Cockroaches carry bacteria on their legs and other body parts that can cause illnesses such as food poisoning, dysentery and diarrhea. When cockroaches crawl around looking for food they leave this bacteria behind on food, food preparation surfaces and dishes. In addition to the diseases cockroaches spread, some people are allergic to their excrement and empty egg case skins. Allergic reactions may include skin rashes, watery eyes and sneezing.
Cockroaches have been around for over 35 million years and are found in nearly every part of the world. Cockroaches are most active at night or in the dark and prefer small spaces. Cockroaches like to live in warm, humid environments in protected cracks and crevices, under and behind appliances and in cabinets and drawers. Cockroaches like to eat starches, sweets, grease and meat products; but they also eat things like cheese, beer, leather, baked goods, starch in book bindings, glue, hair, flakes of skin, dead animals and plants. Cockroaches produce an egg case that survive in very harsh conditions for very long periods of time until conditions improve enough for the eggs to hatch. Under good conditions cockroaches multiply very rapidly
Information provided courtesy of Ohio State University Extension