The United States is home to several cockroach species that are pests of homes and buildings, and given Georgia’s subtropical climate, cockroaches find the state to be particularly hospitable. This is because virtually all 3,500 to 4,000 cockroach species that have been documented worldwide must inhabit humid and wet conditions in order to thrive. In fact, the majority of documented cockroach species dwell in the tropics of South America, Africa, and south Asia.
The most widespread and commonly encountered cockroach pest species within homes in most areas of the US include German, American, Oriental, and brown-banded cockroaches. While these species are the most commonly controlled cockroach pests within homes, several other cockroach pest species can be found in the southern states, particularly the Gulf Coast states.
According to a recent nationwide survey of pest management professionals, German, American, Oreintal, smokybrown, brown-banded, Asian, Australian, Turkestan and Florida woods cockroaches are the nine most commonly controlled cockroach pest species within homes. Based on residential housing data collected by officials with the American Housing Survey, Atlanta sees the fourth highest rate of cockroach infestations in the country, putting the city behind Miami, Houston, and New Olreans.
Amazingly, a recent study carried by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America revealed that 78 to 98 percent of urban homes in the US are currently infested with cockroaches, and between 900 to 330,000 cockroaches can be found within infested homes. While it is hard to believe that such an astronomical number of cockroaches can infest homes, it is important to note that the indoor dwelling German cockroach is responsible for a majority of cockroach infestations of this size. German cockroaches and the much less common brown-banded cockroach species are both unique for being two of the very few urban insect pests that dwell primarily indoors.
Because they have evolved to thrive in homes and buildings where humans are often present, German cockroaches are experts at remaining unseen by residents within infested homes. Unfortunately, German and most other indoor cockroach pests contribute to the development of childhood asthma and allergies within the homes they infest. Cockroach pests also carry well over 30 disease-causing microorganisms on their body, which means that they contaminate every indoor surface and food item with which they make contact.
Do you worry about eating stored foods that are unknowingly contaminated with microbes associated with cockroach pests?