Seeing a cockroach is enough to set off alarm bells for most people. However, these insects are more than just an unsightly nuisance. They can pose a danger to you and your food.
Although we might regard cockroaches as invaders, they have existed on our planet for millions of years. Wherever humans have gone, cockroaches have followed and adapted to their new surroundings. Indeed, they are so resilient that they could even survive a nuclear attack!
You might see cockroaches in a variety of places in your home: pipe holes, sinks, fridges, cupboards, wall cracks, boxes or bins. Nobody likes to see them scurrying around. However, many people regard them as nothing more than a harmless embarrassment. In fact, although cockroaches do not cause diseases themselves, they do spread germs and bacteria.
Cockroaches can attack your body and your food.
The most obvious way a cockroach can attack your body is simply by biting you. They tend to favour toenails, fingernails, and soft skin. Although their bites are usually not dangerous, they can be irritating. Be aware also that cockroaches could enter your body through your nose or ear while you are sleeping.
If you are prone to allergies, cockroaches can become a serious problem. The allergens in their bodies and saliva can cause rashes, sore eyes and sneezing. People who suffer from asthma are particularly vulnerable, and could have a serious reaction to a cockroach infestation. Cockroaches can even cause asthma to develop in people who are not asthmatic.
As well as directly attacking your body, cockroaches can attack the food you put into your body. Cockroaches will eat almost anything, including paper, leather, waste materials, and dead plants or animals.
When cockroaches attack food, they can spread bacteria through cross-contamination. They pick up bacteria while eating and these bacteria then reside in their guts. When they attack your food, they often leave their waste products (and the bacteria!) on the food. They also may carry the bacteria on their bodies, and pass it on to the food when then touch it. Humans who eat the contaminated food can then be infected by the bacteria and suffer food poisoning. Indeed, cockroach cross-contamination can lead to the spread of, among other bacteria, salmonella, streptococcus and pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Like it or not, homes and business properties are ideal breeding grounds for certain species of cockroaches. With plenty of food, warmth, water and nesting sites, these formidable pests can remain active all year round. Hence, prevention is always better than cure. Find out more about tips to get rid of cockroaches.