While cockroaches are creepy, you needn’t just dislike them for their unsettling appearance. They are also filthy due to their eating habits. Cockroaches are scavengers and will consume almost anything including hair, glue on book bindings, paste on labels, and electrical wires. They also feed on dead animals, rotting food, and even human waste flowing through sewers. If that’s not bad enough, roaches “taste” their food with their feet before they eat it. When la cucaracha scurries through your house, it might be spreading salmonella, dysentery, gastroenteritis, streptococcus, or even polio virus. In addition, harmful ingested bacteria can survive in the cockroach's digestive system for months and is passed in its droppings.
Cockroaches have long adapted to human habits and will eat meats, sweets, and starches. They will invade any place where food can be found including cabinets, food storage lockers, restaurants, grocery stores, and dumpsters. They hide in cracks in walls, behind refrigerators, underneath piles of magazines and newspapers, below sinks, in drains and grease traps, and around water heaters. While it is commonly believed cockroaches are afraid of light, they are actually drawn to it. The creepy crawlies will gather outside windows at night and even congregate on a TV screen. They scurry away when a person switches on a light because they are afraid of humans.
And if you think cockroaches are horrible in your home consider this: studies show that cockroaches, to put it politely, break wind every 15 minutes. They even do this when their dead, passing methane gas for up to 18 hours after they die. (That’s 72 postmortem cockroach blasts for those keeping score.)
Cockroaches have walked the earth for 300 million years and once scurried with dinosaurs. There is little doubt they will be around another 300 million years. Females remain pregnant for life after mating once and they hatch 30 to 40 eggs at a time—or 300 to 400 offspring in a lifetime. If left unchecked, a cockroach infestation can expand rapidly. Within a few weeks, you might be facing a major risk to your physical health—and your mental health as well.