Waste Management: Facts on Cockroaches
Oh my God! there are Cockroaches in my house! Ohhhhhhhh i just switched on the lights and they scampered away. What does it mean when you see Cockroaches in your house? The answer is that you are living with one of the most primitive living insects dating back to the time of dinosaurs!
I remember when i was in lower primary, i went visiting a village friend. Those days we lived in mud walled thatched houses, sure bleeding grounds for Cockroaches. On one of the posts i saw a “beautiful” nest of Cockroaches, they were black and glittering in the dim fire light. I was stupidly impressed.
I decided to carry a few to our hut which was about 2km away. Imagine the shock my mother had when after three months a “beautiful” black glittering nest of Cockroaches was sighted on one of the hut posts! I don’t think she ever forgive me on this one. The Cockroaches are still there to date. My other siblings are still amused by this escapade.
There are over 4,500 species of Cockroaches ranging in size from 3cm to 10cm long. Cockroaches are mainly nocturnal and will run away when exposed to light. But when you see them, all have a broad, flattened body and a relatively small head. As they move around, they secrete a chemical trail in their faeces and emit a perfume, which alerts other Cockroaches as to where the party is.
Scientists hypothesize that Cockroaches decide where to go based on just two factors; how dark it is and how many other Cockroaches there are! Unfortunately for us these chemical trails also transmit bacteria, which can mean disease.
Some Female Cockroaches stay fertilized for life:-
Did you know some female species of Cockroaches are known to be parthenogenetic, that is they only mate once and stay pregnant for life! They will reproduce without the need for a male.
Do you try to disguise the fact that you are living with these primitive creatures by buying insect spray, invading the kitchen in the middle of the night then letting loose with the insect spray?
The pleasure is always temporary. Cockroaches are among the hardiest insects on the planet. Being omnivores, just like humans, they eat anything organic. If denied bits of the food that spilt over the back or side of the cooker they can even nibble on paper and leather – literally anything that has some nutritional value. Some species are capable of living for a month without food. All they need is a few drops of water.
Other stunning facts about Cockroaches
- Cockroaches can live almost a month without food.
- Cockroaches can live about two weeks without water.
- Cockroaches can live for up to one week without its head!
- Cockroaches can hold their breath for up to 40 minutes!
- Cockroaches can run up to 3 miles an hour.
- Cockroaches don’t get their wings until they become adults.
- Females Cockroaches can hatch up to 150 offspring per year.
- The male’s Cockroaches wings are larger than the female’s wings.
- Brownbanded Cockroaches often hide their eggs in or under furniture. They usually live 5-6 ½ months.
- Each German Cockroaches can live about 100-200 days.
Waste Management and Cockroaches
Cockroaches like warm humid environments with plenty of food and water. This just so happens to be same conditions of the average human home. The short answer to the question of what it means when you see Cockroaches in your house is that your house is dirty and is not being properly cleaned. The little bits of food particles and crumbs being left in cupboards carpet and on the floor are ideal for bacteria to live and breed. The Cockroaches pick these up and walk all over the place spreading disease. In addition, some of these particles act as allergens triggering off asthma in those predisposed especially children.
Seeing the odd Cockroaches in the night is one thing. If they are visible swarming about in the day, then clearly there is impunity in the neighborhood. It means the place is so filthy that it is likely that there are other pests lurking about, most likely rats.
Rodents and Cockroaches
Like Cockroaches, rats are a nuisance scavenging omnivores and eat almost anything. They prefer grains and meat but will eat leather, poultry, fruits, seeds, sweets and other rodents. It is estimated that nearly four million rats are born every day worldly.
Rats are reservoir of disease. They are known to carry and spread nearly 70 diseases including cholera, typhus, bubonic plague and leptospirosis, a bacterial illness spread by their urine contaminating water or food. Throwing food remains around the house, dumping household waste including kitchen leftovers on the street, which is then not cleared away properly, is like giving rats and Cockroaches license to breed. Many of our estates do not dispose of or collect garbage in timely and hygienic manner. The result you can imagine is that we have a rapidly growing population of rats and Cockroaches, unseen but often heard and occasionally spotted.
We live in a society which believes that just because we cannot predict when the next drought will occur, we should not bother to plan about anything else. Obvious signs of impending disaster are routinely ignored or somehow presented as signs of development. Seeing Cockroaches in your house should get you extremely agitated.
It cannot be the one cockroach. You should immediately begin a thorough cleaning not just of your house but your neighborhood as well. It calls for individual and communal action. Is your neighborhood clean? Is rubbish disposed over regularly and in a hygienic manner? If this is not being done, then do not wonder why children have more asthma nowadays, why the occasional bout of diarrhoea and the general sense of ill health that we have in urban areas.
People living in urban areas should work more closely, so that communal cleanups can be realized. This is the only sure way to keep rats and Cockroaches in check.
The Government’s buildings planning department should also emphasize on construction of bigger rental house, the existing once are too small to allow enough light and thorough cleaning.
So what are you going to do about the Cockroaches in your house?