Cockroaches have various common names including water bugs, croton bugs and palmetto bugs. There are at least 69 different cockroach species found in the United States. Outside, cockroaches are decomposers, feeding on dead or dying plants and animals. However, they are considered pests when they interact with people, invading lawns and gardens or entering homes and other structures. More importantly, they can affect human health by spreading diseases, such as Salmonella, and ruin materials such as books, clothes and food.
Cockroaches secrete an oily liquid that has an offensive and sickening odor. This odor may also be imparted to dishes that are apparently clean, food and clothes. Excrement in the form of pellets or an ink-like liquid also contributes to this nauseating odor. Additionally, cockroaches produce allergens, which include their feces, shed skins, and body parts such as antennae and legs. In susceptible individuals, contact with these allergens can result in mild to severe rashes, other allergic reactions, and in extreme cases death from asthma attacks.