Cockroaches are a type of insect in the order Blattodea, a paraphyletic group of insects. All Blattodea members are insects, except for termites, and there are over 4600 species, 30 of which are commonly associated with human habitats. They are generally small, and some of them are pests.
A cockroach’s diet consists of plant and animal matter. It can even feed on human flesh. In extreme infestations, cockroaches may actually bite people. They do this to feed on food particles that get stuck to their skin. They are also known to carry diseases, such as salmonella and E. coli O157:H7.
Cockroaches are social insects that congregate in groups to survive. They feed on a variety of plant and animal materials, as well as on their own kind. Their intelligence is considered low and they cannot reason as we do. While their bites may not be dangerous, they may trigger a rash or skin reaction.
The most common species of cockroaches is the German cockroach. These insects are light brown in color with two dark stripes on the prothoracic region. During their life cycle, a female cockroach produces four to thirty egg cases. The eggs are carried by the female cockroach for about 20 days. The adult German cockroach is about 12 mm long, and may produce as many as three generations per year.
Some people are allergic to cockroaches, because the proteins they contain can cause allergic reactions. In fact, it is not uncommon for entomologists to become allergic to their research subjects. For example, William Bell, who studied the cockroach, became allergic to its cuticles. As a result, he could not eat lobster after his career.