Cockroaches are one of the most annoying pests that will habitually bother you when they are in your home, and because of their nocturnal nature, they would most often wander around your home.
They inconvenience you so much that you are sometimes scared and even forced to ask: do cockroaches sleep or do they wander around always, eating, contaminating foods, and constituting nuisance?
Well, cockroaches do not always wander about our homes. These insect pests, as weird as it may seem, have a circadian rhythm like humans, which controls how they behave.
Though this may not be compared to the five to eight hours of sleep humans often have, they most certainly have hours of inactivity which can also be considered as sleep.
As unbelievable as it may sound, cockroaches actually do sleep. If they do not have this period of inactivity, it would affect their biological process and they may be unable to react to or protect themselves from predators.
The circadian rhythm sometimes called the body’s clock is a cycle of changes the body undergoes through a 24 hours cycle. This natural cycle includes; physical, mental, and behavioral changes.
This circadian rhythm is controlled by a small area of the brain and is typically affected by light and darkness. Most insects like humans have a circadian rhythm and cockroaches are no exception.
Circadian rhythm of cockroaches
Like in most nocturnal insects, cockroaches follow a circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm of cockroaches is an activity cycle of 24 hours that affects their behavior.
Their nocturnal nature is also controlled by this circadian rhythm. This activity is in three states according to Professor Irene Tobler-Borbely; a locomotion period, a period of limb and antennae movement but no locomotion, and a period of immobility.
The period of immobility is when these roaches are inactive – their period of rest. This inactivity usually occurs during the day; one reason why you won’t see them often running around your house in broad daylight. They are however active at night.
At this time, they scavenge for food and eat just about anything in your kitchen and on rare occasions, your fingernails and hair. They are likely to be active for about four hours after dark and thereafter they enter the period of immobility.
Do cockroaches sleep during the day?
Cockroaches have sleep-like rest during the day. At this time, they undergo a state of inactivity which studies have shown to be a period of limb and antennae movement but no locomotion and a period of immobility.
At this time, we can say that these cockroaches are taking a rest or sleeping.
Period of limb and antennae movement – here the cockroaches would be immobile but will only move their limbs and antennae. This period occurs before they sleep and become totally inactive.
Period of immobility – here cockroaches are inactive and are undergoing a sleep-like rest.
You may be wondering why you still see cockroaches wandering about your kitchen during the day since they are supposedly meant to be inactive at that time.
Cockroaches rest during the day but you may see some other species like the Madagascar hissing cockroaches running around or fighting.
This species of cockroaches are often males who fight to meet their mating purpose. Also, these cockroaches may be forced to hunt for food in broad daylight when there is an infestation.
This means that their usual hiding place is full and inconvenient for them to rest.
So if you see roaches running through your home during the day, know it is a sign of heavy cockroach infestation. Endeavor to get rid of them.
Do cockroaches sleep at night?
Naturally, cockroaches are nocturnal in nature and do not sleep at night. That is to say, they are very much active at night and will run through your kitchen scavenging for food, making weird noises, and causing you great inconvenience. You may catch them crawling on your walls in your rooms and sometimes over your body on rare occasions.
However, cockroaches may be forced to sleep at night if there is an influence of artificial light or illumination.
Naturally, light and darkness affect their circadian rhythm which makes them active at night and inactive during the day. If there is an alteration of darkness at night through artificial illumination, their circadian rhythm will be affected and they would be forced to sleep at night. A study was carried out to establish these findings.
Where do cockroaches sleep?
Cockroaches love being in the dark, a confirmation of their nocturnal nature. They are nocturnal insects, they hate the light and would often run away to hide in holes during the day.
They are attracted to dumps and prefer to hide in moist places so you would most often find them in dark moist places.
Cockroaches would sleep in any dark area suitable for them in your house. They can rest under stoves, underneath sinks, in cabinets, in-between cracked walls, in books, furniture, handbags, clothes, curtain folds, behind wall panels.
They can also rest under boxes, inside light switches, in shoes and shoe racks, plumbing areas, garbage areas, etc., and just about any comfortable place that suits their taste.
Cockroaches are capable of flattening their bodies too to fit narrow areas. It makes it easy for them to fit anywhere they choose to hide until it is dark enough for them to come out and find food.
When cockroaches infest your home, they would sleep or hide anywhere as long as it is dark and uninterrupted. This makes their sleeping places numerous and almost unending.
READ MORE: How Long Can Cockroaches Live Without Food?
Can cockroaches sleep in a refrigerator?
Your refrigerator may be one of the best shelters for invading cockroaches to sleep as it has the perfect condition for them – a moist environment.
They could either sleep under your refrigerator or by the refrigerator motor to get warmth. It may seem like the safest place because you would hardly ever spray some insecticide or cockroach killer in such a place, most especially your kitchen.
They tend to make their shelter there as it gives them a safe hideout spot. So yes, cockroaches can sleep in your refrigerator. Ensure you clean up these areas in case of an infestation.
How do cockroaches sleep?
Cockroaches who have a sleep-like rest during their state of inactivity sleep the way they crawl; in a downward motion to keep them prepared for when they would be active to scavenge for food in your kitchen.
They would hide out in dark places which may include your garbage can, to rest so when it is night, they can wander about your house and contaminate your food.
Do cockroaches sleep on their backs?
Cockroaches will not sleep on their backs normally as it will hinder them from being ready to go about their activities or hunt. They only lie on their backs when they are about to die or when they die. You would hardly see a live cockroach lie on its back except in cases where they are about to die.
Assuming you spray an insecticide on infested areas in your home, you would notice these roaches lying on their backs before they die. This is due to the effect of the insecticide on their nervous system and the fact that they have large bodies comprising three segments as well as six long legs. They would die on their backs involuntarily but would not sleep or rest on their backs. However, they do not always die on their backs.
Cockroaches will hardly ever disturb you during the day as they do not like to be seen or disturbed by humans. They prefer to look for food at night when they know you would be sleeping and would hardly disturb them.
They are as private as humans and can be considered the best house pest guests. But these insects are capable of disturbing you at night. They will crawl over your body, your ears, face to feed on the hair on your body, dead skin, or your fingernails.
Knowing that these cockroaches are more active at night will help you to get rid of an infestation in your home. That being said, nighttime is the best time to kill these insects because they would be wandering all over your house.
You can spray insecticides to get rid of them but the best way to prevent them is to keep your house and surroundings clean.