Why Do Roaches Die On Their Back? | Details Here

Roaches are common in every home. Considering their natural hunger for food crumbs, garbage, and feces, it becomes almost inevitable to spot bugs scurrying around the house. 

Equally familiar (and satisfying) is smacking a roach and ridding your home of one less pest. 

But have you ever wondered why a dying cockroach always flips on its back during its last moments?

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Read on to find out the reason for this peculiar behavior.

Why Do Cockroaches Die On Their Backs?

Roaches, unlike other pests, are top-heavy. This means that they have more internal organs lining the top of their bodies than their bellies. They also have wings and can fly up to a certain limit.

Having rounded and oily backs aid them in squeezing through narrow crevices, quickly hiding within small cracks and holding most of their vitals.

Their complex, bulky structures are supported by six little legs, leading to uneven weight distribution, thus leading to a high center of gravity. 

That’s right. Roaches carry a ton of weight on their backs.

Consequently, when a roach misjudges its escape strategy and falls victim to human cruelty, its asymmetrical center of gravity pulls its right back to the ground.

Further, its heavy back and underdeveloped muscles prevent it from standing straight. 

And thus, all cockroaches die flailing their arms comically, especially on frictionless surfaces, with their feet in the air and backs on the floor.

How Do Cockroaches Die in Nature?

So, does this phenomenon always hold? Do roaches automatically flip as they near their deaths?

The answer is no. 

In most cases, roaches are unsuited for maneuvering in human habitats beautified by polished marble floors.

why do roaches die on their back
Dead Cockroach

In the wild, they are used to grappling with rough surfaces, including sticks, leaves, rocks, and vegetable debris. 

Thus when a roach mistakenly slips on its back, it may have initial trouble readjusting itself without the aid of debris to grab hold of.

But they almost always stand upright after a slight struggle, continuing their routine unfettered. 

However, the equation changes when the question of life and death arises. Unlike typical situations of lousy luck, roaches don’t always meet their end on their back. 

Roaches in the wild almost always perish with their stance intact: their feet on the ground.

That’s because when hunted by their predators, cockroaches do not get time to collapse and are eaten whole without suffering the arduous process of inverted struggle.

It is only a grievous injury that makes them flip helplessly and spend their last moments in disoriented agony.   

Similarly, a roach that has lived it’s due and makes its way to old age peacefully embraces death. It simply collapses upright and breathes its last. 

So, contrary to popular belief that roaches fall victim to the last-minute magnetic field or try to cope with their death with a belly flop, the simple reason is pure physics of structure and nothing else. 

Does Insecticide Also Flip Cockroaches?

A roach snuffed out by insecticide is far from a robust and healthy insect. Insecticides are rich in heavy chemicals which fatally wound a bug, rendering it weak and helpless. 

So, while healthy roaches are strong enough to right themselves after they are forced onto their backs, an injured bug loses its ability to fend for itself.

Add the explosive response to potent insecticides and foggers to the mix, and you will likely spot it dead on its back. 

Final Words

In conclusion, roaches are just another biological product and have a structure well suited for vertical movement. You will unlikely ever find a regular, healthy roach on its back.

Only injury and death make them flip for reasons beyond their control. 

So next time you see a roach lying on its back in your home, understand he is either dead or immobile due to injury.

So get a broom and get read of it immediately!

We hope you have a roach-free home soon.

Photo of author


Daniel White
I'm Daniel White, and I live in Jacksonville, Florida. The warm and humid climate of Florida gives an ideal habitat for many different kinds of pests. So, if I had to live in Florida, I had to learn how to deal with these pests. Now, I have 7 years of experience in Pest Control.

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