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Cockroaches and Health Risks: Diseases Caused by Cockroaches

Cockroaches and types of Cockroaches in Australia

Australia is home to various species of cockroaches, each adapted to its specific environment. While not all cockroach species pose health risks or invade homes, understanding the types commonly found in Australia can help people take appropriate measures for pest control. Here are some notable types of cockroaches in Australia:

German Cockroach (Blattella germanica):

  • Appearance: Small and light brown with two dark stripes on the pronotum.
  • Habitat: Commonly found in kitchens, bathrooms, and areas with food storage.
  • Behaviour: Highly adaptable and known for rapid reproduction.
  • Health Risks: Potential carriers of pathogens and allergens.

American Cockroach (Periplaneta americana):

  • Appearance: Large and reddish-brown with a distinctive yellowish figure-eight pattern on the head.
  • Habitat: Often found in dark, humid areas such as basements, sewers, and drains.
  • Behaviour: Capable of flight and attracted to decaying organic matter.
  • Health Risks: May carry bacteria and contaminate food.

Australian Cockroach (Periplaneta australasiae):

  • Appearance: Brown with a yellow margin around the thorax and wings.
  • Habitat: Common in outdoor environments, particularly in gardens and around trees.
  • Behaviour: Prefers warmer climates and is less likely to infest indoor spaces.
  • Health Risks: Limited, as they are less likely to invade living areas.

Oriental Cockroach (Blatta orientalis):

  • Appearance: Dark brown to black, with a shiny, oval-shaped body.
  • Habitat: Prefers cool, damp environments, often found in basements and drains.
  • Behaviour: Flightless, but fast runners.
  • Health Risks: May carry disease-causing organisms and contaminate surfaces.

Smokybrown Cockroach (Periplaneta fuliginosa):

  • Appearance: Uniform mahogany to black colour, with long wings extending beyond the body.
  • Habitat: Thrives in warm and humid conditions, often found in attics and tree canopies.
  • Behaviour: Strong fliers and attracted to lights at night.
  • Health Risks: May carry pathogens and trigger allergies.

Brown-banded Cockroach (Supella longipalpa):

  • Appearance: Small, with distinctive light bands across the wings and abdomen.
  • Habitat: Prefers warmer, drier conditions and tends to infest high areas in homes.
  • Behaviour: Often found in closets, behind pictures, and near electrical appliances.

     •Health Risks: Can carry pathogens and allergens.

Common Shining Cockroach (Australian Ellipsidion humerale):

  • Appearance: Shiny brown to black with a flattened body.
  • Habitat: Typically found outdoors in leaf litter and under rocks.
  • Behaviour: Nocturnal and primarily feeds on decomposing plant matter.
  • Health Risks: Generally considered harmless to humans.

Cockroaches and Health Risks: Diseases Caused by Cockroaches

Certainly! Let’s delve deeper into each point mentioned in the blog post about the diseases caused by cockroaches:

Allergies and Asthma:

  • Cockroach allergens are proteins found in their saliva, droppings, and body parts.
  • When these allergens become airborne, they can be inhaled, triggering allergic reactions.
  • Symptoms may include sneezing, coughing, skin rashes, and, in individuals with asthma, worsened respiratory conditions.

Salmonella and Gastrointestinal Infections:

  • Cockroaches can carry Salmonella bacteria on their bodies.
  • They pick up the bacteria from contaminated food sources and transfer it to surfaces and stored food.
  • Ingesting food contaminated by cockroach contact can result in gastrointestinal infections with symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and abdominal cramps.


  • Cockroaches are associated with the transmission of bacteria causing dysentery.
  • Their feeding habits on decaying organic matter and sewage make them potential carriers.
  • Dysentery is an inflammatory intestinal disorder leading to severe diarrhoea, abdominal pain, fever, and dehydration.

Typhoid Fever:

  • Cockroaches can carry the bacteria responsible for typhoid fever in unsanitary environments.
  • The bacteria can be transferred to human food and utensils, potentially causing infections.
  • Typhoid fever symptoms include fever, headaches, and gastrointestinal issues and can be life-threatening if not treated promptly.

Polio Virus:

  • Studies suggest that cockroaches can harbour the polio virus.
  • While the primary transmission of polio is person-to-person, the role of cockroaches in spreading the virus has been considered.
  • Maintaining good hygiene practices is crucial to prevent the spread of the polio virus.

Prevention and Control Measures:

Maintain a Clean Environment:

  • Regularly clean and sanitise areas where food is prepared or stored.
  • Eliminate food and water sources that attract cockroaches, reducing the likelihood of infestations.

Seal Entry Points:

  • Identify and seal cracks, gaps, or openings to prevent cockroaches from entering your living spaces.

Proper Waste Management:

  • Dispose of garbage regularly, and ensure trash bins have tight-fitting lids.
  • Cockroaches are attracted to food residues in trash, so proper waste management is crucial.

Professional Pest Control:

  • Seek the services of professional pest control experts if a cockroach infestation is present.
  • Professionals can assess the severity of the infestation and implement targeted strategies to eliminate cockroaches effectively.

How do Cockroaches spread diseases?

Cockroaches can spread diseases through various mechanisms, making them potential vectors for harmful microorganisms. Here are some ways in which cockroaches can contribute to the spread of diseases:

Contact with Contaminated Surfaces:

  • Cockroaches often move through unsanitary environments, including garbage, sewage, and decaying organic matter.
  • As they crawl over surfaces in homes, they can deposit disease-causing microorganisms from their bodies and excrement.

Contamination of Food and Utensils:

  • Cockroaches are opportunistic feeders and can consume a wide range of materials, including human food.
  • When they feed on contaminated substances or come into contact with pathogens, these microorganisms can be transferred to food preparation surfaces, dishes, and stored food items.

Carriage of Pathogens on Their Bodies:

  • Cockroaches may carry bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens on their bodies.
  • As they move around, these microorganisms can be transferred to surfaces and objects they come into contact with, creating potential sources of contamination.

Airborne Transmission:

  • Cockroach faeces and body parts can break down into small particles that become airborne.
  • Inhaling these particles can lead to respiratory issues and allergic reactions, particularly in individuals with asthma or sensitivities to cockroach allergens.

Introduction of Pathogens into Living Spaces:

  • Cockroaches can introduce disease-causing microorganisms into homes from external environments, such as sewage systems and garbage areas.
  • Once inside, they can spread these pathogens by traversing living spaces and coming into contact with various surfaces.

Association with Filth and Unhygienic Conditions:

  • Cockroaches thrive in unsanitary conditions, and their presence is often associated with filth and neglect.
  • The association with unhygienic environments increases the likelihood of disease transmission, as they may pick up pathogens in their habitats and carry them into homes.

Transmission of Allergens:

  • Cockroach allergens, such as proteins found in their saliva, droppings, and body parts, can trigger allergic reactions.
  • These allergens may become airborne and settle on surfaces, contributing to health issues in sensitive individuals.

It’s important to note that while cockroaches are capable of spreading diseases, not all species pose the same level of risk, and the extent of their role as disease vectors can depend on factors such as species, environmental conditions, and the overall hygiene of the surroundings. Implementing effective pest control measures, maintaining cleanliness, and addressing potential entry points can help reduce the risk of cockroach-related disease transmission.

Best way to remove cockroaches in points

Maintain Cleanliness:

  • Regularly clean the kitchen, removing crumbs, food residues, and spills.
  • Pay special attention to appliances, countertops, and areas where food is stored.

Seal Entry Points:

  • Identify and seal any cracks, gaps, or openings that may serve as entry points for cockroaches.
  • Use caulk or weather stripping to close gaps around windows, doors, and pipes.

Proper Food Storage:

  • Store food in airtight containers to prevent access for cockroaches.
  • Avoid leaving food out overnight, and keep pet food stored securely.

Fix Leaks and Dampness:

  • Cockroaches are attracted to moisture, so fix any leaks promptly.
  • Ensure there’s no standing water in sinks, and wipe down wet surfaces.

Use Natural Repellents:

  • Employ natural repellents such as bay leaves, cucumber slices, or catnip in areas prone to cockroach activity.
  • Essential oils like peppermint or cedarwood can also act as deterrents.

Boric Acid:

  • Sprinkle boric acid in areas frequented by cockroaches, focusing on cracks and crevices.
  • Be cautious with boric acid in homes with pets and small children.

Diatomaceous Earth:

  • Apply food-grade diatomaceous earth in areas where cockroaches travel.
  • This substance, harmless to humans and pets, can be an effective desiccant.

Pesticide Sprays:

  • Use commercial insecticides or cockroach sprays in areas with high cockroach activity.
  • Follow instructions carefully and exercise caution, especially in kitchens.

Sticky Traps:

  • Place sticky traps in strategic locations to catch roaming cockroaches.
  • These traps can help monitor the level of infestation and reduce their population.

Professional Pest Control:

  • If the infestation persists, consider hiring professional pest control services.
  • Pest control experts can assess the situation and implement targeted measures for effective removal.

Remember, a combination of these methods is often more effective than relying on a single approach. Consistency in maintaining cleanliness, sealing entry points, and using appropriate remedies will contribute to a successful and long-lasting removal of cockroaches from your kitchen.


In conclusion, removing cockroaches from the kitchen is a crucial task to ensure a clean and healthy living environment. These resilient pests can pose health risks and contaminate food, making it essential to take effective measures for their removal. By following a combination of preventive and control strategies, you can create a less hospitable environment for cockroaches. Regular cleaning, sealing entry points, and using natural repellents or targeted solutions such as boric acid and diatomaceous earth can be effective in managing infestations. Additionally, sticky traps and commercial insecticides offer practical solutions, but it’s crucial to follow safety guidelines when using chemical products.

If the infestation persists or if you’re dealing with a severe cockroach problem, seeking professional pest control services is a prudent choice. Pest control experts can assess the extent of the infestation and implement tailored strategies for efficient cockroach removal.

Remember, consistent efforts in maintaining a clean and hygienic kitchen, coupled with proactive pest control measures, will contribute to a cockroach-free environment, promoting the well-being of your household and minimising the potential health risks associated with these pests.