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How Do Cockroaches Communicate?

Need to get rid of cockroaches? Read on to learn the answers to all of your important questions. Need help? Call our professionals today to get started.

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Are Cockroaches Social Insects?

Many of the bugs we think about inhabiting the insect world are considered social insects. Insects like ants, bees and termites live in colonies where they have unambiguously defined roles within their colonies such as protecting the nest, or foraging for food. Though cockroaches do not live in colonies, they are considered social insects who live and forage in groups. Some cockroach species are considered gregarious, meaning they congregate and forage together, and some have even displayed parental care. As social insects, how do cockroaches communicate with one another?  

How Do Cockroaches Communicate?

Many insect species around the world communicate through the use of pheromones, specifically those pheromones employed to attract males to females. Cockroaches have been known to emit these pheromones, but are also known to emit other pheromones as well. Since the 1970s, scientists have believed that specific chemicals called “aggregation pheromones” are emitted by both sexes of cockroach to encourage them to stick together. 

Recently, scientists have discovered that certain bacteria that live in the gut of cockroaches are eliminated from each bug along with their feces. Both the gut bacteria and feces emit odors which attract fellow roaches. These same researchers noticed that when this specific bacteria is missing from the gut microbiome, cockroaches seem to choose to spend their time alone. Through the use of this intricate and delicate form of communication, cockroaches are able to collectively decide which food sources are of highest value and which food sources to ignore. 

Additionally, researchers believe that it is possible that the smell of certain gut bacteria help cockroaches to identify members of their group and root out strangers. Roaches have a wide range of bacteria in their microbiomes which are determined by different factors in their environment. It is hypothesized that young cockroaches may be able to tell the difference between an area where members of their cockroach group gather and where other unknown, or even hostile, cockroaches congregate due to the familiarity or foreignness of certain poop smells. 

While not conclusive as of yet, this information could prove to be useful in controlling certain cockroach species in the future. For now, rely on expert pest services that have years of experience and knowhow in getting rid of cockroach populations today.

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The creator of this review received compensation by RMICPA, LLC on behalf of Terminix®. This review is the opinion of its creator and its claims are not endorsed or evaluated by RMICPA, LLC.

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