Cockroach species are distributed in all inhabited regions of the world, but they are most abundant within densely populated urban areas. Every two years, the United States Census Bureau conducts a study in order to gather data concerning housing quality within the country. Citizens are asked questions ranging from the amount of electricity used per month to how homes were found before being purchased. Citizens are also asked about their living conditions, including the wildlife pests that are frequently spotted within homes. According to the results, New York City, Boston and Philadelphia have the highest rate of rat infestations, while southern cities, like New Orleans and Atlanta see the greatest number of Cockroach infestations. However, cockroaches that invade homes in the northeast may carry more disease-causing pathogens and allergens than cockroaches in the south.

Given the humid and warm climate in southern US cities, it is not surprising to learn that cockroaches appear in southern homes more often than they do in homes located in the northeast. But cockroach infestations within homes in cities like New York and Boston may be more problematic for several reasons. First of all, cities in the northeast are smaller in area and are more densely populated. This gives scavenging northeast cockroaches easier access to both homes and bacteria-riddled food sources. Therefore, the cockroaches that Boston residents see within their homes are likely carrying a higher amount of dangerous pathogens than the roaches that show up in southeastern homes. Cockroaches in more densely populated northeastern cities are also more likely to invade sewage areas before making their way indoors. Second of all, while cockroach sightings may be more common in southern homes, southern cockroaches do not need to secure indoor conditions in order to survive cold winters to the degree that northeastern cockroaches do. Therefore, Boston sees more stubborn cockroach infestations located within obscure areas of a home where the insects cannot be easily found. This may be why cockroach allergens are most abundant within Boston-area homes and schools. One study found that the rate of childhood asthma cases caused by cockroach allergens has traditionally been highest within Boston-area public houses.

Do you fear the germs spread by cockroaches?