How Often Does A Cockroach Fart?

If cockroaches weren’t gross enough, it turns out they even pass wind. Just like other creatures, a cockroach needs to expel the gas that develops in its intestines. To keep it from building up and causing damage to its organs, the insect releases the gas from its anus. This does produce a sound, but you won’t notice unless you have exceptional hearing.

It’s believed that roaches fart once every 15 minutes. While researchers do not have a concrete number, they believe it’s at least once a day. Some may fart more often than others, depending on their environment or what they eat. Roaches feed on decaying matter, fungus, rotting wood, leftover food, and anything else they can find. This, in turn, creates an impressive amount of methane gas.

In fact, one of the most significant sources of methane gas is cockroaches. The American cockroach can release up to 35 g. of methane per year. That’s more than 43 times their average body weight. Roaches that eat more rotting food will fart more often. The good news is, breaking wind isn’t a smelly ordeal, and their farts are odorless to humans.

Do Cockroaches Fart?

Roaches do fart, and they do so quite often. That’s because they feed on a great deal of rotting matter, such as:

  • Dead animals
  • Rotting leaves or plants
  • Decaying wood
  • Leftovers and garbage from your home
  • Mold and mildew
  • Fungus

This diet enhances the production of intestinal gas. This helps roaches to digest otherwise indigestible foods. The gas produced by the gut microbes inside of a cockroach will break down the molecules and siphon out any trace nutrients that can be found. 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 roach. If it wasn’t released, it would crush the organs and cause internal damage. For that reason, like all creatures, roaches 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
  • The size of their body
  • The amount of food they eat

According to Applied and Environmental Microbiology studies, roaches 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, roaches also have more access to items like cardboard, vegetables, and other fiber-rich foods. On average, cockroaches expel gas composed of:

  • Nitrogen – 59%
  • Hydrogen – 21% 
  • Carbon-dioxide – 9% 
  • Methane – 7% 
  • Oxygen – 4% 

Across the world, a 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. Considering the small size of roaches, that’s an impressive amount.

More interestingly, roaches that live in low humidity will fart for shorter durations. Roaches in high humidity, of course, fart more often. That’s because roaches inhale when they fart, and their breathing is discontinuous.

Roaches 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 fart more often.

cockroach flatulence

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. In the roach’s gut, micro-organisms present help in breaking down food and creating gases as a by-product, like methane, according to the American Society for Microbiology.

With that in mind, some roaches eat foods that are more easily converted into methane. If the roach is older and has feasted on a wider range of food, 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 farting.

Does A Cockroach Fart Stink?

Although roaches are sometimes considered smelly pests, it’s not because of their farts. Cockroach farts do not stink. In fact, the odor can’t be detected whatsoever by the human nose. That’s because the most common gas expelled is methane and hydrogen. These are virtually odorless.

Likewise, cockroach poop doesn’t stink, so their farts can’t either. If breaking wind produces an unpleasant smell, it’s usually the small particles of waste that carry on the air which cause this. Since one isn’t a problem, neither is the other.

Do Roaches Have Loud Farts?

If you were to listen closely, you would still struggle to hear a roach fart. Fart sounds are caused by air released as the cockroach takes in a deep breath through its spiracles. Since roaches are such small insects, it isn’t easy to notice this inhale.

With that said, it can be detected by human ears. You would need to listen very closely and be present when the roach is farting at its loudest. This is usually when it’s young or when it’s in the process of 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. That makes these bugs impressively windy. While living, a roach is more likely to fart when it’s:

  • Young
  • Mating
  • Defecating
  • 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 the proper bacteria to digest their food. At this stage, their farts will be slightly louder, but still hard to detect.

Mating

Roaches fart throughout their lifecycles. As such, you can also pay attention while roaches are mating. During copulation, both the male and female will pass wind. Just like other creatures, the process requires a bit of physical exertion, so this is when they will make the loudest fart.

Pooping

Of course, roaches 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.

Sickness

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 like wound and nematode vector

After the bacteria obtain entry into the roach’s body, it persists and colonizes the roach’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 become 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.

Roaches alone aren’t responsible for the negative effects on the environment. They are 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.