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How Hard Can Cockroaches Bite?

June 13, 2016

Have you ever been bitten by a cockroach?

While it’s not like taking a gnashing from a saltwater croc or hippopotamus, they’re the proverbial jaws of death amongst household pests. In other words, it hurts.

cockroaches bug bites pests

The relatively recent discovery of the power of a cockroach bite just adds to the list of incredible traits they possess: the ability to live without a head, surviving submerged in water for 40 minutes, and can move up to three miles per hour, to name a few.

Just how hard do their iron jaws clamp down?

Cockroaches, through ‘turbocharging’ their jaws, can bite with a force 50 times greater than their weight. To put that in perspective, that’s five times more powerful than a human bite (relative to their size), or a 150lb human biting with the strength equivalent of more than 7,500lbs!

These bug bites pack such a punishing blow due to a combination of slow and fast twitch muscles that build up strength, adding serious snarl to their mandibles. Cockroaches, who predate dinosaurs, developed these jaws of destruction in order to rampage through tough materials when burrowing. The twitch mechanism is only enabled when the need calls for it – either through the aforementioned tunneling, or as a defensive ability.

The intimidating chomp of cockroaches was found in a study by a hodgepodge of scientists from the University of Cambridge, England, Friedrich Schiller University, and the University of Stuttgart, both located in Germany. Their findings were published in the journal Public Library of Science (PLOS) One.

It was the first study to measure the biting power of ordinary insects.

Researchers measured the force of the small household pests’ jaws by sedating the cockroaches, and then securing them onto their backs in guillotine-like fashion. Securing their heads in place, the scientists used dental cement to glue the pests’ noggins to the aluminum holder. Immobilized and dazed from sedation, the researchers left them there to do the one thing they could: bite to their heart’s content.

They ended up recording 300 cockroach bites spread amongst 10 cockroaches – though two were lost after their teeth broke off from intensive gnawing. Various materials were placed in the roach’s mandibles, which produced diverse bites, from short and weak to long lasting vices of destruction.

Taken aback by the jaw-dropping vigour of a cockroach bite, the scientists are still perplexed on how roaches can withstand such force over their lifespan.

While the discovery is a spine-chilling thought, especially if you’re unfortunate enough to have a cockroach infestation in your home, the cockroaches won’t go full Jaws on you. As long as your body doesn’t have the consistency of wood, and you’re mistaken as material they can burrow in, they shouldn’t give you the bite of a thousand needles. A startled or unsuspecting roach might go hard, so be wary if you’re going in for a cockroach crunch. Pest control services are your best option here, so your toes don’t end up becoming a fruitful snack.

Don’t give cockroaches the chance to show off their strapping jawline. Pest control services from Magical Pest will take care of any cockroach infestation, so you can have peace of mind that you won’t be under siege from potent cockroach bites.

If you’re in need of a cockroach exterminator, or have any questions about our pest control services, give us a call at (416) 665-7378, or contact us for a free consultation.

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