Can Cockroaches Survive in Water? 

Cockroaches are one of the creepy nocturnes that invade our homes. This crawlies give us a scare sometimes. Imagine minding your business, and one of these creepy insects crawls or runs through your home or even finds itself stuck in a bowl of water.

They are quite annoying pests, and they can be harmful to our health. But can cockroaches survive in water? Cockroaches are nocturnal creatures that can survive in water for at least 40 minutes.

Some cockroach species need water to survive in moisture longer. Interestingly, roaches can hold their breath for a while. Here’s what you should know about cockroaches surviving in water.

How long can cockroaches live in general?

Cockroaches are weird and interesting creatures, and if DIY solutions or pesticides do not kill them, they can live for a long time. And by long, I mean approximately one year. Though each cockroach species has its lifespan, they live for one year on average.

Their lifespan is usually 100 days for German cockroaches, while American cockroaches will live for a year or at least 700 days. You should know that cockroaches’ lifespan depends on a couple of factors. Firstly their environment, the availability of food and water.

When it comes to temperature, cockroaches can adapt to any temperature. Their bodies automatically exhibit the temperature of their surroundings. When it is warm, their body becomes active, and when it is cold, cockroaches would be inactive, decreasing their body activity.

Since some cockroaches need moisture to survive, most of them prefer to live in wet places where there’s moisture. If they are in your homes, they will choose to live close to your fridge, drainage, or any other place they can easily find water.

READ MORE: How Long Can Cockroaches Live Without Food?

Can cockroaches live in water? 

can cockroaches survive in water

Are you wondering if cockroaches can live in water? The truth is, some species of cockroaches need moisture to survive. They depend on water to live longer. So they almost always live around a water source.

Without water, they can only live for a few days. But regardless of their heavy dependence on water, not all cockroaches can live underwater. The ones who can don’t live for more than a few minutes.

Though not all cockroaches need water to survive, some can live in water for at least a few minutes before they die or drown. So cockroaches can live in water. They are capable of sustaining and submerging for about 40 minutes. If they stay longer, they can die.

Can cockroaches survive in water?

Many cockroaches prefer living in damp or moist areas since they depend on moisture. Sadly, not all cockroaches have the ability to sustain in water for a long time. Can cockroaches survive in water? The answer is yes. But the question is, for how long?

Cockroaches are unique sets of pests with a respiratory hack that allows them to survive in water. In fact, roaches have a spiracle respiratory system. With this interesting ability, they can stay in water for close to an hour. 

They can sustain for more than 30 minutes when they are afloat before they die or drown. Cockroaches, like other insects, breathe through the holes on the sides of their bodies. These holes are called spiracles. It helps them hold their breath for a while.

So when in water, they can sustain themselves for a while, and if they’re able to crawl out in record time, they can escape from drowning in water. Interestingly, cockroaches are smart to the point of playing dead.

This is one peculiar feature that they have. Since they are nocturnal creatures, they hibernate or play dead during the day. This is a form of sleep or rest for these insects. So when they’re stuck in water, cockroaches can also play dead.

This technique also helps them to survive without air. It will sustain them until they can scurry to safety.

READ MORE: What Attracts Cockroaches?

Species of cockroaches and how long they can survive in water.

Several species of cockroaches can survive in water. However, some species survive longer than others. In the world, over 4000 species of cockroaches exist, but the very common ones we come across in our homes, basement, or sewage are the ones we’ll talk about here.

German cockroaches.

German cockroaches are typically brown-colored. They are the most common cockroaches that readily infest your home, and they have the highest reproductive rate compared to other species. Interestingly, these insects can survive in water.

German cockroaches, unlike other cockroaches, can submerge in water for at least 15 minutes. Generally, roaches are known to hold their breath for half an hour or more. They hold their breath to help them regulate their loss of water. Apart from this ability, the German cockroach can stay underwater.

However, this is only possible if the water is at a cold temperature. If the water is warm, the German cockroach will die quickly. So if you’re thinking of getting rid of these pests in your home, or you caught a few stuck in a bowl of water, the best way to get rid of German roaches is to make the water warm or hot.

But if you’re unable to, you can add more water and wait for about 20 minutes. The German cockroach might not last longer than that in water.

American cockroaches.

American cockroaches are the largest species of common roaches. It is often called the waterbug because it depends mainly on water to survive. Unlike other species, the American cockroach is large in size and has the most extended life cycle, about 700 days.

It is reddish-brown in color and about 4cm in length. Interestingly, the American cockroach is one of the fastest running insect species and can run quite quickly regardless of its size. But can it survive in water?

The American cockroach can survive in water for at least 30 minutes. Like other roaches, it can submerge in water and hold its breath for a while. In fact, if it gets caught in your drain pipe, the American cockroach can easily climb out since it runs pretty fast.

The American cockroach loves sewer systems. They are almost always found in wet areas. One reason why they are colloquially called waterbugs. The American cockroach can submerge underwater for half an hour and about 40 minutes if afloat in water. However, if this roach stays longer, it might drown.

Oriental cockroaches.

can roaches survive in water

Like the American cockroach, the oriental cockroach is another larger cockroach species that prefer to live in damp areas.

They have shiny black skin and are about 25 mm in length. Oriental cockroaches can also survive in water for about half an hour. They love to live in sewer systems and hold their breath to help them float on water for a few minutes. While they hold their breath, they scurry to safety.

Can cockroaches survive in hot water? 

Cockroaches can survive in cold water. But in warm or hot water, not so much. They cannot survive if submerged in hot water. Hot water can kill roaches. This is because they do not do well with heat.

Cockroaches do not do well with temperatures above 125 degrees Fahrenheit, especially when this temperature is in direct contact with them. So if you were to pour a bowl of boiled water on a cockroach, the cockroach wouldn’t be able to survive, and it would die.

READ MORE: Natural Ways To Get Rid of Waterbugs.

Can cockroaches survive in cold water?

Cockroaches can survive in cold water. In fact, Oriental cockroaches live in wet areas and do well with water. So if you were wondering, know that they can stay in cold water. Coldwater can only harm these pests if the temperature is below freezing point.

German cockroaches can survive in cold water for a bit when submerged. American cockroaches can also survive. The American cockroach will take about 30 minutes before it might run out of oxygen. So cockroaches can survive in cold water.

Can cockroaches survive in water pipes? 

Cockroaches depend on food, moisture, and shelter to survive. Some species even prefer living in wet areas, and drain pipes can give them what they desire. Cockroaches like the American cockroach and oriental cockroach can live in drain pipes.

These drains provide them with a sustainable source of food and water. Since they are capable of climbing, they can easily climb out of these pipes and crawl back in. If you want to get rid of them from your drain pipes, you can try using hot water.

You should also know it would take submerging them in hot water to get rid of them. The best way is to use pest control.

Can cockroaches swim in water?

Cockroaches are very adaptable creatures, and they very well know how to get out of a perceived threat or danger. Cockroaches are bad swimmers, but they can swim in the water. However, their method of swimming isn’t what you would easily describe as swimming. A better term to use would be called floating.

Cockroaches can float in water. Due to their ability to hold their breath for a while, they float seamlessly and often find a way to crawl to safety. Cockroaches are very light and because of the anatomy of their bodies.

They can not exactly swim, but they can float. This is because they tend to adapt and survive. Swimming is not a trait cockroaches possess. They only swim when they have to to keep themselves from drowning.

The organ for breathing in insects called spiracles is located along the cockroach’s abdomen. The spiracles of the cockroach are closed when they hold their breath. Since they are closed, it gives the cockroach a lot of time to survive on the water even though they are fully submerged in the water. Cockroaches can quickly scurry or scramble to safety if they are in your drainage.

Can cockroaches breathe in water? 

There is one peculiar thing about cockroaches. They do not breathe through their mouths. Instead, they breathe through holes. Cockroaches possess holes on their sides. These holes or openings are located on their thorax.

These holes, often called spiracles, let oxygen enter their bodies. The oxygen that enters then travels through a system of trachea tubes and is distributed to all the parts of the roach’s body.

When cockroaches are submerged or floating in the water, they do not breathe. Instead, they hold their breath for a while. They do so using their full-body lungs. For some, they can do it for half an hour or more.

Cockroaches like the German cockroach can stay submerged for about 15 minutes, while the American cockroach can last longer, say 30 to 40 minutes. So cockroaches cannot breathe in water. However, they can easily bob their bodies up for oxygen when they float.

Can cockroaches drown?.

Though cockroaches are seen as bad swimmers, their chances of drowning are slim since they can hold their breath for a while when submerged in water. They can survive for about an hour while holding their breath.

This helps them to float and even find their way to safety. Roaches like the German cockroach can submerge in cold water for 15 minutes but will die quickly in warm water. American cockroaches can also survive in water and can crawl out if possible.

They hold their breath in water so they can find means of escape. In fact, cockroaches can bob up the surface to get oxygen. But if they are fully submerged in water, they can only live for 30 minutes before they drown.

So if these cockroaches invade your home and you find them in your water closet or even your sink, they can survive for about a few minutes. Cockroaches like the American cockroach can even crawl out if there’s away.

But if it stays longer in water, say a pretty big bowl of hot water, it can drown after a while. Cockroaches do not do well in water with temperatures above 212 degrees Fahrenheit.


Cockroaches are truly annoying creatures and probably one of the most die-hard types. They can adapt to their environment pretty easily, eat just about anything, survive in water, and even play dead to survive. The best way to get rid of cockroaches is to either consult a pest control team or use insect-killing sprays to get rid of them.


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