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Why are Roaches so Gross?

You might be thinking, why are roaches so gross, and why do they even exist? The norms of society have a profound effect on the development of disgust associated with roaches. For example, people in china love to consume roaches and other insects. However, roaches appear very repulsive to you.

Roaches are gross because they are slimy, greasy dark brown creatures that live and feed inside the filth and emit an unbearable musty odor from their bodies and mouth secretions. Moreover, roaches are associated with disease spread and triggering allergies, making them more offensive to humans.

It is the part of the human psyche to keep itself away from things that create a sense of disgust. The sense of disgust usually develops in the first eight years of human life and is related to food and its oral incorporation1. Therefore the things, including roaches that appear gross or are associated with filth, give rise to the human emotion of disgust. Details are in the blog are below.

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Are cockroaches actually that gross?

An infestation with cockroaches can give you nightmares because of the sense of disgust and loathing associated with them. Moreover, roaches are associated with disease spread and triggering allergies.

However, not all cockroaches are actually that gross because many species of roaches, including wood cockroaches, discoid roaches, Dubia roaches, and Red Runner roaches, do not infest homes or visit sewers; instead, they live in the outdoors and only accidentally infest homes. Moreover, they feed on rotting leaves and organic food. Therefore they do not transmit disease.

Some species of roaches, mainly small roaches, and some palmetto bugs are usually gross because they live inside sewers and are known to transmit disease.

Roach Habitat Feeding Type
German Indoor/ Sewers Filth/Garbage Gross
Brown Banded Indoor/ Sewers Filth/Garbage Gross
American Sewers/Outdoors Filth Gross
Australian Sewers/ Outdoors Filth Gross
Dubia Outdoors Leaves/ Vegetables Not Gross
Red Runner Outdoors Leaves/Vegetables Not Gross
Discoid Outdoors Organic Not Gross
Oriental Indoor/Sewers Filth Gross

How unsanitary are cockroaches?

Cockroaches are associated with disgust and filth, transmit disease, and trigger allergies, but this doesn’t mean that every Cockroach is unsanitary. On the contrary, some roaches are considered a delicacy and are farmed in China as a cash crop.

Whether the Cockroach is unsanitary or not depends on the type of Cockroach, feed, and its living habitat. Many roaches, including the German Cockroach, are usually disgusting because they often visit drains and sewage and feed on filth and garbage.

However, a cockroach that has invaded your space should always be considered unsanitary no matter what because they still carry the associated risk of transmitting disease.

Why am I so disgusted by cockroaches?

Cockroaches are known to trigger our brain area associated with repulsion, hatred, and loathing. This is because of the way our society perceives things.

For example, If you were brought up in Vietnamese suburbs, you would not be disgusted for eating rats. Similarly, Muslims associate pigs with filth and find eating them very disgusting.

Moreover, In some cases, disgust associated with roaches can be so debilitating be characterized as Katsaridaphobia.

Therefore, you might be brought up in a society that associates roaches with disgust, and repeated bad stories about them have molded your brain in a way to perceive roaches as highly disgusting.

1. Rozin, P., & Fallon, A. E. (1987). A perspective on disgust. Psychological Review, 94(1), 23–41.