HomeCockroachCan Cockroaches Drown? Myths and Truth Revealed!

Can Cockroaches Drown? Myths and Truth Revealed!


Tired of dealing with roaches that just won’t go away?

Ever wondered if you could just drown them out?

If you’ve been asking yourself, “Can roaches drown?” you’ve come to the right spot. 

In this complete guide, we’ll take a deep dive into how cockroaches manage to survive, even when submerged in water. 

can cockroach drown

Can Cockroaches Drown?

Yes, they can drown, but it’s not as easy as you’d hope. Cockroaches have developed some pretty clever ways to survive in water. 

Why is it hard to drown roaches? 

Roaches have several key features that make them hard to drown: 

Unique Respiratory System of Roaches

Roaches don’t have lungs like we do. Instead, they have a bunch of tiny tubes called tracheae that help them get oxygen straight to their cells.

When underwater, they can hold their breath by closing these tubes, making it tough for water to get inside and drown them. They can hold on like this for up to 30 minutes! 

RoachesAbility to Hold Their Breath

Besides their special breathing tubes, roaches can also hold their breath for a long time—30 minutes underwater and 40 minutes on land. If a roach falls into water, it traps air inside its body, which helps it float. This gives the roach more time to find a way out of the water. 

Strong Climbing Skills 

If you’ve ever seen a roach scuttle up a wall, you know they’re good climbers. They use this skill to climb out of water, too. Unless you’re holding them underwater, they’ll try to climb their way out. 

But keep in mind, even a roach has its limits. If it’s underwater for too long, or if you manage to keep it submerged, it will eventually drown. They’re tough, but they’re not invincible. 

can cockroach drown

Factors Affecting Cockroach Drowning Time

Several things come into play when figuring out how long a roach can stay underwater before it drowns. 

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How Deep and How Long They’re Underwater?

First off, how deep the water is and how long the roach is underwater matter a lot. If the water is shallow and the roach isn’t underwater for long, it has a better shot at surviving. The deeper the water and the longer it’s submerged, the more likely it will drown. 

Type of Cockroach

Different kinds of roaches are better at dealing with being underwater. For example, American and Oriental roaches are generally better at surviving underwater compared to others. But remember, no type of roach can stay underwater forever. Other factors like water temperature also play a role. 

The Roach’s Health

The better shape a roach is in, the more likely it can survive underwater. On the flip side, if a roach is sick or has been exposed to bug spray, it’s more likely to drown. 

Can Roaches Drown in Hot Water? 

You might wonder if hot water is a surefire way to drown a roach. Well, hot water can indeed kill them, but it’s the heat that does the job, not the water. Roaches can’t handle temperatures over 125 degrees Fahrenheit (about 52 degrees Celsius).

Just splashing hot water on them won’t cut it. For it to work, they need to be fully under the hot water for more than just a few seconds. 

can cockroach drown

Can Cockroaches Swim Underwater?

Have you ever seen a cockroach in bathtub and wondered how it can survive in water?

You may be surprised to learn that roaches can’t really swim, but they do have some tricks up their sleeves for staying afloat.

They can trap air in their bodies by closing tiny breathing holes called spiracles, which lets them float.

They can also kick their legs around to try and get to the edge of the bathtub or any other water container.

But don’t get it twisted; they’re not natural swimmers. They’re just desperate to escape.

How to drown a cockroach?

Drowning roaches in pure water takes long in general because of the surface tension. Water consists of molecules that are drawn to each other. This bond is what makes little bugs or anything on the surface float since the bond can resist lightweight.

To reduce or break the surface tension in the water surface, you will need to mix it with a surfactant. The most efficient way to drown a roach instantly is to add a surfactant like soap or alcohol. Alcohol kill roaches not only by breaking the surface tension, but also by dissolving their protective wax coating and causing them to dehydrate.

To drown a roach instantly, you will need to mix water with a surfactant like soap or alcohol. Those will break the surface tension in water and make the roaches drown.

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How long does it take for a cockroach to drown?

The answer is that it takes 10-30 minutes for roaches to drown in water, but hot water kill cockroaches faster than cold water.

This is because roaches have an open circulatory system that is more vulnerable to heat damage.

Hot water can scald their exoskeleton and dehydrate them more quickly than cold water. Therefore, if you want to drown roaches, you should use hot water for better results.

Normally, roaches can decide to close their spiracles which they use for breathing for some time.

This helps in regulating the amount of oxygen in their body since too much can be deadly for them.

This explains why roaches cannot drown instantly even when completely covered in water.

The ability to close their breathing holes is what helps cockroaches survive underwater. However, most of them can only last for 7-10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, most roaches will yarn for more oxygen and this is when they will open their spiracles.

When they do so, water will rush in and they will drown to death.

can cockroach drown


Do Cockroaches Die in Water? 

Yes, but roaches are tough critters that can live in water for a good while. They won’t drown right away because they can trap air in their bodies to float. But if you keep them under for a long time, they will eventually drown. 

Can roaches breathe underwater?

No, roaches can’t breathe underwater like fish can. They have a unique breathing system, made up of tiny tubes, that allows them to hold their breath for a short time. That’s how they manage to survive underwater for a bit. 

Is it possible to kill roaches by drowning them?

Yes, you can drown roaches, but it’s not as easy as you might think because they can hold their breath. If you keep them underwater long enough, they’ll eventually drown. 

Can You Flush a Cockroach?

You can flush a roach down the toilet to get it out of sight, but that doesn’t mean it’s gone for good. Roaches can hold their breath for about 30 minutes, so there’s a chance it could survive and come back later. 

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How Long Can Cockroaches Survive Without Air? 

Roaches can hold their breath for a pretty long time—about 30 minutes in water and 40 minutes in open air. But they can’t go on forever without air. 


To wrap up, the question “Can roaches drown?” took us on quite the adventure into how these bugs survive. They’ve got special ways to breathe, hold their breath, and even float on water. Now that you know their tricks, you’ve got a better shot at dealing with them. 

If you want to learn more, check out other blogs on Pestweek. We aim to give you all the info you need to tackle any pest problems you’ve got. With the right knowledge, you’re always one step ahead in keeping your home pest-free. 

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