Category Archives: Roaches

Why Roach Allergies are So Scary

roachIf the idea of ghouls and ghosts is not scary enough for you this Halloween, there’s a common household pest that’s turning up the scare factor all year round. With millions of people suffering from allergy symptoms, roach allergies are not often top of mind when compared to the more common “triggers” such as dust mites or pollen. A stubborn indoor allergen (a substance that causes an allergic reaction), roaches are difficult to get rid of entirely, even in the cleanliest home. Not just a residential problem, roaches can find their way into offices, restaurants, and in some of the more dangerous cases, schools. If left untreated, they can cause long term health problems and exacerbate already existing conditions such as asthma, the third leading cause of hospitalization among children under the age of 15. Although emphasis should be placed on treating and eliminating live roaches, it is also important to pay close attention to the removal of dead roaches. Over time, the deterioration of their cast skins can create allergens.

For individuals already suffering with respiratory ailments or weak immune systems, or in the case of the elderly or very young, an undetected roach infestation may lead to the development of chronic allergies.

Snapshot- Roach Allergen case study

A good example that showcases just how damaging a roach infestation can be to one’s health is in a recent case where a Truly Nolen service expert was able to perform a service that would ultimately reverse the negative effects taking place on a homeowner. Unknown to her, a severe roach problem was the main contributing factor in her steady decline in health. An initial visit to the customer’s home was able to reveal the full extent of this infestation. Plagued with chronic fatigue, respiratory problems and emotional distress, the homeowner suffered greatly. Even at the time of service, she was unable to physically move around and directed the service expert while seated on her couch.

The treatments were performed in various parts of the house, with extra attention paid to areas where roach carcasses existed. The Truly Nolen service expert was genuinely concerned for this woman’s health issues, and went above and beyond to make sure that the current infestation was dealt with properly, and that the cast skins were thoroughly removed. After eliminating the roaches from the home, the service expert saw a dramatic improvement several months later on his follow up service with the homeowner. Not only was her chronic tiredness gone, but so were her respiratory problems. Unlike the first visit where she could barely move, the follow up visit revealed a new person whose physical and emotional health was getting better day by day. The health and well-being of your home can never be taken for granted as it can have a great impact on your life.

Since the allergens left behind by roaches can become airborne and contaminate multiple areas, roaches do not even need to be present to wreak havoc on the daily health and well-being of those living in affected surroundings. In the case of the homeowner, roach carcasses found in her home were a major contributing factor in the decline of her health. These dangerous scavengers are vehicles of bacteria, contaminants, and sometimes diseases that are found in their saliva, feces and on their bodies.

The allergens produced by roaches have been shown to cause health concerns, ranging from mild to more severe including:

  • Asthma (mild onset to severe complications)
  • Dermatitis
  • Skin rashes
  • Itching
  • Digestive problems
  • Food poisoning
  • Severe respiratory conditions
  • Intestinal diseases

The most common symptoms of a roach allergy are: wheezing, coughing, skin rashes and shortness of breath. Although these symptoms can be associated with many different ailments, it is important not to discount roach allergens as a potential culprit. As a cautionary measure, seeking professional medical advice is always the safest option in determining the root cause of your allergies.

RoachesAttracted to dark, damp areas, roaches gravitate to places that are more prone to moisture, such as pipes and faucets found under your sink. Since roaches tend to live in groups, even if you have only seen one or two, chances are there are many more hiding behind the scenes. If you suspect a roach allergy may be to blame for certain health issues, it’s always a good idea to take a few extra steps in safeguarding your space against these stubborn insects:

  1. When entering your home with boxes or bags, always double check to make sure they are roach free before resting them inside.
  2. Keep food containers tightly sealed and away from countertops and avoid leaving spilled food unattended.
  3. Fix and seal any leaking pipes and faucets.
  4. Use lidded garbage containers wherever possible.
  5. Have your space professionally treated to address more serious roach issues.
  6. Visit your doctor if your symptoms become severe.

For more information on allergies, as well as resources for helping to cope with asthma, visit:

More Bugs: The Unwelcome Impact of Climate Change

What does the ever-changing weather patterns have to do with pest control? Quite a bit, actually. As northern parts of the country are experiencing extremely low temperatures, and other areas are oddly warmer than usual, the change in our typical seasonal patterns raises a red flag for changes in pest activity.

Irregular changes in the weather, such as spikes in cold temperatures, have the potential to significantly diminish a pest predator’s population, affecting the balance of the ecosystem and allowing pests to thrive and flourish as they take advantage and adapt without anyone to threaten their livelihood. As the populations of predators decrease, pests are able to recuperate from the weather change significantly quicker.

The impact of climate change on insects and humans is far reaching – forest and food crops could be affected and diseases spread by insects could have a wider range. Nature has a delicate balance and it doesn’t take much – a slight temperature variation, or even a movement in the course of a river – to cause changes that move throughout an ecosystem.

Since mosquitoes are the most common carriers of malaria and yellow fever, dramatic increases in these diseases would be likely. Moreover, both the National Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization report that current treatments for malaria and yellow fever are becoming less effective, leading to the potential for plague-like levels of these diseases, unlike anything seen since the U.S. Civil War.

Pests like the cockroach, bed bug, scorpion and mosquito are among the most adaptable and successful life forms on earth. For example, cockroaches are among the oldest living creatures. They survived the Ice Age, and are believed to have persisted for more than 350 million years. With that record of success, we can be sure they will adapt and thrive in changing climate patterns.

Bed bugs have been around since the 11th century and have learned to live and adapt as humans do while acclimating and adjusting to the warmer and milder climates, creating a new page in their pest evolution. In the southern part of the country, these nomadic pests have caused infestations to rise exponentially, threatening vacationers’ favorite sunny spots and bringing home with them unwanted house guests.

We know that there is a strong, direct relationship between the level of insect populations and fluctuating temperatures. As variations in the seasons become more evident, predictions for pest activity in 2013 reflect similarly to what we’ve seen in 2012. And since 2012 was one of the hottest years on record, what we can expect in 2013 is a continuation of abnormal pest activity.

Cold Draws Cockroaches Inside, Increases Health Risk

Children More Susceptible to Allergic, Asthmatic Reactions

They’re creepy crawlers that make most of us go “eeww!” However, cockroaches pose a much greater risk to our health than simple disgust at a sighting, in particular for those who suffer from allergies and asthma. In fact, cockroaches are known to spread 33 kinds of bacteria and more than a dozen other disease-causing organisms, including E. coli and salmonella. And now, as the height of the cold-weather season sets in and we (and cockroaches) spend more times indoors, the risk increases.

“Cockroaches are one of the most common indoor pests and many people are sensitive to the allergens that come with them,” said Scott Svenheim, an Associate Certified Entomologist at Truly Nolen. “They’re found in the cleanest of homes in all types of neighborhoods, particularly in crowded cities with a lot of older buildings.”

For those who are sensitive to cockroach allergens, the proteins found in their saliva increases the likelihood of an allergic reaction. The body and droppings of cockroaches also contain allergenic proteins. Recent studies suggest that exposure to cockroach allergen can increase the severity of asthma symptoms, and one in five children in the U.S. have severe sensitivities to cockroach allergens, according to The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Truly Nolen encourages everyone to take proactive steps to prevent cockroach infestations during the winter to help keep families healthy and safe:

Preventive Strategies

  • Keep food and garbage in closed, tight-lidded containers.
  • Never leave food out in the kitchen.
  • Eliminate water sources that attract pests, such as leaky faucets and drain pipes.
  • Do not leave out pet food or dirty food bowls.
  • Pay extra attention to kitchens and bathrooms – especially under appliances and sinks due to food and moisture found in and around plumbing fixtures.
  • Mop the kitchen floor and wash countertops at least once a week.
  • Plug up crevices around the house through which cockroaches can enter.

Limit the spread of food around the house and especially keep it out of bedrooms.

Unwelcome guests pester residents

Even though autumn has made an appearance in some parts of the country, many homeowners live in areas that are still experiencing extremely hot, dry conditions. The weather have caused a spike in the amount of cockroach infestations, and residents are frantically seeking pest control experts to rid their homes of the insects.

Weather increasing bug populations
The hot weather creates the ideal conditions for cockroaches to develop quickly and breed. Because many states have experienced heat waves all summer, the roach populations are up dramatically. Even though municipalities don't track the number of pest infestations, insect control companies told San Diego NBC affiliate KNSD that calls concerning cockroaches are up nearly 10 percent.

Like humans, roaches need water to survive. The dry conditions seen by much of the country has deprived the pests of a vital resource. Bugs are crawling out of sewers and finding their way into homes to access water. Homeowners have found roaches in their swimming pools, bathrooms and kitchens trying to find water.

Two types of roaches causing the most problems for homeowners are American cockroaches and black oriental cockroaches, according to KNSD.  Even though these bugs typically stay outdoors, the drought is pushing them inside as they seek water.

Unfortunately, roaches aren't the only pests causing issues for residents. One exterminator told El Paso, Texas, FOX affiliate KFOX that homeowners in that area are experiencing an increase in ant and cricket infestations, in addition to more frequent roach problems.

What to do?
Homeowners can't control the weather, but they can take precautionary measures to prevent insects from entering their homes during hot, dry spells. Residents should ensure there aren't any openings or cracks through which pests can enter their homes, and they should check screens in windows and doors for rips a bug could sneak through. Food and beverages should not be left out – they should be covered or stored in airtight containers to prevent bugs from entering and feasting on leftover food.

If a homeowner discovers a cockroach infestation, it's important to act quickly so the problem does not have time to worsen. Calling a pest control expert is the best and most efficient way to ensure all roaches are eliminated from a home and the pests no longer pose a health threat to residents.

Rescuing your home from roaches

Every homeowner dreads finding a cockroach in their house. These pests, which can survive in the most unpleasant of conditions, can be difficult to get rid of. If an infestation is discovered, homeowners should contact pest control experts immediately for professional advice and removal. An untreated roach problem will only continue to get worse over time. There are several signs of roaches in a home, and with the help of an insect control professional, the bugs can be eliminated.

Check dark spaces
Roaches are nocturnal and prefer to come out in the dark. Dim, moist environments are the ideal habitats for them, and they are often found in floor drains, behind refrigerators and sinks, and under large appliances. Rooms that are frequently infested are kitchens and bathrooms, because they provide ample hiding places, warmth and a damp environment. These are the first places homeowners should check if they suspect roaches. However, just because these spaces are clear of pests, it doesn't mean a home is free from roaches. The insects are small and able to fit into cracks, so they can sometimes get into walls or behind wallpaper.

Search for bugs
Some homeowners notice they have a roach problem by catching one of the pests out of its hiding place. Even though roaches typically venture out at night, they can sometimes head out to search for food or water during the day. If roaches are seen out and about your home during the day, it can be the sign of a severe infestation. In addition to keeping an eye out for the bugs themselves, it is critical that homeowners search for roach eggs to prevent a new generation from taking over a home. These oval egg cases are sometimes found in tight or cluttered spaces such as bookcases and cabinets.

Look for "coffee grounds"
If an infestation is present in your home, one of the first signs may be what appears to be coffee grounds of black pepper on the floor or other surfaces. This is actually fecal matter from the cockroaches. The amount of it found can be an indicator of how serious an infestation has become.

Pay attention to unusual smells
Some cockroaches give off pheromones that cause an unpleasant odor in a home. Structures with severe roach problems will often have a mysterious musty odor that refuses to go away. If this is the case in your home, check for other signs of roaches and call a pest control expert.

Roaches found infesting Texas family’s home

A home outside the Houston area was recently found to be crawling with cockroaches and other pests.

Officials found the home in "filthy" condition, local news outlet NBC-2 reported. Investigators needed to wear masks to enter the infested property. A child was found in the home, covered in roaches, flea bites and tick bites. Several animals were also discovered with insects crawling on them. The child has since been taken into protective custody and the animals have been removed from the property.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the mostly nocturnal roaches typically prefer living in warm environments, like Texas, as most types of cockroaches originated in tropical areas.

It may be very difficult to rid the property of the insects. According to the CDC, ridding a home of roaches can be an extremely tough task for homeowners. This is part of what makes roach prevention so important.

Homeowners should ensure that there are no cracks from which cockroaches can enter the home, even though it is also possible for them to enter a house by hiding in boxes or grocery bags. While checking for possible roach entry points, residents should also make sure there are no leaking pipes from which the pests can access water. The scavenging roaches will often find nourishment on food that has been left out, or even unwashed dishes. Keeping a house clean and sanitized will also assist in insect prevention, as if the roaches will have no access to food, water or shelter, they cannot survive for long.

Aside from the cleanliness worries that may arise when a cockroach invasion is discovered in a home, medical issues can also pop up. The CDC reports that the pests are a known allergen source and can increase asthma attacks in those living with the bugs. They also have the potential to carry several dangerous viruses and bacteria, including Salmonella typhimurium, Entamoeba histolytica and the poliomyelitis virus.

Enlisting the help of pest control professionals is the easiest, fastest and least stressful way to eliminate cockroaches in a home. Exterminators can inspect a home with a roach infestation and recommend the best form of treatment based on the severity of the insect problem.