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Why Do Roaches Stay in One Spot?

Cockroach Staying In One Spot

Interestingly, cockroaches are among the fastest insects, with a top speed of 3.5 miles per hour. However, the roaches tend to stop moving and stay frozen in one spot when we look at one wandering around our house. Have you ever wondered why roaches stay in one spot?


The following are the reasons why roaches stay in one spot:

  • Roaches occasionally become immobilized in a hyper-extended posture because of neck lesions.
  • The cockroach may be in its resting state. It is not receiving enough sensory information from its surroundings to perceive a threat.
  • It is shedding its exoskeleton skin.
  • A female cockroach is laying ootheca or giving birth.

Cockroaches stand in a defensive posture for days without moving from their place. This article will explain the several reasons why roaches stand still in one spot.

6 Reasons Why Roaches Stand Still in One Place

Another Cockroach In One Spot

Cockroaches can live anywhere and have done so for millions of years. They can eat almost everything and can survive on very little food.

Additionally, because cockroaches move easily from one place to another, cockroach infestations can happen in any home.

Sometimes, you will come across a roach that appears to be dead or frozen in time. But, when you try to go near it, it will quickly run away and hide from you. So, what is the reason for this odd behavior?

1. Neck Lesion

A Cockroach Seen By A Man

According to research that studied the effects of neck and connective lesions, cockroaches with neck lesions sat hyperextended and did not move around. However, shortly after the recovery, the roaches regained a less overextended posture and started several cycles of slow leg motions.

2. Molting

Molting Cockroach

Before becoming adults, the baby roaches must go through 5 to 8 phases of molting. The cockroach usually takes a standing still position once the desquamation process begins.

3. Lack of an External Stimulus

A Person Who Is About To Hit A Cockroach

Roaches generally move around in response to changes in the light, temperature, or vibration around them. The cockroach learns to enter a resting condition when no stimuli interfere with its activities. Therefore, coming close to the roach will send a stimulus to run away from you.

4. Egg Laying

Cockroaches Laying Eggs

It takes the female cockroach about 30 days to lay eggs after mating. A roach must remain still and upright for hours once the egg-laying process has begun.

5. Protection

Cockroach Staying Still At The Bathroom

When cockroaches remain still for too long, especially when a person enters the room, many believe they are playing possum. This has some truth since moving indicates the whereabouts of predators in the world of insects.

Some people think cockroaches can “telepathically” communicate with one another, probably informing them of an intruder or where to find food. However, this is just a theory that no one can actually confirm.

6. Analysis of the Surroundings

Cockroach Analyzing The Surrounding

Cockroaches use their anal cerci, antennae, and eyes to sense their environment.

They detect olfactory information from their environment using the antennae like a human nose. These assist them in finding food and other roaches.

On the other hand, they use the hairy protrusions on their backs called anal cerci as ears. Roaches have receptors that can hear and feel vibrations, which help them identify potential predators.

Antennae and anal cerci function most effectively when the cockroach is still.

Do Roaches Pretend To Be Dead?

Cockroach Appearing To Be Dead

Sometimes cockroaches act as if they are dead by remaining motionless for a long time. When playing possum, the roaches won’t move a single muscle on their bodies. It is a form of self-defense that might occasionally be unintentional.

Roaches pretend to be dead for the following reasons:

  • Physical harm: Despite popular belief, cockroaches occasionally survive even after being hit with a show. Since their limbs are likely damaged in this position, they remain motionless and act like they have passed away while waiting for new limbs to develop.
  • Effect of insecticides: When cockroaches are in danger, one of their defense mechanisms is to pretend to be dead. For instance, if they swallow insecticide, they will first become paralyzed before dying, appearing dead already.
  • Cold temperature: Cockroaches are cold-blooded creatures, just like all other insects. It means that warm environments are beneficial for roach movement. Their ideal temperature ranges from 77 to 86°F. They will become paralyzed in subfreezing conditions and appear to be dead.

Try touching a cockroach with something light, like a feather, to determine whether it is actually dead. The roach will run away from you if it is not dead. Alternatively, the cockroach is definitely dead if you see it lying on its back.

Common Places for Roaches To Hide

Cockroach In The Kitchen

Cockroaches are undoubtedly disgusting to you. They seem to creep up on you when you go to the bathroom. They are also known to carry germs that can spread sickness. But one of the most terrifying things to think about after seeing a cockroach in your house is that there might be more of them hiding in your home.

If you are trying to get rid of cockroaches from your house, then you must know the common places where they hide.

  • Kitchen appliances: Are you horrified by the idea of roaches hiding in the back of your refrigerator, microwave, or oven? Unfortunately, since the kitchen is warm, moist, and a good spot to collect food scraps, these places are good hiding spots.
  • Cabinets: Insects have no trouble sneaking into cabinets to feast on any food leftovers.
  • Electronics: Have you ever consumed a snack while working on a laptop? Sadly, food crumbs can get stuck between and under your keys. Some roach species can establish a home in your computer because they are small enough to squeeze between the space in the keyboard.
  • Furniture: Sometimes, roaches will make a home on couches, especially if you tend to spill as you watch movies and eat. They can also lay eggs on your couch, which can be worse.
  • Corners: Many cracks and holes in houses make great cockroach hiding spots. These include your baseboards and trim, picture frame backs, and the corners where you’ve allowed recycling to pile up.


Cockroaches are usually busy eating or cleaning their feet. But, if you see a roach standing still in a spot, it is usually because of a lack of external stimuli that forces them to move. If there are no potential threats to the cockroach, it will stand still in one spot until you go near it.

If you have a cockroach infestation in your house, you can contact a pest control professional to get rid of them and prevent cockroach-related illnesses.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Roaches Sleep?

Like any insect or mammal, cockroaches do sleep occasionally. They are nocturnal creatures, so they sleep during the day and prowl your kitchen at night. Roaches usually remain active for a few hours after dark before becoming immobile. This state of relaxation is also referred to as sleeping for cockroaches.

They essentially exist in three states of activity: locomotion, movement of the antenna or limbs but not of the body, and immobility.

Do Roaches Sleep on Their Back?

Cockroaches don’t sleep on their backs or bellies like mammals.  Instead, they go through a period of inactivity during which they don’t interact with their environment. This period is like a relaxation period for the roaches.

How Long Do Roaches Stay in One Place?

Roaches are one of the most resilient creatures in the world. Even in an empty house, they can survive for a month or longer without food. They will die of dehydration after a month and a half if they don’t find any food or water.

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