ETYM Spanish cucaracha.
Any of numerous chiefly nocturnal insects; some are domestic pests; SYN. roach.
Any of numerous insects of the family Blattidae, distantly related to mantises and grasshoppers. There are 3,500 species, mainly in the tropics. They have long antennae and biting mouthparts. They can fly, but rarely do so.
The common cockroach, or black-beetle Blatta orientalis, is found in human dwellings, is nocturnal, omnivorous, and contaminates food. The German cockroach Blattella germanica and American cockroach Periplaneta americana are pests in kitchens, bakeries, and warehouses. In Britain only two innocuous species are native, but several have been introduced with imported food and have become severe pests. They are very difficult to eradicate. Cockroaches have a very high resistance to radiation, making them the only creatures likely to survive a nuclear holocaust.