There are several species of cockroaches found in the United States. These include American, German, Oriental, Brownbanded, and Asian roaches. Because German cockroaches account for the vast majority of the cockroach infestations encountered in our homes and businesses in the Northwest, this discussion will focus on them. If information is required on other roach species it can be easily provided.
Cockroaches date back to fossil records of 350 million years ago. They are found in virtually any environment on earth, which is a testament to their adaptability. Their adaptability coupled with their high reproductive potential are why cockroaches are so successful and such a difficult pest to control.
Cockroaches have been linked to a variety of health concerns. Roaches emit secretions from various parts of their bodies that in large roach populations can affect the flavor of food. Intestinal disease organisms are carried on the legs and bodies of roaches and passed to humans when those roaches move across cooking surfaces, eating utensils and our food. Cast skins and fecal droppings of roaches are thought to cause allergic reactions such as asthma, sneezing, and watery eyes.