Creepy crawly cockroaches

We have at least eleven species of cockroach in our bushland. It is likely that there are many more species we are yet to see.

While most people will recoil at the mention of cockroaches, Perth has only two troublesome species and both of those are introduced. There is one native cockroach to be found around homes, Drymaplaneta semivitta, but it will probably dehydrate and die if it can’t find its way outdoors again.

Most cockroaches are omnivorous and will eat whatever they can find. However, there are some species that are specialist feeders and will only eat dry eucalypt leaves, for example. Some can be found feeding on the pollen and nectar of flowers, while others will only be found in the leaf litter eating decaying vegetable matter.

Cockroaches are harmless creatures and have little to no defensive weapons – they can’t sting or scratch you. Some species can squirt a smelly fluid at you, but all most can do is hide and hope you’ll go away.

Most cockroaches care for their young to some degree. In most species it will be to create and either hide or defend an egg case. Other species take it to another level. In these the mother will carry her babies on her body and even secrete a fluid that the young can feed upon.

Cockroaches may be crawly, but perhaps they’re not as creepy as you imagined.