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  • Michael Radovic

The Truth, and some Myths, About Cockroaches



Cockroaches have been around for a long time. Cockroaches are the only animal or insect found in caves that predate the time when the dinosaurs were killed over 66 million years ago. In addition, there are at least two cases where different types of cockroaches were found fossilized in amber from over 99 million years ago. The oldest known fossil record is from about 125 to 140 million years ago. So these creatures have been around for an extremely long time, and they are not going anywhere any time soon. Some say that these insects have been around for over 300 million years. However, there is no record of cockroaches being that old.


Cockroaches are one of the most dangerous insects you can find in your home or apartment. They are known vectors for several diseases such as Salmonella, Shigella, E. coli, Streptococcus (pneumonia), hookworm, pinworms, tapeworms, and poliomyelitis virus, which is an infectious viral disease that affects the central nervous system and can cause temporary or permanent paralysis. Besides the diseases they carry and can cause, they are also known to cause allergies and asthma.


While cockroaches can be found anywhere any time of the year, and cause a whole host of illnesses, let's debunk another rumor related to cockroaches. Chocolate allergies are not caused by ground-up cockroach parts found in every piece of chocolate made. USA Today reporters investigated this claim after memes made their way around social media, stating there were ground-up cockroach parts in chocolate. An FDA spokesperson, Veronika Pfaeffle, said that "through FDA's extensive sampling of cocoa beans for insect infestation, we have not found this product to be particularly attractive to cockroaches" and that the FDA has not found cockroach infestations to be common in cocoa beans.


While the meme stated that the FDA's action level for chocolate is over 60 insect fragments per 100 grams, the post neglects to state that the insects in question can only be incidental pests that are non-hazardous to humans. Cockroaches are not considered non-hazardous at any level and are not considered to be incidental pests.


The most common types of cockroaches on Long Island are the German Cockroach, the American Cockroach, and the Brown-Banded Cockroach. The German Cockroach is the most common form and is the most common pest found in homes. They prefer dark, warm, and wet locations close to food and water sources. American Cockroaches are one of the largest of the species found on Long Island, and they prefer cooler areas such as basements and crawlspaces. The Brown-Banded Cockroach is the most stealthy of the different types since they require less moisture preferring drier areas. These cockroaches stay out of sight but tend to stay close to pantries and closets.


If you have been following the news related to these pests, you may have heard about the recent rise in Turkestan Cockroaches. This variety is not native to the United States and is thought to have been brought here on military transport planes and vessels. Turkestan Cockroaches have mostly been found in large numbers on the west coast, especially in California. They have also been located in the southwest and southeast regions of the United States. There have been some infestations found in the Northeast, but they have not overtaken the populations of other species yet.


If you live in or around New York City, you might have heard of people referring to "water bugs." Don't be fooled. "Water bug" is just a less-alarming way to say "cockroach."


The best way to avoid these dangerous pests is to maintain a clean home and kitchen and be aware of food that is left out or not properly stored. Having a clean kitchen doesn't mean you will not have cockroaches. They are everywhere. If they are anywhere near your home, they will scavenge for food and look for a place to get out of the cold. Your best bet is not to leave dishes in the sink, remove garbage from your home every night and remember to cover and seal all of the food you have in your home, including pet food.


Once you have a cockroach infestation, they are extremely difficult to eradicate on your own. As soon as you see even a single cockroach, it is time to call us so we can locate and properly treat the problem before they cause serious issues for you and your family.


If you see cockroaches or any other pest in your home, call us at 800-585-LUXE(5893).

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