Spotting a cockroach is never good news. Yet it is a common sight in most households. Sometimes you may not even realize that there is a cockroach infestation in your home unless you spot one scampering away on the sly.
The first thought after this is naturally how to get rid of these nuisances. These are the filthiest of insects and never build their numbers in a house unless there is enough nourishment for them. And cockroaches are infamous for eating and drinking even sewage to survive.
As a result of their frequent visits to dirty places for food and water, they also become carriers of various germs and bacteria which are dropped onto places such as kitchens which then end up harming our health.
Therefore, it is normal that humans are cockroaches’ natural predators. There are a few ways in which you can kill these insects. Insecticide, baking soda, bleach and even stepping on a cockroach and squishing it by foot. But should you resort to the very last mentioned methods of killing cockroaches? Let us find out.
Can You Kill a Cockroach By Stepping On It?
Yes, you can. By stepping on it hard enough you will have smashed the cockroach, killing it immediately. When you are stepping on a cockroach, you are essentially breaking its exoskeleton and crushing its internal organs.
Although cockroaches are resilient creatures, they will not be able to survive a direct assault like this. Especially if you step on it using your heel and press hard. It will get squished to death in mere seconds.
What Happens When You Step on a Cockroach?
Depending on how hard you stomp your foot while stepping on cockroaches, several things can happen. The most common scenario is the insect exploding and the juices from inside the body of the cockroach being splattered across the surface.
If however, you exert lesser force while stepping on it, it might just break the exoskeleton leaving the roach to struggle until it dies. But remember that the exoskeletons of cockroaches are pretty tough and can take a surprising amount of weight on them.
In a scientific experiment and research conducted, scientists actually tried to kill and squish a cockroach by stepping on them and the result showed that these insects have a highly flexible exoskeleton that will allow them to escape from the tiniest gap between the trim of your feet and the ground.
No wonder, scientists believe cockroaches are capable of surviving a nuclear holocaust.
Since these insects are very agile and nimble, you need to be extremely fast to catch the entire cockroach, or else it may escape if you only manage to get hold of a limb or even it’s head.
And yes, cockroaches can survive for up to a week without a head. Also, it can regrow its limbs so unless you crush it completely, your effort will have been for nothing.
Why Shouldn’t You Step on a Cockroach?
If you are planning to stomp on a cockroach as a means to eliminate them, then you should reconsider the decision as these are the things that will happen if you do:-
Release of a Foul Odor
Firstly, when you squish a cockroach, the insides are crushed and the gut fluids spill out from the sides. This has an extremely foul odor that can stay in the room for hours.
You should not especially do this in a closed-off room with poor ventilation as this smell will linger for a long time even after the carcass has been discarded.
It will Create a Dirty Mess
If you are using a blunt object to flatten the cockroach, its exoskeleton will not break but the pressure will make the insides spill out from the sides. The stuff that comes out includes gut juices, enzymes, and excreta of the insect and they are all mixed together with a whitish-colored fluid called hemolymph which is the cockroach version of blood.
Also, the cockroach’s excrement is filled with harmful bacteria that can cause illnesses if the spot is not cleaned properly. Even after a thorough cleaning, a stain might be noticed on the floor or the wall in the form of a discolored spot.
Health Risks Involved
This is the most important reason why you should not kill a cockroach by squishing them. When the cockroach gut spill out, a lot of allergens are also exposed to the air which can cause respiratory malfunction like allergic reactions and asthma attacks.
You may not even know that you are allergic to a particular substance before you get a reaction and by then it might be too late. People who have these allergies should be especially careful about not exposing themselves to cockroach gut juices as in some cases they may get into life-threatening situations.
Similarly, if the hemolymph or the whitish fluid comes in contact with your bare skin, it may cause rashes and infections, and even severe allergic reactions.
Overall, squishing a cockroach to death does little for the bigger problem of a roach infestation as it is impossible to kill many cockroaches using this method. There are far too many downsides involved for the method to be considered viable.
Better and more foolproof ways to eliminate cockroaches exist, that involve less cruelty and mess. Baits, traps, baking soda, and boric acid are some of these and the best thing about these alternatives is that they may solve the problem of a roach infestation permanently. While stepping and killing cockroaches will only expend your energy and create a mess.
Is it Safe to Step on a Cockroach?
No, it is not safe. While the act itself will not cause any harm to you but the aftereffects might.
First of all, there is the matter of allergies and infections that might occur due to the squished cockroach. Furthermore, if you step on it with a shoe and do not wash it immediately after killing the insect, the shoe will end up being the carrier for germs when you wear it to other places.
Also, it is hardly possible that you will be able to kill a cockroach with just one try and may have to actually run after it. If you are not careful, you may end up hurting your foot in the process.
It is natural to want to kill a cockroach the moment you spot it. But you have to keep in mind that this will never solve the problem of a possible roach infestation or do anything to the rest of the cockroaches hidden in some dark corner.
Be smart about it and adapt less cruel or messy ways to get rid of cockroaches. There are exclusive insecticide sprays that promise to take care of these insects and there are also smells such as peppermint, bay leaf, rosemary, cinnamon etc, which keep the cockroaches away so do give these a try.