Are German Cockroaches Harmful?

The German cockroach is one of the most common insect pests throughout the United States. German cockroaches occasionally bite humans when searching for sustenance or feeding off food residues left on human skin. Bites typically occur when the infestation levels exceed the amount of food available. German cockroaches are known disease vectorsthat typically spread infection through contact with food preparation surfaces rather than through bites. Pathogens associated with the German cockroaches include: Salmonella, Shigella, E. coli, Streptococcus, which causes pneumonia, and various parasites like hookworms, pinworms, and tapeworms.

German cockroaches may also cause an allergic response, due to the insect leaving fecal matter and cast skins around the home, causing skin rashes, watery eyes, sneezing, nasal congestion, and, in severe cases, asthma. German cockroaches remain hidden while foraging for food and will feed on various objects in the home. While most of the pest’s diet consists of organic waste, meats, and sugary substances, German cockroaches may occasionally feed on books and bindings, in effect ruining the objects. In addition to ruining food and contaminating food preparation surfaces, German cockroach fecal matter may also stain and discolor surfaces.