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Cockroaches are insects of the order Blattaria or Blattodea of which about 30 species out
of 4,500 total are associated with human habitations. Among the best known species are the German cockroach, the American cockroach, & the Oriental cockroach.
Cockroaches live in a wide range of environments around the world. Pest species of cockroaches adapt readily to a variety of environments, but prefer warm conditions found within buildings. Cockroaches are among the hardiest insects on the planet. Some species are capable of remaining active for a month without food and are able to survive on limited resources like the glue from cardboard boxes etc. Some can go without air for 45 minutes. In one experiment, cockroaches were able to recover from being submerged underwater for half an hour.
Cockroaches have a much higher radiation resistance than vertebrates, with lethal dose perhaps 6 to 15 times that for humans.
Disease producing organisms have been found on cockroaches. Gastroenteritis is the principal disease transmitted by cockroaches, including food poisoning, dysentery, & other illnesses. Organisms carrying these diseases are carried on the legs & bodies of cockroaches & are deposited on food & utensils as cockroaches forage. Cockroach excrement & cast skins also contain a number of allergens to which many people exhibit allergic responses such as skin rashes, watery eyes & sneezing. For some very allergic people & those who have asthma or other lung diseases these allergic attacks to cockroach allergens can be very serious
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