Are Cockroaches Intelligent? How Do They Respond To Stimulus?

The common perception of cockroaches is that they are disgusting, brown creatures. They run around the room in pursuit of finding shelter and food, and lay their eggs to spawn more roaches.

Their behavior does not particularly signify intelligence. They aren’t able to outsmart traps.

These bugs don’t seem like the most loyal bunch of insects. Yet, the perception of them being a dumb species remains. Their way of adapting to the environment makes us a question: are cockroaches intelligent?

One fact about cockroaches that remains consistent is that they are highly evolved.

These creatures know how it’s done and adapt to changes. This allows them to communicate, learn, and even make memory-based decisions.

The interesting bit is that cockroaches do show subtle signs of intelligence. In fact, they’re reading this article right now! Ok, maybe not. But roaches definitely possess an intelligence of a sort.

Are Cockroaches Intelligent?

Many researchers have found that cockroaches are highly capable insects. They can retain various lessons they have learned over time.

These particularly include adaptations in their behavior. A cockroach’s intelligence depends on its (sorta) two brains’ complex structure. This explains why cockroaches can survive up to a week without a head!

Do cockroaches have more than one brain?

Rumors suggest that cockroaches have more than two brain-like structures. Interestingly, one of these brains is in their head while the other resides in their butt. Weird, isn’t it?

What can we expect from an insect that manages to disgust and scare humans?

Aside from having two brain-like complexes, there is evolutionary programming involved with these deep-brown creatures. They are designed to confuse humans. This is why having two brains is practically true but technically false.

We understand that the contradiction of these statements is making you wish that you had more than one brain.

But the truth is that roaches have only one traditional brain.

The second brain is not in a cockroach’s butt. It takes up the form of nerve clusters that perform many functions. These nerve clusters are not a brain. But they are very useful nerves that add to a cockroach’s intelligence.

These nerve clusters are not a brain. But they are very useful nerves that add to a cockroach’s intelligence.

To simplify it, cockroaches don’t have two separate brains. Scientifically, their nerve clusters act as a sort of second brain. This is due to their ability to perform elaborate body functions.

These clusters are truly magical. And this is why cockroaches can even continue to live without their head.

They can give enough direction and command to continue with their daily routine… even without carrying a head on its shoulder.

The sight of a headless roach roaming around is frightening and will make you question too many things. Additionally, this trait makes it seem like cockroaches are an invincible species. They are likely to survive even if they get their head squished.

However, don’t worry and remember that you’re in control!

Do Roaches have an IQ?

So far, you have only considered IQ in humans. Believe it or not, cockroaches also have an intelligence quotient.

While it is still unknown due to lack of research, we are fully aware that these deep brown monsters carry a certain intelligence level.

As hard as it is to hear, cockroaches are some of the most intelligent insects within the category.

A cockroach brain is considered basic, like other insect brains. It’s no mystery that while these insects are smart, they don’t process consciousness or thoughts as humans do. Still, these insects can learn, maintain memory, and judge.

Yes, you heard it right! These cockroaches can judge their surroundings better than most insects.

These highly adaptative insects have learned to increase their chances of survival. They do this by detecting danger and adopting coping mechanisms to avoid it.

These highly adaptative insects have learned to increase their chances of survival. They do this by detecting danger and adopting coping mechanisms to avoid it.

Even though these insects are fairly smart, let’s not overestimate their intelligence. It does not come near to the intelligence of various animals such as parrots, dolphins, and chimpanzees.

You rarely find a family of cockroaches solving a tricky puzzle or complex problem. However, they are not stupid. For example, they know to stay away from light, and can work around it.

How capable are cockroaches?

The theory states that a cockroach’s intelligence is based on visual processing. As well as the main part of their brain. With this, cockroaches perform basic tasks while using their utmost intelligence.

These creatures can perform many functions that could be considered signs of intelligence.

These include:

1. They can memorize scents

Even as humans, let’s admit that memorizing scents shows intuitiveness and intelligence. Well, cockroaches excel at this skill. Scent plays an integral role in a cockroach’s day-to-day life.

Therefore, it opts for various chemical scents to lay trail markers or communicate. The smell is closely associated with memory in cockroaches.

Therefore, through their sense of smell, cockroaches can detect:

  • When other cockroaches have recommended shelter or food
  • The whereabouts of other cockroaches
  • A dead cockroach and the cause of death (they know to avoid the circumstances)
  • An area that is full of predators, as shown by other cockroaches

All in all, cockroaches are smart enough to detect danger through their sense of smell. And they take advantage of this by avoiding it at all costs.

2. They learn from their mistakes

The research was specifically conducted to gauge a cockroach’s ability to learn. The common norm suggests that a peppermint scent deters cockroaches.

There was a study where researchers were able to teach cockroaches to ignore their instincts. They also associate the peppermint scent with food.

This shows that cockroaches aren’t just mindless creatures who continue their previous learnings. On the contrary, they can implement their intelligence by learning from their mistakes and can revise the information they initially received.

Another aspect of this study was that researchers taught cockroaches to avoid the scent of vanilla. Which they typically enjoy while rejecting peppermint.

This proves the fact that cockroaches can make judgments.

Scientists were making them go against their core instincts. But cockroaches could base this information on experiences out in the wild.

Conclusion: Cockroaches live smart lives!

Cockroaches are one of the most intelligent insects, but their intelligence is unlike that of mammal species.

They have certain characteristics which make them intuitive and intelligent. These include the ability to remember scents and learn from mistakes and adapt to their environment.