What Happens When You Step On Cockroach? [Surprising Results!]

Cockroaches usually don’t die when you squish them with your step!

Yes, you read it right.

According to a study published in 2016 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, University of California, Berkeley, researchers found that cockroaches’ exoskeletal strength is so much that it can allow them to withstand forces up to nearly 900 times their body weight without any serious injuries.

So, the weight of your step or a newspaper slap might not be enough to kill cockroaches.

On top of that, cockroaches can play dead, so you can’t risk staying a step behind these clever insects.

However, there’s a way by which you can surely make sure to kill a cockroach.

Let’s find out:

Do Cockroaches Die When You Step On Them?

Do Cockroaches Die When You Step On Them

You might wonder if you can kill a cockroach by stepping on them.

But it is a kind of trial-and-error way to kill a roach.

As said earlier, the exoskeletal strength of cockroaches is capable of taking up weight up to more than 900 times than their weight.

Therefore, you must step on a cockroach with such force that they get adequately squished.

Only by then can you ensure that your step on a cockroach can kill it.

Also, remember that a cockroach can be playing dead to trick you so that they can escape later.

Why Didn’t My Shoe Crush A Roach?

Why Didn_t My Shoe Crush A Roach

The cockroach’s organs and muscles are protected by exterior skin or shield, which is the exoskeleton shell.

The outer shell is comparable to keratin which makes up horns, claws, and hooves in other animals.

Therefore, the outer shell provides insects with a proper frame for their muscles, and the rigidness is all that matters for their cover.

It is why when you step on a cockroach, it becomes difficult to kill them with just a single step or slap.

Also, their flexibility and extreme adaptability make them squeeze through up to 4-millimeter crevices allowing them to escape through even smaller spaces.

How Durable Is A Cockroach’s Exoskeleton?

How Durable Is A Cockroach_s Exoskeleton

Cockroaches can withstand great force, up to 900 times their body weight, if you step barefoot.

Their exoskeleton is so strong that it will be difficult to kill them with a newspaper slap.

It is why their back is pretty resilient.

Also, cockroaches can compress their body up to 60% of their resting state, so if you stomp over it with a soft, barefoot, it will make the cockroach body phase if the pressure only exceeds 60%.

Roaches are biologically built to survive with these acts of squishing until you don’t do it properly with an intent to get the shit out of them!

No doubt why scientists believe that roaches are one of the few insects that would survive a nuclear holocaust

Apart from all the theories, if you want to squish the cockroach, you need to do it with your total 100% commitment and throw your entire body weight on it.

Of course, doing so can create a mess, but it is the only way to ensure the job is done.

Why Do Cockroaches Pop When You Crush Them?

The exoskeleton of cockroaches is hard; therefore, it takes much more than you would think to breach their outer shell.

When you put weight more than the cockroaches can tolerate, their outer shell cracks, producing a popping sound, similar to when you break something.

Even though the outer shell of the cockroach is hard and thick, once you damage it to break, it will produce a sound similar to snapping plastic.

However, even after cracking the back of a cockroach, if it somehow manages to survive, it would not be able to control its muscles.

That means the roach will not be able to make any movement to move forward or to do something. Instead, it will starve to death if left alone.

The cracked exoskeleton will also expose the organs of the cockroach, which will eventually be damaged, or the broken skeleton can crumble inwards to pierce its soft guts.

Therefore, when you squish it with your step, you might observe a mess below.

It might be disgusting as it creates a mess, and if you don’t want it to happen, then you can follow some other ways to kill a cockroach, which we will discuss further.

What Does A Squashed Cockroach Look Like?

What Does A Squashed Cockroach Look Like

When you squish a cockroach to death, it will be a mess you will not want to see at all, especially when doing it barefoot.

However, if you have done this to kill a cockroach, then you might be observing these things around a dead cockroach:

  • Crushed organs of a cockroach
  • Pieces of the cracked exoskeleton of a roach
  • Droppings
  • Dismembered limbs or antenna

There might also be a white substance around the squashed cockroach.

And many confuse this for milk, but it’s the blood of a cockroach.

Yes, you read it right; Cockroach blood is white due to a lack of hemoglobin.

Apart from these, when you squish a cockroach and don’t observe any symptoms, remember that a cockroach can also play dead to run later to escape.

Therefore, when you intend to successfully kill a cockroach by squishing it, observe the after-squish evidence to ensure you have squashed a roach.

What Happens If I Only Squash Half A Cockroach?

What Happens If I Only Squash Half A Cockroach

When you squash a cockroach only halfway, the effect of it on cockroaches can vary greatly.

The sensation for a roach may vary from extreme confusion to nothing because cockroaches have two brains.

Yes, you read it right. Cockroaches have two brains – one in their head and one in their posterior.

The brain in the head helps the whole body by having the following:

  • Senses
  • Memory
  • Hormone secretion
  • Limb regeneration
  • Suppress reproductive behavior

However, the second brain is in charge of the following:

  • Sexual activity
  • Maternal instincts
  • Sensory information
  • And triggering apparent death behavior

So, depending upon which half side you crush, a cockroach can face severe symptoms to nothing at all.

Crushing The Head Of A Roach

When you accidentally crush the head half of a cockroach, then it doesn’t matter if it is still alive, the limb regeneration is not possible.

However, if a cockroach’s head is squished, it will stay alive for 10 to 20 days. If the temperature is kept at 75.2 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity is around 80%, it can only die from starvation.

These cockroaches have ganglia dispersed throughout every segment of their body, and their limbs can still be responsive despite their head being crushed.

Further, even if the primary brain is crushed, the second brain can still function properly. When a cockroach is ready to copulate, the male cockroach will twist their bodies into an S-curve.

It is the head brain that regulates this behavior through hormones.

In short, when cockroaches lack a brain, the second brain takes over, making them survive for several days even after one head is crushed.

Crushing The Butt Of A Roach

Researchers have found that when a cockroach’s other half brain is crushed, its memory is affected mainly.

Also, cockroaches need a second brain for learning and retaining information, therefore, they rely on their lower body to send sensory cues to the head.

Also, it means that the first brain of a cockroach can not function properly without the second brain, so the insect will find it hard to work without a second brain properly.

Further, without a second brain, the cockroach cannot sense the objects in its way, making it fumble aimlessly.

In the end, the cockroach will starve to death or may be eaten by predators.

Should You Bother Stepping On Cockroaches?

Should You Bother Stepping On Cockroaches

If you just caught a cockroach in the house, then ideally, you should either kill it or try to dispose of it.

Cockroach cockroaches carry various bacteria that can lead to several health issues, including asthma attacks, typhoid fever, etc.

These diseases can be transferred through cockroaches’ bacteria if they dispose of them on human food.

However, finding a single or few roaches also meant that there might be hiding some more cockroaches leading to a sign of infestation.

Therefore, if you are sure your home may have a cockroach problem, you should try other methods to eliminate these pesky insects.

Even if you think your house may have a few roaches, you still need to take steps to keep them away.

These steps include cutting down the water and food supply for the cockroaches.

Further, you can take other steps, such as borax, to eliminate these insects. The steps include:

  • Grabbing some paper plates
  • Sprinkle a 50/50 mixture of borax and sugar on each plate
  • Lay the plates in areas where roaches may come
  • Now observe for any changes in the mixture

The whole purpose of this method is that borax can make you get rid of cockroaches far more effectively than your barefoot or shoe can ever do, as borax and sugar mix is a common and proven way to kill cockroaches.

Apart from this, there are many more steps that you can take to get rid of cockroaches in your house. s

Better Ways To Kill Cockroaches

Boric Acid

Boric acid is one of the prevalent ways to kill cockroaches.

You can take three parts of boric acid and one part of sugar, then put it in a spray bottle to kill cockroaches will work perfectly for you to get rid of these tiny insects.

Natural Repellents

Using neem leaves and keeping cucumber paste is one of the natural ways to repel cockroaches. The best part about these natural repellents is that they don’t harm your food as chemical sprays do.

Therefore, using a natural repellent works ideally and is a safer option.

Professional Help

Professional Help For Getting Rid Of Cockroaches

When your home has a severe infestation, and you cannot control it through the already mentioned methods, or you have exhausted all the possible solutions, professional help is better.

A professional exterminator can ensure your house is clean from these cockroaches.

Above all,  a professional pest control company can ensure you don’t get re-infestation again for several months.


Will stepping on a cockroach kill it?

Lightly stepping on the insect or swatting it with a newspaper is not the best way to kill a cockroach, as these tiny insects can withstand 900 times their weight.

Therefore, you need to hit very hard to ensure you squish it properly to kill it. Still, there are chances that the cockroach will not always die.

Why should you not squish a cockroach?

The World Health Organization (WHO) also advises against crushing them for hygiene reasons.

It is because cockroaches carry multiple bacteria with them. Bacteria like salmonella can spread severe diseases like typhoid fever.

Additionally, allergies, asthma, intestine issues, etc., are standard.

Above all, squishing a cockroach also creates a mess on the floor, which you will want to avoid until you are comfortable cleaning it.

Can stepping on cockroaches spread eggs?

A scientist in the entomology department at the American Museum of Natural History says crushing cockroaches doesn’t spread eggs. That means it will not lead to more baby cockroaches.

It is because the fertilized eggs are not likely to survive being smashed by your foot or any other material.

Does stomping on a cockroach attract more cockroaches?

There is no proven evidence about stomping, but dead roaches can surely attract more other cockroaches.

Can you stomp on a cockroach?

Stepping on a roach won’t release eggs, and people often stomp on a cockroach. However, stepping on a cockroach doesn’t always kill it due to its strong exoskeleton and the flexibility of a cockroach to hide and run through narrow areas.

Final Words

The first instinct you might get whenever you see a cockroach is to step on it to squish it. However, now, you know that you might need to put more effort into killing cockroaches.

Their stronger exoskeleton makes them withstand the great force of upto 900 times their weight.

But it is also true that it is not hygienic to step on a cockroach and make a mess as they carry many bacteria.

Also, scientists have started to warn about the detrimental health effects crushing these bugs has on human beings.

Therefore, you can try several methods to eliminate cockroaches from the house, such as boric acid, sprays, and online products, rather than just stepping on them.

Apart from all these, if you are facing a heavy roach infestation, you might need professional help like an exterminator to eliminate them.

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