Health-related problems caused by cockroaches include asthma and allergies. Cockroaches are also potential mechanical vectors of disease and have been shown to be capable of harboring the pathogens that cause urinary tract infections, conjunctivitis, pneumonia, wound infections, and food poisoning. Pathogens may be spread by oral or fecal contact, or by cockroaches walking across surfaces or through food. Given the opportunity, cockroaches will also feed on human tissue, secretions and hair, resulting in direct contact with humans and possible direct transmission of pathogens.
When cockroach populations are small, detection usually occurs at night during cockroach foraging periods. However, when moderate to large infestations are present, cockroaches may forage during the day or harbor in open areas, making them readily observable. Cockroaches are also detected because they leave behind fecal material and hatched egg cases. They are also noticeable by the very distinct odor produced when present in large numbers.
Prevention or elimination of cockroach infestations in food service facilities depends first upon a high level of sanitation.
Storage: All foods should be stored in original containers until ready for use. Broken packages or partially used packages should be stored in containers with tight fitting lids.
Garbage and other refuse: Waste should be stored in tight containers in an area away from the food preparation and serving areas, preferably separated by a solid wall. Containers used for garbage and trash collection in the dishwashing and food preparation areas should be emptied and washed daily.
Cleanliness: At the end of each day the establishment should be thoroughly cleaned and all spilled foods and other wastes discarded. Soap-water-elbow grease is the best answer to many potential problems.
Harborage: To the fullest extent possible, harborage should be eliminated. Cracks and crevices should be eliminated. Cracks between baseboards and walls or floors should be sealed.
Food service establishments must only use insecticides registered for application in a food service establishment and must apply insecticides according to label instructions and food service regulations.
Cockroach Control Resources
Cockroach Management Guidelines - UC IPM
Cockroach Elimination - University of Kentucky
Least toxic methods of cockroach control - University of Florida
Cockroaches and their management - University of Florida
Cockroach Control Manual - University of Nebraska-Lincoln