cockroach image from New Medical Terms

common cockroaches


Definition A largely nocturnal insect that is a non-specific marker of poor sanitation.

Most common cockroaches (CR) in the USA

• American CR Periplaneta americana

• German CR Blattella germanica

• Asian CR Blattella orientalis

They are of medical interest as vectors for bacteria–e.g., Salmonella, Shigella, Proteus, Mycobacterium spp, E coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and hepatitis A virus. 

97.5% of low income housing in the US has them, with an average of 33,600 per dwelling–!!!. They range from the itty-bitty 5 mm Attaphila to the attention-grabbing 10 cm Megaloblatta in length; 3500 have been catalogued.

Some species, e.g., Blatella germanica, have an elaborate social structure involving common shelter, social dependence, information transfer and kin recognition.

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