Do Cockroaches Carry Disease?
Do cockroaches carry disease while walking around your home? The answer is YES, they should not be taken lightly.
It is common knowledge that cockroaches are invasive pests that can cause a range of health problems. Roaches will survive out of your trash, leftovers, and discarded household items. They usually wander around at night and that is when they scavenge for food. Cockroaches often live in sewers and this is one of the reasons why they carry diseases that can be spread to humans.
Imagine a cockroach feeding off your garbage. The same cockroach will then go to your kitchen’s countertop, looking for more food. It’ll step all over your utensils, which you’ll later use. Cockroaches also prefer dirty and humid places such as bathrooms.
Cockroach bites are not what cause diseases in humans and they are not vectors. It is the different bacteria that cockroaches end up carrying on their body that can contaminate human food and water. Cockroaches are commonly associated with lack of hygiene and for a good reason. Every year, thousands of people are sent to the hospital because of health problems caused by roach infestations in their homes.
Why Cockroach Infestations Can Be Dangerous
Cockroaches are one of the primary pests that impact people’s health. As explained above they carry and transmit diseases that are dangerous for humans. Having a roach-infested home is not only disgusting but also a threat to you and to your family.
If you own a business, having a roach infestation can be even more dangerous as it could potentially impact your customer’s health. No one would eat at a restaurant where there are roaches in the kitchen. A hospital full of roaches – imagine how horrid that would be! Cockroaches are clever and sneaky – they can invade almost any place.
What Diseases Do Cockroaches Carry?
Their dirty living environment is the reason why they end up being carriers of infectious microorganisms. Roaches have been known to carry around 33 kinds of bacteria and almost six parasites. Even E.Coli has been found on them! Thus roaches are not just tiny annoying pests – they are dangerous pests that should be taken seriously. A roach infestation can literally destroy your house and your body!
Here’s a list of diseases roaches carry:
Cholera: Spread through contaminated food and water; cockroaches can spread this through their feces.
Plague: Cockroaches have been known to carry the bacterium that spreads the bubonic plague
Typhoid fever: Symptoms are headaches, muscle cramps, exhaustion, diarrhea
Dysentery diarrhea with blood: spread through the unhygienic environment and food)
Gastroenteritis: Also known as stomach flu
E. Coli infections: E. Coli has been found on the bodies of roaches
Food poisoning caused by contaminated food or water
Salmonellosis caused by eating contaminated food; symptoms similar to food poisoning
Allergies: Cockroaches trigger allergic reactions in people. Their body and saliva can cause asthma-like problems. Asthma is a respiratory disease that can be deadly if not treated on time.
Cholera: Consuming cockroach contaminated food or water can ruin the functioning of your digestive system. Cholera is a scary disease caused by a cockroach and they also carry E.Coli. Other gastric problems can increasingly bring down immunity. People have been admitted into ERs because of severe health problems caused just because of roach infestations that went unaddressed.
Common Cockroach Disease Symptoms
- Stomach cramps
- Blood in stool or vomit
- Rashes on the skin
- Discoloration of skin
Do Roaches Bite? What Do the Bites Look?
Although it’s very unlikely for these pests to bite humans, yes, they can bite us if there’s a large cockroach infestation and the food sources become limited. They usually take a bite on fingernails, toes, hand, feet, and face such as mouth and eyelids. Mostly, roaches are attracted to bite while we’re sleeping at night and in specific parts where there are food remnants left on our body.
That’s why it’s essential to always wash our hands and mouth after eating to prevent roaches scurrying over our body to taste the food we ate. Cockroach bites are similar like mosquito bites, only slightly larger than the bloodsucking critters. The bites appear like swelling red bumps followed by itchy rashes. Cockroach bites aren’t considered venomous as their bites pose no direct threat to humans. However, roaches are nasty pests which carry a lot of bacteria and germs. Therefore, there’s always a risk of infection due to irritation and lesions.
Signs That You Have A Roach Infestation
- Feces left behind by the roaches (looks like pepper)
- A peculiar odor around the suspected infestation site
- Dead bodies of roaches
- Different parts of roaches that they may have shed (like a few legs lying here and there)
- Roach eggs in nooks and crannies of your building
How Long Will Roaches Live for?
Roaches are resilient insects. You probably don’t know that cockroaches actually can survive a week without its head. And, they can survive a whole month without food. In terms of how long they will live, it depends on several factors such as the species, environment, and diet. American cockroaches usually will live for 6 months to a year. If their surrounding conditions provide them with an ample food and the weather is humid, the adult females can live more than 700 days. Other species of cockroach: German cockroach can live less than a year, approximately 200 days, while Oriental cockroach can live around 160-18- days.
How Fast Do They Breed?
Cockroach breeding habits vary depending on their species. German cockroaches have a shorter lifespan than any other species in North America, but they have the highest reproductive rate. Females can lay up t0 40 eggs in one ootheca (egg capsule) and they can produce five to seven ootheca in their lifespan. American cockroaches can produce two oothecae in a week, each containing 16 eggs. In their lifespan, females can produce up to 150 offspring. Meanwhile, female Oriental cockroaches can lay up t0 16 eggs in one egg capsule and produce eight capsules during their lifetime.
How Do Roaches Invade Human Spaces?
There are about 30 different types of roaches that are considered pests today. They are found all over the world, especially in warm and humid places. They are extremely good at hiding and they have adapted to the modern day lifestyle. Around 80% of the homes in urban spaces have or have had a roach infestation. Cockroaches look for three simple things – food, water, and shelter. In search of these three essential items, they can end up breaking into any place.
Cracks in the windows, damaged doors, easily accessible basements, and attics, leaky pipes, broken toilets, garbage bins, cockroaches can enter your living space through a variety of ways. It is important to constantly be on the lookout for roaches, as having a roach infestation can destroy your living environment and your health.
Do Roaches Damage Houses?
The damage roaches cause to your house might not as severe as what termites do. Roaches don’t chew on the wooden structures of your home. However, if there’s a massive cockroach infestation when they find it more difficult to seek food, they will consume literally anything including natural-based materials such as furniture, rugs made of nylon and other fibers, clothing, wallpaper and other paper products made from cellulose. Not only that, but roaches can also feed on the insulation which will cause electrical issues for your household appliances.
What Can You Do About It?
Preventing roaches is the best way to ensure that you won’t suffer from the diseases that they transmit. Follow the tips below to avoid a roach infestation:
- Keep your surroundings clean
- Fix all broken windows and doors
- Clear out the garbage every day
- Keep all empty boxes and containers tightly sealed
- Make sure your surroundings are uncluttered
- Keep garbage bins away from the main living space
- Keep the kitchen clean
- Make sure the refrigerator is functional and clean
- Don’t leave any windows or doors open at night
- Attach mesh wires of any openings in the building
Keep the Roaches Away, Keep Your Own Self-Safe
Always keep an eye out for roaches. It is always better to stop an infestation in its initial stages. Choosing to use the services of a professional pest control company is the best way to contain and eliminate an infestation. Handling a cockroach infestation on your own can be quite futile and risky. The damage caused by roaches to human health should not be underestimated. Remember to always be aware of roaches in your home!