Cockroaches: Common Myths and Misconceptions
If you're like most homeowners, the word cockroach sends shivers down your spine. There are approximately 4,500 different species of cockroaches across the globe, and about 30 of those will wreak havoc in homes. However, before you believe everything you've read or been told about cockroaches and cockroach infestations, it's important to know that a lot of this information isn't accurate.
Here are a few of the most common myths and misconceptions associated with cockroaches.
Cockroaches Are Only Found in Filthy Houses
If your home is immaculate, you might think that you're immune from a cockroach infestation. Unfortunately, even people with a clean home can harbor cockroaches. These insidious insects are searching for three things that are found in every home: food, water, and shelter.
Keeping your home cockroach-free, however, is possible. Here are a few tips to help your home less attractive to cockroaches:
- Store your food in airtight containers, including your pet food
- Never leave food sitting out. Leftovers should be tossed or stored immediately.
- Take out your garbage each night
- Eliminate any standing water inside or around your home
Eliminate as many entrances to your home as possible. Repair any damage to your foundation and siding. Run a bead of caulk around any cracks or gaps in your windows. Cockroaches can invade your home in winter, so practice these exclusion techniques year-round.
Cockroaches Are Gross, but They Can't Make Me Sick
Cockroaches make your skin crawl, but you might think they are merely a disgusting nuisance that won't make your family sick. Unfortunately, cockroaches carry a variety of life-threatening illness, including salmonella, cholera, dysentery, leprosy, and the plague. When the cockroaches eat your food, it can spread these illnesses through their saliva and feces.
The fecal matter of a cockroach can also cause an allergic reaction in adults and children. If anyone is suffering from asthma in your household, the cockroach feces can make the condition even worse.
Small Cockroaches Aren't Dangerous
Cockroaches come in a variety of shapes and sizes. You may be frightened of huge cockroaches invading your home because these varieties are dangerous. There are four different varieties of cockroaches that most Americans will encounter: American cockroach, oriental cockroach, German cockroach, and brown-banded cockroach.
The American cockroach can reach lengths of three inches. However, the other three varieties will only reach lengths of less than one inch. Understanding the type of cockroach that is in your home will help an exterminator determine the best way to eliminate the infestation.
For example, German cockroaches are very common in warmer climates. German Cockroaches, are brought in rather than come from the outside. Grocery stores, restaurants, schools and many other places are the most common way they find their way into our homes. Always inspect bulk items, like cases of soda’s, potatoes, onions and many other items.
The adult is light brown and is typically around one-half inch in length. This variety has wings, although it cannot fly, and harbors a variety of bacteria that can make your family sick.
Cockroaches Can Live for Years Without Their Head
Another bizarre myth associated with cockroaches is the idea that this insect can live for months or years without its head. In reality, a cockroach cannot survive for years without a head, but it can live for around a week after being decapitated. This is possible because a cockroach has an open circulatory system.
A cockroach can breathe through small holes on the body, meaning it can still function without a mouth to breathe. The cockroach will eventually die because it still needs a mouth to eat and drink.
Stepping on a Female Cockroach Will Release Its Eggs
Many homeowners are reluctant to kill a cockroach inside their home by stepping on it because they believe that if it's a female, stepping on it will release all the eggs and you will start a full-scale infestation. This is another myth for many reasons. A female cockroach lay their eggs inside a shell called an ootheca. Some species of female cockroaches lay the eggs inside the ootheca and then release the sac.
Other varieties do keep their egg-filled ootheca on their body until the eggs hatch. However, if you were to step on this type of cockroach, you would not open the ootheca, and instead, you would kill the mother cockroach and all the eggs. So stomp away!
Cockroach Infestations Are Easy to Handle
One of the most common and pervasive myths associated with cockroaches is that if you only see a couple in your home it will be easy to handle the problem on your own. Unfortunately, if you've notice a single cockroach scurrying across your floor, chances are there are several more hiding out throughout your home.
If you notice a cockroach, do not try to handle the infestation yourself and instead, contact a professional. An exterminator will have the tools and experience necessary to determine how cockroaches are entering your home, and how to put an end to the infestation.Cockroaches are an issue across the United States. If you have any further questions, or need an exterminator to fight a cockroach infestation your home, contact the professionals at Greenleaf Organic Pest Management.