Most of us don’t want to spend much time thinking about cockroaches. They’re downright creepy. But besides being gross looking, cockroaches can be very dangerous, spreading disease and triggering allergic reactions. You may think you’re far from any cockroaches, but the National Pest Management Association reports that 63% of homes in the United States contain cockroach allergens (78% in urban areas). Learn more startling facts about cockroaches so that you understand the risks and know what to be aware of when you encounter them.


1. If you’ve seen a single cockroach, you have a big problem

Cockroaches like to hide. They make nests in tight, enclosed spaces, typically near a water supply. Because cockroaches don’t like to be out in the open, it means if you see one, you probably have way more cockroaches living somewhere in your home, many times in places that are difficult to see. Cockroaches can fester deep in your walls, near pipes, beneath wallpaper, in cracks and crevices, or inside furniture. Locating the cockroaches’ nest can prove difficult, so it best to call a pest control company to deal with them.

doctor checking heart of child

2. Cockroaches carry a host of diseases

It’s unpleasant to think about, but cockroaches can carry all kinds of diseases that can infect humans. If you touch a cockroach, you risk becoming infected with some serious diseases, including bacteria that cause dysentery. 

According to the World Health Organization, cockroaches commonly transmit these diseases to humans:

  • Salmonellosis
  • Typhoid Fever
  • Cholera
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Dysentery
  • Leprosy
  • Plague
  • Campylobacteriosis
  • Listeriosis
  • Giardia
  • Viral Diseases (such as poliomyelitis)

Because they carry such serious diseases, if you see a cockroach, it’s best not to touch it or try to exterminate the colony on your own.

roaches on a toothbrush

3. You can be contaminated by cockroaches indirectly

Some pests can’t infect you unless they come into direct contact with you through a touch, bite, or sting. That’s not the case with cockroaches. These pests can come into contact with food or water, and then that food or water can later make humans sick if consumed. That’s why it’s important to call a pest control service if you see a single cockroach. You also probably want to go through your entire pantry, throw away items, and invest in airtight, plastic food containers to stop the roaches from contaminating your food. Better safe than sorry.

kid with an inhaler

4. Cockroaches can trigger allergies and asthma

Cockroaches can set off allergic reactions with symptoms including coughing, nasal congestion, skin rash, wheezing, ear infection, or sinus infection. If you’re prone to allergies, beware that cockroaches can trigger these symptoms. Similarly, people with asthma can have severe reactions to cockroaches, aggravating their asthma symptoms and potentially causing asthma attacks. If someone you love has asthma or severe allergies, you cannot delay getting rid of a cockroach infestation.

There’s no denying that most species of cockroaches are gross, but they’re also dangerous. If you’ve encountered a cockroach inside or near your home, contact Joshua’s Pest Control for a free quote.