They can seldom be accused of being the cause of disease. But this is merely a speculation, and it is quite possible that the cockroach may be a carrier of a number of diseases, although we do not know the details of the- dissemination.
In more tropical countries the cockroach may attack human beings in a way that is more than annoying. A traveler in Brazil says that it is quite common to see children whose eyelashes have been more or less eaten off by cockroaches. The eyelashes were bitten off irregularly, in some places quite close to the lid.
Aside from their possibilities as disease carriers, they are, however, filthy and destructive insects, devouring or putting food in such a filthy condition that it cannot be used. Like the bedbug, the cock-roach remains hidden during the daytime while the occupants of the buildings are active. When the kitchen and pantry are deserted and dark they come forth to forage. Entering the kitchen at night and suddenly turning on the light, the roaches can be seen scampering away in every direction. They live in warm kitchens, bakeries, pantries and water pipes. In fact, some species such as the croton-bug, travel from house to house in water pipes; their flat, thin bodies fit them admirably for crawling into cracks, behind baseboards, casings and shelves, etc. Here they hide away during the day.
Methods of destruction of the cockroach include fumigation with hydrocyanic gas (described in the United States Department of Agriculture Farmers’ Bulletin No. 699, April 5, 1916). It is poisonous and should not be used except with proper precautions. Pyrethrum powder is quite effective. In former days our pyrethrum came from Persia, and when it arrived here its strength was greatly diminished; but since it has been produced in California, we have a much better product.
Cockroach traps are often quite effective. They are made by using a tin can or wooden box with a circular hole at the top. The trap is baited and pasteboard strips or runways are placed so that the roach can walk from the floor to the top of the trap and fall in. The opening must be created so that entrance is easy and exit impossible. An extremely good bait for the trap is stale beer, which is the cock-roach’s favorite drink.