Cockroaches are one of the most common groups of insects in the world. This is largely due to the fact that they are highly evolved and adaptable creatures. This adaptability has helped them survive and proliferate by successfully adjusting to living with human beings. According to Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, about 55 species of cockroaches are in the United States and about 3,500 worldwide.
Cockroaches generally have three stages in their life cycle. They start of as eggs, turn into nymphs and then adults. The eggs are usually brown-shaped capsules which are laid in protected places that may also be conveniently located near a food source. The nymphs hatch from the eggs and turn into adults after a series of molts. Unlike the nymphs, most adult cockroaches are equipped with wings, while in some species only the adult males have wings
Description of Wings
The wings of the adult female cockroaches are approximately the same length as their bodies or a little shorter, while those of the males extend a little bit beyond the tip of their abdomen. Cockroaches have flight capabilities, but some species are more adept at flight than others, while a few other species hardly utilize this capability or are unable to do so. This may be due to a number of factors including incomplete wings. For example, Oriental cockroach species do not have fully developed wings. They possess wing pads, stubs or partially developed wings and are unable to fly. In some species, like the brown-banded cockroaches, only the males have wings.
Cockroaches that are good fliers include the smoky brown cockroaches and woods cockroaches. Woods cockroaches are mostly outdoor cockroaches that alternate between the outdoors and human dwelling places. They are attracted by bright lights in homes, exposed trash and leftover food. Smoky brown cockroaches are also good fliers that alternate between the outdoors and houses. Other species of flying cockroaches include the Australian cockroaches, the Cuban cockroaches and the Asian cockroaches.
Cockroaches are scavenging insects that feed on almost anything that they can chew and digest. They are mostly nocturnal. Since most of them live in close proximity to human beings, they prefer to come out at night when everyone has gone to sleep and when they are less likely to be interrupted or detected while scavenging for food. Cockroaches have antennae which serve as a sort of guide in the dark and also as smell and hearing receptors.