Close-up of cockroach on green plant

It Wouldn’t Hurt You Not to Hurt a Cockroach!


Consider cockroaches: They don’t know who you are or that they’re in “your” space—and what have they done anyway that they “deserve” to be killed? You can bet that they’re more afraid of you—the tall, threatening monster looming overhead—than you are of them. I mean, look at the size and power differences here.

It wouldn’t kill us to extend compassion and empathy toward all our fellow animals. The cockroach facts below reveal why we must squash speciesism—not cockroaches—on the spot.

Cockroaches Just Want Peace

Did you know that cockroaches are gregarious animals who live in social communities? They organize as family groups, generally remaining together for life. They “talk” about where to live and what to eat, and they always stick together. They recognize their own family members, and growing up with their relatives is crucial to their development as individuals. Not so different from humans, right?

Studies have shown that insects have enough neural circuits to possess consciousness and even count. Cockroaches are also remarkably clean and groom themselves regularly.

Cockroaches Are Afraid of You

If you see a cockroach (or a “water beetle”) while grabbing a midnight snack, they’ll be afraid of you and want to hide, and they’ll try to move rapidly away from you.

If you feel as though cockroaches are violating your personal space, just remember—they probably feel the same way. Fortunately, encouraging them to leave your home is simple.

Be Kind, Not Cruel

Poisons torment cockroaches with slow and likely painful deaths, sometimes eating away at them from the inside until they basically slowly explode. Harsh chemicals may also harm you and your animal companions. They’re also ineffective because they don’t address how and why cockroaches are entering your home. Killing cockroaches is cruel and futile. Unless you make your home less attractive and accessible to them, more cockroaches will move in, not realizing it’s a death trap for them.

Instead of calling exterminators or using vile products like traps and gels, remove cockroaches’ access points, free meals, and living spaces.

Keeping Cockroaches Out

Cockroaches are entering your home from somewhere, of course. If you prevent their entry, you won’t be living with these uninvited guests for very long. Encourage them to pass you over by sealing up holes and cracks with caulk (for small cracks) and expanding foam (for larger holes). Both are available online or in hardware stores. Here are some common areas you’ll need to seal:

  • Cracks along baseboards (where the floor meets the wall)
  • Gaps in door frames and windows
  • Holes where pipes enter the wall
  • Cracks around bathtubs
  • Gaps behind counters and cabinets

Pay attention to where you find cockroaches and where they go when they hide. Chances are, you’ll find a gap you can seal. These remedies are rental-friendly, and you may be able to request maintenance to apply them for you. For extra assurance, you can also toss dried catnip—roaches avoid it—into any spaces you’re sealing.

Remove Indoor Food Sources

Cockroaches will move on if they can’t find food—so encourage them to leave:

  • Use trash bins with tight-fitting lids.
  • Clean up standing water on counters and in sinks.
  • Sweep crumbs from counters and floors.
  • Put stoppers in drains when they’re not in use, particularly overnight.
  • Wash your dishes right after you use them—don’t leave anything to soak!
  • Thoroughly clean and degrease your oven with a gentle powder cleaner.
  • Store food—including animal companion food—in tightly sealed, roach-proof containers.
  • Discard leftover cat or dog food right after your companion has finished eating.

Cockroaches Deserve Empathy and Dignity

The bottom line: Cockroaches deserve consideration and respect. After all, they’re just doing what comes to them naturally and eking out an existence in a human-dominated world. They have to be ingenious to survive, so hats off to them.

There are simple ways to advocate for cockroaches. If you see someone about to harm a cockroach, speak up and save a life. Also, if you’re a renter, don’t be afraid to tell your landlord or maintenance workers to skip your apartment when they perform “pest control” services. You and your animal companions can thrive in a poison-free apartment.

Please share this article and its lifesaving tips with your friends and family. Then, urge the co-founder of Backyard Brains—a hellish company that sells live cockroaches and mutilation kits as cruel “science projects” for kids—to stop profiting on torturing sentient roaches for profit.

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