What You May Not Know About The Dangers Of Cockroaches In Huntsville
June 30, 2020
Myth: cockroaches can survive a nuclear blast.
Fact: cockroaches can survive without a head.
Myth: the bigger the cockroach, the more dangerous it is.
Fact: cockroaches carry some serious diseases and allergens, threatening the health of your Huntsville home.
There are a lot of facts and myths out there about cockroaches. Thankfully, not everything you hear is true, but while a cockroach can’t actually survive a nuclear blast, it can spread diseases across Northern Alabama. You probably know that cockroaches are bad for the home, but how bad are they? Let’s look at why cockroaches are bad for your Huntsville property.
Common Cockroaches in Alabama
There are thousands of cockroach species around the world, and over 30 in Alabama alone, but only 4 species pose any danger to your household: the American, German, Asian, and Oriental cockroach. Cockroaches vary widely in size, shape, and color, but they all have a few shared traits. Cockroaches generally have flat, oval-shaped bodies, with six long, spiny legs and a pair of body-length antennae. Additionally, cockroaches have small heads with downward-facing mouths, and some species have wings – though not all winged cockroaches can fly.
The four common cockroach species in Northern Alabama vary slightly. American cockroaches are the largest, their reddish-brown bodies growing anywhere between 1-3 inches. German cockroaches tend to be the most common, growing only about half an inch in length with tannish-brown bodies. Oriental cockroaches, also known as water bugs, grow around an inch and have darker bodies; they are also known for emitting a musty odor. Finally, Asian cockroaches look almost identical to German cockroaches, but while German roaches barely fly, Asian roaches are particularly strong flyers.
What Makes Cockroaches Dangerous?
On its own, a cockroach can’t hurt you. Cockroaches rarely bite and aren’t the type of pest to directly attack you. Rather, cockroaches are dangerous because, well, they’re disgusting.
Cockroaches will nest wherever they can feed, and they feed on almost anything. That’s why you’ll see roaches scuttling around trash cans, dumpsters, alleyways, and anywhere that organic material is tossed and untouched. Now, imagine a cockroach has been feeding in a dumpster, collecting all the different pathogens, and then that cockroach decides to relocate to your home.
Sound concerning? It should – common diseases that cockroaches vector include Salmonella, Listeria, E. coli, Dysentery, Spironella, Giardia, and even the Plague. When cockroaches eat out of your pantry or linger in your bathroom, they could be spreading these diseases throughout your everyday foods and toiletries. Additionally, cockroach waste and discarded shells can trigger allergic reactions, and in some cases, cockroaches can exacerbate asthma – especially in children.
Simply put, cockroaches are bad news for the health of your family and pets. But there’s still one question you might be asking: How do you know if you have a cockroach problem?
Identifying Cockroach Infestations
Cockroach infestations are tricky to identify because you often won’t see the cockroaches – just their waste. Cockroach droppings are small and dark, like grains of pepper or coffee grounds. Additionally, you might find discarded cockroach shells or wings here and there – both of which are clear signs of an infestation. Finally, cockroaches can leave a musty scent, over time, especially the Oriental cockroach. If you see a cockroach, it will most likely be at night. If you don’t have a cockroach problem, you want to keep it that way. Here are a few tips to prevent these nasty pests from ever entering your home:
- Reduce access to trash, waste, compost, and food. Cockroaches come to your house because they think they can feast for a while, so make these food sources inaccessible by securing them indoors, in the garage, or in trash cans with tight-fitting lids.
- Seal any cracks in your home’s exterior, including window caulking, door frames, crawl spaces, and even the spaces between eaves. Cockroaches are small and persistent, so if they have reason to get in your home, they’ll try their hardest.
- Reduce the humidity in your home. Cockroaches like it warm and moist inside, so they’ll often crowd around bathrooms, basements, and crawl spaces.
- Check all packages you receive, as cockroaches are sometimes hitchhikers, and they can get into your home through the mail.
- Regularly clean out tight spaces, like the area beneath your appliances. Otherwise, cockroaches will nest there and stay for a long, long time.
Cockroaches are persistent, so if they end up in your house, it’s not because your property is dirty or unkempt – it just means you got unlucky. Lucky for you, Custom Pest Control is Northern Alabama’s best defense against cockroaches. If you’re struggling with an infestation, don’t make it worse by handling it on your own. Reach out to our expert exterminators today!