How Fast Is A Cockroach? [I Bet You Didn’t Know This Before!]

Do you know how fast a cockroach is?

Faster than an eye blink!

Yes, you heard it right.

The eye blink typically takes 100-150 milliseconds, whereas roaches dart off at superfast 8.5 milliseconds.

It is why cockroaches are one of the fastest insects on the planet.

But how are these tiny insects so fast?

Let’s dive into today’s post and find every possible reason for cockroaches being fast and how fast they can a cockroach run.

Let’s start.

Understanding Cockroach Anatomy

We must understand their unique anatomy and physiology before diving deep into tiny cockroaches’ incredible speed.

The secret of cockroaches being so fast is their legs.

They have six legs, and their six legs have three knees, 18 knees altogether.

Therefore, with so many joints, these tiny insects move with high precision and accuracy and very little wasted movement that possibly can slow them down.

When the cockroaches get up to speed, they raise their hind legs, making them run even faster.

Apart from this, cockroach’s tiny legs have tiny hairs, making them detect the slightest movement of air currents.

It helps them be alert, so they run off quickly when a cockroach senses the air stirring while you walk into a room.

How Fast Can A Cockroach Run?

According to a study, the American cockroach is the fastest species, with an impressive top speed of 2.9 mph.

However, the other two species categories of roaches have the following average speed:

  • American Cockroach – Adult Male with 1.47 miles per hour
  • American Adult Female cockroach – 1.27 miles per hour
  • German adult male cockroach – 0.65 miles per hour
  • German adult female cockroach – 0.41 miles per hour

These are the average top speeds in the study, clearly showing how fast cockroaches can run despite being tiny.

As you have understood in the physiology and unique anatomy section of cockroaches, the faster speed for these insects is due to their slender legs that have specialized adaptations, making them stable and leverage during quick movements.

Also, the muscular system and nerve coordination work perfectly, enabling cockroaches to achieve an impressive speed.

How to Measure Roach Speeds?

Measuring the cockroach’s speed with complete accuracy and precision is not easy.

To do that, researchers rely on various methods and tools.

High-speed cameras and motion analysis techniques are used to capture the details of the cockroach movement, which further provides invaluable details and insights into the speed capabilities.

Along with these, tracking devices and sensors also help to gather precise data for the locomotion patterns.

To finally make a precise measurement, scientists set up an experiment in a controlled environment that mimics the natural conditions for the cockroaches where they thrive.

Therefore, all of these efforts are made to develop the speed data.

It isn’t easy, and one cannot simply do it at home.

Average Speed Of Common Cockroach Species

Worry not if you are wondering about the speed of commonly found cockroaches in your home. Researchers have already done that.

American and German cockroaches are the two common species of pests found in houses.

Therefore, let’s break down their average running speed when they scurry away from one side to another.

American Cockroach

As said earlier, the American cockroach (Periplaneta Americana) is the fastest among cockroaches.

The top speed of an American cockroach is 2.9 mph. No wonder why they scurry away so quickly!

However, even the average speed of an adult male and female roach is also quite impressive.

The average speed of an adult American cockroach is approximately 1.47 mph, while an adult female cockroach can reach an average speed of 1.27 mph.

Their quick speed helps them hide instantly to save themselves whenever they feel danger.

German Cockroach (Blattella Germanica)

Even though German cockroaches are not as fast as Americans, they still have considerable speed and agility.

The adult German male cockroaches can sprint around 0.65 mph, while the adult female can go at 0.41 mph.

Due to German cockroaches’ smaller size and rapid movement, catching them when they scurry around in your house becomes hard.

However, it is also true that the speed of cockroaches can vary depending upon several other factors such as size, age, environmental conditions, and even genetic adaptations.

Factors Influencing Cockroach Speed

Cockroaches do not run faster in their everyday lives.

They show swiftness, especially when they fear danger or something like that.

Therefore, let’s understand the factors which vary the speed of cockroaches.

Firstly, the size and age of a cockroach play a significant role in their speed. The larger and younger cockroaches are faster due to their agile bodies and robust muscular system.

However, environmental conditions may also affect their speed.

For instance, cockroaches love warmer temperatures with high humidity. And if they are living in such environmental conditions, it can eventually help them to enhance their mobility and speed.

Along with that, the genetic adaptations and variations also help different species contribute to their unique speed potential.

Comparison Of Cockroach Speed To The Other Insects/Animals

Let’s compare the speed of cockroaches with other insects and animals to understand their speed better.

Comparing cockroach speed to the relative speed, younger cockroaches tend to leave ants, beetles, and many other insects behind.

The ability to accelerate rapidly and react swiftly according to the environment sets them apart as the true speed champions in the insects’ world.

Fun Facts About Cockroaches

Besides running up to three miles in an hour, cockroaches are fascinating insects. Here are some fun facts about them.

1. A Cockroach Can Live for a Week Without Its Head

Yes, you read it right.

A cockroach can live for a week without its head. Thanks to their open circulatory system and their respiratory system.

Cockroaches breathe from their holes in the body segments; therefore, they are not dependent on their mouth or head for breathing.

Without a head, the roach only dies because, without a mouth, it cannot drink water and therefore dies.

2. Cockroach Can Hold Their Breath For 30-40 Minutes

Another wonder – cockroaches can hold their breath for up to 40 minutes. Therefore, submerging cockroaches in the water and thinking of making them die due to suffocation does not work as you have to do so for at least one hour because, for the first 30-40 minutes, they can easily hold their breath.

Cockroaches hold their breath to regulate the loss of water.

3. German Cockroaches Become Adults In 36 Days, So Quickly!

German cockroaches are one of the most commonly found roaches in the households.

And no doubt why roach infestation happens so quickly. Thanks to the rapid growth time of German roaches, they become adult in as little as 36 days.

4. The World’s Largest Roach Is Six Inches Long

Found only in South America, the cockroach species has a one-foot wingspan. And for context, how long this roach is, the average cockroach size varies from ½” to 2″ long.

5. There Are 4,000+ Different Cockroach Species Worldwide.

Even though the most common species are German and American cockroaches, there are 4000+ roach species found, which include brown-banded cockroaches, oriental cockroaches, etc.

6. Cockroaches Can Live Without Food

Even though it is true that cockroaches are more attracted to food debris and water resources.

But they can still thrive if they do not find food even for 30 days.

This is because cockroaches are cold-blooded insects. But still, these tiny insects can only survive for one week without water.

And it is why they are more likely to hide in the areas where they can at least find water easily.

Bathrooms and kitchen sinks with leakage are some of the most common places where you will find roaches.

Also, these tiny insects are found to carry many diseases, including allergies and other diseases. Therefore, you should take quick action whenever you find even a tiny cockroach infestation in your house.

7. Cockroaches Are Old

It is estimated that cockroaches are as old as more than 280 million years ago and are believed to be related to the Carboniferous era.

How Fast Can A Roach Run?

In the initial time, scientists first tested the start speed of the cockroach.

For quick understanding, the start speed is the time of start moving for an object from a complete stop.

It is found that cockroaches’ start speed is 8.2 milliseconds, even faster than a blink of an eye.

Also, relatively, they can cover fifty body lengths of distance in a single second!

Moreover, in 1991, some scientists at the University of California tested how fast the American cockroach could run.

Ultimately, they found in the test that they could cover 1.5 meters in one second. That means they can run up to 5.5 km/h or 3.4 mph!

Real-Life Applications Of Cockroach Speed

Even though cockroaches run at incredible speed for their size, you may wonder if it benefits humans.

Well, yes, it has.

In robotics, researchers have got inspiration from cockroach locomotion to develop fast-moving robots capable of navigating complex environments.

The concept of biomimicry also takes cues from the cockroach speed to improve human technology.

By studying cockroaches’ intricate movements and adaptations, scientists can apply these principles to enhance the design of prosthetic limbs, creating devices that can offer increased mobility.

In sports science, athletes and trainers may study the quick movements of other cockroaches to get insights into enhancing their speed and agility.

Another practical use of cockroaches is that they can also be used for medical purposes.

Yes, you read that right.

Even though roaches are the hub of carrying diseases, illnesses, and allergies, scientists have found some chemicals in the bodies of cockroaches that can help fight off harmful bacteria.

It is why some cockroaches are also used for medicine.

FAQs On How Fast Is A Cockroach

How fast can a cockroach fly?

There is no such study yet or research that can claim the speed of cockroaches’ flying speed.
Also, not all cockroaches can fly. And those who can, they can fly for only a few seconds.

How fast are cockroaches?

Cockroaches are one of the fastest insects on this planet.
A study found that the American cockroach can go at the top speed of 2.9 mph, which is quite impressive.

How fast are cockroaches compared to humans?

According to Wikipedia, in an experiment, a P. Americana went for a record speed of 5.4 km/h (3.4 mph), about 50 body lengths per second, comparable to a human running at 330 km/h (210 mph).

How are cockroaches so fast?

Cockroaches have six legs, and each leg has three knees. With six legs and 18 knees, cockroaches have many joints with flexible exoskeletons, ultimately allowing them to move with fluidity and precision.

Also, the long, slender legs provide them leverage and stability while moving fast.
On top of that, the muscular system with the nerve coordination works perfectly in harmony.
Therefore, combining all of their built structure, cockroaches can move so fast.

How far can a cockroach travel in 1 hour?

As mentioned earlier, commonly found cockroaches, such as American cockroaches, can reach up to 2.9 miles per hour.

Do cockroaches run faster than humans?

Even though it is true that cockroaches are one of the fastest insects, they cannot compete with humans at all.
Therefore, cockroaches cannot run faster than humans.

What is the fastest cockroach species in the world?

As mentioned earlier, in research and experiments, American cockroach is found to be the fastest commonly found cockroach. And it went on a top speed of up to 2.7 mph.

The End: Roach Speed Revealed

Now you finally know that roaches are one of the fastest insects on the planet.

Due to their flexible body structure, exoskeleton, and slender legs, they have impressive coordination, making them masters of swift locomotion.

Even though there are some practical applications of this as well, whether in sports science or robotics.

However, if roaches infest your home (cockroach infestation), it is terrible because they carry various diseases, illnesses, and allergies.

Therefore, treating the roach infestation as soon as possible is essential to eliminate these tiny insects in your home.

You can read here how you can get rid of cockroaches step-by-step.

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