Yes. Cockroaches can be dangerous. They can spread harmful bacteria that can cause a variety of diseases. They can also cause problems for people with allergies and asthma.
Why Are Cockroaches Dangerous?
Cockroaches are capable of biting humans and animals, but they rarely do. They often bite humans on the eyelids because they feed on dead skin and eyelashes, that is why they would normally bite those who are sleeping. Still, they may occasionally bite anywhere in the body.
They also do not have a sting, which makes their bites harmless compared to other insects. Their bites also swell and look a little bigger than mosquito bites. While these insects have no poison or venom, their bites can easily get infected because of the harmful bacteria they carry on their bodies.
Most cockroach species are very unsanitary. They usually feed on trash, spoiled food, and dead animal flesh. They also live and breed in sewage and lay waste all over the house and leave droppings on surfaces and food. This makes them the bearer of many pathogens that can cause different diseases.
If a human consumes any food that has been contaminated by cockroaches, they may be at risk of food poisoning. A study conducted by researchers from Cambridge University discovered the possible risk of bacterial dissemination in houses infested with cockroaches. Based on the research, there are 30 different bacteria associated with these insects that roam around the house.
Cockroaches may also play a significant role in the proliferation of different infections. According to a report from the World Health Organization, cockroaches could have been the carriers of certain diseases like diarrhea, cholera, dysentery, salmonella, typhoid fever, and other viral diseases like poliomyelitis.
People who had direct contact with cockroaches may also get serious diseases because of the bacteria they bring. One of these bacteria is the Staphylococcus aureus. It can cause minor ailments in humans like boils, but it can also cause more serious infections that may target the heart and lungs.
Are Cockroaches Bad for People with Allergies and Asthma?
Perhaps people who have asthma and other allergies are the most affected with the presence of cockroaches at home. Based on research funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, cockroach allergens are primary contributors to childhood asthma in urban dwellings. The cockroach allergens come from the insects’ feces, secretions, saliva, cast skins, as well as their dead bodies.
Anyone whose allergies will be triggered by the presence of cockroaches will experience itchy, watery eyes and constant sneezing. They may also experience rash breakouts if the cockroach had direct contact with the skin. Others with severe allergic reactions can experience coughing, tightness in the chest and throat, as well as difficulty in breathing.
Aside from the danger they pose to humans, cockroaches can also pose a threat to other animals like dogs and cats. While these tiny insects are usually afraid of bigger animals, they can still feed on their outer skin whenever they get extremely hungry. They normally bite pets who are immobile and unable to shoo them away. They may also contaminate the pet’s food and water bowls. If cockroaches get in direct contact with the food, they can immediately spread bacteria and make the pet sick.
How Are Cockroaches a Danger at Home?
Cockroaches do not only have a negative effect on a person’s health, but they can also affect their properties. They are very messy and dirty and brings an offensive smell inside the home.
These nasty bugs can also ruin furniture made with any materials. They emit portions of partially digested food and other secretions through the intervals located in their mouths. They secrete foul-smelling liquids through the glands in their bodies. These can also produce ugly stains on fabrics. If the smells and the stains are not treated properly, these may leave a permanent effect that would be almost impossible to remove.
These little bugs can also consume anything in sight. Aside from the garbage, they will also eat paper, book bindings, the inner linings of shoe soles, as well as anything in the cupboard. They can even eat all the food you have in the pantry. If this happens, the unconsumed food touched by cockroaches should be discarded immediately due to contamination.
To prevent this, food must never be left uncovered. It should be kept properly in sealed containers. It is also advisable to clean the pantry and the refrigerator at least once a week. People can also avoid inviting cockroaches inside the house by removing any pile of old magazines, books, and newspapers.
More importantly, the trash bin must always be emptied regularly. This will make sure that cockroaches will have no food source inside the home.
How Can Cockroaches Be a Danger to Businesses?
Business owners know the importance of proper sanitation in their place of work. This is especially true for those who are in the food industry. Aside from the quality of food and service they need to provide their customers, restaurants and food stalls must always keep their place clean and germ-free. A single sighting of a crawling cockroach can tarnish the restaurant’s reputation in a snap. If other customers learned that there are cockroaches inside the place, who would want to eat in an unsanitary and unhygienic restaurant?.
Once a customer gets sick from consuming food or drinks that have been contaminated by cockroaches, they may never return to that establishment. That is not the worse thing that can happen. The sick customers will definitely ask for some sort of compensation for getting sick. They may also leave unfavorable reviews in online business feedback sites and social media, which will have a negative effect on the reputation of the restaurant instantly.
Aside from the negative reviews, cockroaches may also be the reason why dining establishments are closed down. The government normally monitors these businesses to check their sanitation compliance. If the inspectors discover a cockroach infestation, the establishment may be shut down temporarily until the business owner addresses the problem. But if the infestation returns, the government might ban the restaurant from operating permanently.
This is why it is very important for businesses to maintain cleanliness inside their establishments. It would be best if there is a regular schedule for cleaning the trash bins, scrubbing the floors and sinks inside the kitchen, and thorough washing of kitchen equipment. This will prevent cockroaches from going inside the food preparation area to eat the ingredients and any visible food inside.
What Types of Cockroaches Are Dangerous?
While there are more than 4,000 species of cockroaches all over the world, there are at least five types of these insects that are identified as the most dangerous to humans and other animals. The list includes:
- American Cockroach – This bug is the largest among all the common household cockroaches. It measures 1.5 inches long and about 0.25 inches tall. It can be identified by its reddish-brown color and a flat, wide oval body. This type of cockroach normally hides in basements, foundations, drains, pipes, and crawl spaces. It is naturally an omnivore, but it can eat anything if it becomes really hungry. It may even eat other dead cockroaches if it cannot find any other food source.
- German Cockroach – A German cockroach infestation is very common at home since this type reproduces the fastest compared to the other common cockroaches. It normally resides in the bathroom, the kitchen, the dining areas, as well as the other warm and moist places inside the house. It normally eats sugary and fatty food, but it can also eat other common household items like toothpaste, glue, and soap.
- Brown-banded Cockroach – Also known as the Supella longipalpa, you can distinguish this type of cockroach with its reddish-brown to dark brown color. It also possesses wings that have a darker color at the base and turns lighter as it goes higher. It got its name from the two noticeable bands seen across its body. This can be found in dryer, warmer areas around the house. Most of the time, a brown-banded cockroach hide inside the cabinets of the bathrooms and kitchen.
- Asian Cockroach – It looks somewhat similar to German cockroaches, but it has longer wings that allow it to fly. It is also attracted to light, which is why it is normally spotted during the day. But because it has the same appearance as the German cockroach, the two species can be mistaken for each other.
- Oriental Cockroach – This is the second-largest cockroach species that commonly infest a household. It normally has a dark brown to black color. Most of the time, this type of cockroach does not like to stay indoors. Yet, it enjoys staying in drains, porches, and basements.
All these types of cockroaches are very dangerous if left to reproduce and infest the household. If their population grow inside the house, they may spread a lot of bacteria that can cause different diseases. The house will also be at risk of having a foul odor if these pesky insects take over the place.
Since cockroaches are proven to be very dangerous to one’s health, it is vital to get rid of these insects as soon as possible. This can only happen if the house will be kept clean at all times. If the cockroach infestation persists, homeowners may contact professional pest control services to address the problem and eradicate the cockroaches once and for all. It’s a little investment to keep each family member safe from any possible infectious diseases at home.