Have you seen a cockroach in your Merrimac home? If so, experts say that it is an indication that you have thousands in your home that you haven't seen. Roaches don't prefer to be seen. Usually, Merrimac residents notice the warning signs first, such as the appearance of black fecal pellets, oothecae, shed skins, or a bad scent. If you detect roaches in your home, you may be wondering how dangerous those roaches can be to you and your family. Cockroaches can make you ill in many ways. They can also damage your property as they chew on paper products and fabrics. If you're currently dealing with a cockroach infestation and want to know how much of a danger they can be, there are several factors to consider. Let's take a look at them.

cockroach eating food
cockroach in kitchen

Direct Threat

First things first, let's talk about how cockroaches present a direct threat to you and your family. While cockroaches can bite, they rarely do. They don't prefer to feed on living tissue (this includes blood). They prefer to feed on things that are dead. When bites occur, it is typically by accident. Roaches tend to crawl on sleeping individuals and feed on dead skin in eyebrows, eyelashes, and around mouths. This can result in an unintended bite. If you wake up with a swollen eye or lip, a roach might be to blame. But, it is important to keep in mind that you can have a hundred thousand cockroaches in your home and not get a single bite wound.

How Poor Sanitation Plays A Role

Cockroaches passively transport organisms associated with diseases, such as salmonella and E. coli, and many more. They have known vectors for at least 33 kinds of bacteria, 6 parasitic worms, and 7 human pathogens. How do they get these invisible, disease-causing organisms? By climbing around in dirty areas. The unfortunate reality is that cockroaches are attracted to dirty spaces within your home. You can reduce the risk of illness by keeping things as clean as possible. Here are some suggestions.

  • Keep your trash receptacles clean and disinfected.

  • Clean your floors.

  • Deep clean the sides of your oven and under your fridge.

  • Clean and disinfect mops.

  • Clean your toilets, bathroom floor, and surfaces.

The cockroaches born in your home are likely to only come in contact with disease organisms within or just outside of your home. Since the rotting organic matter has a foul odor, they're more likely to be exposed to something harmful when outside of your home. So it is important to get exterior sources of rot and decay.

  • Sanitize your exterior trash receptacles and make sure trash is routinely removed from your property.

  • If you keep compost, move it away from your exterior.

  • Pick up dog and other animal feces in your yard.

  • Clean your grill and store food away after cookouts.

  • Address anything rotting in your backyard.

Some dirty locations that cockroaches can get into are difficult to address, such as public sewer culverts, dumpsters, dirty drains, dead rodents, and other unpleasant things found in urban environments. This makes city roaches more of a disease risk than country roaches.


Recent studies have shown that cockroaches present a threat to people who have asthma. The presence of cockroaches in a home increases hospital visitations, particularly for children. This is due to proteins on the skins of cockroaches, which can be shed in many places within a home. Roaches are drawn to hide in air conditioning units and ventilation ducts. This exacerbates this problem.

Significant Cockroach Diseases

While stomach illness is the most likely outcome of having cockroaches in your home, you can contract other, more serious diseases. They are linked to typhoid fever, leprosy, cholera, polio, and bubonic plague. Fortunately, it is unlikely that the cockroaches in your home will be exposed to any of these. They would have to play a supplementary role in spreading these diseases, such as feeding on a diseased rat or an infected bat in your attic. This type of exposure is difficult to track, but the good news is that it is rare.

We Don't Recommend Living With Cockroaches

At the first sign of a cockroach infestation in your Merrimac home, contact Freedom Pest Control. In light of the threat these insects can present, it is best to have a licensed pest management professional inspect your home, select an appropriate treatment plan, and administer treatments. Our friendly, experienced, and highly trained technicians can provide you with the highest level of cockroach control and disease mitigation. If you have questions, feel free to reach out to us, anytime. We're here to address all your pest concerns.


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