Cockroaches and Mice Top U.S. Government List of Home Deficiencies

American Housing Survey finds one in 10 housing units reported signs of the pests


FAIRFAX, Va. - Signs of cockroaches and mice are the top two home deficiencies according to the 2013 American Housing Survey. About one in 10 occupants surveyed have seen evidence of cockroaches or mice in their homes. Also troubling are the other top home deficiencies listed, including open cracks or holes and exposed wiring, which can lead to or be exacerbated by pest infestations. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) warns homeowners that as pests are likelier to enter homes in fall and winter, it's important to take preventative steps to reduce chances of an infestation.

Cockroach and rodent infestations can cause health and economic consequences. Cockroaches have been reported to spread at least 33 kinds of bacteria, six kinds of parasitic worms and at least seven other kinds of human pathogens. Mice can bring fleas, mites, ticks and lice into a home. Additionally, mice are capable of causing structural damage by chewing through electrical wires, putting homes at risk for fires.

"Cockroach and mice infestations are not just home deficiencies, but they are also hazardous to public health," said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the NPMA. "Both of these pests also contain potent allergen proteins that can trigger reactions and symptoms in asthma and allergy sufferers."

According to a 2014 survey by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), more than nine out of ten allergists believe a pest-free home is an important step in preventing asthma and allergy symptoms. According to AAFA, 63 percent of homes in the U.S. contain cockroaches and their particles, including saliva, droppings and decomposing body parts. NPMA also found that nearly 30 percent of American homeowners have had a rodent problem in their home.

To prevent pests from entering the home, seal all cracks and crevices, eliminate food and moisture sources and practice good sanitation, especially in the kitchen. Contact a licensed pest professional in case of a suspected infestation.

The NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 7,000 members, was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry's commitment to the protection of public health, food and property. For more information visit