Wild cockroaches do not live with humans and are not considered pests. They live almost everywhere in the world, except in very cold habitats. However, one species of cockroach, Eu-polyphaga everestinia, is found on the slopes of Mount Everest at 18,500 feet (5,639 meters). German cockroaches and other pest species can survive indoors in extremely cold climates. Cockroaches live in caves, mines, animal burrows, bird nests, ant and termite nests, deserts, and even around water. Most species live outdoors and spend their days near the ground, hiding under bark, dead leaves, soil, logs, or stones. About twenty species of cockroaches worldwide have the same temperature and moisture requirements as humans do. They prefer to live in homes, restaurants, food stores, hospitals, and sewers. Living in these stable climates protects them from extremely high or low temperatures and assures them of plenty of water.
Many species live on plants, but it is not clear whether the plants are essential to their survival. Most cockroaches found on plants are simply taking advantage of a place to hide and find food. Some species damage plants by feeding on them, but others transport pollen from one tropical plant to another. Several species prefer to live on land at the edges of streams or pools, and they sometimes spend brief periods of time in the water.
In the western United States, desert cockroaches live on plants during the day and avoid the blistering sun of spring, summer, and fall. From November through March, when the nighttime temperatures are cooler, they burrow into the sand at the bases of plants. They come up to the surface just after dark to feed, taking advantage of the warmest nighttime temperatures.
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