The Hidden Dangers of Cockroach Infestations

If you are like most people, seeing a cockroach zip under your refrigerator as you walk into your kitchen will make you quite uneasy. But will it be enough to make you take action to protect your home from roaches? Again, if you're like most people, it probably won't. Why? Well, because we see bugs all the time! Spiders commonly create their webs in the upper corners of rooms and establish themselves in the areas in between our windows and screens, flies zip around in our kitchens, ladybugs gather around our windows; in homes without a pest control plan, insect sightings are very common. So, seeing a cockroach in your home, especially a small one like the German cockroach, may be something you shrug off. Here are a few reasons you shouldn't:

cockroach in nc kitchen
cockroach up close

First of all, cockroaches don't like to be seen. So if you see a cockroach crawling across your floor, that is actually a warning sign that you have a high population of cockroaches in your home. When roach populations rise, food resources can become depleted. This inspires some roaches to risk being seen out in the open during the daytime to locate food sources.
 
If you've only heard cockroaches in your home, that's still not a good sign. Hearing the skittering of cockroach feet on your kitchen floor means that roaches are active in your kitchen area. And, if you have active cockroaches in your kitchen, you can expect them to do some or all of the following things:

  • Get into your trash and then crawl around on your counters, dishes, silverware, cutting boards, and other food-prep surfaces. This can expose you to harmful bacteria and lead to stomach illness.
  • Squeeze into space between your stove and the wall where grease and rotting organic material build up. In these areas, they'll be exposed to more harmful bacteria that they can then distribute throughout your home.
  • Get into your sink drains. Roaches can find organic material inside your drain and often climb inside to gain access to it. And we probably don't have to tell you how bad it is when they emerge from your filthy drains then make their way into your cabinets to search for something to eat.
  • Chew into your food packages. You are probably aware that cockroaches get into food but did you know that they can chew through paper packages? They can. And paper isn't the only material they can chew through. Their mouthparts can also create holes in cardboard, thin plastic, and other thin packaging materials. When they do, they can expose food items to bacteria, diseases, and parasitic worms. According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), cockroaches are linked to the spread of 33 different kinds of bacteria, several types of human pathogens, and six parasitic worms. These are definitely not insects you want getting in your food.
  • Climb into your ventilation ducts. When they find their way into your home, cockroaches will get into and explore your ventilation ducts. In these locations, those cockroaches can leave behind their shed skins and feces. When their excrement and exoskeletons are left in your ventilation ducts, particulates can become airborne and cause respiratory health issues for those living in your home.
  • Climb on you while you sleep. Roaches need moisture. Sometimes they'll find this moisture in the mouths of sleeping people. They're especially drawn to the milky breath of babies’ mouths. When they crawl on a person’s skin, there can sometimes be an allergic reaction which develops into a rash. But a rash is the least of your worries if cockroaches are drinking your saliva while you're sleeping!
  • Bite you and your family members. While cockroaches don't prefer to bite people, they may do so if there is a lack of food sources available to them. These bites usually occur on eyelids because cockroaches feed on the dead skin caught between our eyelashes. These bite wounds often become swollen due to bacteria being introduced during exposure.

If you spot cockroaches in your home, don’t overlook it! Roaches present many hidden dangers, some of which we mentioned above. Fortunately, you don't have to live with these pests. With a good pest control plan, cockroaches and other common household pests in your home can be eliminated. If you need assistance developing a pest plan for your home, we'd be happy to help! Reach out to us at A-1 Pest Control for more information.

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