Cockroaches are insects of the order Blattodea, which also includes termites.
About 30 cockroach species out of 4,600 are associated with human habitats. About four species are well known as pests.
The cockroaches are an ancient group, dating back at least as far as the carboniferous period, some 320 million years ago. Those early ancestors however lacked the internal ovipositors of modern roaches. Cockroaches are somewhat generalized insects without special adaptations like the sucking mouthparts of aphids and other true bugs; they have chewing mouthparts and are likely among the most primitive of living insects. They are common and hardy insects, and can tolerate a wide range of environments.
Some species, such as the gregarious German cockroach, have an elaborate social structure involving common shelter, social dependence, information transfer and kin recognition. Cockroaches have appeared in human culture since ages. They are popularly depicted as dirty pests, though the great majority of species are inoffensive and live in a wide range of habitats around the world.
They feed on human and pet food and can leave an offensive odor. They passively transport pathogenic microbes on their body surfaces, particularly in environments such as hospitals. Cockroaches are linked with allergic reactions in humans. These allergens are also linked with asthma
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