cockroach in knoxville kitchen

The three types of cockroaches we find in Knoxville homes are not unique to Knoxville. They can be found all over the United States and, as you're likely to be able to tell from their names, found all over the world. They are the American cockroach, the German cockroach and the Oriental cockroach—none of which originate from the location they are named for. They all have their origins in the Middle East and Africa. But, their ability to successfully dwell with humans has allowed them to successfully traverse the globe and find their way into our Knoxville homes, where they present many significant threats. Today, we're going to take a look at these threats and discuss some ways you can guard against them.


Cockroaches are drawn to dirty places. They're happy to crawl inside a dumpster or on a dead animal carcass and (if they had eyelashes) they wouldn't bat one to sit on a dirty toilet bowl rim. This makes them a significant mechanical vector for harmful bacteria and public enemy number one for the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

There are at least 33 kinds of bacteria linked to cockroaches. You would probably recognize some of them by name. They often make the news. You may even be able to remember the last time you heard of a Salmonella or E. coli outbreak.

When cockroaches spread bacteria in a home, it can lead to serious stomach and bowel problems with flu-like symptoms. In fact, the symptoms are so closely related to the flu that some people don't realize that cockroaches are to blame for their ongoing illness. The CDC estimates that around 48 million people get sick from foodborne illnesses annually in the United States, 128,000 are hospitalized, and almost 3,000 cases lead to human mortality.


If 33 kinds of bacteria isn't bad enough, roaches are also linked to the spread of human pathogens such as cholera, typhoid fever, leprosy and plague. These diseases are spread by contact with or ingestion of cockroach feces, which these insects leave everywhere they explore. You can become infected by picking up a food package that a cockroach has been crawling on and then putting your fingers to your mouth. You can get sick from dishes and silverware that cockroaches have crawled over. And, since cockroaches eat toothpaste, it is highly possible that exposure can come by putting your toothbrush in your mouth after a cockroach has been nibbling on it. We could continue but you get the point.


When cockroaches explore dirty places and dirty things, they can pick up parasitic worms. In a recent, high-profile study, 844 cockroaches were collected from an urban environment and tested. Six genera of parasites were identified on the outside of the cockroaches. They are Ascaris, Trichuris, Capillaria, Toxocara, hookworm and Eimeria.


A strong connection has been made between cockroach infestation and asthma symptoms. One case study concluded that exposure to cockroach allergens leads to more wheezing, more days of school missed, and more visits to the hospital for children in the inner-city homes that were part of the test.


Most of the time, cockroaches are not a threat in terms of biting people. They don't eat blood. But they do eat flesh if they get hungry enough. Bites from cockroaches usually happen on the eyelids as cockroaches attempt to eat dead skin in eyelashes. These bites tend to become infected and swell up due to the bacteria cockroaches carry around.

What to Do About Cockroaches

Cockroaches are considered to be a significant health concern. Don't ever allow these insects to live with you. If you think you may have cockroaches in your Knoxville home, or you'd like to never have cockroaches in your Knoxville home, reach out to Russell's Pest Control for immediate assistance. Our highly rated, QualityPro Certified, licensed pest control professionals know what is needed to eliminate and exclude cockroaches. Our team uses field-tested methods and industry-leading products to locate areas of infestation, eliminate those cockroaches, and monitor for cockroach activity to be sure your home is roach-free. Get started by requesting a free, no-obligation estimate for your home.


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