Can Roaches Drown?

Sam McGilin

Sam McGilin

Hey there, I’m Sam McGilin, the person behind Pallentor. I have worked in the pest control industry for over 15 years. On this site, I share my knowledge so you can enjoy a pest-free home.

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Roaches tend to stay near the surface of the water. This is because they are usually attracted to water, roving near water sources of your home like leaky pipes and open containers. 

However, there were some reports of cockroaches dying while submerged. If cockroaches can hold their breath for an extended period, is it also possible for these little insects to drown? If so, will drowning them be a viable solution to your roach problem?

Can roaches drown?

Yes, roaches can drown but not that easy.

Roaches don’t just drown by dipping them in the pool. These critters can hold their breath for 40 minutes! This is because roaches have closed circulatory systems, meaning they cannot exchange gases inside their bodies the way humans and other open-circulatory animals do.

It also means they wouldn’t be able to get the oxygen they need to survive when they drown, which causes them to die eventually. 

But it is vital to note that there are different species of roaches, with some being more resistant to drowning than others. 

For example, the American cockroach can hold its breath for up to 40 minutes, while the German type can only survive for about 5 minutes underwater. 

So if you’re trying to drown roaches, it is essential to know which species you are dealing with to be successful. You’d be able to tell through their physical appearance since the American cockroach is much larger than the German one.

Drowning roaches might be a viable solution to your roach problem, but only if you’re dealing with the correct species. 

How long does it take for a roach to drown?

It typically takes a roach between 2 and 40 minutes to drown. However, the time it takes for a cockroach to drown will differ based on the size of the insect and how deep the water is. 

Roaches don’t breathe by lungs as we do, but by tiny holes all over their bodies called spiracles. These allow oxygen to enter the roach’s body and carbon dioxide to exit.

When a cockroach is submerged in water, these spiracles are blocked off, and the cockroach can no longer exchange gases. Hence, their death after 2 to 40 minutes.

Can roaches drown in hot water?

Roaches can drown in hot water, and it typically takes less time to die in hot water than if submerged in cold water. It is because their bodies are less resistant to heat than cold.

They wouldn’t especially be able to withstand temperatures over 125 degrees Fahrenheit. However, not all roaches are susceptible to dying in hot water like the American cockroach.


Drowning roaches can be a viable solution to your roach problem, but knowing which species of cockroach you are dealing with is essential. Different roaches can hold their breath for different periods of time, so it is necessary to use the proper method (drowning) on the correct roach.

Roaches drown in hot water more quickly than in cold water, which wouldn’t take very long. Add an ample amount of soap to make sure they can’t escape.