Bug Blog

Which Disease Are Cockroaches Most Likely To Spread To Humans Within Homes

American, German, Oriental, brown-banded, and Turkestan cockroaches are just a few of the cockroach pests in Arizona that are able to reproduce and thrive within homes while also going unnoticed by residents. Cockroaches are largely nocturnal insects that forage within homes while residents sleep, and cockroach pests normally go out of their way to avoid detection within homes during daylight hours. Since roaches are well adapted to surviving alongside humans who want nothing more than to kill the reviled pests, it is fair to say that cockroaches have learned to exploit human behavior for their own benefit. Given the naturally stealthy pest behaviors exhibited by indoor roach pests, infestations often go unnoticed for long periods of time. In many cases, roach infestations are first noticed when homeowners spot indoor roach excrement. Indoor cockroach feces can be as small as tiny black specks, or as large as mouse droppings. Cockroach fecal stains are often found at the intersections and corners of shelves and near the hinges of cupboard, pantry and closet doors.

Numerous disease-causing microorganisms have been found in cockroach fecal pellets within homes, but most disease cases that have been linked to cockroach feces involve Salmonella, which is the bacterial agent responsible for food poisoning. When cockroaches infest kitchen cupboards and pantries, their feces often wind up within stored food containers. Foods contaminated with roach pathogens usually carry an unpleasant musty odor that is commonly associated with heavy cockroach infestations. When researchers collected feces from American cockroaches that had been infected with Salmonella oranienburg, they spread the feces on a variety of foods and common kitchen items in order to see how long the hazardous bacteria survived. According to the results of the experiment, Salmonella survived on corn flakes for 3.25 years; on crackers for 4.25 years; and on glass slides for 3.67 years. Another experiment saw researchers place mice into jars that contained a very small sample of Salmonella-contaminated roach feces. Within 24 hours, all the laboratory mice had contracted Salmonella.

Have you ever eaten food that had been exposed to insect pests?