What are cockroaches for?

In the grand circle of life, what role does the cockroach play? I mean, I understand that we can’t kill wolves because then there’s too many rabbits, and we can’t kill the rabbits because then the wolves wouldn’t eat…but what do we need cockroaches for?

And don’t give me any of that tree-hugger “biodiversity” crap. I’d gladly give up a cure for cancer to have a roach-free kitchen.

“It all started with marbles in school…”

You leave too much food lying around, and they don’t want the ants to have it. Cockroaches have been funny this way for millions of years.

Cockroaches are for affirmative action, universal health care, unlimited immigration and tax cuts across the board. They are against abortion, bilingual education and Raid.

Chaim Mattis Keller

“Sherlock Holmes once said that once you have eliminated the
impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be
the answer. I, however, do not like to eliminate the impossible.
The impossible often has a kind of integrity to it that the merely improbable lacks.”
– Douglas Adams’s Dirk Gently, Holistic Detective

A slightly offbeat response here:
What was your coolest method of killing cockroaches? Mine was to pour BOILING water and watch them in pain…Man, that was over 15 years ago.
Now I have kinda mellowed. I only squash them with my shoes.
Hey, Whats that under the broom there?

I used to (as a child) capture them in paper cups and then light the cup on fire.
the shadow projected by the fire of the skittering six legged evil frantically trying to escape the descending flames stays with me today
I fragging hate roaches

Well, originally when all they did was climb trees, eat debris and grow to be 3’ long, they were for debris eating much like many other insects. I’d imagine that in the wild (yes, cockroaches live in places besides New York apartments) there’s things that eat cockroaches and so roaches serve the purpose of keeping those things well fed and happy. Well, as happy as you can be if you eat cockroaches. However, since they don’t have any predators in your apartment, they can multiply to a great many cockroaches that serve little purpose besides reminding you to throw out the old pizza boxes and keeping the chemical household insect control industry ticking.

“I guess it is possible for one person to make a difference, although most of the time they probably shouldn’t.”

In the grand circle of life, what role does the cockroach play? – furt

Never seen the play “The Grand Circle of Life” but I applaud an director capable of keeping the critters on stage in any role. Everytime I hit 'em with bright light, they scramble for the nether regions beneath my fridge.

I turn on all the arc lights in the kitchen,light manesium flares an wait. Then I toss a circle of dark into the middle of the room,all the roaches run under it. I jump onto the dark and smush um.

" …originally when all they did was…grow to be 3’ long." Originally? You don’t live in Dallas do you,Jophiel?

The logical thing to do would be to introduce cockroach predators into the ecosystem. Mediterranean house geckos would do well in New York City, let me apply for a grant to determine the minimum number needed to be released to establish a feral breeding population…

Oh, and cockroaches play the important ecological role of turning crap into new cockroaches. Might not sound like a great job to you, but the roaches have enjoyed it since the Great Race of Yith ruled Earth.

Dr. Fidelius, Charlatan
Associate Curator Anomalous Paleontology, Miskatonic University
“Oh, bother,” said Pooh. “Eeyore, lock phasers on the hephalump. Piglet, meet me in transporter room three.”

For lunch. We covered this 5 months ago.

I don’t know about 5 months ago, but covered in chocolate works. Num-nums.

The Mediterranian Gecko is alive and doing well in Dallas. The only problem is that the kind of people who really freak at the sight of a roach go absolutly apeshit when they see one of those.

Are the geckos eating cockroachs? I read that the geckos preferred soft-bodied insects such as moths.

There is no grand scheme of things.

I’ve never lived in the big city, so please forgive my ignorance. But do cats like roaches? My cat will torture and eat anything that moves under it’s own power.

To remind us there is no God.

Also, in a strange way, to remind us there must be a God.

Cockroaches, no problem, get rid of the stinking flies.

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Beeruser is getting closer to answering my question; the rest of you wiseasses can…keep it up. I laughed heartily.

But cockroaches don’t really eat flies, do they? (Forgive me, I always got D’s in biology.) I take it “debris eating” is it? Like without our little freinds we’d be knee deep in dead skin cells and tiny crumbs?

And actually, I have no roaches in my kitchen, though where I live they do occasionally FLY in the window. Flying roaches–now that’s gross.

“It all started with marbles in school…”

Ok, without looking up any more information on cockroaches than I already know, I’m going to take a wild stab at this. (Again)

Cockroaches enjoy warm humid environments. I’m taking this from the fact that the zoo has some Brazilian cockroaches on display that are pretty big, and back when the Earth was a primeval swamp, they grew to great sizes unseen today. So, from this I can guess that cockroaches are native to warm humid environments (read: swamps and rainforests). Swamps and rainforest tend to be full of decaying plant debris and the occassional dead animal, and since cockroaches don’t exactly seem well equipped for the hunt with their low splayed bodies, aversion to light, and lack of biting power, I’m going to have to guess that they eat plant matter.

So: Cockroaches fill the role of eating decaying plant matter. Certainly not a unique role, but if some other insect was doing a much better job of it, there wouldn’t be any decaying plant matter left for the roaches and they’d of all died out tens of thousands of years ago. Also, any insect that breeds in the same numbers as cockroaches has to be food for something and someone already mentioned lizards which would be an obvious guess. For that matter, also frogs or toads, birds, small mammals such as shrews, and perhaps even larger mammals once they get hungry enough. Oh, from what I understand, there’s also cockroaches that live in more temperate climates naturally, and you can pretty much replace swamp plants with old decidious leaves and rotting twigs. But since cockroaches were around when the Earth was a swamp, I’m guessing the swamp roaches were around first and the cool weather roaches evolved from the swamp roaches later to fill a niche.

I don’t know if they fill an irreplacable role in the “Circle o’ Life”, except perhaps in their native habitat before they spread to cover the globe. In urban areas, they would fill no role since they lack natural predators in your kitchen (sans the occassional housepet) and even in the streets I doubt much would eat them except rats and perhaps raccoons or opossums depending on how urban the area is. However an urban area doesn’t fit in the “Circle o’ Life” anyway, so the entire thing is skewed.

“I guess it is possible for one person to make a difference, although most of the time they probably shouldn’t.”

getting the picture; much thanks.