Cockroaches are one the most important household and commercial pests. There are over 4,500 species of cockroaches in the world, however only a few species inhabit urban environments and are considered pests.
Their bodies are flattened dorsal ventrally, allowing them to squeeze into cracks and crevices. They are nocturnal insects, which means they are most active at night. However, in cases of heavy infestation, they can be found in the daytime as well. They like to hide in cracks and crevices with their backs touching the substratum. In common areas, they like to travel or venture along walls. Cockroaches are general feeders; they eat almost anything they can find.
Cockroaches have an incomplete metamorphosis that consists of three stages: egg, nymph and adult. Most female cockroaches produce egg capsules called ootheca, which have 2 rows of eggs in them. The newly emerged nymphs look like miniature adults except that they are wingless. The nymphs undergo several moults before turning into adults.
Cockroaches that carry pathogens are able to transmit diseases. Cockroaches’ faecal materials and moulted skin can result in contamination, cause skin allergies, and asthma. For those who suffer from entomophobia, the presence of cockroaches may trigger fear and anxiety. Cockroaches are also known to emit an unpleasant odour.
- They are large in size and can be found both indoors and outdoors, mainly infesting sewage systems.
- They are small in size, and often found in food preparation areas. Due to their short life cycle and high reproductive rate, they are able to develop insecticide resistance and thus hard to get rid of.
- They are small in size, and often found indoors such as offices and motor vehicles. Brown-banded cockroaches will live in any room in the house. They do not need much moisture and avoid light whenever the can.
Diseases and Health Risks Associated with Cockroaches
There are over 4,000 types of species of cockroaches in the world, but only approximately 30 types that are considered as pests. Cockroaches are deemed dangerous not only as an allergen source as they can trigger allergies and asthma, but also as carriers of bacteria that can lead to diseases if in contact with food.
While cockroaches do not actually bite, their heavy leg spines can scratch you! However, infections are simply spread mechanically as cockroaches can carry pathogens on their bodies. As they come in contact with your food, the pathogens will transmit over, and you may fall ill with one of the following diseases:
Salmonella (salmonellosis) is a bacterial disease that affects one’s intestinal tract. Those diagnosed with a Salmonella infection will experience a set of symptoms that include diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps that will last up to seven days.
Staphylococcus, otherwise known as staph infections, is a bacterial infection that shows on your skin as pustules—red and swollen bumps filled with pus that may leak. While most tend to disappear on their own over time, others require treatment with antibiotics.
Streptococcus, or strep throat, is when the throat is infected with bacteria, leading it to feel sore and scratchy. Symptoms include throat soreness, red and swollen tonsils, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, and others such as fever, headache, or body aches.
Dysentery is a type of gastroenteritis, and it is the infection of one’s intestines that results in diarrhoea consisting of blood or mucus. In the process, one may experience symptoms such as painful stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, or high body temperature.
Diarrhoea is loose and watery stool accompanied with the increased frequency to regulate one’s bowel movements. While it is often present concurrently with other sets of symptoms such as nausea, abdominal pain, or even weight loss, it can also be present on its own. Diarrhoea recovers quickly and takes less than a week to pass.
Cholera is an infection of the small intestine, leading to severe diarrhoea and dehydration. As the body loses fluid and minerals, an electrolyte imbalance will take place, which can cause either muscle cramps, or body shocks. While cholera is easy and quick to treat, the effects of severe dehydration can be fatal.
Typhoid fever gradually develops, and only shows symptoms between one to three weeks after exposure. The main symptoms are such as high fever, headache, abdominal pain, and constipation or diarrhoea, among others. It lasts for up to 10 days if immediately treated, however, there’s always the possibility of other complications or relapse.
Currently, we are practicing integrated pest management, which is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach of managing pests. Before taking any pest control action, it is important to identify the pest accurately as control decision may vary according to species. After pest identification, inspection and monitoring will be carry out to determine the extent and status of pest infestation. Decisions are to be made based on the pest species, the extent of infestation, available control measures, areas to be treated, etc. Customers must be educated on basic biology of the targeted pest and the importance of sanitation. Once the control measure is decided, treatment will be carried out. Regular follow up by a pest control company in Singapore will be conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment conducted.
Chemical treatment methods for cockroaches consisted of residual spraying, baiting and space treatment. Residual spraying involves the application of residual insecticide on surfaces where cockroaches may come into contact with the insecticide and receive a lethal concentration. For bait treatment, application of cockroach gel that contain a slow-acting insecticide combined with food attractant is suitable for sensitive environment as it minimizes insecticide exposure. Other than that, gel application is more target-specific and long-lasting as compared with residual spraying. Space treatment involves the dispersal of insecticide into an area to kill adult cockroaches. It only kills cockroaches that are present and it is ineffective in penetrating cracks and crevices. Dry treatment is a new technology available in Singapore that can be used to control a wide range of crawling and flying insects that are present, including cockroaches. It could disperse ultrafine particles which travel through the air and able to reach the target areas. These are best left for a pest control expert in Singapore and you are not advised to do it yourself.
cleanliness must be maintained
In summary, cleanliness must be maintained, and all materials brought into the building/house must be screened. Cockroaches require food, water and harbourage to survive. Thus, potential food sources and harbourage areas should be eliminated thereby resulting in more effective treatment performance.
Do you know…
Cockroaches are one of the worst pests that could invade your home, as not only can they live up to a week without their heads, but even a one-day-old baby cockroach can already run as fast as its parents, proving its danger to transmit diseases without us even noticing.
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