Are cockroaches known spreaders of disease? That is my only question, because they certainly look like they would be, truly gruesome characters what with their greasy demeanor and inquisitive antennae.
Having spent much time in South East Asia, you will be pleased to know I am sure, that I once was neighbor to a Thai girl who lived basically on a linolium floor. Thai’s eat on the floor. Lunch time, she would tap her foot, and one limping fellah, I guess it was a male I did not inqiure, would limp and dash across the floor from the vicinity of the bathroom, lodge itself next to her heal, and enjoy a lite meal, hand fed. She would then later tap her heel again, and the little fella (not so little) would limp and dash back to where he came from.
I personally am not particularly fond of cockroaches. However, I am beginning to respect the intelligence of insects, as I know you do, and whether or not you publish this is up to you.
But I knew you’d love to hear the story–and it is a true story. God bless you bug guys. New website for me thanx to Yahoo. See ya again soon. (Not the cockroach, you!)
Best regards,
frederick pavese

Dear Frederick,
Thank you for the sweet letter.
According to Hogue, "The importance of cockroaches in transmission of human diseases sems overrated, although most of the domiciliary species have been found capable of mechanically transmtting some disease organisms, especially dysentery bacteria." The key word here is mechanical transmission, meaning the roach must walk through a disease infested area before transmitting it to a person who puts dirty fingers into the mouth. Roaches are scavengers who help clean up dropped food, especially in the tropics where their large size prohibits huge numbers inside the home, unlike the German cockroach (Blattella germanica) which is the small, quick, light hating roach known to infest tenement slums and other high human population environments, including restaurants. I think that Thai girl’s pet sounds like a delightful companion.

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