Do Cockroaches Carry Disease?
Cockroaches are considered to be dangerous as they are one of the most common sources of indoor allergens and asthma triggers. The enzymes found in the excrement, shedding body parts, and saliva of cockroaches cause allergic reactions in many people. Typically, when compared to adults, children are more susceptible to cockroach allergies.
Cockroaches also can carry and transfer multiple kinds of diseases. They carry certain bacteria that can cause illnesses if they come in contact with food or utensils which can lead to salmonella, and other food-borne diseases. Cockroaches can also be carriers of intestinal diseases, such as dysentery, diarrhea, cholera, and typhoid fever.
While cockroaches don’t spread diseases by bites, they can scratch you with their leg spines which could lead to an infection. They can transport bacteria from dirty areas like garbage cans to countertops, cookware and pantries. Depending on the type, bacteria are either carried on the outside of the insects’ bodies to transfer by touch, or they pass through the digestive tract to be distributed by feces. In addition, during the process of eating, cockroaches regurgitate repeatedly which contaminates stored foods and surfaces.
The Typical Cockroach Lifespan
While the lifespan of a cockroach is usually one year, under good conditions cockroaches can reproduce rapidly depending on environmental factors. Regardless of the species, a typical female cockroach can produce between 200 to 300 offspring during her lifetime. Once a female cockroach reaches maturity, which could be between three to four months depending on the species, she can start forming egg capsules, called the ootheca, within a few weeks of mating. In addition, some female species only need to mate once in order to produce multiple oothecas due to the ability to store sperm. The ootheca provides protection for eggs as they develop prior to hatching and emergence of young cockroaches, which takes about four to eight weeks. Cockroaches or their ootheca can be a source of a new infestation since both are transported easily into your house by grocery sacks, boxes, used furniture, or similar containers.
Types of Cockroaches
With each species of cockroach, the control methods that work the best to eliminate the infestation can vary. In addition, it is not unusual to find more than one species occupying different areas of your home. Therefore, it is important to identify the type of species and which areas of the home are more likely to support those species.
In regards to being labeled a pest, there are four main types of cockroaches that are often found threatening to invade your home:
- American cockroach (Periplaneta americana)
- German cockroach (Blattella germanica)
- Oriental cockroach (Blatta orientalis)
- Brown-banded cockroach (Supella longipalpa)
Cockroaches are insects that are able to survive and complete their life cycles indoors, as well as some species being able to live outdoors until environmental elements are unfavorable. They have 6 long legs, 2 long antennae, and 2 pairs of wings. Depending on the species and gender, an adult cockroach measures about 1/2 to 1 inch long.
While some traits are similar between species, like cockroach wings don’t develop until maturity, there are ways to determine which cockroach species has infested your home. Coloration is a big clue when it comes to identifying a type of cockroach. The American and the Brownbanded cockroach have distinctive markings on their backs. The American cockroach is a reddish-brown over the entire body except for the tan area right behind the head. On the other hand, the Brownbanded cockroach is a dark reddish-brown with tan bands running across the body. Although both the German cockroach and the Oriental cockroach have solid coloration, the German cockroach is tan or light brown while the Oriental cockroaches are dark brown or black.
Areas of the home
Another way to identify the cockroach is by the area it occupies in your home. While the most obvious place to find cockroaches is where food is prepared or stored, there are some types that occupy other areas within a building. Some cockroaches, like the German cockroach, are attracted to kitchens, bathrooms, and basements. They prefer to hide under or around sinks, appliances, or places with high humidity. On the other hand, cockroaches like the Brownbanded cockroach are not limited to warm and humid areas. They may often be found behind objects on walls, like picture frames, or underneath tables and chairs. In addition, they may be found in the back corners of cupboards and cabinets. Inside electronic equipment, lamps, or furniture are other places that are not off limits to cockroaches.
Cockroach Problems Needs Professional Solutions
Even the cleanest of buildings and rooms can still have a cockroach or two infiltrate the inside. If they locate moist areas and a reliable food source, large populations can develop in those areas. At Bug-A-Way, our professional team can make an inspection to help take steps to limit their access to water, food, and shelter. Not only can some cockroach populations quickly multiply in terrific numbers with favorable conditions, but some may also be resistant to certain insecticides. The professionals at Bug-A-Way can help get rid of those nasty insects and help prevent them from coming back. We are happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have!