Cockroaches are prone to evoking feelings of fear and disgust within us. Thus, our body naturally comes up with various coping mechanisms to deal with those feelings at the sight of these deep brown, spikey-legged creatures.
One of these coping mechanisms is to trap them in a jar, hoping they’ll suffocate to death. This leads to the question: how long can a cockroach live in a jar?
- Cockroaches can hold their breath for up to 45 minutes
- A cockroach can survive in an air-tight container or jar for up to 3-5 days
- It may eventually suffocate after numerous attempts at escaping
This clarifies one thing: your wish to kill a cockroach by trapping it in a jar will eventually come true.
However, you’ll have to be patient to get the required results. Until then, you’ll see the cockroaches slamming into the jar’s walls. They are attempting to break free from their glass jail.
How Long Can a Cockroach Live in a Jar?
Before we get into further details regarding the survival rate of cockroaches trapped in jars, let’s look into the connection between cockroaches and suffocation.
Let’s be clear: cockroaches need oxygen to survive. If they are cut off from the source of oxygen, they’ll die eventually. A suffocating environment ensures that they will eventually reach their demise.
Although cockroaches are equipped to hold their breath for 45 minutes, there’s a time limit to this capability. They cannot expand to an indefinite period. Additionally, cockroaches aren’t able to breathe other gases individually.
This leads ultimately to their death.
Let’s be clear: cockroaches need oxygen to survive. If they are cut off from the source of oxygen, they’ll die eventually.
Now that we’ve proven how essential breathing air is for a cockroach, it is also important to note that these insects are highly-evolved, incredibly hardy by nature, and superbly well-adapted to our environment.
This means that they’re able to survive relatively long periods without air. A cockroach trapped in a jar is likely to survive up to 3 to 5 days, while a human being would barely last a few minutes!
Why can cockroaches survive longer without air than humans?
Cockroaches may seem like an average insect that invades your home and disrupts your mental peace. But, it has a unique respiratory system. This aids in making them inhale oxygen more efficiently.
Moreover, their body mass and size reflect that they need a small amount of air to survive. Their talent of holding their breath yet continuing to function for 45 minutes is a powerful advantage.
How can a cockroach survive in a jar?
So far, we’ve understood that cockroaches can survive for a while without air. Let’s look further into this. Cockroaches can go through prolonged periods with a limited air supply. This is due to their respiratory system.
These insects have widely different systems and organs than humans. Therefore, unlike humans, cockroaches don’t possess lungs. Instead, they inhale air through various respiratory openings within their bodies, also known as stigmata. Interestingly, adult cockroaches have over 10 pairs of stigmata.
Stigmata are generally located in different parts of the cockroach’s body. Up to 8 of these pairs are located on their lower stomachs, while the remaining 2 are in their thoracic cavity. The stigmata become the route to various external openings, also known as spiracles.
Spiracles take up the job of moving oxygen to the trachea. A cockroach’s trachea has tiny expansions in the form of branches known as tracheoles. These branches play the role of supplying oxygen to the bug’s body tissues.
They have a fairly complex respiratory system
As you can see, the bodily system of a cockroach is fairly complex. These functions combine and aid cockroaches in living without oxygen for up to 5 days. The respiratory function of this insect works through tergo-sternal muscles. These muscles are located between the tergal plates and the sternal.
Thus, to help with inhalation, these muscles relax. After, it decrease the pressure that remains within the cockroach’s body cavity.
Lower pressure leads the spiracles in the lower part of the abdomen to close up. Those remaining in the thorax are expanded open. Oxygen makes its way to the tracheoles through the thoracic spiracles. The tracheal tube as its main compass. Once it reaches its destination, the tracheolar fluid offers oxygen to the cockroach’s body tissues.
When a cockroach is exhaling, the tergo-sternal muscles tense up. Then it raise the pressure inside the cockroach’s body cavity. This high pressure causes the thoracic spiracles to close up while the ones in the abdomen open up. This is to release carbon dioxide from the body.
The overall process reflects an inhalation of oxygen and an exhalation of carbon dioxide. That is where the commonality between humans and cockroaches ends.
How can a cockroach hold its breath while it’s in a jar?
A cockroach’s respiratory system is fairly effective as it can supply oxygen to the cells rather than the lungs. Lungs are absent among these insects.
This effective system allows cockroaches to hold their breath for prolonged periods. What could be a bigger need than when it’s trapped in a jar?
Cockroaches shut their spiracles while holding their breath. Thus, preventing oxygen from entering their body. One of the prime reasons for this is to keep excess oxygen out of their fragile systems because it can be harmful.
Moreover, these creatures usually hold their breath to build up carbon dioxide in their bodies before expelling it.
Conclusion: they’re strong but not invincible!
It’s definitely creepy that cockroaches can hold their breath and control it in certain situations.
It is important to remember that if you’ve managed to trap one of these in an air-tight jar, you’ll probably see it dead within 3-5 days. During this time, ensure its sneaky personality doesn’t let it find an exit space.
Cockroaches can survive suffocation. Although it is temporary, they have evolved in a way that allows them to survive in various damaging situations.
These creatures are also able to survive starvation through discontinuous breathing!
Therefore, if you’re looking to kill one of these, spare yourself the pain of waiting and go the traditional route. Crush it with a shoe or grab an insecticide spray. After all, you wouldn’t want to ruin a perfectly good jar!