How do cockroaches get through impossibly small gaps?

18 June 2006

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Question

I work in a bakery and years ago we used to get a lot of cockroaches. We used to stack the bread tins inside one another. There was hardly any gap but they used to get inside. How did they manage that?

Answer

Although cockroaches are quite big insects, they're quite flat dorso-ventrally, so that they might have been able to crawl in through a very small hole. Alternatively, if they had laid their eggs between the tins, the eggs may have hatched and perhaps developed there. They're very flat and could squeeze in.

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