How long can you live without food and what starts to happen to you

How long can you live without food and what starts to happen to you ?

Wiki User
January 09, 2011 4:48PM

The answer to this question completely depends on many different

factors. Gender, age, weight, body mass index, metabolic rate, and

physical activity level determine how long the body can go without

food. When no source of glucose from the food you eat is ingested,

the body will eventually begin to convert the energy your brain

needs into a hormone called keytones. The brain can only survive

off of keytones for a short amount of time and other sources of

energy will be harvested. Fat and protein loss will follow leaving

the body very frail, thin, weak, and unhealthy. Hypoglycemia will

be the first effect of not taking in food. The effects of

hypoglycemia include headache, sweating, a racing heart, fatigue,

mood swings, and the inability to focus.

According to the World Health Organization starvation is the

leading killer in the world with one person dying from it every

second. Also according to the WHO about 17% of the people in the

world have insufficient food.

Depending on a number of factors a person can live without food

or water for about 10-14 days. This can be markedly shorter in hot

If a person can get adequate water but not food they can live

for weeks to a few months without food, again, depending on a

number of factors such as pre-existing stores and metabolic

How Long Can A Cat Survive Without Food Or Water?

11 Answers

Cats can last a short while without food and can potentially survive for weeks without eating. Water is far more necessary to their health and physical well-being however, and a cat that goes more than a few days without anything to drink might not survive.

If you’re worried that a cat hasn’t been eating or drinking, and it’s not showing any signs of being starved or dehydrated, then try offering it a can of tuna water — don’t buy the tuna in oil — and see if you can encourage them to drink that way. Not only the water will hydrate them, it’ll also contain some much-needed nutrients from the fish. Otherwise, you should take the animal to a vet. The consequences of inadequate food and water can be dire.

Why? A cat who hasn’t eaten for a while is considered to be starving, and starvation may have a damning physical effect on the cat’s entire system. The same is true of dehydration, only the onset of dehydration is much quicker — and far more severe — than that of starvation.

Every organ in the feline body relies on water and the nutritional content of food to properly function. Every single one. Starved and dehydrated organs will steal energy and water from the rest of the cat’s body, a process that slows as the cat’s bloodstream becomes less liquid itself. When feline organs lack sufficient food and fluids to function on the most basic level, they dry up and begin to shut down. Not only could this send the body into shock, it might cause irreversible damage to the cat’s organs. If a starving and/or dehydrated cat does not receive swift treatment, it may face permanent health issues — if it survives at all.

These are uncomfortable thoughts. They’re scary. But it’s important to state them as blankly as possible because you never want to take chances with a cat’s intake of food and water.


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Let’s begin by mentioning that cockroaches are a primitive form of insect. They date back to 320 million years ago. Yet today’s cockroaches are not much more adapted than the cockroaches of ancient times. For instance, they are still a common insect that is tolerable to a wide range of environmental conditions. That is how they survive. Contrary to popular belief, they are not immune to nuclear bombs. In regard to this, they are much more resistant to radiation than humans are. As you can see, their bodies are built tough. Some species produce an antifreeze chemical within their bodies in order to survive extreme cold (-188 degrees F!).

As resilient as cockroaches are, they have a very generic insect body. As a result they have six legs, wings, antennae, and chewing mouth parts. Many of them do not even fly. Have you noticed that they have a distinct smell? In relation to the hissing cockroach, they make noise. Some even chirp like crickets.

Recently cockroaches were re-classified into the Order Blatteria. As a result cockroaches and termites are now related. Consider that termites break down wood by eating cellulose. Likewise cockroaches forage for organic matter to break down.

In nature, they are beneficial insects that recycle waste and help break down organic matter. These omnivorous scavengers will eat what is available to them. When living in a dead tree, they will eat decaying wood. If they live in the sewer system (which a lot of them do) they will eat sewage. Once they infest your home, they will feed on pet food, crumbs, grease, hair, books, boxes and more. Most cockroaches can live a week or so without water. Without food, they live around one month or more.

Social Insects

Many cockroaches, like the German Cockroach and American Cockroach, are social insects. They do not form advanced colonies like ants. They aggregate, or cluster together. Pheromones are used to group together, find food, and for choosing mates.

These gregarious cockroaches have overlapping generations living in a common shelter. They recognize their kin. But theses roaches do not have specialized tasks. They do not have a queen, and caste of worker cockroaches. They are involved in group decision making when it comes to feeding and shelter.

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There are 4 species of cockroaches considered as pests in Northeast Ohio: Oriental Cockroach, American Cockroach, Brown-Banded Cockroach, and the German Cockroach. The Oriental and American are hardy to our climate and can survive an Ohio winter. They are also much larger than the other two. Brown-Banded and German Cockroaches are tropical and are dependent on an indoor environment to survive here.

American Cockroach

The American Cockroach is a large tan colored insect. While the normal adult size is just over 2 inches long, they can grow to 3″ It is also called water-bug or the palmetto-bug. Although common names can be whatever people choose, true water-bugs are not cockroaches. True water-bugs, are a true bug of the Hemiptera Order. They have paddle feet and are aquatic. Conversely cockroaches are not aquatic insects.

Oddly enough, American Cockroaches are actually native to Japan. They can live indoors or out and prefer areas of high humidity. You’ll find them mainly in shaded leaf litter, or in gutters full of debris outdoors. Great breeding environments are in the sewer system, or in duct banks with underground utilities. From there, they enter structures from floor drains, conduit, and duct-work. Once indoors they hide around pipes and in drains. These scavengers come out at night to feed on organic matter. They favor fermented foods. Since they often enter structures through the sewer system, contamination is a concern. Disease pathogens and bacteria are carried on their bodies and in their feces. Rarely will you find them in Cleveland, OH homes. Primarily they inhabit old commercial buildings.

Brown-Banded Cockroach

The smallest cockroach pest is the the brown-banded cockroach. In this instance, you are more likely to find them residential sites, than commercial sites. Similar to a silverfish, they like to eat starches. Their diet includes cardboard boxes, stored paper products, drywall glue, and loose tile with adhesive. Brown-Banded Cockroaches tolerate drier conditions than German cockroaches. They are most likely found up high in ceilings, wall voids, cabinets, furniture and behind hanging pictures. They are capable of flying. Conversely you can make the argument that they just glide. By spreading their population into multiple areas of a structure, even the bedroom, they become difficult to control. If you have small cockroaches in many areas of the house, not just the kitchen and bathrooms, there is a good chance you have this species of cockroach. Another key identifier is their dual bands across the abdomen.

Oriental Cockroach

Funny enough, the Oriental cockroach is also called the water-bug. In this case at least, they are more closely tied to water than the American cockroach. At around an inch in length they are considered a medium- sized cockroach. Oriental cockroaches are glossy black or reddish-brown. They also smell rather badly and can spread disease. They have the tendency to enter homes through the sewer system, tracking harmful bacteria and disease organisms into the home. Although this is true, you won’t see that happening much in Ohio.

This is a very hardy species and can survive an Ohio winter without struggle. They prefer cool dark and damp areas. Their connection to structures is pretty reliant on thick accumulations of leaves around the building. In Ohio, as the temperatures cool, they move from the leaf litter into basements and crawlspaces.

German Cockroach

German Cockroaches are very adaptive creatures. Frequently transported inside on produce, they easily make themselves at home. Produce boxes brought inside can also harbor these pests. These hitchhikers are very resourceful. Just like bed bugs, they can move from home to home on student’s backpacks! German cockroaches are the most widespread cockroach pest.

Female German Cockroaches mature sexually, faster than any other cockroach. The females also carry their egg cases (with 30-48 eggs) while the embryos develop. Since they carry their eggs until they are nearly ready to hatch, there is greater success for the survival of their young.

German Cockroaches are restricted to warm, humid areas. Indoors they are mostly found in the kitchen, bathrooms and close to the hot water tank. They are scavengers with a diverse diet. They do very well surviving off of our crumbs, pet food, and everyday garbage. This cockroach is small. As a result, they are able to shelter themselves in cracks and crevices during the day. Unless food is scarce or there is a high population, they will only come out at night to feed.


Cockroaches present one of the most significant public health risks, carrying a variety of harmful diseases. BASF offers solutions with a combination of quick control and long-lasting results.

Cockroaches are most commonly found in commercial premises in which food is produced or handled, such as restaurants and catering establishments. However they are not uncommon in domestic situations where they live in kitchens and drains.

The most common species in Europe are Blattella germanica (German cockroach), Periplaneta Americana (American cockroach), Blatta orientalis (Oriental cockroach) and Supella longipalpa (Brown band cockroach).

The Modern Cockroach Challenge

Cockroaches are pervasive, elusive and prolific. They are associated with numerous pathogenic organisms, a source of human allergens and invariably suggestive of poor hygiene. As such their presence where food is stored, processed or served is unacceptable.

Controlling cockroaches in these environments can be challenging. They travel easily on deliveries, reproduce rapidly and prefer to live inside difficult to access cracks and crevices.

These challenges are compounded by control methods involving inadequate inspection, insufficient co-operation between multiple building occupants and over reliance on single products or application methods.

Control levels of over 90 % may be insufficient to prevent a relatively rapid resurgence of the problem.

Understanding Cockroach Behavior

Although very effective at adapting to different conditions, cockroaches need four key resources to survive and thrive:

They naturally cluster together where these are available in close proximity. The German cockroaches that are the primary problem across Europe require particular warmth, so live almost exclusively indoors. The larger Oriental cockroaches are equally at home outside.

Although Oriental cockroaches forage over longer distances than their German counterparts, neither generally travel more than a few meters from the cracks, crevices and voids in which they cluster to forage for food and water.

Both species actively seek darkness with most individuals spending the majority of their lives in their protected harborages only emerging to forage.

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They show a preference for high energy foods and are deterred from feeding by oiliness, mold or spoilage.

While male cockroaches forage actively on most days, females typically spend 75% of their lives not foraging and can survive for nearly 45 days without food providing they have access to water. Young nymphs also forage relatively little.

Foraging occurs almost exclusively at night and is deterred by human activity. Individuals in larger populations are more active and less discerning in their appetites than those in smaller populations as they have to compete more vigorously for food.

Since cockroaches are considered incapable of detecting odors over more than a few centimeters, success in locating food appears to be related to chance encounters optimized by regular routes of foraging activity based on experience. With a good supply of food and water in close proximity to their harborage, individuals may never come into contact with bait just a few feet away.

A life cycle of approximately 170 days under favorable conditions and capsules of 30-40 eggs produced every 2-3 weeks, means German cockroach populations can increase massively in a very short time despite relatively high levels of control.

Planning the Best Control

The challenges of modern cockroach control means a single round of gel bait treatment is unlikely to provide sufficient, sustained control. Even under the best field conditions the natural behavior of cockroaches rarely makes it possible to control more than 80% of any population from a single baiting.

In most cases, sustained control requires an integrated approach based on a sound understanding of pest behavior, thorough inspection, good sanitation, and a program of treatments. This includes follow-up baiting, and crack and crevice treatment where necessary.


Because cockroaches cluster together in protected harborages and forage primarily at night, a thorough inspection of infested areas is essential to plan targeted treatment.

Inspections are best conducted at night with a torch and a small flexible mirror to examine less accessible areas for excrement, shed skins and old egg capsules as well as live cockroaches.

Pyrethroids sprayed into cracks and crevices can also be very effective in identifying occupied sites by temporarily flushing cockroaches into the open.

Sticky traps offer the best way of establishing the level and location of infestations in most cases. They should be placed in areas commonly frequented by foraging cockroaches. Particular attention should be paid to warm moist places such as the underneath of fridges or other appliances, wall/floor junctions, around the edges of fittings and equipment, and beneath furniture etc.


Cockroach infestations are invariably larger and more difficult to control where sanitation is poor.

Restricting food and harborages can be a valuable aid to cockroach control, while good sanitation in the vicinity of baits generally improves control by reducing alternative sources of food and water and increasing the likelihood of bait contact.

Populations may be reduced or disrupted by removing clutter or heavily infested furniture and appliances. Since changes to the environment appear to interfere with learned behavior, sanitation can also be valuable in combating bait avoidance.

BASF offers comprehensive cockroach solutions to help put an end to the long standing frustrations associated with conventional cockroach control approaches. Our solutions feature modern strategies and a range of cutting edge products to overcome challenges like bait aversion and chemical resistance

Bait Placement

The effectiveness of insecticide baits depends on the foraging individuals consuming them. This makes it important to use baits that are highly palatable and maintain their palatability over an extended period.

Even so, the restricted foraging range of most cockroaches means the effectiveness of baits can be seriously compromised by poor placement. To be effective they must be located as close as possible to every cockroach harborage in an infested area.

Like sticky traps, they also need to be well placed if they are to intercept aging cockroaches. Bait points placed within the warm, damp and dark areas that cockroaches love are likely to be most effective. Removing access panels rather than just baiting on external surfaces is advisable in many cases.

Cascade Control

For the most complete and sustained control, insecticides also need to reach non-foraging females and nymphs within harborages in sufficient quantity.

This is made possible with baits as females and nymphs will eat poisoned individuals returning to die and their feces, especially if they have limited access to other food supplies.

The extent to which this ‘cascade effect’ will be effective in controlling the non-foraging population clearly depends on the potency of the insecticide. Even with the most potent active available, fipronil, many infestations are unlikely to be completely eliminated inside a week. This is especially true where they involve Oriental rather than German cockroaches. Control is also made difficult if the infestation is relatively large or if there is an abundance of alternative food sources.

Crack & Crevice Treatment

Even well managed gel baiting may need to be supported by complementary crack and crevice treatment. The effectiveness of lower potency insecticide baits tends to be restricted by a less effective ‘cascade effect’ as well as any restriction on uptake.

Equally, full control can only be achieved both once all eggs have hatched and nymphs have either matured to the foraging stage or, have consumed sufficient insecticide from eating poisoned individuals or their feces.

These difficulties are best overcome by the targeted treatment of key harborages with a complementary residual insecticide spray like Mythic ® SC.

Fendona ® should be the first choice for crack and crevice cockroach treatment, and we can use Mythic SC to improve the speed of control alongside targeted baiting or as the main prescription in areas where baiting is likely to be less effective.

Cost Effective Control

Minimizing treatment time while maximizing efficacy is the best way of ensuring the most cost effective control. Ensuring the correct and most effective placement of modern cockroach baits can be time consuming for less experienced operators. Modern guidelines based on the standard bait point number recommendations rather than the traditional bait points per square meter of infested area, can increase the speed of applications.

Making the Most of the Products

To prevent costly call backs and maximize both customer satisfaction and business profitability, cockroach control products need to be employed with an appreciation of their own particular strengths, limitations and requirements as well as pest behavior.

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Integrated Treatment

Baits have become the treatment of choice in most control programs due to their

  • Convenience
  • relative lack of preparation
  • minimal client disruption — time as well as odour and exposure issues

Baiting with a well formulated gel like Goliath® is central to most domestic cockroach jobs as well as those in commercial kitchens and restaurants. Mythic® gel is the second choice for a cockroaches bait treatment. Where the areas involved are large with extensive voids like some food processing sites, factories and warehouses, crack and crevice spraying with a well-formulated residual insecticide such as Mythic® SC can be invaluable. This can be alongside (not repellent effect) or as an alternative to baiting.

Equally, where the pressure is on for the most rapid, total control, a well targeted crack and crevice treatment can be a very valuable complement to baiting to tackle non-foraging adults and nymphs. Under these circumstances, it is not surprising that residual crack and crevice insecticide application remains an important element in modern cockroach control alongside the use of baits with sufficient ‘cascade’ power.

To minimize the chance of cockroaches developing either insecticide resistance or bait aversion, it is advisable not to use a single bait active ingredient or formulation as the single means of control over an extended period in the same location. Supporting gel baiting with crack and crevice treatment can avoid this situation without the complication of bait rotation.

How many cockroaches live in extreme conditions without food and water

Cockroaches are insects that live in many locations around the world. These pests adapt easily to a variety of environments. They prefer warm conditions found most often in buildings. They are mainly active at night and will run away from light.

A cockroach allergy is a common trigger of year-round allergy and asthma. If you are allergic to them, they can trigger asthma attacks. Studies show children who are allergic to cockroaches, and are exposed to them, need to go to the hospital for asthma more often than other children with asthma.

What Is a Cockroach Allergy?

Cockroaches contain a protein that is an allergen for many people. An allergen is a substance that causes an allergic immune reaction. The body parts, saliva and waste of cockroaches are allergens. Even dead cockroaches can cause allergic reactions.

What Are the Symptoms of Cockroach Allergy?

Common cockroach allergy symptoms include:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy, red or watery eyes
  • Stuffy nose
  • Itchy nose, mouth or throat
  • Postnasal drip (a flow of mucus from behind your nose into your throat)
  • Cough
  • Itchy skin or skin rash

If your cockroach allergy triggers your asthma, you may also experience:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • A whistling or wheezing sound when breathing out
  • Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing

How Do Doctors Diagnose a Cockroach Allergy?

To diagnose a cockroach allergy, your doctor may give you a physical exam and discuss your symptoms. If your doctor thinks you have a cockroach allergy, he or she may suggest a skin prick test or a specific IgE blood test. If you have symptoms year round, you could have a cockroach allergy.

How Can I Avoid Cockroach Exposure?

Avoid exposure to cockroaches and their droppings. Pests need food, water and shelter to survive. There are changes you can make to your home to reduce the numbers of these unwanted “guests”:

  • Cover all trash cans tightly.
  • Store food in airtight containers. This includes food kept in cabinets and on counters.
  • Clean all dirty dishes. Do not leave them in the sink or on the counter.
  • Sweep up any food crumbs from the counters, stove top, tables and floor.Wipe up any spills. Vacuum and mop floors regularly.
  • Avoid leaving pet food out in a bowl. Clean the bowl regularly, like other dirty dishes.
  • Fix leaky pipes under sinks and in the basement. Cockroaches like damp places.
  • Seal cracks in the walls and floors where cockroaches can enter your home.
  • Use cockroach baits and traps. Don’t use sprays. They can irritate allergies and asthma.

What Is the Treatment for Cockroach Allergy?

The most important step is to avoid cockroaches as much as possible. Limiting your exposure to cockroaches will reduce your symptoms. However, you may also need medicines to control allergy symptoms.

Certain over-the-counter and prescription medicines may help reduce cockroach allergy symptoms. Talk to your doctor about what medications may be right for you.

  • Antihistamines are available as pills, liquids or nose sprays. They can relieve sneezing and itching in the nose and eyes. They also reduce a runny nose and, to a lesser extent, nasal stuffiness.
  • Nasal corticosteroids are a type of nose spray. They reduce swelling in your nose and block allergic reactions. They are the most effective medicine type for allergic rhinitis because they can reduce all symptoms, including nasal congestion. Nasal corticosteroids have few side effects.
  • Leukotriene receptor antagonists block the action of important chemical messengers (other than histamine) involved in allergic reactions.
  • Cromolyn sodium is a nose spray that blocks the release of chemicals that cause allergy symptoms, including histamine and leukotrienes. This medicine has few side effects, but you must take it four times a day.
  • Decongestants are available as pills, liquids, nose sprays or drops. They help shrink the lining of the nasal passages and relieve stuffiness. Use decongestant nose drops and sprays only for a short time. Oral decongestants can cause side effects such as sleeplessness and increased blood pressure in some people. Consider checking with your doctor before using them.

Your doctor will also prescribe anti-inflammatory medicines and bronchodilators if you have asthma.

Some people with a cockroach allergy do not get complete relief from the combination of cockroach avoidance actions and medicines. In some cases your allergist may consider immunotherapy (allergy shots). Immunotherapy is a long-term treatment that can help prevent or reduce the severity of allergic reactions. It can change the course of allergic disease by reducing the body’s immune response to allergens.

Look for this mark to find products proven more suitable for people with asthma and allergies.
Find certified asthma & allergy friendly® products on our certification program website.

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