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Cockroaches have been around for 400 million years. There are 57 known species in the United States but the most common type - Blatella germanica - lives in kitchens and bathrooms. You'll seldom find roaches in the day; most species are nocturnal. But you can be sure your home is infested if you find feces that look like grains of pepper or oval, brown egg cases. The latter is carried by the female under her body until the eggs are ready to hatch. Each egg case contains about 40 eggs. One or two egg cases are laid by the female in its entire life. The nymph or young roach becomes an adult in two to three months. Roaches normally live for nine to 10 months but some species can live as long as three years depending on the environment and food supply. "Cockroaches thrive on warmth and dampness and show a distinct dislike for lighted rooms. These insects can feed on anything, including paper, leather fabrics, and foodstuff," according to the editors of Health Alert, a publication of the Health Action Information Network (HAIN). "They cannot withstand long periods of starvation and usually die within two to four weeks under such circumstances," HAIN added. Like flies, roaches can transmit serious diseases like typhoid fever and cholera. The germs responsible for these diseases are picked up by roaches from filth and carried to food. Roaches also transmit dysentery, the inflammation of the mucous membrane of the large intestine caused by bacterial or viral infection. The symptoms of dysentery are abdominal pain, cramps, diarrhea, and bloody stool or mucus or pus in the stools. If the patient doesn't get help immediately, he or she may die from dehydration or other complications. "The cockroach is a very significant threat to public health, as it is a mechanical carrier of germs and diseases. It may also pass on parasitic worms, the viruses of poliomyelitis, and other microorganisms such as those carrying hepatitis A and leprosy," warned the editors of Health Alert. Did you know that even dead roaches can cause trouble? Find out how in the second part of this series. To strengthen your body, take Immunitril - your first line of defense in maintaining a healthy immune system. For details, visit

Sharon Bell is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and published author. Many of her insightful articles can be found at the premier online news magazine []

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