On the other hand, if the cockroach is quite robust, it may require some effort to drown them.

Another key point is that cockroaches can survive longer in cold water than in hot water.

That means, in hot water, the chances for cockroaches to die increases.

Also, in hot water, the cockroach body starts experiencing fatal heat exposure in temperatures of more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

For more details, let’s discuss it in brief.

Does Hot Water Kill Roaches?

Yes, roaches can die in hot water due to high-temperature intensity.

Even though it is true that cockroaches can tolerate extreme temperatures, they do not possess potent immunity to these temperature variations.

Therefore, if cockroaches are exposed to more than 125 degrees Fahrenheit, their chances of dying increase significantly.

The study also found cockroaches are discomforted in the low and high temperatures.

A boiling water has a temperature of 212 degrees Fahrenheit, making it die instantly upon pouring that sizzling boiling water on the roaches.

Hence, if you plan to submerge a cockroach in hot water for several minutes, it will surely increase the chances of vanishing for them significantly.

Also, you can even try to keep cockroaches in the boiling water for several minutes so they cannot escape.

Can Cold Water Kill Roaches?

Compared to the hot water temperature, which makes it more difficult for the cockroaches to stay in places with high temperatures, the cold water doesn’t kill cockroaches.

Instead, it makes them lazy only.

Therefore, these nasty insects are more resilient against freezing water than boiling water.

A study found that the alpine cockroach recovered even after being frozen at 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

However, it was also found that temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit also caused discomfort to the cockroach.

Cockroaches died after getting frozen at 24 degrees Fahrenheit.

That simply means you have to freeze cockroaches to kill them. So, even if you are trying this, you might have to set the freezer in your house at the lowest temperature and leave it for a while.

But practically, due to weather conditions varying according to the location, everyone can’t arrange such a low-temperature environment for the cockroaches only.  

What About Oriental Cockroaches?

Many people believe that Oriental cockroaches can swim underwater. But that is not true.

The origin of Oriental cockroaches is from the Black and Caspian seas, and therefore, they are usually attracted to damp places and tend to spend more time around the water.

It is also one of the reasons that Oriental cockroaches infest places where water leakage is present.

On top of that, it is also believed that Oriental cockroaches can hold their breath for a longer duration than American and German cockroaches.

Therefore, it may be hard for you to drown these cockroaches.

But if you plan to make Oriental cockroaches eventually drown, then doing so in the hot water can help you somewhat.

Whatever the capability of these roaches is, they are also less resilient towards higher temperatures.

Do Cockroaches Like Water or Hate It?

Indeed, roaches often try to hide where they can find ample food and water.

It is why kitchens in normal households are the most infested places.

But when it comes to liking the water, the commonly found cockroach species, such as American and German, do not like water.

However, another species, Oriental cockroaches, tends to like the water more. And it is also why these cockroach species roam freely around the open water sources.

Therefore, if your kitchen leaks or your basement has a water source, these cockroaches are likely to enter your house as well.

To find if your house has Oriental cockroaches, you can check around the areas such as bathtubs, showers, puddles, or near the swimming pools.

Oriental cockroaches are so popular and related to the so-called water bugs that they are often termed water bugs.

But as I said earlier, the common cockroach species also likes water somewhat for their living purposes.

So, let’s find out why these cockroaches like water.

Reasons Cockroach Like Water

There may be several reasons for a cockroach to like water, but let’s focus on the most important factors that make them stay around the water sources.

For Survival

Cockroaches also need food, water, and shelter to survive and reproduce.

Therefore, one primary reason cockroaches like water is their survival instincts.

And on top of that, cockroaches are also pretty good at finding water sources.

This is why you may often find roaches around the kitchen area at night.

Biological Reason

Do you know that cockroaches can live up to several days (around 30 days) without eating?

However, on the contrary side, these tiny insects cannot live even for a week without water.

With millions of years on this planet, cockroaches have evolved but still need water to thrive. That’s why they keep themselves around water sources only.

Hiding Spots

Common places, such as kitchen sinks, bathroom holes, etc., are the perfect hiding spots.

Homeowners are less likely to check these places for cockroaches; therefore, these areas become the shelter for these tiny insects.

But if you have got tired of cockroaches hiding, then you can read our detailed guide on how to get cockroaches out of hiding!

Presence Of Mold

Do you know that cockroaches eat papers and wood whenever needed? Cockroaches literally can eat anything when they are hungry.

But these tiny insects are pretty attracted to the smell of mold. And as mold has organic matter, these are easier to digest for the roaches.

On top of that, the excessive moisture causes mold, which is why these cockroaches get attracted to the water sources.

Do Cockroaches Lay Eggs Underwater?

Cockroaches lay their eggs in an egg casing known as an ootheca. One ootheca can hold up to 50 eggs together.

And the female cockroach always keeps on moving its ootheca to keep it safe from predators.

However, cockroaches do not take their eggs underwater, but depending upon the species, they may deposit their eggs near a water source.

A Quick Tip: If you find cockroach eggs in your house, then you are most likely to have an infestation in your home. Learn here how to get rid of cockroach infestation.

American Cockroach

The American cockroach egg shells or ootheca are dark brown, and they lay their eggs in places like the tables and furniture, which matches their color.

Also, the eggshell of American cockroaches is glued to a single surface.

German Cockroach

Compared to the American cockroaches, German cockroaches are more protective of their eggs.

The mother carries their eggs everywhere she goes. The ootheca of German cockroaches is 6 to 9 mm long, and appearance-wise, it is brown.

Oriental Cockroach

Oriental cockroach eggs are dark red in appearance.

Also, they are slightly inflated. Though the size may go up to 10 mm in length, Oriental cockroaches are more likely to lay their eggs around food and water sources.

How To Drown Cockroaches? The Right Way!

With all of the theories above, you might now be wondering what is the right way to drown the cockroaches.

To kill a cockroach by drowning it, you may need to put in some effort and time.

As you might now already know, these tiny insects have the brilliant ability to survive even the worst water temperatures and conditions. At the same time, their super fast running and climbing capabilities give them an edge.

That means you cannot leave the cockroach in water and expect it to die.

Therefore, you need to do:

  • Submerge the cockroach in extremely hot or cold water
  • Crack its exoskeleton

I have already talked above about what temperature ranges make cockroaches discomfort.

When you damage the exoskeleton of a cockroach, it is less likely to survive even in the medium to low extreme temperature ranges.

Also, by cracking the exoskeleton, a cockroach cannot prevent water from entering its body, as it cannot hold air inside for long.

Therefore, doing so increases the chances for cockroaches to die quickly.

But, if you put a cockroach with a damaged exoskeleton in boiling water, then the cockroach will die.

Whether due to lack of air inside water or the temperature of hot water, it will eventually kill the cockroach.

Other Ways To Kill Cockroaches

With the above method, you may find it quite overwhelming.

So, let’s find out some other easier and quick ways to kill cockroaches that work.

Kill Them With Your Shoe

If you do not have kastaridaphobia, then you can simply kill cockroaches with your shoe.

Just squeeze them under your shoe till death and clean the place afterward.

It is one of the simplest and easiest ways to eliminate a cockroach.

However, remember to use a heavy tool, if not a shoe or slipper, to kill the cockroach, as these tiny insects are swift to escape.

Using Cockroach Killer Spray

Another common way to kill a cockroach is by using cockroach killer spray.

Also, this is a method if you have cockroach phobia or you do not want that squeezing and squashing method instead.

There are many popular cockroach killer sprays available in the market which you can use.

But remember that these sprays contain harmful chemicals; therefore, you need to keep these sprays away from your pets and children in the house.

Also, keep the spray away from food items in your kitchen.

Natural Methods To Kill Cockroaches

If you are like me and do not like using chemicals, try natural cockroach killer methods.

Even in a study, it is found that essential oils like eucalyptus, oregano, rosemary, etc., are pretty effective in repelling these roaches and even killing a few.

We have a detailed guide on natural cockroach repellents, which you can read to eliminate cockroaches in your home without using chemicals.

Apart from these, using natural agents like diatomaceous earth baking soda can keep cockroaches at bay.

FAQs Can Roaches Drown

How long can a roach survive underwater?

Cockroaches can hold their breath for 30-40 minutes. They are likely to survive underwater for 30 minutes without needing air. However, this survival time can reach 40 minutes on the land.

What kills cockroaches instantly?

To kill a cockroach instantly, you need to use your shoe to squeeze and squash it under your shoe or slipper or with some heavy object.

However, you can even use the market products such as killing sprays, but make sure to keep them away from the children and pets in your house.

Why should you not squish a roach?

Cockroaches carry various diseases and bacteria along with them wherever they go. Even it is found in the studies that roaches carry different allergic agents and diseases.

Therefore, by squishing a roach, you may come in contact with the carrying bacteria, which is why it is avoided at the first step.

However, to kill a cockroach instantly, you can use this method, but remember to sanitize the place properly to be safe.

Can cockroaches die from water?

Cockroaches do not die from water as, along with food, they need water to thrive. However, if you submerge cockroaches in water with the correct method, then you can make cockroaches die due to water.

Do Cockroaches Die in Water?

Yes, cockroaches can die in water if they are submerged in it for a longer duration.

However, cockroaches are extremely good at holding their breath for up to 30-40 minutes; therefore, you may need to put effort for a longer duration to kill them in water.

Verdict: So, Can You Kill Cockroaches By Drowning Them?

Cockroaches are extremely resilient insects; therefore, you need to put in some effort to drown them, as they can hold their breath for up to 30-40 minutes.

Therefore, you can use hot water to make it more difficult for cockroaches to thrive underwater.

Moreover, using an external force to submerge cockroaches underwater is also necessary to increase the chances of killing roaches underwater.

However, if you want to repel cockroaches naturally, here is a detailed guide.

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