Can Cockroaches Climb?

Cockroaches are considered one of the most undesirable household pests, mostly because they are associated with filth and uncleanliness.

While having cockroaches on your floor is bad enough, wouldn’t it be even worse if they were climbing up your walls or even on your ceiling?

So what’s the real deal; can cockroaches climb or not?

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A Look At Cockroach Claws

Close up of cockroach, with claws visible
Cockroach, with claws visible. Click for close up.

Yes, cockroaches absolutely can climb!

The reason for this is that cockroach “feet” are actually small claws (pictured to the right) which are used to grip onto any tiny imperfection in a vertical surface. This allows them to function almost like a mountain climber with 6 picks for gripping the side of a cliff.

In a more technical sense, the hook parts of the claw are called ungues.

Surfaces Cockroaches Can Climb

Unfortunately for us humans, most materials used in the construction of homes such as wood, painted drywall, ceramic, brick, and stone offer plenty of gripping surface for a cockroach to be able to climb with. In most cases, the roach can continue onward even onto a completely inverted surface such as a ceiling and walk upside down.

Surfaces Cockroaches Cannot Climb

There are, however, several surfaces in your home which may prove to be too smooth for the cockroach to be able to get any grip. These include glass, porcelain (think toilets and bathtubs), smooth metal surfaces, or smooth granite or marble counter tops.

Some Cockroaches Are Better Climbers Than Others

Oriental cockroaches, which are less common than either the American or German variety, are significantly less adept as climbing. The structure of their claws is different, and this severely limits the degree to which they can climb.

Rapid Inversion

One of the most fascinating aspects of a roaches’ climbing ability is a process called rapid inversion.

In a move also performed by geckos, a cockroach will run rapidly towards a ledge until most of its body is clear off the edge. At the last moment, it will grip onto the edge with its rear claws and use the momentum of its body to swing around until it can re-grip on the underside of the surface.

Watch the video below to see this incredible maneuver in both real time and slow motion.

Cockroach Traps That Utilize Climbing

The fact that cockroaches are capable of climbing some surfaces, but not others, makes for some interesting possibilities for creating cockroach traps.

One of the simplest methods for trapping cockroaches is to place some soft of bait such as sugar or non-citrus fruit juice at the bottom of a container. Coffee cans work well for this. If you simply coat the inside of the container with a slippery substance such as petroleum jelly or cooking oil, the cockroach will climb in after smelling the bait, but will be unable to climb back out. This traps the roach inside the container for you to dispose of.

Non Toxic Spray

Non-Toxic Spray

 

This non-toxic spray kills larvae, eggs, and adult insects by breaking down their exoskeleton. It is safe to spray around the home and works only on the insects. Feel good about spraying indoors around pets, plants and children.
All Natural Non Toxic Insect Killer Spray by Killer Green

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