cockroach on a dining room table

When cockroaches get into our Tennessee homes and businesses, they can be a disturbing pest to deal with. They skitter across floors. They race up walls at full speed, and zip across ceilings. They run on top of tables and disappear off edges as if by magic. Cockroaches have an incredible mobility that can be startling. But, putting aside the fact that roaches are disturbing, let's take a look at whether or not these insects are dangerous to have around.

Do cockroaches bite or sting?

Yes. Cockroaches can bite humans. While they do not feed on blood, and they don't bite out of defense, they can bite humans (both living and dead) if they are hungry enough. But, even hungry, these are not aggressive insects. If you walk into a room full of cockroaches, those roaches are going to flee from your presence and hide.

Cockroach bites are most likely to occur while you're sleeping. And, quite often, bites will be on eyelids because cockroaches prefer eyelashes and dead skin. But bites can be anywhere on the skin.

Do cockroaches have venom or poison?

No. Cockroaches do not have venom or poison. If they bite, the marks will look like red welts that are slightly larger than mosquito bites, or appear as swelling. But, while wounds caused by cockroaches will not have venom or poison, they can get infected quickly because cockroaches are dirty creatures that often have harmful bacteria on their bodies.

Do cockroaches spread illness?

Yes. Cockroach run around in sewers and crawl around in dumpsters. Inside your home or business, they will be drawn to dirty places and dirty things. If there is rotting food anywhere, cockroaches will find it. They will crawl on toilet rims, inside garbage cans, and in the gap beside ovens, and carry harmful bacteria to your food prep surfaces, dish cabinets, silverware drawers, and food storage areas. When they do, they will spread harmful bacteria that can result in a wide range of stomach ailments.

When cockroaches infest a structure they can cause an increase in asthmatic symptoms for those who suffer with this physical condition.

Do cockroaches carry diseases?

Yes. Cockroaches can carry and transmit many pathogens. Studies have linked roaches to the spread of salmonellosis, cholera, dysentery, typhoid fever, gastroenteritis, giardia, E. coli, listeriosis, as well as leprosy and plague.

It is important to point out that cockroaches are not considered vectors for disease and are not reservoirs for disease. They play a supplementary role in the spread of diseases, not a primary one.

Are cockroaches dangerous to pets?

As in the case of humans, cockroaches can bite cats and dogs, especially if the animal is infirm and unable to scratch these insects away. But, in most cases, cockroaches view pets as a predator and will keep their distance unless they are extremely hungry. The larger danger is when cockroaches share food with your pet. Since roaches carry diseases and spread bacteria, they can make your pet sick by contaminating their food. If you suspect that you have cockroaches, it is always a good idea to put pet food down for only a short time, during meals.

Are cockroaches a danger to property or belongings?

These are messy bugs that leave their feces everywhere they go. While it is often possible to clean stains caused by cockroaches, having cockroaches may result in property damage that is unrecoverable.

Do cockroaches pose a financial danger for businesses?

When cockroaches infest a business, they can be extremely dangerous. Their ability to spread illness and disease makes them high on the checklist for governmental inspectors. If there is evidence of cockroaches in your business, and your business is connected to the growing, storing, transporting, selling, or preparation of food, these insects could lead to a complete shutdown, and that could be very dangerous to your bottom line.


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