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How Often Do People Contract Disease From Roaches Within Homes And Buildings?

According to the American Housing Survey, cockroach infestations and other issues with roach pests are more common in New Orleans than in any other city in the country. Considering that cockroaches are heavily dependent on moisture and heat in order to thrive, it should not be surprising to learn that New Orleans is a hotbed for cockroach pests. Not only is New Orleans surrounded by water, but the city’s crumbling and outdated sewer system is easily accessed by American cockroaches. Sewers provide American cockroaches with an ideal habitat where an inexhaustible amount of organic waste keeps the pests and their offspring well satiated. American cockroaches also favor the darkness, rich social life, and year round warmth in sewer systems.

While sewer systems in all big cities in the US support a massive population of American cockroaches, the deteriorating sewer infrastructure in New Orleans makes it easy for sewer-dwelling roaches to travel with ease into homes and buildings through pipes. Oriental and Australian cockroaches are also known for inhabiting sewers and emerging from indoor drains, though they are not as prevalent in sewers as American cockroaches. Many cities throughout the country have enacted cockroach abatement programs in sewers, and the private pest control industry is moving toward training pest control professionals to recognize instances in which indoor cockroach infestations are associated with defective plumbing and local sewer conditions.

Cockroaches inhabit the filthiest conditions where they feed on virtually all forms of organic waste including excrement, rotting plant litter, rotting food, dead skin, and rotting animal carcasses. This is why the four primary cockroach pest species in the US are each known to carry dozens of disease-causing microorganisms that they may spread to human foods. These four cockroach pest species include American, German, Oriental and brown-banded cockroaches, and each one has been deemed a public health threat by the FDA due to their preference for living among humans where they can spread food-borne pathogens. However, according to Dr. Joseph Kunkel at the University of Massachusetts, cockroach pests are not major disease vectors because they do not carry and spread nearly as many pathogens within homes as humans themselves do. The Dr. goes on to say that it is much more likely for a human to contract a disease from another human than from a cockroach pest. That being said, the disease threat posed by cockroach pests becomes more important in small dwellings like dorms, studio apartments, hospital rooms, and military barracks.

Have you ever detected an odor of cockroaches?

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