What Does It Mean By Upside Down Cockroach?

When a cockroach is upside down, there can be several reasons for that:

  • When cockroaches die or
  • The cockroach is upside down because of the insecticide that you just used

Therefore, there are multiple reasons why you observe a cockroach resting upside down.

So, let’s find out the majority of reasons and science behind cockroaches’ flip upside down.

What Do You Mean When Cockroaches Are Upside Down?

Roach is one of the most disgusting insects in your home, especially in the kitchen, which causes cockroach infestation.

There are around 4500 different cockroach species, which are found, but luckily only 30 of them are invasive.

However, these invasive cockroach species give you no rest inside your home.

Thanks to the roaches living inside homes for years, it is hard to find any wild species for German cockroaches.

Whether it is about roach infestation or other parasites, you must get rid of them ASAP.

One common thing in roaches is that they always remain belly facing downwards. And due to the center gravity pulls, most of the weight remains on the back.

They scurry the wall by facing downwards to the earth or roam around the home premises by belly facing downwards.

That means it is rare when household pests like cockroaches are upside down.

However, when they are upside down, there could be three outcomes that can be concluded:

  • Either the cockroach is dead, and that’s why it is upside down with legs in the air
  • Due to the insecticide that you have just used to prevent the roaches in your home
  • Or they may be gotten involved with an obstacle and get upside down

In either case, you don’t want any roaches in your home. Therefore, you can call an exterminator or use insecticide to eliminate them.

But before that, let’s dive deep into each condition to know why cockroaches get upside down.

2 Situations Where You Will Find Cockroaches Upside Down

Most likely, in these two situations, you will be able to find a cockroach in upside down position:

1. When They Die

When They Die

When a cockroach is exposed to poison or insecticide, they turn upside down. The insecticide targets the cockroach’s nervous system; once compromised, they will be unable to control their muscles.

And this further creates severe muscle tremors that can flip the cockroach onto its back.

Also, a cockroach has a high center of gravity, and they carry most of their weight on the back; hence they will be pinned down.

So, weakened muscles prevent them from righting themselves until they don’t reach a nearby object to gain leverage.

Depending upon the strength of the poison, most cockroaches may be paralyzed for several hours or days, preventing them cockroach from getting food.

Eventually, due to thirst and lack of nutrients, the cockroach will be unable to move, forage, or defend themselves from the attack of other insects.

It will lead the cockroach to die, and that’s why they remain in the upside-down position when they have died.

2. When You Use Insecticide

When You Use Insecticide

According to the Journal Of Insect Physiology, insecticides can increase ACh in the thorax by 300% in cockroaches. The excess amount of acetylcholine is the reason that causes muscle spasms.

We will use this knowledge for reference in this section.

Neurotoxins are chemicals that affect the nervous system by stimulating the neurons in the body.

When these neurons are stimulated (as these are located in ion channels, which are a protein and regulate the voltage between cells in a cell membrane), they send electrical signals through nerve fiber.

This process releases a wave of neurotransmitters.

And acetylcholine is the most important neurotransmitter.

It plays a vital role in unconscious movements, such as dilating blood vessels, slowing heart rate, stimulating responses to smooth muscles, and inhibiting muscle stimulations.

And when the neurotoxins break down acetylcholine, it multiplies it simultaneously, leading to an excess content.

Thus, the neurotransmitters overstimulate the muscle cells, shaking the cockroach’s entire body.

And the body of the cockroach shakes till it flips upside down.

Are Upside Down Cockroaches Alive?

Are Upside Down Cockroaches Alive

When you see a cockroach upside down, it is most likely assumed that it has died.

But it may not be!

If you can observe the movement with the roach that is upside down, then most probably, it is still alive.

It usually happens when you use an insecticide to kill cockroaches. Most insecticides may claim to kill the cockroaches, but sometimes they are not entirely successful.

In that case, you will find upside-down cockroaches that are still alive.

You can observe slight movement, or their body may still have some action when you pick them up, but it can happen to them due to the paralyzing condition that insecticide causes.

However, this effect gets off their body quickly, depending upon the poison’s strength and the cockroach’s immune system.

It may take from some hours to even a week.

And more likely, the recovery time should be less as, according to Scientific Reports, cockroaches have developed a cross-resistance to the insecticides.  

Also, when they get recover from the poison, they will be able to move their body. And if you dangle an item above the cockroach, they can grab it.

Using that object as leverage, the strong legs of the cockroach will make it able to flip back over.

Why Do Cockroaches Come Out To Die On Their Backs?

As described above, the insecticide causes multiple issues in the nervous system of a cockroach. And once you use the insecticide spray over them, the slow-acting neurotoxins will start to work.

Also, the neurotoxins will not kill or paralyze the cockroach immediately; instead, the poison works slowly in their body.

And once the poison peaks its effect, the cockroach will flip over their backs. And when several colony members are affected by the poison in this way, it may seem like they came out to die on their backs.

But it is not necessary.

Once the insecticide shows the effects on the cockroach, you will observe them resting upside down. In this situation, the cockroach is likely dead and not sleeping in that position for another reason.

Do Dead Cockroaches Attract More Roaches?

Dead Cockroaches Attract More Roaches

Yes, a dead cockroach will attract more roaches.

Therefore, finding dead cockroaches is easy as they attract more roaches.

Dead roaches attract more roaches due to a chemical release (Oleic acid) when cockroaches die.

The smell makes the living roaches smell this odor from a long distance, and once they detect the smell, they look for the dead roaches.

And is how when cockroaches die then; they attract more members; therefore, having a dead cockroach can lead to an infestation.

On the other hand, cockroaches that live outdoors rarely die due to old age, as they are eaten mainly by wild predators like red-cockaded woodpeckers and lizards.

Therefore, you need to get rid of dead roaches as soon as possible to avoid issues due to them.

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