Do you often see cockroaches roaming around your kitchen? Here’s how they can harm you and how you can get rid of them.
The reddish brown insect that succeeds to gross out every single one of us with its mere unpleasant appearance actually feels much more homely on the planet Earth that we humans do. With their existence dated back to the prehistoric era, about 70 million years ago, cockroaches are believed to be the only creatures who would survive a nuclear explosion.
The association between humans and cockroaches is quite remarkable. These rapidly adapting insects have followed humans as pets from the time when our ancestors lived in caves to now when we have moved to skyscrapers. There cannot be a single home in the world which has not been shared with cockroaches. In fact, most of you must be facing these disgusting creatures on a daily basis — seeing them crawl on your sink, running down the pipe hole, lurking over a pile of garbage or resting peacefully in the corners of your refrigerator. The fact is, cockroaches come out in the daylight only when the place is too crowded for them or when they are ill.
Not only they bring you social embarrassment and fear but also silently contribute to the deteriorating health of your family. Cockroaches by themselves do not cause any disease but they are vectors or carriers for millions of bacteria and infectious agents that can lead to an array of diseases from diarrhoea to food poisoning.
1. Food contamination: Cockroaches can virtually live by eating anything. Apart from the food we eat, they also feed on dead plant, animals, faecal matter, glue, soap, paper, leather and even strands of fallen hair. While crawling around at nights, they contaminate open food by defecating on it, leaving behind hair and dead skin and depositing empty egg shells in it.
2. Inoculation of disease-causing bacteria: While feeding cockroaches regurgitate their own saliva and digestive fluids from their mouth to inoculate your food with germs or bacteria residing in their gut. A study found that the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa can multiply extensively in gut of cockroaches. It can cause several diseases like urinary tract infections, digestive problems and sepsis.
3. Cockroach bites: Some species of cockroaches have been found to bite humans. These cases are rare but if your home is heavily infested with these insects then you should be careful because they can nibble on fingernails, toes and soft parts of the skin causing wounds.
Try these home remedies for insect bites.
4. Invasion of body parts: Cockroaches can not only invade your home but also your body parts. There are several cases of cockroaches entering the ear and nose while sleeping. Small cockroaches can readily enter body orifices if you’re in deep sleep.
5. Food poisoning: In an epidemic outbreak of food poisoning, it was found that the incidence of new cases dropped abruptly after cockroach infestation was eliminated. The insect is also a home for the bacterium Salmonella which can cause typhoid and food poisoning.
6. Allergies: Cockroaches can cause allergies. Their saliva secretion and body parts contain hundreds of allergens that can trigger an undesirable reaction. You may suffer from skin rashes, sneezing and watery eyes.
Here are more articles on allergies.
7. Asthma: Cockroaches can be the worst enemies of asthmatic people. The incidence of asthma attack may increase if your house is infested with cockroaches. Cockroach allergens can cause severe complications and can even be life-threatening. And people who are not asthmatic may develop cockroach asthma by inhaling cockroach allergens. Here are 10 asthma triggers that you should avoid.
Follow these few tips to keep you house cockroach-free:
- Keep your house clean if you don’t want to see that ugly creature. Weekly cleaning of the entire house will help you to understand the status of cockroach infestation.
- Ensure that areas like the sink and the food preparation area is cleaned before you go to sleep.
- Empty the dustbin in your kitchen regularly and always keep it covered. A pile of garbage is an open invitation to cockroaches.
- Don’t leave your food open at nights to prevent contamination. Preferably, store all food stuffs in sealed containers. Clean your refrigerator regularly, at least once in a week.
- Never keep old newspapers, books and magazines stacked openly.
- Keep cockroach sprays handy so that you can kill them instantly when you see them. You can also use cockroach baits and other products in the market to get rid of hidden cockroaches in your home. Sprinkle some boric acid near cracks and crevices.
- Block all entrances from where you think cockroaches are gaining entry into your home. Seal tiny cracks and holes present in the walls to prevent cockroaches from making a permanent home over there.
- Pest control for heavy infestation is a must. Good sanitation should be practiced after pest control to prevent further infestation.
- Encyclopedia of Entomology, Volume 4 edited by John L. Capinera
- Rozendaal J A. Cockroaches. Vector control: Methods for use by individuals and communities. World Health Organization.
- Burgess NR & Chetwyn KN. Association of cockroaches with an outbreak of dysentery.
- Fakoorziba MR et al. Cockroaches (Periplaneta americana and Blattella germanica) as potential vectors of the pathogenic bacteria found in nosocomial infections