Pests and allergies

May 20, 2022, 13:18 PM by Fred Speer

As Californians and Nevadans are spending more time outdoors, pollen from trees and flowers is triggering many people’s seasonal allergies. From itchy eyes to sinus congestion, displays of those experiencing allergy symptoms are all around us each spring.

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America appropriately designates each May as Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. Clark, your friendly termite, mosquito, grounds care, and pest management expert, would like to share how common household pests contribute to seasonal allergies and asthma that can afflict you, your family, friends, or coworkers.

Allergies, asthma, and pests

More than 50 million Americans have some type of allergies, and the rate is climbing. Also, more than 24 million Americans are afflicted with asthma, including 6 million children under the age of 18. Many of us aren’t aware that over 20 million people are allergic to a tiny, microscopic pest called a dust mite, or that dander from rodents and shed skins from cockroaches can exacerbate symptoms.

  • Cockroach saliva and droppings, and the decomposing bodies of these unwelcome pests, contain proteins known to trigger allergies and increase the severity of asthma symptoms.
  • Children are especially at risk for suffering allergic and asthmatic reactions to cockroach infestations. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences reports that one in five children in the United States have severe sensitivities to cockroach allergens.
  • According to the National Pest Management Association, cockroaches spread 33 kinds of bacteria, including E. coli and Salmonella, along with six parasitic worms and over seven other types of human pathogens.

Certain species of stinging insects, including yellowjackets, wasps, bees, and fire ants, can cause serious reactions in people whose immune systems overreact to the venom. Symptoms can range from itching, hives, or shortness of breath to anaphylaxis, a potentially fatal severe allergic reaction.

The pollen and allergy connection

Most people understand the connection between pollen and allergies, but few people are aware of how pests can also exacerbate allergic reactions and asthma attacks.

What commonly encountered pests stir up allergies? They include cockroaches, dust mites, and rodents.


Proteins found in cockroach feces, saliva, and body parts can cause allergic reactions or trigger asthma symptoms, particularly in children. Because cockroaches are attracted to moisture and food, make sure that your home is well ventilated, and keep floors and surfaces clean.

Dust mites

Over half of people with asthma may show symptoms when living with house dust mites. Their discarded skins and feces may cause respiratory constriction. Routinely changing bed sheets and thoroughly dusting and vacuuming your home can help reduce these triggers.


Rat and mouse feces and dander can trigger allergic reactions and asthma symptoms. Eliminate potential points of entry by sealing cracks or holes in exterior walls with caulk or steel wool.

Have questions about pests and allergies? Call Clark

If you have questions about pests and allergies, call or text (800) WE-NEED-YOU (936-3339) or send an email to

Until next time, the pest management professionals at Clark Pest Control thank you for helping us keep unwanted pests out of your home and yard.