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“Yuk factor” isn’t the only reason we shouldn’t let cockroaches establish themselves in our homes. Despite the fact that cockroaches are obsessive groomers, they can and do carry bacteria around with them.
Apart from their scuttling, germ-spreading habits, they also leave droppings everywhere. Pest experts like Mr Maddocks use that to help identify cockroach infestations, but as you can imagine, having cockroach droppings around the place isn’t exactly a healthy state of affairs.
“How bad is it? Pretty bad! I’ve read that apart from more common germs, cockroaches can even carry polio, typhoid, and even leprosy,” says Mr Maddocks. “Given that these are rare diseases in modern-day Australia, that would be unlikely in your household, but it underlines the fact that cockroaches and potentially harmful bacteria go together.”
According to Maddocks, allergy sufferers and children vulnerable to allergies are the biggest sufferers. Cockroaches shed their skins as they grow, and dust containing cockroach proteins can trigger allergies and asthma.