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Creepy Cockroach

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"Everyone is a man until the cockroach starts flying"

We all know bees can be horrible, centipedes terrifying, and flies just annoying. But cockroaches are perhaps the biggest household pest of them all.

They crawl, they swarm, they eat leftover food, they stink, and they scatter when exposed to bright light (and some varieties can even fly). Roaches are also incredibly hardy — some being able to survive without food for about a month — and very adaptable to many environments, preferably those that are warm and moist. It doesn't help how slimy and uncannily fluid they seem to move about even compared to other insects (their uncannily clean appearance compared to other insects owes to them actually being massive Neat Freaks, as they constantly groom themselves with their antennas to keep their senses heightened). Often times this is exaggerated in fiction in that they are able to survive a nuclear war (though roaches can withstand radiation poisoning for a long period of time, they are not immune to its effects). They're also used as a symbol of filth and decay in fiction. They may be utilized by a Pest Controller.

People with a crippling fear of cockroaches would likely rather be around wolves, lions and tigers, sharks, crocodiles, or even something like gorillas, bulls, elephants, rhinos and bears than these little creeps.

This trope is dedicated to all things roachy (no, not that kind of roach, or that kind of roach, or even Clock Roaches). As a side note, "Katsaridaphobia" is the word for fear of cockroaches.


    open/close all folders 

  • Commercials for Raid bug spray often featured cockroaches, which get killed dead by the product.
  • In the early 2000s there was a series of TV ads for laundry detergent, bath oil, etc., that played out normally, when suddenly a realistic cockroach began crawling around on the screen. Eventually, an Orkin Man sprays it dead. Many people reported thinking it was real and threw things at the set. This commercial was withdrawn after Orkin was sued by a man who threw his shoe at the TV set and broke it. Another viewer threw her motorcycle helmet.
    • And of course, followed up by commercials featuring giant, talking roaches, (and assorted other creepy crawlies) behaving much like sex offenders.
  • Roach Motel bait traps: Roaches check in, but they don't check out!

    Anime & Manga 
  • Arachnid series:
    • Arachnid has Gokiburi/Megumi Oki, an assassin girl who has abilities related to cockroaches. She's a smug perverted Psycho Lesbian who wants slaves and enjoys being hated, but gladly makes friends with the heroine, Alice, once she's defeated and dragged to her home for information.
    • Blattodea introduces Chiyuri Haijima/Wamongokiburi, who is themed after American cockroaches. Other than being more powerful than Megumi, she's much brighter, optimistic and kinder; always supporting the homeless community she lives with and being able to make friends with the troublesome Dinoponera. And through her, after Arachnid played up the qualities of spiders so much, Blattodea decides roaches are the peak of arthropodkind instead.
  • Azumanga Daioh has the infamous cockroach scene where Tomo smashes one with her workbook.
  • In A Certain Magical Index, Hisako Yakumi uses pheromones to command a swarm of genetically modified cockroaches that can eat people alive and chew through metal, concrete, plastic, etc. Their creepiness can often disturb an esper so much that they cannot concentrate enough to use their powers, making them vulnerable.
  • Digimon had the Roachmon Brothers in the second series. They only attacked the main heroes because they fell under the control of the Digimon Emperor's mind control Dark Rings, and used such pleasant attacks as Garbage Dump and Junkyard Bomb.
  • Roaches, among other bugs, are featured on Franken Fran. They have built a human-like society within Fran's mansion, complete with superheroes.
  • In the Fruits Basket manga, Haru tells a scary story about a young man who innocently gulps down a glass of iced coffee on a sweltering summer day... and discovers a single black cockroach in the glass when he's done.
  • Gintama, one gag has one of the main characters grossed out by a cockroach and begging for help to another character, who calmly tries to deal with it... only to be grossed out too. With good reason, since apparently the cockroach in question is big enough to reach the waistline of a person when rearing up!
  • The title character of Gokicha is an inversion, being a cockroach who wants to make friends with humans. Unfortunately, she's hindered by the fact that humans treat her like they would any other roach, but she refuses to give up, even so.
  • Jōjū Senjin!! Mushibugyō: two of the Sanada Top Ten Insects, the monk brothers Seikai and Isa Miyoshi, are cockroach-based bugmen: not only they're gigantic and bloodthirsty (treating their kills as saving people from Hell) but thanks to their resilience they can take inhuman amounts of punishment, going as far as put themselves back together when sliced to pieces.
  • Komi Can't Communicate has a chapter where a cockroach gets into the classroom and everyone proceeds to either freak out or faint... except Najimi.
  • Nichijou has a segment where Nano has a cockroach trapped under a bowl, but is too terrified of it to lift the bowl to kill it (or let someone else do so).
  • In No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular!, a big cockroach shows up to terrorize the classroom. While all the other students panic at the sight of it, Tomoko, always desperate to make friends, sees an opportunity to earn everyone's respect and stomps it, with the anime version depicting the whole scene as if it was straight out of Terra Formars. However, rather than earn everyone's admiration, the students end up getting creeped out that Tomoko would stomp a large bug like that, and start moving their desks farther away from her.
  • In an extremely rare, but nonetheless terrifying protagonist example, Kyouhukou in Overlord (2012) is a 30-centimeter-tall cockroach king (complete with ornate crown, scepter, and cape), who commands millions of his subjects to act as an Area Guardian of the Great Tomb of Nazarick. In volume seven, two adventurers are led through a trap into his quarters, to which he responds by regally answering their questions, then chuckling upon their attempt to negotiate freedom before finally having his subjects eat them alive.
  • In Parasyte, the first sign that Shinichi is becoming as cold and emotionless as the parasite inhabiting his left arm is when he nonchalantly and unflinchingly grabs a particularly large cockroach his mother was frantically trying to kill with his bare hands and throws it outside right into the mouth of a flying crow.
  • In anime, women are often deathly frightened of cockroaches in much the same way Western fiction has them scared of mice. One prominent example from Sailor Moon: Setsuna Meioh a.k.a. Sailor Pluto.
  • Toriko has Scorpion Roaches, which are Exactly What It Says on the Tin: cockroaches with scorpion stingers. They're about as big as an average person and eat people whole. They are considered the most annoying animal to deal with in the Human World.
  • The cockroach Martians in TerraforMARS, who were inadvertently brought into existance when the governments of an overpopulated Earth tried to terraform Mars by releasing a type of moss and cockroaches into its atmosphere to increase carbon dioxide emissions around the planet by having said cockroaches barely survive in the Martian environment by eating the moss and expanding it across its living area and some other Technobabble concerning Rahab and its legacy that artificially evolved them. Somehow the cockroaches, or "black organisms", mutated into creepy, towering Blackface looking humanoids with huge staring eyes with oversized black pupils whose only indications of their cockroach heritage is their antenna and cersi located on their backside. Also, each of them is a near-unstoppable killing machine that can rip a human to shreds faster than the eye can see. When one of a pair of cockroach exterminators (who only expected to exterminate ordinary cockroaches) attempt to make contact with one of the cockroach Martians, said Martian greets them by nonchalantly snapping the female Love Interest's neck.
  • Once on Yu-Gi-Oh!, Tea angrily calls Weevil a cockroach for (once again) cheating in a duel. Weevil, however, takes it as a compliment, since cockroaches are so hardy (that, and he loves insects in general). He also used a card called Gokibore, that is based on a roach in his duel against Yami Yugi. He also gives this card, that he falsely claimed was rare to a kid as payment for planting the card Parasite Paracide in Joey's deck before Weevil duelled him. When the kid called him out on the fact that Gokibore is a common, weak card, Weevil sprayed silly string in his face.
  • In the second episode of Zettai Muteki Raijin-Oh, Jin frightens Maria with what turns out to be a rubber roach.

    Comic Books 
  • Heroic example (sort of) with Ant-Man, who used a swarm of roaches to fight an alien race called the Kulla in Tales to Astonish I 41#.
  • In Batman: Gotham Nights #42, Batman and Spoiler have to defend Gotham City from a swarm of cockroaches transformed by The Joker's chemical warfare.
  • Marvel Boy, one of Norman Osborn's henchmen during Dark Reign is a Kree spliced with a roach.
  • The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers comics had some side comics about a roach society which inevitably ended with some getting smashed, but the king laughing it off because "there's plenty more where they came from."
  • Howard the Duck had a foe called the Cockroach in his second series, an ordinary roach who became a man-sized humanoid after exposure to the Cosmic Key. His Evil Plan was to use the Key to create an army of roach-men like himself to Take Over the World, but was outsmarted by Howard who trapped him with giant flypaper, doused him with industrial strength insecticide; after the Key was confiscated, he was he was skewered by a bladed walking stick thrown by Howard's ally R. L. Haney, and was presumed dead. (He was not, but he has yet to return.)
  • Inheritor from Beyond is an old foe of the Hulk who is a normal roach mutated by the High Evolutionary.
  • The Perilous Painter was originally a joke villain who lucked out and found some "magic paints", who was defeated by the Human Torch early in the hero's career. When he returned (quite a bit later) in Spider-Man comics, he had regained (and likely enhanced) his powers, and was now covered with roaches who he communicated with. Exactly where they came from and what purpose they served remains unknown.
  • The original Pursuer is another creation of Kree experiments, a foe of The Inhumans.
  • Cockroach themed monsters appeared a few times in the era of Marvel Monsters:
    • In Adventure Into Terror #19, a Hungarian mystic was hired to drive cockroaches from a village. Much like the town of Hamlin, they refused to pay, so he turned their children into roaches.
    • Mystery Tales #1: The Superroaches were roaches the size of elephants with human intelligence, who plotted to destroy humanity. An exterminator named Bill who was a Friend to Bugs and often tried to prevent people from squashing them found out about this plan, and was "rewarded" by them by being turned into a half-man-half-roach. (He tried to alert humans of the plan by throwing notes out the window of his cell, but the ultimate result of the roaches' plan remains unknown.)
    • Mystery Tales #22: An exterminator named Bruno develops a chemical that he hopes will make roaches slightly bigger, and thus easier to root out. He makes one much, much bigger. It crushes him with its foot and escapes, its current location unknown.
  • Medallion, an eccentric crime boss fought by The Punisher, wanted to create radioactive roaches. (The reason Frank regards him a joke - this plan never went anywhere.)
  • The true antagonist of the She-Hulk graphic novel was a swarm of sentient roaches who could assume control of a human victim's body via Orifice Invasion to pose as human; they tries to use Shulkie as a host, destroying the SHIELD Helicarrier as part of their plan, but when deprived of any host at all, she smooshed them all in an Offscreen Moment of Awesome; the story included a Sequel Hook hinting the plot would be expanded, but it never has.
  • The monstrous antagonist in the Spider-Man graphic novel Hooky is something Mandy calls a "Tordenkakerlak" (Norwegian for "thunder cockroach"). Initially, it does appear as a giant - flying! - roach, but once Spidey manages to squish it, it turns into a series of larger, more powerful monsters, which aren't roach-like at all.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures had the villain Scumbug, an exterminator who mutated into a roach-like being thanks to the mutagen. He eventually found his way into the original cartoon.
  • X-Men: Litterbug, one of the Morlocks, is a mutant who resembles a roach.

    Comic Strips 
  • In Bloom County, Milo's grandfather considers the cockroaches that live in his boarding house to be annoying pests and tries to kill them whenever possible. Subverted with Milo's grandmother, who treats them like adopted grandchildren. One particular cockroach named Milquetoast makes repeated appearances later (even becoming a regular in the sequel strip Outland), and while he is a well-mannered fellow, everyone tends to be disgusted by him and try to crush him.
  • La Cucaracha stars an anthropomorphic roach named Cuco Rocha.
  • In a Don Martin strip, a man just moved in a cheap hotel room, when the horde of cockroaches takes his suitcase and throws it out. He calls the reception - only to be thrown out himself by the roaches. Rightfully angry, he runs to the reception, calling for the boss, while shouting how he hates roaches and wants to kill every single one of them... only to see that the boss is a gigantic humanoid cockroach. Oh, Crap!.

    Fan Works 
  • In Ozzallos's Ranma x Sailor Moon crossover The Best Of Times, as part of an epic prank war between Ranma and Pluto, Ranma covers every inch of Setsuna's apartment in cockroaches.

    Films — Animation 
  • Dr. Cockroach from Monsters vs. Aliens is actually quite nice, for a Mad Scientist with a taste for garbage.
  • Inverted in WALL•E, where a cockroach is possibly the only living animal on Earth, and manages to be cute.
  • In Wreck-It Ralph, after a Hero's Duty character talks to Ralph about the game, he goes ballistic and smacks into a wall once he sees a cockroach from the lost & found on Ralph's shoulder. Could be seen as Foreshadowing to how terrifying the Cy-Bugs really are.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Babadook, cockroaches appear all over the place in association with the title creature.
  • Bethany: In one scene, when, when Bethany and Aaron are eating breakfast, Claire looks down at her cereal bowl and sees that it's filled with cockroaches. She then screams, grabs the bowl, and throws it across the room, which causes it to shatter against the wall.
  • The William Castle feature Bug (1975) has cockroaches that are able to set things on fire.
  • In Cornered!, a junkie going through withdrawal finds himself continually harassed by hallucinatory cockroaches.
  • The "They're Creeping Up On You" segment from Creepshow features an hygiene-obsessed man being antagonized by roaches.
  • A horde of flesh-eating cockroaches turns up in Damnation Alley, devouring one man alive and having left prior victims Stripped to the Bone.
  • Played with in Enchanted's "Happy Working Song" scene, in which roaches pitch in to help the rats and pigeons clean up the apartment.
  • The direct-to-video film Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves has a scene where a truck-sized cockroach attacks the shrunken parents. The cockroach goes so far as to start nibbling at Diane by grabbing her trapped leg in the roach motel with its mouth.
  • In Hostel Part III, a woman is sprayed with something that causes a cockroach swarm to crawl into her mouth, suffocating her.
  • In Joe's Apartment, Joe shares his apartment with some talking roaches. However, this is more of an inversion, since the roaches in question are friendly.
  • Khepri Cockroach Tide (or just Cockroach Tide) revolves around an experiment on biogenetics using cockroaches that Goes Horribly Wrong. For starters, the roaches starts gaining intelligence. Then, they start breeding at a rapid pace, and begins multiplying by the hundreds while stalking their creators... the movie is strictly NOT recommended for audiences with Katsaridaphobia.
  • Men in Black features a giant roach alien who devours a human and uses his skin as a disguise. He also leaves swarms of roaches wherever he goes, and loves sugar (preferably in water).
  • Played with in Mimic. The movie's breed of man-sized insects (basically a termite-praying mantis hybrid) can be confused for giant cockroaches, but they were actually designed originally as an answer to the disease-spreading roaches in New York City. After the new biological weapon had consumed all the roaches, they continued to evolve into ever larger breeds and started preying on humans...
  • In MouseHunt, Ernie's restaurant gets shut down due to an incident in which the mayor dies of shock after eating a cockroach head.
  • Debbie in A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, who hates roaches, is turned into one in her nightmare and is then trapped in a roach motel.
  • The Silent Hill film has cockroach-like monsters with screaming human faces on their underside.
  • The made-for-TV film They Nest had cockroaches that nested inside people.
  • The boat ride from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory includes a giant cockroach flying through some trees.

  • There are several instances of disturbing cockroach morphing in Animorphs, including surviving getting run over by a tank. Although running around as a roach is apparently great fun, and sliding down a stair bannister is a ride a skateboarder would trade for kidneys to experience. Marco gets the roach as his cover morph in The Reunion.
  • The drog beetles in Galaxy of Fear: The Swarm aren't quite flying roaches, and not just in the Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp" way, they breed faster and are more fragile than roaches, but they have similar feeding habits and a similar tendency to get into everything.
  • Gregor Samsa, in The Metamorphosis, is commonly depicted as turning into one of these. Kafka's original wording translates better to simply "vermin", and there's very little description given, but from what is said, it's safe to assume he's some type of beetle.
  • In a non-fiction consumer advice book, John Stossel pretty much pegs why people hate cockroaches above most other pest insects: it's because they dart. "Disease-spreading" and "invasive" are bad enough, but throw in "fast-moving" on top of that, and it's easy to see why people spend so much money and effort to wipe them out.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In one episode of ALF, an alien cockroach from Melmac that was discovered in Alf's stuff terrorized the Tanner household, with it growing bigger and bigger the more it was exposed to bug spray. For added suspense, the roach was never actually shown onscreen.
  • During a Beakman's World segment dedicated to the cockroach, one gets out of the jar Liza was holding them in and crawls up her arm, freaking her out and ruining the take (though they did Throw It In for a laugh before doing Take 2).
  • Cockroaches are one of the more prevalent insect pests shown on Billy the Exterminator.
  • An episode of CSI: NY features a jewel-encrusted Madagascar Hissing Cockroach worn as jewelry, squicking out some of the team.
  • ER had a woman who had a small cockroach removed from her ear. She immediately freaks out and stomps on it.
  • Madagascar hissing cockroaches are a common source of an Eat That stunt on reality shows like Fear Factor.
  • Discussed on Good Eats in an episode about lobster. Alton notes how a lot of people aren't comfortable with the idea of killing lobsters to eat, yet don't think twice about stomping on a cockroach running across the kitchen floor. Even though, genetically, cockroaches and other insects aren't that far away from lobsters. He then shows a more humane way of killing the lobsters, for those who still aren't convinced.
  • Cockroaches are a recurring motif in Heroes representing evolution and survival. This especially applies to Big Bad Sylar, who is resilient and hard to kill. One graphic novel had a character ride a giant cockroach in her dreams.
  • How I Met Your Mother features a hilarious Mouse-Cockroach hybrid dubbed the "Cockamouse" by Lily and Marshall.
  • One episode of the Animal Planet show Infested featured a roach-infested apartment building. The roaches actually came from the apartment of a man who was a member of the religion called Jainism, where it was against his religion to kill them. Jains believe that every living thing has a soul and must not be harmed.
  • The myth that cockroaches can survive radiation was busted on Mythbusters, since there are other bug species that can survive much longer. All of the bugs, however, could withstand far more radiation than humans or other mammals.
  • Kamen Rider has its fair share of cockroach monsters:
    • The original Kamen Rider had Cockroach Man, a Shocker monster created from a con-artist selling fake bug spray with the mission to spread a deadly virus that can age humans to death in three days.
    • Kamen Rider V3 has Gokiburi Spike, a cockroach monster with a spiked attachment on his right hand. He's very proud of his species' long existence on Earth and brags to V3 that cockroaches have existed since the dawn of time.
    • Kamen Rider Blade has the Darkroaches, a Horde of Alien Locusts serving the Stone of Sealing that devours all life once a victor of the Battle Fight emerges so that the cycle can start again.
    • Kamen Rider Double has the Cockroach Gaia Memory, which turns the user into a Cockroach Dopant. Like real roaches, it is surprisingly fast enough to dodge most attacks unless they are homing attacks. True to real roaches' breeding ability, it's also one of the more common Gaia Memories in production and multiple users appear throughout the series and its various spinoffs and sequels.
    • Kamen Rider Drive has the Reaper Legion, remodeled Roidmudes that are based on The Grim Reaper as well as cockroaches.
  • Saturday Night Live featured a Parody Commercial of a Roach Motel-esque glue trap that does cruel things to the roaches as they lay stuck there, such as getting their legs pulled off by mechanical arms. It even contained a window so everyone can see.
  • Hissing cockroaches were used as part of a prank on an episode of Tanked.
  • A Running Gag on Taxi involved Louie trying to get rid of quite a few cockroaches who invade his "cage". It was even lampshaded by a "normal human question" made by Alex in one episode.
  • In an episode of The X-Files titled "War of the Coprophages", cockroaches were the Monster of the Week, and at one point one scurries across the TV screen (as if it's IN YOUR HOUSE!).
  • During their first appearance on David Letterman's show, Penn & Teller were told by Dave to surprise him with "anything" for their next visit. They obliged by producing hundreds of cockroaches out of a hat.

  • Mexican folk song "La Cucaracha" features a cockroach who has lost two of his legs (or lacks marijuana to smoke).
  • "Nothing Beautiful" by Odds is a dark, creepy and ironically very beautiful song from the point-of-view of a cockroach.
    First I drank insecticide
    A little more each day
    Followed by dirty and sugary food
    Grown where the light was grey
  • Rose and the Arrangement's "The Cockroach That Ate Cincinnati" is about a movie goer's obsession with horror movies, with said movie being his all-time favorite.
  • Yoshiki and hide of X Japan were both terrified of roaches, which once led to an incident where a roach led to both running around a hotel room, then huddling terrified on the bed while someone else killed the roach.
  • The cover of Papa Roach's album Infest is a frontal close-up of a taxidermized cockroach. The band didn't take its name from the critter, though.note 

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • Inverted by stand-up comedian Jimeoin, who speculated that cockroaches who can survive nuclear war but can be crushed by thong-wearing humans would believe that Humans Are Cthulhu. "Do they fear thongs like we fear nuclear war?"

    Tabletop Games 
  • d20 Modern: Urban Arcana has the Roach Thrall, which is nothing less than a giant bipedal cockroach wearing a human body like a suit. They reproduce by using their host's sexual organs to inject their eggs into a victim during intercourse, and within six to eight hours the newly-hatched Roach Thrall larva will have consumed its host's brain and taken over its body. They don't inherit any memories from their host, but Roach Thralls are intelligent enough to learn to speak (while in a human body) and try to blend into society to some extent, usually as street people with a disgusting hunger for garbage, or a weird "cult" that seeks to acquire more hosts to breed the next generation. If forced into combat, a Roach Thrall is likely to explode out of its human shell to fight in its more dangerous natural form, though this is a one-way process.
  • Invoked and lampshaded in Werewolf: The Apocalypse, where the Cockroach is the totem of the urban-dwelling Glass Walkers tribe. A discussion between the Glass Walker leadership on the spiritual powers of the cockroach devolves into discussing ways to keep cockroaches away without offending the tribe totem.
    • Successor game Werewolf: The Forsaken offers up were-cockroaches - the Unclean - as a playable option in War Against the Pure.
    • Werewolf: The Apocalypse got its own were-roaches, called Samsa, with the introduction of the Mockery Breeds in the W20 Book of the Wyrm. Though they're not explicitly a playable option, they're probably the most suited for it of the Mockery Breeds, being the only truly sympathetic example.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! has the "C" monsters, which appear to be common cockroaches. The card art frames them as horrifying, with spooky vignetting on the borders of the artwork, and Glowing Eyes of Doom for the roaches, which are otherwise hidden in shadow. Shiny Black "C" has one discovered between appliances in the human's house. Flying "C" reveals that they can fly from room to room. Confronting The "C" has the human pick up a pot lid and newspaper to swat the roach, who approaches him in Retaliating "C" and lands on his arm in Contact "C". Finally, the dreaded Maxx "C" reveals that there are many more roaches living in the man's house. Funnily enough, Shiny Black "C" Squadder reframes the whole thing as a superhero parody, with the roaches as Kamen Rider-esque heroes fighting "the giants".

    Video Games 
  • One of the many signs that you're losing your sanity to the evils of the Brennenburg Mansion in Amnesia: The Dark Descent is to see roaches everywhere, with it looking like they're crawling all over your screen.
  • In Bad Mojo, you are the cockroach. In an FMV Game with realistic graphics and settings.
  • The first Scarecrow sequence in Batman: Arkham Asylum features a swarm of cockroaches crawling out of the floor grates.
  • Averted by Lapoleon in Best Fiends. He knows he's destined to be Emperor of Everything when he's grown and cockroaches inherent the world, but at the moment, he's a bit nervous about growing into that role. But he gains a bit more confidence with each evolution.
  • Breath of Fire:
    • One segment of Breath of Fire I sees the party shrunken by one of the villains. You have to enter a mousehole and help the mice there fend off enemy roaches so that they will give you the potion to reverse it in return.
    • Breath of Fire II also featured roaches, with a roach queen as the second boss. You also have to kill a similar giant roach later on as a special ingredient for a gourmet meal from and for frog people.
    • Featured in Breath of Fire III as enemies, found in a mansion of a decadent noble.
  • Zigzagged in Bug Fables. The Roaches were thought to be extinct by the times the events of the game take place, and only the ruins of their civilization remain behind. In one of such places, the Upper Snakemouth, a group of roach scientists was conducting horrible experiments on bugs of various kinds using the Cordyceps fungi to find immortality without the Everlasting Sapling, but they ultimately met their end at the hands of their own rebellious creation. However, the last surviving roaches in the Giant's Lair village avert this, as they are quite reasonable and hospitable, and one of them even expresses disgust to the actions of the Upper Snakemouth roaches. They're a bit gloomy and distrustful of outsiders, and they keep Scary Scorpions as attack animals, but this is all understandable considering they have to constantly fend off Dead Landers.
  • Five-foot roaches are the first enemy introduced in every Deadly Rooms of Death game, and usually remain the most common monster throughout. In between games, the main character Beethro runs a restaurant in which he serves up the meat from all the roaches he's killed.
  • Giant cockroaches are a common low-level enemy in Dungeon Crawl. It's hard to say how giant they are, since a tile in Crawl can contain an infinite number of dragon corpses, but only one living creature.
  • They also appear as enemies in EarthBound (1994) and Mother 3. Apparently some of the ones in Mother 3 are robots...
  • Fallout has the Radroaches, giant cockroaches mutated by radiation. They're still the weakest enemies in the series, though Fallout 4 made them more dangerous in that their puny bites cause radiation damage as well, which reduces your maximum total health until healed with RadAway or a doctor.
  • Roaches (possibly alien) appear throughout Half-Life. Surprisingly absent in Half-Life 2.
  • The Halloween Hack: The Preemptive Scavenger is a Palette Swap of the Violent Roach. The Preemptive Scavenger is creepier because it looks very decayed.
  • A good number of the houses you're fixing up in House Flipper are crawling with cockroach swarms. While they're not dangerous- you just hoover them up- the option to replace them with shards of glass is available in the settings option for those susceptiable to this trope.
  • Junk Man's stage from Mega Man 7 featured Gockroach S., robotic roaches that emerged from nests.
  • Both supporting characters in Resident Evil 2 are forced to deal with a tunnel filled with giant T-virus infected cockroaches. And, oh joy, they're the flying kind! Ada is easily able to outrun them, but Sherry isn't, and while they don't do any damage just by landing on you, it's instantly fatal if enough of them manage to.
  • An Optional Boss in Parasite Eve is a giant mutant cockroach that can whip you with its antennae and sometimes poison you. It can also lay an egg that can hatch very quickly and grow into a new cockroach (which can also lay an egg as well should the first roach die), requiring you to have a lot of firepower and speed to be able to kill the boss quickly and end the fight before you're caught in an endless loop.
  • In Pilgrim (RPG Maker), a swarm of realistic-looking giant cockroaches reside in Storey 1 and will kill Akemi if she takes the key from their room without placing candy in the preceding room to trap them. Subverted with the one in Storey 6- while it has the same design, it is friendly and will not attack Akemi, instead giving her the password needed to complete Storey 6.
  • Pokémon Sun and Moon introduces Pheromosa, an Ultra Beast that resembles a slender, feminine, humanoid cockroach. It's not so much actively scary or evil as it is just weird. It's an Inverted Trope in its case, as it finds us creepy (initially) and refuses to touch anything.
  • The Reaper in Resident Evil 5. These roaches are accidental products created by the Uroboros Virus, and they deliver a guaranteed One-Hit Kill should they grab you.
  • Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse has Sal, a man-sized upright-walking cockroach who sounds like Patrick Warburton (but isn't voiced by him) and works as the cook in Stinky's Diner. He ends up performing a Heroic Sacrifice by walking into a radiation-flooded room. When the titular protagonists voice the well-known myth, Sal explains that it's incorrect... and dies.
  • Roaches hold the distinction of being the only monsters to appear in every entry of the Shadow Hearts series, Koudelka included. As a Genius Bonus, they are called Gregor in both Covenant and From the New World.
  • The Creeper monster appearing in both Silent Hill and Silent Hill 2. They are said to be a manifestation of the town itself. Silent Hill: Homecoming has a variation with the Swarm, a leech/roach hybrid.
  • In The Sims and The Sims 2, cockroaches appear on untidy lots and are very upsetting to Sims, who may cry, freak out, and/or stamp all over them if they encounter them. Averted in The Sims 3, in which roaches are just collectible bugs and don't cause histrionics.
  • If you don't play as a human faction in Stellaris, it's possible to encounter Earth in various stages of its development as you explore the galaxy. One outcome is to find it as a Tomb World with nothing on it but irradiated ruins, craters, and pre-sentient cockroaches that are candidates for uplifting into a client species.
  • TinkerQuarry contains a small room filled with mechanical cockroach enemies. To make things worse, they actively chase after you instead of just wandering around like most other enemies. A sign near the room tells us that they are Walter's pets. Apparently, he's not just a sleazy shopkeeper, he's also a Pest Controller.

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner has Gavin, an ordinary cockroach who is sometimes seen in Strong Bad's room.

    Web Video 


  • Nobody Here: "Omen" talks about a cockroach that once leapt out of the author's lunchbox, which he describes as "an omen foreshadowing the string of misfortunes which filled the rest of my day".

    Western Animation 
  • Animaniacs: In the episode "Potty Emergency", Wakko is desperately looking for a usable restroom and at one point homes in on a Disgusting Public Toilet at a gas station (the proprietor says "I haven't cleaned it in a year"). We don't see the restroom or what it's like except for two things: a floor-to-ceiling swarm of cockroaches on the walls around the door that scurry away the moment the light turns on, and Wakko's horrified reaction to what he sees.
  • On an episode of Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, Buzz is teleported to what he thinks is a planet of roach-like aliens, but it turns out to be actual roaches in the local Greasy Spoon.
  • In Capitol Critters, a cockroach husband and wife come for a short time to tour the capitol, and she leaves millions of eggs everywhere.
  • In CatDog, as the duo visit the city dump, Dog befriends and cares for a roach with a broken leg, much to Cat's dismay. Roachy here is an inversion, since he actually saves Cat's life near the end.
  • In Central Park, Season 1 "Live It Up Tonight", when Bitsy and Helen gets locked inside a liquor store room, cockroaches starts coming out of the floor drain and freaks them out.
  • The Cleveland Show: Cleveland is too afraid to kill cockroaches, so he just puts bowls over them, resulting in the house becoming filled with slowly moving little domes.
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog has Shwick, a wanted criminal and a giant cockroach with a shifty demeanor who lurks in a dark alley and looks for unsuspecting victims to lead to their deaths.
  • In an episode of The Fairly Oddparents, Wanda takes a day off at the Fairy World spa, and Timmy and Cosmo promise her not to make any wishes. This promise fails, however, as Timmy wishes for a roach to be smart enough to tell him what he's thinking as part of a school project. The roach — along with several others — proceed to take over the world. Eventually, Wanda poofs them away to the spa, as you can't really kill them.
  • From the Family Guy episode "Screwed the Pooch" (which provides the page image): As Brian and Sea Breeze move into a run-down motel, the owner warns them about the roach problem. They are encountered by some gigantic Hispanic-accented roaches in the bathroom wielding knives and wearing do-rags.
    Roach 1: Hey, you're on our turf, man!
    Roach 2: Hey man, I cut you- I cut you up so bad, you- you gon- you gonna wish I no cut you up so bad!
  • Futurama features an alien race called Cygnoids, who resemble roaches and eat like them, too. They open a pizzeria.
    • A non-sapient example occurs in another episode where Fry mentions how after a 1000 years, New New York still has a massive roach problem, but now they're the size of humans.
  • In one episode of Justice League, Superman gets thrown 30,000 years into a post-apocalyptic red-sunned future, where he and Vandal Savage have to infiltrate a nest of giant cockroaches to recover the power-source for Savage's time machine.
  • Kim Possible offers a subversion and an inversion. A mad scientist uses a device to enlarge and mentally enslave cockroaches for his own private army, but they're no bigger than a small dog. Ron, who in that episode showed an intense fear of bugs, isn't that frightened of them, but Kim is. Ron eventually befriends one of the roaches who strayed behind, noting that, at this size, cockroaches aren't that scary-looking. Kim still stays freaked out, as does everyone else, as Ron and Rufus bond with Roachie. Ron even learns to speak Roachie's language, and Roachie saves the day by being able to communicate with the one actual giant roach the mad scientist created. He convinces the giant roach to make a Heel–Face Turn and go after the mad scientist.
  • In King of the Hill, after Dale is forced to quit his job as an exterminator (due to all the poisons he exposed himself to) and gets a desk job at an adhesives company, his son brings over some roaches which eventually get loose and swarm the place. Dale then kills them all off.
  • Oggy and the Cockroaches is about three roaches named Dee Dee, Joey, and Marky who terrorize Oggy the cat, who wants nothing more to sit back, relax, and watch some TV.
  • The Penguins of Madagascar once had to save some cockroaches from Officer X. It was especially hard on Private.
  • Roach Coach from The Powerpuff Girls (1998) was a villain who controls a whole swarm of roaches. Who turned out to be a roach in a Mobile-Suit Human.
  • In an episode of The Real Ghostbusters, Peter is used as "bait" to draw the shapeshifting monster out, which as already taken many demonic forms. Peter is nervous as it starts to approach, and tells himself he can deal with anything - then he panics when he sees it's a gigantic cockroach.
  • Averted by Roboroach's protagonist Rubin Roach (the eponymous "roboroach"), a Kindhearted Simpleton who uses his cyborg powers to defend the cockroach city of Vexburg.
  • In an episode of Rocko's Modern Life, Heffer gets his own apartment and his roommates are cockroaches, who seem to have a bad influence on his independence.
  • The short-lived Santo Bugito features a group of mariachi-singing roaches who occasionally narrate the plot and action.
  • Completely averted in one episode of Superjail! where the two gay prison inmates, Jean and Paul, bred the world's strongest cockroach to win a Superjail Science fair. Not only does it save them when it's hit by the Warden's Growth Serum, but its anthropomorphized behavior (lifting dumb-bells and smoking) make it more appealing than the assaulting mutant insects that grew and escaped from the Warden's terrorarium.
  • One of Raphael's greatest fears in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012). Alas, fate has made sure that these are among the mutated monsters he faces in "Cockroach Terminator".
  • Subverted with one-shot characters the Roachesnote  in Tiny Toon Adventures, who were three Funny Animal roaches. Not exactly creepy, except to Hampton, who finds all bugs creepy.
  • In the premiere episode of Total Drama Island, a normal cockroach "corners" Lindsay, and the other campers must "rescue" her. Duncan finally dispatches the insect with a fire axe.

    Real Life 
  • The American Cockroach; not only they are notorious for carrying diseases and being invasive species, they can fly.
  • Potentially worse than the American cockroach is the German cockroach. Though they're only about the size of a penny and cannot fly (they glide), they are explosive breeders par excellence and are astoundingly good at fitting themselves into tiny spaces. Unlike other cockroach species, they only live indoors, meaning they are specially adapted to making your life miserable.
  • In some places, giant cockroaches are kept as bizarre pets. These are usually not the same kinds of cockroaches you find under the kitchen sink.
    • In tropical north Queensland, Australian Giant Burrowing Cockroaches are important members of the ecosystem as they mulch dead forest matter. So, quite an inversion in this case. Also notable for being the heaviest cockroach species at 35 grams.
    • Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches are a popular pet for bug enthusiasts due to their inability to bite, docile temperament, and easy handling.
    • The Central American Giant Cave Cockroach is another popular pet for bug enthusiasts due to it being a non-invasive species and easy to handle. They can mulch dead forest matter too. The white-ish color and round appearance make them qualify as Creepy Cute.
  • The Russian idiom "tarakany v golove" ("cockroaches in one's head") means not quite sane, crazy, off kilter - much like the English expression of having "bats in the belfry".
    • However, there may actually be an element of truth to it, as there have been instances where cockroaches have literally crawled into sleeping or unsuspecting people's ears.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Everythings Creepier With Cockroaches



Courage and his owners meet a cockroach named Buschwick who prefers to be called Schwick (never Bushwick).

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Example of:

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