Cockroaches are one of the oldest insect groups that still exist today. Researchers believe that cockroaches first appeared around 350 million years ago, long before dinosaurs roamed the earth. Most people assume that all cockroach species are pests to humans, but there exists over four thousand known cockroach species, 95 percent of which dwell within forested areas that are uninhabited by humans. The five percent of cockroaches that do associate with humans are universally detested for a variety of valid reasons. One of the most notable aspects of a cockroaches’ nature is its seemingly intelligent ability to gain access to indoor areas. For example, cockroaches have been seen resting on front porches until a door opens. Once a door opens, patient cockroaches quietly skitter into homes unseen.
Once a cockroach gains entrance into a house or building, they may or may not decide to stay depending on the indoor conditions. If conditions are messy and unsanitary enough to provide roaches with adequate shelter, hiding places and food sources, then they will likely remain and proliferate within such conditions. Apartments may be preferred infestation targets for roaches, as the plumbing, electrical lines and ductwork provide roaches with easy access to other units with more resources. One study showed that roaches in Arizona travel hundreds of yards within sewer systems in order to repeatedly access different homes. Sometimes these sewer-traveling roaches can be detected by the foul odors that they leave behind them. As you can imagine, cockroaches carry a tremendous diversity and abundance of pathogens that can cause disease if they are spread to humans. These pathogens include E. coli, salmonella, typhoid, leprosy, dysentery and the plague. Cockroaches possess mouthparts that are unique among insects, as roaches are capable of chewing in a similar manner as humans. This makes human forms of food ideal for them. While cockroaches may not bite humans, they do chew on human fingernails, dead skin, and the natural substances that the human body secretes, such as earwax.
Have you ever found a cockroach crawling on your body as you were waking up in the morning?