How bad are cockroaches, really? When you find a roach in your Phoenix home, it can cause you to be fearful. But is that fear warranted? Today, we're going to explore the dangers cockroaches bring into Phoenix homes and discuss ways you can mitigate these threats.

Bottom Line

Most of the time, cockroaches just give you stomach illness. The bacteria they pick up can taint stored foods, food-prep surfaces, dishes, silverware, and other sensitive locations. When cockroaches contaminate food, the resulting sickness is often called food poisoning. But food poisoning can be caused by many microorganisms and result in a variety of symptoms. It is important to understand that the sickness you can get from cockroach-contaminated foods can also occur through the contamination of the other things mentioned, such as plates or silverware. The bottom line with food poisoning is that you're likely to get better without treatment. This is the most common outcome of having roaches in your Phoenix home.


If roaches contaminate your food, dishes, or surfaces, they do so by depositing invisible organisms they've picked up from unsavory locations, such as dumpsters, trash receptacles, dead animals, sewers, compost heaps, etc. The symptoms vary depending on the organism. Salmonella, E. coli, Giardia, hookworms, rotavirus, listeria, Hepatitis, staphylococcus and other named organisms, have some similar symptoms, but there are many differences. Here are just some of the many symptoms you could experience:

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Fever and sweats
  • Muscle pain or muscle weakness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting (possibly blood)
  • Diarrhea (possibly bloody)
  • Intestinal pain (possibly intense)
  • Blurry vision


While all of the symptoms listed above can be unpleasant, they are manageable without medical attention. But the risk of severe illness or complications can result in certain high-risk populations. The immune symptom of an infant or toddler is not yet fully developed, and they are at a greater risk of complications. Seniors can have diminishing immune responsiveness with age. People who have an immune deficiency, such as people with AIDS or diabetes or chronic illness, are at greater risk.

Cockroach Allergens

There are proteins in the skins of cockroaches. When they shed their skins (which they do as many as thirteen times during their development) these shed skins can be a source of illness. It has been found that cockroach infestations in urban homes are linked to an increase in hospitalizations for asthma-related symptoms—some of which are life-threatening. If anyone in your home has asthma, cockroaches should be addressed as quickly as possible.

The proteins in the skins of cockroaches can also cause rashes. If a roach crawls across your skin while you're sleeping, you could wake up with a strange rash. The ability of cockroaches to cause rashes dates back to the 1940s where it was observed that rashes formed on patients after roaches had crawled on their skin.

Cockroach Bites

While cockroaches don't bite humans purposefully, they can bite accidentally as they attempt to feed on dead skin cells in a sleeping person's eyelashes, eyebrows, or around the mouth. When they bite, these bites can become inflamed and swollen. This is due to exposure to bacteria from the roach.

Cockroach Scratches

When a roach crawls on you, it can scratch you with the spines on its legs. These spines are likely to have microorganisms on them and this will cause the scratches to be red and irritated.

Property Damage

Cockroaches can feed on paper and cardboard. Under the right circumstances, they can do considerable damage to wallpaper, books, magazines, clothing, and other items that have cellulose. They can also chew through paper and cardboard food packaging in your kitchen and pantry.

Danger Mitigation

You can make it more difficult for cockroaches to make you sick or to harm your stuff by taking steps to mitigate the threat. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Clean your home, including your bathrooms.
  • Deep clean around appliances.
  • Never leave food items out on the counter without covering them.
  • Clean spills up immediately.
  • Store your foods in sealed plastic containers, including potatoes, bread, and dog food.
  • Keep your trash receptacles as clean as possible.
  • Refrain from leaving pet food down for long periods, and never leave pet food overnight.
  • If you have a cat box, make sure waste stays covered.
  • Address any conditions of moisture or humidity in your home. These can make cardboard and paper more appetizing to roaches.

The Best Protection

There is no better way to address Phoenix cockroaches than to reach out to Overson Pest Control. If you have cockroaches in your home, our licensed pest professionals can arrest the infestation and guide you in developing a plan to prevent future infestations. Get started by requesting a pest control evaluation. While cockroaches are rarely life-threatening, they can cause ongoing sickness and discomfort. Help is just a few clicks away.

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