What Are The Health Risks Of Cockroaches?

It can be a concerning time when you’re suffering from cockroaches in your home. There are many health risks involved when cockroaches are near, as they carry disease-causing germs to all that come close, and cockroach antigens pose a serious threat to asthma sufferers. These minuscule proteins found in cockroach debris across your property comes from saliva, body parts, droppings and old shells and can trigger asthma attacks. This can be worse in houses with other indoor allergens such as pets, tobacco smoke and chemicals. A cockroach allergy can have similar symptoms to that of asthma or any other allergen, so it’s difficult to tell the difference at times.

Beyond that, cockroaches leave unpleasant odours behind, causing respiratory illness and gastrointestinal infections to you and your family and children. Their faeces and other droppings they leave behind can also come into contact with our food, giving us food poisoning, one of the more common cockroach problems.

If you believe that your home has a cockroach infestation, this article will break down signs that you may have them in your home and how to prevent cockroaches in the future. 

How Do Cockroaches Cause Allergies

If you are prone to allergies or have asthma, you are at additional risk when you experience a cockroach infestation. Like other insects and dust mites, cockroaches leave traces behind everywhere they go. Whether it’s faeces, body parts or saliva, there are small proteins and cockroach allergens within this debris that causes allergies in humans. 

On top of these allergens, cockroaches carry diseases and carry harmful bacteria. The pathogens that a cockroach carries ranges from Salmonella Typhi (Typhoid), Poliomyelitis (Polio) and Dysentery. This means that if you or someone in your household is naturally disposed to having allergic reactions, they are going to be at more risk. 

Signs that you have a cockroach problem 

To avoid this, there are some physical signs you can spot that signify you have a cockroach infestation. As they are nocturnal insects, you may not see a cockroach itself, but it’s worth knowing what they look like. 

You can identify a cockroach from its antennae and legs, as they are much longer than other insects. While there are various colours cockroaches can appear in, they will typically be a shade of brown or golden. Out of the 30 known species of cockroach, only 4 are commonly defined as pests.

They will live and hide in small, strange places, in the walls, drains and underneath mats. 

You will begin to find signs of faeces on the floor, tiny droplets that look like pepper. As we’ve said, cockroaches also produce a bad smell, which can become incredibly noticeable when you’re dealing with larger numbers. 

In worse situations, you will find bodies of dead cockroaches and perhaps eggs. These are called ‘ootheca’ and look like small, brown sacks that contain eggs. They can be incredibly difficult to find, as they are smaller than 1cm in most cases.

Any given ootheca can contain up to fifty eggs, meaning the cockroach infestation in your home can quickly get out of control.

More commonly than spotting eggs or the cockroaches themselves, however, is symptoms forming in you and your family. If there are sudden asthma symptoms or allergies, like difficulty breathing, watery eyes, runny nose, or consistent sneezing, you could be experiencing an infestation. In this case, you should take further action as they can continue to be a considerable risk to human health.

Where are Cockroaches located?

It’s hard to believe, but almost every home in the UK can easily become a home for cockroaches. Cockroaches thrive and are attracted to areas with food and moisture, so you will find them in kitchens, bathrooms, wet rooms and around your rubbish bins more commonly. The food products that we leave out and the presence of warm water in the plumbing create an ideal location for cockroaches to make their home and begin laying eggs. Most commonly, a female cockroach will lay eggs six times per year once she has been fertilised. 

Apartment and flat buildings can have some of the most severe cockroach infestations due to the high number of foot traffic. Wherever they may have nested, you must attempt to remove them as soon as you can. Any leaky pipes can create a damp and moist environment for pests as well, so you should be checking regularly. 

Getting Rid of Cockroaches

When you know there are cockroaches in your home, the best thing you can do is hire a professional pest control technician. 

A survey and inspection will need to be completed, and then the pest control company will take provide a cockroach control treatment to remove them from your home. The treatment and products they use are stronger than anything you can buy on the market, and their knowledge can remove cockroaches for good, even the ones you don’t know about.

In smaller infestations, where you believe you can stop the cockroaches yourself, traps are readily available to the public to buy. These can help prevent a few cockroaches, but the best advice we can give you is to contact a professional pest control service to eliminate cockroaches from your home. 

How to Prevent Cockroach infestation

There are ways to prevent cockroaches from spreading throughout your house in the future, though.

Keeping a clean kitchen and ensuring that no food crumbs are present on the floors and counters is a good preventative measure against all forms of pests. The same goes for pet food, so be careful to not leave it out overnight. Leaving dirty dishes on the counter for extended periods can also attract pests, leaving life threatening diseases around as they pass.

Keep your rubbish bins clean and shut, ensuring that no food is spilt onto the ground around the bin. 

Cockroaches don’t only eat food, as they are also attracted to paper and glue, like in newspapers and magazines. 

If you have had cockroaches in the past, you would be wise to cover these up or seal them in a box when you’re not using them. As long as they are not on the floor, fewer pests will be able to get to them. 

Cockroaches and most pests will eat virtually anything they can find, so be sure to store food and other forms of nutrients securely in airtight containers.

Covering your drains means that no cockroaches can get through, and they will be washed away, shutting off another mode of transport throughout your home. 

These will be the most common sources that a cockroach will access and be attracted to your home.

After the pest control technician has removed the cockroaches from your home, you should deep clean the property and thoroughly clean everything. 

This goes for rooms and objects that you believe are not affected because there is still every chance that a disease has been passed on. An air purifier can be used and is ideal for capturing and stopping cockroach droppings and airborne particles and pathogens. 

If you continue to experience severe symptoms, even after the extermination, you should contact a medical professional. If there is difficulty breathing, bloody diarrhoea or more, you need assistance as soon as possible. 

If you believe that you are suffering from a cockroach infestation in your home, please reach out to our team today. We are a professional pest control agency and can inspect your home for you.