Do Cockroaches Pose a Health Risk?

Posted in Pest Control on Aug 17, 2016

Cockroaches - does the very thought bring to mind those skittering legs and shiny bodies? There are very few people who don't shudder at the sight of these unwelcome visitors, but did you know that they also pose a health risk?

Whether you have them in your home, your restuarant, your hotel, or your business premises, understanding that cockroaches are not just a nuisance is vital - they're a real risk, and need to be tackled.


Cockroaches can trigger asthma, and potentially cause life threatening reactions in sufferers of asthma. The World Health Organisation estimate that over 300 million people worldwide suffer from asthma, and it is also believed that between 25% and 60% of sufferers are sensitive to cockroach allergens.

As they scuttle around, cockroaches leave behind skin cells, hairs, droppings, and saliva - all of which can trigger an allergic reaction.

Food Poisoning

Cockroaches are also known to cause food poisoning, including Salmonella and E.Coli. They scavenge food, which allows them to pick up all sorts of bacteria, which they then deposit as they move around.

If a cockroach feeds on contaminated food, studies have found that the bacteria can remain in their digestive systems for weeks at a time. That bacteria is then distributed in their faeces, where it can survive for several years.


Cockroaches are estimated to spread:

  • 33 different kinds of bacteria
  • 6 types of parasitic worm
  • many other human pathogens

Due to the fact that they feed on anything, they pick up and carry diseases found in various types of waste. They have been implicated in the spread of a range of serious diseases, including:

  • Dysentary
  • Cholera
  • Leprosy
  • Typhoid Fever
  • Viral diseases

How to prevent cockroach health risks

The only way to avoid the health risks associated with cockroaches is to eliminate any infestation and take precautions to prevent further incursions.


  1. Cleanliness - keeping your property clean is the first step (a thorough deep clean is also required if you have had an infestation)
  2. Keep sinks clean and free of dirty dishes
  3. Keep rubbish and food waste in covered disposal containers - cockroaches feed on rubbish, so don't let them get at it
  4. Don't leave food out, and make sure you clean up crumbs and food debris from surfaces and floors
  5. Seal any holes or cracks in your walls and floors, to prevent them getting in.


If you have a cockroach infestation, professional pest control is the only option. While you can try using sprays, it's rare that you'll ever be able to get all of them. When you see one roach, there are many, many more that you can't see.

A professional can not only successfully eradicate your entire infestation, they can also help with preventative measures (including locating and sealing entry points). At JPS, we can also offer deep cleaning services to sanitise your property after an infestation.

Implications of cockroach infestations

The implications of a cockroach infestation can be far reaching:


An infestation in your home can not only make you and your family sick, it can have a genuine psychological impact, leaving you feeling unsettled or unhappy in your own home. Getting a handle on the problem fast, and preventing it happening again, is the best way to take back control.


A cockroach infestation at a property you let out can be considered a health and safety risk, leaving you open to potential claims of compensation should a tenant become ill as a result of the pest problem. If the infestation makes the house unsuitable to live in, you also have the prospect of losing money while the property sits empty.


Aside from the health risks caused by cockroaches, there significant reputational risk for restaurants reported to have cockroaches. By law, any food preparation business must show that you have taken every precaution to prevent pest problems - many restaurants and factories arrange a commercial pest management contract in order to comply with these regulations.

Help is at hand

If you're concerned about a cockroach problem, please don't hesitate to contact us - we can get it sorted, get everything cleaned and sanitised, and prevent the bugs from coming back.

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