are cockroaches harmful
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Cockroaches are among the most reviled of insects. But do cockroaches pose a danger to people? In particular, are American cockroaches poisonous or even dangerous? Cockroaches are among the most successful of all insects on earth. They can be found in virtually every corner of the world, from Antarctica to tropical rainforests, and from deserts to suburban homes. There are over 4,000 known species of cockroaches — so it’s no wonder they’ve managed to thrive almost everywhere. But while many people regard cockroaches with disgust and repulsion, they’re not going to give you Ebola or any other disease organisms if you come into contact with them. In fact, non-pest species of cockroach are generally quite harmless and live in symbiosis with humans — as evidenced by the fact that we often find them living in our homes! So what about American cockroaches? Are they toxic or poisonous?
## Are American Cockroaches Harmful? First and foremost, it’s important to note that there are only two types of cockroach that are native to North America: the German cockroach and the American cockroach. Both are considered pests and are capable of contaminating food sources with their excrement, but neither is known to transmit any diseases to humans. That said, it’s also important to note that German cockroaches are known to carry several dangerous bacteria, including salmonella, E. coli and staphylococcus. But that doesn’t mean American cockroaches are any safer to humans. While it’s true that American cockroaches don’t carry any diseases, they are equally capable of contaminating food sources with their excrement. In fact, a single American cockroach can produce up to 50 droppings in a day! ## American Cockroach Bites Technically speaking, it’s possible for an American cockroach to bite a human being, though it’s unlikely. Cockroaches are omnivorous, and their diet frequently includes decaying organic matter — including dead insects, animals and even smaller cockroaches. American cockroach bites are generally only seen in cases where humans are in direct competition with the roaches over food sources. American cockroach bites are unlikely to cause any serious harm to a healthy adult, though they can be extremely painful. Symptoms include localized swelling and mild inflammation at the site of the bite, as well as mild fever, nausea and vomiting. ## American Cockroach Excrement Cockroaches thrive on a diet of decaying organic matter, including human and animal excrement. But what does that have to do with human health? Well, it turns out that roaches are capable of spreading a number of pathogenic bacteria, including E. coli, Staphylococcus and Salmonella — all of which can cause severe illness and even death in infants, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems. It’s important to note that roaches are generally only capable of contaminating food sources with these bacteria if they’ve been allowed to crawl over the food with their legs and torsos — not if they’ve been swept up in an insecticidal fog and killed. ## The Harmless Truth About American Cockroaches Despite the fact that they’re not known to transmit any harmful bacteria to humans, American cockroaches are often treated as though they’re poisonous or toxic. But why? Well, it appears that the vast majority of people who are afraid of cockroaches have been misinformed about the effects of cockroach bites. The truth is that while cockroaches can bite people, they don’t have any venom and are incapable of breaking human skin. In fact, the pressure exerted by an American cockroach bite is similar to that of a bee sting — and is unlikely to break the skin. So why are people so terrified of cockroach bites? The honest and likely answer to that question is that people are simply misinformed about the effects of cockroach bites. It’s unfortunate, but fear and misinformed hysteria are powerful forces. And in the case of cockroaches, they’ve managed to create a level of fear out of proportion with the risks posed by these exceptionally common insects. ## Summary