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Cockroaches: Are They Just Gross, Or Are They Actually Dangerous?


Of all the creatures on this planet, nothing can be as reviled and as hated as the cockroach. All of us see cockroaches as gross creatures, and this reputation is well earned. Cockroaches thrive in filth; they like to get dirty all the time. The usual places we find them are the sewers, garbage bins, rotten foods, or on animal or human excrement. Now that we have agreed that they are indeed gross, let us explore the dangers that cockroaches bring.

Cockroach Overview

Cockroaches are insects of medium size, with flat bodies, long antennae, and a tough external exoskeleton. They have wings but are clumsy fliers. These wings are attached to their second and third thoracic segments. They have three pairs of sturdy legs that are attached to their three thoracic segments. They are nocturnal, so we do not see much of them during the day.  

There are around 4,600 species of cockroaches, but surprisingly, only a few are household pests. In the United States, there are four common cockroaches that are household pests: the American cockroach, German cockroach, oriental cockroach, and the brown-banded cockroach.  

Cockroaches are probably the greatest survivors known to man. They have been around since the dinosaur era, and look at where the dinosaurs are now. For one, cockroaches have a very tough exterior, They cannot easily be squished, unlike with other insects. Cockroaches can also survive for a month without food and a week without water. What’s more, they can survive even with its head cut off! You read it right, they can survive without its head for one week. If you wonder how they can breathe without the head, they have tiny holes throughout their segmented bodies. Those holes allow them to breathe without their head. They die after a week because, well, they need to drink water to survive, and they cannot drink without their heads. Aside from that, adult female cockroaches lay hundreds of eggs every year, virtually ensuring the survival of their species.

Cockroaches are not picky eaters. They eat just about anything; they eat fresh food when they can find it, rotten food, your trash, fruits and vegetables, feces, the glue used on books, hair, and even their dead relatives. Because of this, they are surely capable of transmitting diseases.

Cockroaches That Are Common In The United States

Not all of the 4,600 species of cockroaches can be found in the United States. Of this number, these four are the most common;

American cockroach - The name is actually a misnomer. What is supposedly American came from the Middle East and Africa, and is said to have traveled all the way to the United States via ships. This type of cockroach is the largest species of the common cockroach. Its size is about 4 cm in length and 7 mm tall. They are oval in shape and are equipped with well-developed wings. They are clumsy fliers though. American cockroaches thrive in wet and dark places like sewers and pipes in homes and commercial buildings. This type of cockroach is one of the filthiest and is responsible for transmitting diseases like typhoid, amoebiasis, and cholera. An adult female American cockroach can lay as many as 150 eggs per year. They have three developmental stages: the egg, nymph, and adult.

German cockroach - This type of cockroach is small, about 1.1 to 1.5 inches long. Its color can be tan or black. This type of cockroach is said to be the most troublesome, so immediate help is needed once you spot one of these in your home. Their diet consists of meat, sugars, starch, fatty foods, glue, and even their own kind.

Oriental cockroach - The oriental cockroach is a large species of cockroach. The size of the adult male is 18 to 29 mm, the whole female is about 20 to 27 mm. They are considered the filthiest among all the cockroaches. Oriental cockroaches are darker in color compared to other cockroach species. They can be black or dark brown in color, with a glossy body. They dwell in dirty, cooler places and create a strong smell. They eat garbage and organic material.

Brown-banded cockroach - Brown-banded cockroaches measure about 10 to 14 mm long. Its color is tan to light brown. They have two light-colored bands across their wings and abdomen. They are somewhat similar to the German cockroach but are a bit smaller. You can actually tell the male from the female, with the make having wings that cover their abdomen, while the females’ wings do not cover their abdomens entirely. They usually dwell in warm dry places, and they hide their eggs under furniture, clothes, cracks on the floor, or wood. The adult life span is about 200 days.

Diseases That Cockroaches Transmit

Aside from being ugly, cockroaches are also dangerous because they can transmit diseases. This is the reason why getting rid of them is of utmost importance. A pest control professional can, of course, help you do the dirty work. If you are not yet convinced that cockroaches should be totally annihilated, here are some of the diseases they can transfer:

  1. Allergies & Asthma - Cockroaches can cause allergies and asthma, with most of its victims being children. Cockroach saliva, droppings, and their body sheddings can cause this reaction. Signs and symptoms include coughing, skin rash, nasal congestion, ear infection, and sinus infection.  
  2. Typhoid Fever - This is a bacterial disease that is life-threatening. It is caused by the bacterium Salmonella typhi.  This disease spreads throughout the body and is also highly contagious. It is said that children are the most vulnerable and is acquired through ingesting contaminated water. One possibility is water being contaminated by a cockroach’s saliva, droppings, or vomit. Signs and symptoms of this disease include a high fever, weakness, headaches, stomach pain, and rashes. Testing of stool sample or a blood test is the best way to know if a person has typhoid.
  3. Amoebiasis - This is a disease caused by the parasite Entamoeba histolytica and can be acquired when a person ingests food that has touched fecal matter, or food that is contaminated with Entamoeba histolytica. Again, cockroaches can play a role in spreading amoebiasis, if food is contaminated by their saliva, droppings, or vomit. Symptoms include stomach pain, stomach cramping, and loose stools. As a treatment, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics.
  4. Shigellosis - Shigellosis is a disease caused by a group of bacteria called Shigella. Shigellosis can be acquired by ingesting food that is contaminated with by cockroaches. Signs and symptoms of this disease include fever, diarrhea, and stomach cramps.  

How To Get Rid Of Cockroaches

Now we know that cockroaches can indeed spread deadly diseases, it is time for prevention. Getting rid of cockroaches lessens the probability of acquiring these diseases, though it is important to note that there are many other factors in getting these diseases.  

Since cockroaches are scavengers, sanitation is the best move to getting rid of them. Always dispose of your garbage regularly and properly. Cockroaches like to visit our trash cans looking for food. As we said, they are not choosy about what to eat.

Never leave unwashed dishes on the kitchen sink overnight. Again, this would attract cockroaches, and worse, they would be feasting on your dishes. Wipe off food and drink spills at once.

Seal off cracks and crevices. These are possible entry points for cockroaches. Aside from that, cockroaches love to use them as hiding places.

If all else fails, and you still find lots of cockroaches in your home, then it is time to call in the best pest control management in North Carolina, Go-Forth Home Services.

Why We All Trust Go-Forth Home Services

Go-Forth Home Services is a family-owned commercial service solutions provider of modern pest control services and techniques, using the latest and most advanced technology in the business, making our service to you more efficient, safer, and more convenient. We have a team of expert professionals who can provide the best pest control services to residents and business establishments all throughout North and South Carolina.

We bring a fresh and innovative approach to the pest control industry, using family-friendly and pet-friendly methods of extermination that caters to your specific needs. Our expert experience in exterminating pests like cockroaches, weevils, mosquitoes, mice, flies, termites, ants, and spiders can really make you say goodbye to these pests. You may check us on Facebook or Google to see what our satisfied customers have to say about us.  

Go-Forth Home Services has earned the trust of residents and businesses in North Carolina for more than 50 years. For more information, or to set an appointment, just click here dial (877) 274-1475. Our friendly operators are standing by.