If cockroaches weren’t gross enough, it turns out they pass a lot of wind each day. A cockroach needs to expel the gas that develops in its intestines. To prevent it from building up and causing damage to its organs, a cockroach releases gas from its anus. This does produce a sound, but you won’t be able to hear a cockroach farting.
Scientists think that cockroaches fart once every 15 minutes. While there’s no concrete number, they believe it’s at least once a day. Some may fart more often than others, depending on what they eat. Cockroaches produce methane gas due to their consumption of decaying matter, rotting wood, and leftover food.
In fact, one of the main sources of methane gas is cockroaches. For example, the American cockroach can release up to 35 g. of methane per year, which is more than 43 times their average body weight. Cockroaches that eat more rotting food will fart more often. The good news is that breaking wind is odorless to humans.
Do Cockroaches Fart?
Roaches do fart, and they do so quite often. That’s because they feed on rotting matter, such as:
- Dead animals
- Rotting leaves or plants
- Decaying wood
- Leftovers and garbage from your home
This diet increases the production of intestinal gas. This enables cockroaches to digest otherwise indigestible foods. The gas produced by the gut microbes inside a cockroach will break down the molecules and siphon out any trace nutrients. That’s paired with the high amounts of methane created by the rotting food itself.
Once the gas builds up, it creates pressure on the inside of the cockroach. If it wasn’t released, it would crush the organs and cause internal damage. For that reason, like all creatures, cockroaches fart to get rid of this extra gas.
How Many Times Does A Cockroach Fart In A Day?
The American cockroach is said to fart at least every 15 minutes. However, there are no official studies to back this up. Instead, researchers agree that cockroaches likely fart at least once a day. That’s based on the:
- Amount of methane gas they produce
- Size of their body
- Level of food consumption
According to Applied and Environmental Microbiology studies, cockroaches fart more when they eat a fiber-rich diet. This is common in wild species that eat wood and plant matter in abundance. In the home, cockroaches have access to vegetables, fruits, and other fiber-rich foods. On average, cockroaches expel gas composed of:
- Nitrogen – 59%
- Hydrogen – 21%
- Carbon-dioxide – 9%
- Methane – 7%
- Oxygen – 4%
A single cockroach can release over 30 g. of methane gas into the atmosphere annually. This methane then reacts to produce carbon dioxide and ozone in the lower atmosphere.
More interestingly, cockroaches that live in low humidity will fart for shorter durations. Cockroaches in high humidity fart more often. That’s because cockroaches inhale when they fart, and their breathing is discontinuous.
Cockroaches breathe with their exoskeleton and use it to absorb the water they need to survive. In humid areas, they breathe more often to absorb more water. This, as a natural byproduct, makes them break wind more often.
How Does A Cockroach Fart?
The process of farting for a roach begins in the digestive tract. This is also known as the alimentary canal, which is divided into three main parts:
- Foregut: Comprises the mouth and the surrounded parts of the mouth
- Midgut: Comprises the whole stomach
- Hindgut: Consists of anterior ileum, middle, colon, and posterior rectum
Digestion begins from the foregut and ends at the hindgut, where it comes out through the anus. According to the American Society for Microbiology, the micro-organisms present in the cockroach’s gut break down food and create gases, like methane, as a by-product.
With that in mind, some cockroaches eat foods that are more easily converted into methane. If the cockroach is older and has feasted on a wider range of foods, it may also have a broader range of microbes in its gut. Based on these differences, it will produce more methane, fatty acids, and hydrogen gas. That results in more flatulence.
Does A Cockroach Fart Stink?
Although roaches are sometimes considered smelly pests, it’s not because of their wind. Cockroach farts don’t smell bad. In fact, the odor can’t be detected by the human nose. That’s because the most common gas expelled is methane and hydrogen, which are virtually odorless.
Likewise, cockroach poop doesn’t stink, so their farts can’t smell bad either. If breaking wind produces an unpleasant smell, it’s usually the small particles of waste that carry on the air which cause this.
Do Roaches Have Loud Farts?
If you were to listen closely, you would still struggle to hear a cockroach break wind. Fart sounds are caused by air released as the cockroach takes in a deep breath through its spiracles. Since cockroaches are such small insects, it isn’t easy to notice this inhalation.
With that said, it can be detected by human ears. However, you need to listen very closely and be present when the cockroach is farting at its loudest. This is usually when it’s young or it’s mating.
When Does A Cockroach Fart?
Cockroaches fart throughout the day, but there are times where passing gas is a more regular occurrence. In fact, once a cockroach dies, it will still emit methane gas for up to 18 hours. A cockroach is more likely to fart when it’s:
- Expelling bad food
Early in Life
Listen to cockroach hatchlings. If you keep certain species as pets or raise them as feeder insects for other pets, you may have access to young nymphs. Their bodies are just beginning to develop gut microbes and bacteria to digest their food. At this stage, their farts will be slightly louder but still hard to detect.
Cockroaches fart throughout their lifecycles. As such, you can also pay attention while cockroaches are mating. During copulation, the male and female will pass wind. Just like other creatures, the process requires physical exertion, so this is when they will make the loudest fart.
Of course, cockroaches mostly fart when they’re defecating. This happens because gas is always present in their guts due to the bacteria. As they pass waste, they will also pass gas. This will be quieter than when they’re young or mating.
You might hear a slightly louder fart if the cockroach is sick. Although it’s uncommon, it does happen. Roaches become sick from entomopathogenic bacteria or pathogens that infect insects. The bacteria can enter the cockroach through:
- Ingestion of contaminated food
- Invasion of body cavity, such as a wound and nematode vector
After the bacteria enter the cockroach’s body, it persists and colonizes the cockroach’s gut. This disrupts the natural microbes present and results in more flatulence.
Is Cockroach Flatulence Harmful?
Cockroach farts are not dangerous to your health. Methane gas is non-toxic on its own, but it can be lethal when combined with other gasses. Luckily, even these windy insects can’t produce enough to cause any of the illnesses brought on by too much methane exposure.
Even still, cockroaches may account for up to one-fifth of all the planet’s methane emissions. In the Earth’s atmosphere, methane gas absorbs heat, contributing to climate change.
Cockroaches alone aren’t responsible for the negative effects on the environment. They’re a valuable part of the ecosystem. However, when paired with factors like landfills, it does make a difference. Cockroaches are gassy insects that fart regularly throughout their lifespan.