When it comes to cockroaches, there’s no better time than the present for all Pittsburgh businesses to take preventative measures and come to the aid of their work settings and employees. In fact, as a business owner or manager, one of the most important jobs is to ensure your workplace environment is safe and healthy for all who work there; an effort even the smallest of cockroach infestations can put the kibosh on.
Having survived almost every civilization and climate except for Antarctica, the ubiquitous cockroach has been a nuisance to mankind since the dawn of time.
Modern researchers have traced the evolution of the cockroach to almost 300 million years ago, although these insects have remained virtually unchanged in both demeanor and behavior since prehistoric times.
They have always lived in close proximity with people and eat all food used for human consumption. They are nocturnal and one upsetting rule of thumb for any Western Pennsylvania business manager or owner of a commercial facility to remember is that if roaches are seen scattering about, they have either been disturbed or worse, the facility in question may have an infestation so serious that there are more bugs than there are spaces within which to hide.
If not addressed with effective pest control (or preventative measures), cockroaches will wreak havoc on your business in more ways you can imagine, five of which we describe in detail below.
Read on to learn more about this annoying, invasive insect of the order Blattodea, or contact our team today to address any roach-related challenge your business might be faced with.
Cockroach Origins and Habitat
According to the Trust for African Rock Art, early cave paintings dating back 15,000 and 33,000 years depict images of cockroaches, and it is believed it was at this time in history that the association between roach and man began.
Co-existing with humans in a sheltered cave environment and munching on whatever food they left behind was much less effort than foraging for food in the wild.
Although tropical in origin, cockroaches thrive in temperate zones and buildings where warmth, moisture and food are available.
Generally speaking, these pests eat a vast variety of foods consumed by humans and they prefer starchy and sugary materials. They actually sip milk and snack on meats, pastry, cheese, most grain products and chocolate.
Their luncheon fare extends to cardboard, book bindings, ceiling boards containing starch, their own cast-off skins, dead and crippled cockroaches, fresh and dried blood, excrement, sputum, and the fingernails and toenails of babies and sick persons.
At least 3,500 species of these unhygienic scavengers are known to exist worldwide, but only about 55 species exist in the United States.
Due to their association with filth they pick up in latrines and garbage dumps, roaches are known to carry the eggs of parasitic worms and may cause allergic reactions, which include: dermatitis, itching, swelling of the eyelids and even more serious respiratory conditions. They act as carriers of intestinal diseases such as: diarrhea, dysentery, typhoid fever and cholera.
Scientists estimate that cockroaches spread at least 33 kinds of bacteria, six kinds of parasitic worms and a minimum of seven other kinds of human pathogens.
In addition, the presence of even one roach scampering about can negatively affect the bottom line and reputation of any Pittsburgh commercial establishment.
While an infestation often requires outside help and the expertise of a company like Pestco that has been in continuous operation since 1948, some of the industrial damages cockroaches cause a commercial enterprise are not as easy to evaluate and remedy.
The Cockroach in Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania
While any commercial enterprise can suffer from a cockroach infestation, the restaurant industry is among the most susceptible when it comes to the severe damage a roach invasion can cause to both its hard-earned bottom line and reputation, which is very difficult to repair.
They contaminate food supplies and regurgitate and defecate where they eat. Commercial kitchens provide warmth from coils on the back of refrigerators where crumbs often accumulate, from pilot stove lights and heating grates.
Kitchens and bar areas also are sources of moisture that arise from water in sinks, moisture on the floor and damp towels, which are ideal havens for cockroaches. The dark spaces provided by cupboards, pantries and cabinets are perfect environments for these insect pests, as they prefer the dark.
One sobering statistic concerns a study conducted by the Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that carefully examined food-borne disease outbreaks and concluded that 48% of them occurred within a food consumption setting, such as a restaurant or deli.
The Impact of Cockroaches On Pittsburgh Business Operations
Some factors are not easily recognized or measured within a business environment. Such is the case when dealing with a roach infestation and running a business effectively.
The following is a list of the ways in which a roach infestation can impact business operations. These factors magnify the need to seek outside professional help from the highly trained experts at Pestco as quickly as possible.
1) Reduced Productivity
Obviously, productivity is essential to any company’s bottom line, but the lack of esteem and demoralization that occurs from a work environment plagued with roaches does not serve to inspire workers. In fact, the unspoken message that screams from the powers-that-be is that they don’t care about their workers or about the business they run.
2) Increased Sick Leave
The same cockroach scampering across a desk or computer in a Pittsburgh office may well have been crawling inside toilets or dumpsters outside a building complex or commercial building just moments before. In addition to the above-mentioned diseases, cockroaches also carry: salmonella, E-Coli, Staphylococcus; Streptococci; Entamoeba histolytica and the poliomyelitis virus. Employees can contract these conditions and sometimes become ill, requiring time off to receive treatment and recover. Sometimes too, cockroach-related illness can be mistaken for other conditions, like the flu.
3) Loss Of Revenue
One bad review (and maybe even the sight of one roach) can ruin the reputation of even the finest Pittsburgh restaurant or retail establishment. Even tried and true patrons are not likely to return to any place where they have had a bad experience. This leads to a loss of traffic and revenue, two factors that greatly damage a company’s bottom line.
4) A Bad First Impression
A business gets only one chance to make a first impression on its customers, and roaches cause as much damage to physical facility assets as they do to a restaurant or retail establishment’s reputation. According to a recent report issued by the Center For Economics And Business Research (CEBR), American businesses incurred an increase of $6.8 billion in their operating costs for 2014 as a direct result of pest infestations within their facilities.
5) Bad Reviews
Word-of-mouth (and smart-phone) spread fast. While a bad review may take just a few minutes to execute, the damage it can cause is monumental. Potential costumers rely on Angie’s List, Trip Advisor and other cyber review sites for information, and having a name on any of them and the words, ‘roach infestation’ next to it can absolutely topple a business.
Pestco and Cockroach Extermination Services
The best integrated pest control and pest management services in Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania are those performed by our experts at Pestco.
We have been in continuous operation since 1948, and our pro-active approach entails an extensive and thorough examination of the affected facility, the sealing up of any cracks and crevices that might permit insect ingress, and ongoing pest management strategies. Inspections are ongoing throughout the year, and each infestation is unique.
Above all, we are all about versatility, and our technicians are knowledgeable and highly trained to always keep a few steps ahead of these creepy crawlies that can ruin the bottom line of any commercial enterprise.
Final thoughts about cockroaches: Long after the bomb falls and you and your good deeds are gone, cockroaches will still be here, prowling the streets like armored cars. ~ Tama Janowitz
Some Additional Interesting Facts About Cockroaches
A 2013 study published in the journal, Science, concluded that German cockroaches, which are the most common species found in the United States, appear to be avoiding the poisons used to kill them. A plant sugar known as glucose, which they love, has traditionally been used to lure them into roach traps.
The study revealed that these insects now avoid this sugary substance. Entomologist, Coby Schal, who is one of the study’s authors, believes the glucose in roach poison has reactivated a distant, long-dormant gene for aversion to glucose. Further research is needed that will either uphold or debunk this theory.
Sugar aside, the below are eleven of the most interesting facts about cockroaches.
- Cockroaches are Lazy
These insects spend 75% of their time resting and can withstand temperatures as cold as 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cockroaches Are Ancient Critters
Roaches are believed to have originated more than 280 million years ago, in the Carboniferous era. This translates into the fact that they existed before the dinosaurs roamed the earth!
- Cockroaches Are Runners
Cockroaches can run up to three miles in an hour and a one-day old baby roach, which is about the size of a speck of dust, can run almost as fast as its parents. Their hind limbs are capable of moving 27 times per second when they are running, and the spines on their legs allow them to maintain their speed on walls without slipping. The many sensory organs on their legs alarm them of even the slightest hint of danger, allowing them to make their escape within 40 milliseconds.
- Cockroaches Vary In Size
There are many diverse species of cockroaches throughout the world. While most of these insects fall between one to two inches in length, the largest cockroach in the world is Megaloblatta longipennis, which measures 3.8 inches with an 8-inch wingspan. It is found in Central and South America.
- The Cockroach Can Live For Up To A Week Without Its Head
While this might make a cool script for the next insect-based horror flick, it is a startling fact that the anatomy of the cockroach permits it to survive even after its head has been cut off.
Clotting seals off the neck to prevent blood loss and the brain of the roach has nothing to do with its ability to breathe. Little holes in their bodies called spiracles send air directly to the tissues using tubes, which are called tracheae.
In addition, the insect’s blood does not carry oxygen throughout the body, as is the case with humans.
- The Cockroach Hall Of Fame Museum
Located in Plano, Texas, this is the only museum in the world dedicated to the ubiquitous cockroach. Texas is the cockroach capital of the United States and is home to 13 different species.
The museum features dead bugs dressed as celebrities. Must-see star attractions include displays featuring Liberoachi, The Combates Moteland David Letteroach,among many others. Not for everyone, this museum closed in 2012 and relocated somewhere in Phoenix, Arizona, the exact location of which is not known. (If the roaches know, they aren’t telling.)
- Cockroaches Are Appetizer Fare In Some Countries
The old love song with the lyric ‘the very thought of you” applies here, but in a negative sense. Whoever thought that these creepy insects would be considered appetizer delicacies?In China, roaches are roasted or deep-fried and sold on sticks (like kebabs) on the streets. There are also primitive tribes in other parts of the world who eat cockroaches. Though they are considered a healthy source of protein, doctors refrain from supporting the practice of including cockroaches in diet.
- Cockroaches Can Be Conditioned Like Dogs
Reminiscent of Pavlov and his conditioning experiments with dogs, researchers at Tohoku University in Japan have determined that cockroaches also respond to conditioning. In their experiment, cockroaches were introduced to a vanilla or peppermint scent before being given a sugary treat. After a few days, cockroaches drooled at just the smell of the scent.
- There Is One Species of Cockroach That Speaks
Believe it or not, there is one species of cockroachthat can actually speak (well, hiss). The Madagascar Hissing Cockroach is born with air passageways that function in the same manner as human vocal chords. It is also one of the larger roach species, reaching two to three inches at maturity. This species also has three sets of legs. They are often used for education and study because they have gentle natures.
- Roaches Do Good As Well As Bad Work On Earth
Despite the damages they incur to Pittsburgh industry, roaches aid in the decomposition of debris, which in turn helps to rejuvenate soil by replacing its needed nutrients. They are also part of the food chain for small animals like lizards and birds.
- Cockroach Farms Are Big Business
Cockroach farms are so lucrative in China that they have been a major factor in the improvement of the national economy. The roaches are used in an amazing array of products that range from facial creams to toothpaste. Roaches are also utilized to treat wounds and in other aspects of traditional Chinese medicine.