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How Dangerous Is a Cockroach Infestation Really?

Hint: It’s worse than you thought.

Cockroach infestations can be more than just an annoying nuisance — they can be downright dangerous. Cockroaches are incredibly unsanitary, with the ability to spread hazardous bacteria, viruses, and parasites around your home or business, leading to disease and other health risks. This pest can also cause structural damages to your property, while emitting odors that can affect air quality.

Burns Pest Elimination is committed to protecting you and your home or business from any creepy crawly that disturbs your peace. In this blog, we’ll look at why cockroach infestations can be so dangerous, and what you can do to prevent them.

Prominent Arizona Cockroaches

Cockroaches are a type of insect often categorized in the same group as termites and mantids. While there are hundreds of known cockroach species around the world, we have outlined the main types of cockroaches you’ll commonly find in Arizona.

German Cockroach

Despite the name, German cockroaches are the most common cockroaches in the United States. Measuring less than half an inch in length, German cockroaches are tan with two parallel brown lines running from their heads to the ends of their wings. Typically found in kitchens and bathrooms, German cockroaches like dark, warm, and humid environments.

American Cockroach

Another common cockroach is the American cockroach. Known for their reddish-brown bodies and yellow-edged thoraxes, American cockroaches measure between one and a half inches and two inches in length. Like the German cockroach, American cockroaches like humidity and warmth but prefer basements, crawl spaces, drains, and anywhere else that is dark with easy access to water.

Brown-Banded Cockroach

Named for the brown bands across their wings and just behind their heads, the brown-banded cockroach is similar in size to the German cockroach but prefers hot climates inside buildings. Brown-banded cockroaches can be found high up in closets and walls or around appliances that emit lots of heat.

Smokybrown Cockroach

Growing close to one and a half inches in size, smokybrown cockroaches are aptly named for their coloring that fades from dark brown near their head to amber near the end of their wings. Smokybrown cockroaches need humidity to survive. They are often found outside of homes but will move inside in dry environments like Arizona.

A cockroach sits in a dirty, wet sink

Cockroach Eggs — Where to Find Them in Your Home

Cockroach eggs are small, white, and cylindrical, and many lay their eggs in damp or hidden spaces, where they will be far enough away from threats while still being close enough to sources of food or water. Unlike most insects, the female cockroach will carry her eggs around in an ootheca, a casing to protect the eggs until they are ready to hatch. This casing can be seen protruding out of a female cockroach’s abdomen.

Approximately 24 hours before the eggs are going to hatch, female cockroaches will leave the ootheca in a safe place like a crevice, crack, cupboard, or inside furniture. If you notice the small cockroach eggs laying around or glued to surfaces in your home or business, you won’t have much time before the infestation begins. Calling a certified pest control company is your best bet for completely eradicating cockroach infestations before they become a massive issue.

Are Cockroaches Dangerous?

From their effects on your overall health to the damage they can do to your living or working space, here are some of the reasons why cockroaches are considered dangerous to humans:

  • Diseases — Research by the World Health Organization (WHO) finds that cockroaches can carry a multitude of diseases, including typhoid, cholera, and dysentery. Breathing in the air around a cockroach infestation is enough to catch any of the bacteria.
  • Biting — While not entirely common, cockroaches are known to gnaw at the outermost layer of human skin when looking for a meal. Cockroaches are not venomous and do not have the jaw strength to break the skin, but you could be allergic or feel itchy as the skin becomes irritated or inflamed.
  • Food Contamination — Cockroaches are scavengers. Any kind of open food container will attract cockroaches living in your house. Wherever they go they leave behind their waste, contaminating the food inside.
  • Structural Damages — Although cockroaches won’t directly eat the wood of homes or buildings, they may eat through binding adhesives or insulation found in the walls. They are also known to burrow their way through the inside of walls and underneath floorboards, causing structural damages when large populations move around at once.
  • Allergies and Asthma – Along with bacteria, cockroaches carry allergens on their bodies that can make allergies and asthma symptoms worse.
  • Repopulation – It is likely that if you see one cockroach there is a multitude of cockroaches somewhere you can’t see. Though cockroaches only live for a few weeks to a couple of months, they repopulate alarmingly fast and can become too much to handle if not caught soon enough.
A pink sneakered-foot hovers above a cockroach, ready to stomp it

How to Kill a Cockroach

While most bugs can just be crushed to be killed, that will likely just attract more cockroaches to the area due to the acid they secrete when they die. Here are some more effective ways to kill cockroaches in your home:

  • Hire a pest control service like Burns Pest Elimination to properly get rid of any pesky infestations using professional tools and expertise.
  • Mix baking soda with sugar. The sugar is used to lure the cockroaches out to eat, and then the baking soda will cause their stomachs to dry up.
  • Spray cockroaches with a bleach or ammonia mixture to poison them. These are very strong chemicals, so be sure to handle them with caution.
  • Pour borax or a boric acid mixture on them to dehydrate their exoskeletons, effectively killing them.
  • Utilize gel baits filled with insecticides to eliminate the cockroaches after they eat from them.
  • Spraying a soapy water mixture on cockroaches will suffocate them and kill them.
  • Use any kind of cockroach trap (like a glue or poison trap) to capture the roach and kill it.

Get Professional Arizona Cockroach Elimination with Burns Pest

If you notice any cockroaches in your home, it is best to contact a pest control agency like Burns Pest Elimination to ensure they are completely eradicated at their source. With more than 35 years of experience in the pest control industry, Burns has the resources, training, and tools to get the job done right. Give us a call or request a free quote today!