Cockroaches are insects of the order Blattodea, which also includes termites. Currently, 4600 species and over 460 genera are described worldwide. They are an ancient group, dating back at least as far as the Carboniferous period, some 320 million years ago. Cockroaches are somewhat generalized insects without special adaptations like the sucking mouthparts of aphids and other true bugs; they have chewing mouthparts and are likely among the most primitive of living neopteran insects. They are common and hardy insects and can tolerate a wide range of environments from Arctic cold to tropical heat. Most species of cockroach are about the size of a thumbnail, but several species are bigger. They have a relatively small head and a broad, flattened body, and most species are reddish-brown to dark brown. They have large compound eyes, two ocelli, and long, flexible antennae. The mouthparts are on the underside of the head and include generalized chewing mandibles, salivary glands and various touch and taste receptors.
Cockroaches are one stubborn species of insects to eradicate. They show a fascinating and unbelievable knack for survival against all odds that is almost enviable. And they are not just in our houses but everywhere, where they can find food. Cockroaches cause damage in the following ways:
Feeding Damage: One of the earliest and most easily disregarded signs of cockroach damage is the signs of feeding. Most roaches infesting homes chew on starchy items. Furthermore, cockroaches love to live in areas that are particularly damp or dark. The German cockroach feeds on books and their bindings thereby destroying them. These cockroaches are also very fond of starchy food like cereal, sugary substances, and meat products. The larger roaches usually prefer chewing on paper products, thus destroying them in the process. In addition, the fecal material from feeding can contaminate food and stain other products.
Disease Transmission: Cockroaches transmit numerous diseases. Cockroaches produce secretions that can affect the flavor of various foods and have also been implicated in the transmission of diseases. Disease-producing organisms such as bacteria, protozoa, and viruses have been found in cockroach bodies. Different forms of gastroenteritis (food poisoning, dysentery, diarrhea, etc.) appear to be the principal diseases transmitted by these cockroaches. These disease-causing organisms are carried on the legs and bodies of cockroaches and are deposited on food and utensils as cockroaches forage.
Allergies: A host of studies recognize cockroaches and their byproducts as strong indoor allergenic agents. Since the prevalence of asthma in children has been increasing steadily over the years, the need to control cockroaches is more important than ever. An increased exposure to cockroach allergens is one key factor responsible for the higher prevalence of asthma in poor urban areas.
Let us look at some evidence of damage by these cockroaches worldwide
- Cockroach infestation forces temporary closure of Burbank restaurant
March 30 2017, Los Angeles Daily News, USA
- Sewage discharge, cockroach, rodent infestations force temporary closures at 8 San Fernando Valley restaurants
February 20 2017, Los Angeles Daily News, USA
- Cockroach ‘infestation’ discovered at hospital
January 3 2017, UKAcross the four hospitals run by The Pennine Acute Hospital Trust in Greater Manchester – The Royal Oldham Hospital, Rochdale Infirmary, Fairfield General Hospital in Bury and North Manchester General Hospital – there were 302 pest sightings in the past year. Reports between April 2015 and March 2016 included a cockroach ‘infestation’ in the day surgery ward at the Royal Oldham Hospital, maggots found in the accident and emergency ward kitchen and a call logged from the Royal Oldham Hospital laundry which read: “Urgent – there are lots of cockroaches”.
A spokesman for Pennine Acute said: “Recent mild winters have seen an increase in vermin across the country. “We take patient, staff and visitor safety seriously and deploy preventative measures to pest control by employing a pest control contractor to visit each of our four hospitals every week, particularly in areas where facilities are susceptible to vermin.”We have also introduced additional housekeeping measures, such as frequently emptying bins and cleaning across our sites.”
- Cockroach-Infestation In Newborn Ward At Frere Hospital Stains Record: Da
October 15 2016, South Africa
An apparent infestation of cockroaches at Frere Hospital’s M1-N “Kangaroo Ward” for mothers awaiting the release of their premature and newborn babies is a stain on the good record of the facility, the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Eastern Cape said on Wednesday.
“The DA truly values the sterling work performed by Dr Rolene Wagner and her team at the Frere Hospital and requests that Ward M1-N, and specifically the loose fittings in the ward, should be fumigated and inspected before any more infants and new moms are expected to share a neonatal ward room with cockroaches,” said Celeste Barker, the DA’s Eastern Cape Shadow MEC for Health.
She said that last week Thursday, Bronwen Spenceley — the young mom of a premature baby girl weighing just 1.5kg – was admitted to M1-N. The ward, though appearing to be clean, has proven to be unhygienic and hazardous.
“The ward, though appearing to be clean, has proven to be unhygienic and hazardous.
“The bedside metal cabinets are crawling with cockroaches and when a heater is switched on, the insects come crawling out of all possible apertures – including the beds,” described Barker.
These roaches need to be dealt with. One very important and essential way of doing it is maintaining proper hygiene at all times at all places especially in places like eateries where food is abundant and supervision is lacking. Other conventional methods include the use of potentially toxic and dangerous chemicals as insecticides and pesticides. But the use of these chemicals though conventional should be stopped as there is a chance of human contact and food contamination.
So do we have an effective solution for this problem?
Yes, we do!
Termirepel™ is non-toxic and non-hazardous insect/termite repellent. It works on the concept of green chemistry repels the target species and does not kill them. Termirepel™ is available in the form of lacquer and can be applied on wooden articles such as door frames, food storage cupboards, etc.
It can also be incorporated in paint to be applied on surfaces which need protection. Termirepel™ can thus effectively keep cockroaches away from our food as well as our lives!