Why Cockroaches Are More Than Just A Nuisance
Close up picture of a Cockroach on a biscuit

Why Cockroaches Are More Than Just A Nuisance

Everyone knows that cockroaches are vile insects. They scale walls and silently disappear into cracks, make little clicking noises as they scatter across the floor, and they can scare the wits out of you when they suddenly scuttle out from under your stove or any other dark, hidden place. Yes, everyone knows cockroaches are vile, but did you know that they are also harmful to your health and wellness? In the Houston area, we mainly deal with these three species of home-invading: German cockroaches, Asian cockroaches, and Oriental cockroaches. In this blog, we’re going to discuss why cockroaches are so harmful, but first, we want to provide you with a little bit of information about these pests!

One of the worst factors about cockroaches is the places they spend their time outside before they enter your home. Roaches spend their lives outside in sewers, walking through garbage, and among decaying animals. Their spiny legs and bodies pick up numerous bacteria in these areas, and when they get inside your house, they contaminate your food and surfaces.

These roaches also sometimes carry parasitic worms and other pathogens that can potentially harm you. Not every cockroach will necessarily have these bacteria and pathogens, but if anyone in your family has stomach distress, it could come from living with these bugs. It can help to let your doctor know there may be roaches in your house if you are experiencing symptoms such as diarrhea, fever, and stomach pain.

Cockroaches infesting your house can cause other issues as well. These insects' saliva, urine, and feces contain proteins that can produce allergy symptoms and asthma attacks. These problems can happen to anyone but are most likely to occur in children or people with compromised immune systems.

German roaches have flat, tan, or light-brown colored bodies with two distinctive black stripes that run horizontally behind their heads. They have two sets of wings but are rarely seen flying. Asian roaches are nearly identical to German roaches, both in size and with the two dark stripes behind their head. However, are adept fliers that are capable of sustained flying and are often seen flying, unlike German cockroaches. Oriental roaches are glossy black, slow-moving roaches that give off a musty, foul odor. These roaches cannot climb vertical surfaces or fly, though they do have wings.

German, Asian, And Oriental Cockroaches Bring Health Risks

Since all roaches travel through disgusting places, when they invade your home and walk around on your kitchen counters and in your pantry areas, it is no surprise that they can transfer harmful, disease-causing bacteria. A few of the filthy areas roaches are commonly found include dumpsters, garbage piles, sewers, compost heaps, trash cans, and animal excrement. The following is a list of some of the health risks that cockroaches bring with them when they invade human dwellings.

  • Cockroaches carry bacteria: In the various unsanitary places cockroaches love to frequent, they pick up bacteria on their legs and bodies. This is bad news when they get inside and decide to sit on the bristles of your toothbrush or crawl across your clean dishes. Cockroaches have the ability to carry 33 types of harmful bacteria that they can transmit to humans. These bacteria can cause both mild and severe illness. The following are two you are probably the most familiar with:

  • Salmonellosis: This is an infection that is caused by the bacteria salmonella. There are many strains of this bacteria, but the symptoms caused by each one are similar in nature. Mild symptoms may include a headache, fever, and abdominal cramps. This can lead to nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. When this infection is contracted, it can spread from person to person, which can lead to an outbreak where many people get sick. High-risk individuals include infants, young children, people with weakened immune systems, and people with sickle cell disease.

  • E. coli: This bacteria, Escherichia coli, is actually a large and diverse group of bacteria and, while most strains are relatively harmless, there are several strains that can cause illness. Some symptoms of E. coli include urinary tract infection, diarrhea, respiratory problems, pneumonia, and more. When cockroaches are present and household members get sick because of these bacteria, these symptoms are often mistaken for the flu or the common cold.

  • Cockroaches carry parasites: In addition to the 33 bacteria, these pests can spread, roaches are also a mechanical vector for various parasites. Parasites on cockroaches are not the same parasites that furry animals carry in their fur, such as lice, mites, ticks, and fleas. Cockroach parasites are carried inside their bodies. One example of this is giardia, the parasite that causes giardiasis. This microscopic parasite causes illness with symptoms including fatigue, diarrhea, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, cramps, gas, and body aches. This is only one example, however. Roaches have been linked to six kinds of parasitic worms!

  • Cockroaches can exacerbate asthma: Studies have shown that the presence of roaches in a home can make asthmatic symptoms noticeably worse. Excretions from cockroaches such as their feces and shed skins can trigger asthmatic symptoms, especially if they become airborne and get into air ducts.

  • Cockroaches will sometimes bite: When populations are high and food sources for the roaches become scarce, cockroaches will sometimes settle for nibbling on the eyelashes of sleeping individuals. When this happens, they can bite the person, usually on the eyelid, which will cause redness and swelling around the bite wound.

If you are seeing roaches inside your Houston home, don't wait another second to get rid of them! If left alone, roaches can multiply quickly and become even more difficult to eradicate. While there are some DIY methods of keeping roaches out of your home, once an infestation has been established inside your home, the best course of action to eliminate them is to contact a professional pest control company to rid your home of these disgusting pests and make your home feel like home again. Reach out to Modern Pest Control today to learn more about our residential pest control options.

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