Few people in the world can truthfully state that they never had a midnight encounter with these "adorable" insects. Whether you just turn on the bathroom light to see it charging towards you with an unbelievable agility and speed or you found them evaluating the quality of your trash, cockroaches are probably the most versatile pests in the world.
And, did you know these insects are completely immune to radiation that would be sufficient to kill a human? The vision of a post-nuclear world in which all other forms of life are extinct and the cockroaches rule supreme is enough to send shivers down my spine. But radiation invulnerability is just one of their many traits.
Fast breeding, adaptable and armored
The lifespan of a normal cockroach – depending of course on the species, environment and other factors – is of several months. However, these insects transcend the egg-to-adult stages incredibly fast and the females have the ability to develop and deposit the egg sacks at an unmatched rated. Safely hidden from dangers, the eggs spawn into a nymph, which gradually eliminates sections of the exoskeleton as it grows into an adult.
Roaches are not pretentious in terms of habitat or food. They only need a water source and organic material – ANY organic material – to ingest in order to survive. The species is also constantly developing resistance to poisons and it's becoming increasingly difficult to keep up the pace with their immunities.
Furthermore, the armored exoskeleton provides a lot of protection for the softer inside parts of the body. Have you ever tried to crush a roach? You'll either splatter him on the floor or he'll be up and running as you're getting something to clean up the mess. There's no grey area here. Also, there's absolutely no point to try killing them with a rolled-up newspaper, like you would do with a fly.
But my house was clean, how come I have roaches?
There's the old dilemma, because of the "filthy" aspect and the omnivorous diet of these insects, people naturally assume that you won't find cockroaches in a clean environment. However, as I previously mentioned, roaches are not pretentious when it comes to finding a new home. It only takes one female to deposit the egg sacks in a hidden crevasse to get a whole colony on your hands.
In fact, it happened to me last year: after having renovated the bathroom – to be read rebuilt it from scratch – and cleaned every possible corner, installed new tiles, replaced all the fixtures, etc. I was convinced that there was no way their colony would survive. And yet, as I turned on the light, here it was, staring at me one fateful night, wiggling his antennas and waiting for the chance to escape as I was looking for a proper bug-squashing tool.
Ok, roaches are disgusting, but are they dangerous?
Oh yes, and how? These pests carry dysentery, salmonella, gastroenteritis and a whole other plethora of digestive tract viruses. The conditions are transmitted via their feces, their secretion and their exoskeleton. The larger the colony (you have a real problem on your hands if you see these nocturnal pests circulating during daylight hours), the higher the chances of infection. In addition, the components of the exoskeleton they shed are airborne and can be grounds for respiratory infections.