Katsaridaphobia affects many people across the U.S., but where does this fear come from?
Since we are children we learn that bugs are not a good thing to have around, we are thought they must be stomp on and exterminated. But we don’t present such fear for other insects such as mosquitoes that are really far more dangerous for us (Mosquitoes can transfer: Malaria, Dengue, West Nile virus, Yellow Fever, etc.). Then why do we have a bigger fear of roaches?
Fear and disgust are the two most negative emotions in human beings, when combined our alert mode increases to the maximum. Roaches are disgusting for many reasons. Their bodies seem very shiny, which makes them look wet and none of us would like to have them crawling up on us leaving a trace of gooey bacteria, which they carry in big amounts.
Most of 4,600 roach species have wings, the American roach, which is found in sewers all over the U.S has over decades been hiding from us in them, which led to their flying skills to decrease. Regardless the male and female have wings and the male will fly when it feels threatened. The female wont be able to fly since she is most likely carrying eggs. If you scream at the sight of one, they won’t hear you because they have no ears, but they can definitely sense noise through their hairy legs and make sudden moves. Some people report having them fly right at them. Since their flying skills are not great they can make really unpredictable moves up in the air, and unfortunately they are also very fast; specially the American roach which is the fastest of all land insects, with a speed capability of 3.5miles/hr.
Roaches have been around long before us since the dinosaur era, and will be the only ones left after we are long gone. Their capabilities for survival is part of our disgust, they can even withstand nuclear bombs. They are certainly strong and hard to eradicate.
If you see a couple of German roaches (which are the smaller ones) inside your house, then you might have an infestation. If you see a big roach (American roach) then its probably looking for shelter from inclement weather, rains overflow drains and sewers bringing the American roach to the surface and forcing it to look for a safe environment. You may find big roaches in your home even if you are a clean freak, but it is important to keep your house clean regardless as to not invite them to stay. If they don’t find food (crumbs); moist areas or cozy areas with cardboard, which they also eat, they will leave.
Roaches prefer temperatures above 77ºF, so if your AC in the summertime runs below this temperature you will hardly see them around. Yet if you turn off your AC here and there, the water that dripped outside of you unit may also attract them to come into your home.
Everybody has different fears, some more rational than others, but roaches can’t really harm us in big ways. Other insects and animals are far more deadly like the black widow. It’s important to remain calm when faced with cockroaches. If you have a phobia and have someone around who is not afraid ask for help to get rid of the bug, you can also seek professional help and do therapy to better face your fear. Most likely we will face them at least twice in our lives with no aid from someone else available. Remember to not step on them as the eggs may stick to your shoes and surroundings, if you kill it flush it afterwards down the toilet. If the situation aggravates wear a helmet and do your best. Good luck!