Cockroach Fear Virsus Spider Fear

Whilst the creepy cockroach can strike fear in the heart of the strongest individual, there are other insects which have the same effect such as flying moths, beetles and spiders.  However spiders are in fact not insects at all.  They are arachnids.  Other members of the arachnid family include scorpions, ticks and mites.  An easy way to identify whether a bug is an insect or arachnid is by the number of legs it has.  All insects have six legs including the cockroach.  Spiders have eight.

Whilst someone with a cockroach phobia could harbour the same emotions towards the humble spider, they in fact have very little in common with one another.  Whilst cockroaches spread disease such as Salmonella, Staphylococcus and Streptococcus, most spiders are pretty harmless to humans.  There are of course a few species of spider such as the infamous Black Widow which can cause fatal bites. But even most Tarantula species pose no threat to human life. Deaths from spider bites are rare while illnesses spread by cockroaches remain rife.  Those spiders that we find living in our homes are harmless.

Geographically cockroaches are mainly found in tropical and subtropical locations with the exception of the rule being German, American and Oriental which have evolved and adapted themselves to live within human habitats.  But spiders are found all over the world in every continent except in Antarctica where there are none.

Why do we have such fear of creepy crawlies?  Scientists have studied the phenomenon for years but simply it’s because we just don’t understand their behaviour.  We are fearful of quick, unpredictable movements of which most exhibit.  We are scared of dark creeping or fast moving objects and are socially conditioned as children to be fearful.  We literally develop insect, or arachnid, phobia and fears from childhood – from our parents or siblings.  In contrast whilst we are conditioned to be fearful of dark creeping insects we do not attach those same negative conations with colourful butterflies and ladybirds – even though they are also insects.

There are further studies into the fact that our children have become detached from the natural world – spending more time inside on their Playstation than outside in the garden.  It has a name ‘nature deficit disorder’ and the detachment from the natural world literally increases our fear – including that of insects and arachnids.

However there are a few reasons to really like spiders.  If you find a spider in your home this is a good sign because there would be thousands of other bugs that you would not want in your home if the spider wasn’t there.  The spider is keeping your house clean which is why people often think of the spider as a ‘clean’ creature.   The same applies to your garden where they will keep the pest population reduced for you.   Lastly, spiders are a sign of good luck in many cultures all over the world.

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Why Are We Scared of Cockroaches?


Believe it or not there is an actual name for those of us who with extreme fear of cockroachesKatsaridaphobia is the official name and the fear of cockroaches in some individuals is acute. In some sufferers the fear can be enhanced by multiple factors which cause them to experience extreme panic on sight of them.  In others it may be the dread of any possible disease or filth associated with cockroaches which throws them into severe anxiety.  In other sufferers they may realize that the cockroach poses no actual threat but the negatively around cockroaches and the relentless fear of them will persist.

The Causes of Katsaridaphobia (Fear of Cockroaches) indicates this fear may be characterized by, “An abnormal and persistent fear of insects [cockroaches].  In this case the individual may become extremely anxious at the mere thought of a cockroach and may go to extreme lengths to protect themselves from exposure to them, such as panic cleaning or sealing off a room.

Most often fears can be traced back to specific incidences involving the very thing that you are in fear of.  In many cases, the panic can be traced right back to a childish fear which has simply amplified over the years into adulthood. It could be that a traumatic cockroach story involving someone else entirely that brings on this fear.  Only the story has to be relayed to the sufferer for the sufferer to feel like they are experiencing it directly.

Sufferers of Katsaridaphobia may experience any of the following symptoms when having to deal with cockroaches, either directly or indirectly:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Feeling sick
  • Chest pains
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness
  • ‘jelly legs’
  • Feeling ‘unreal’
  • Intense sweating
  • Feeling faint
  • Dry throat
  • Restricted or ‘fuzzy’ vision or hearing

Ways to Overcome Katsaridaphobia (Fear of Cockroaches)

Because this fear is often generated second hand in that the sufferer may only have to hear of someone else being exposed to cockroaches to have a panic attack, the greatest tool in trying to manage the fear itself is to recondition the mind to accept that the fear itself is unjustified.  Of course this is easier said than done for someone who has Katsaridaphobia but there are therapists and educational tools available to help sufferers.   It has to be remembered that in actual fact no real harm will come to anyone being in the same room as a cockroach and it is a question of desensitization and training the brain to accept that cockroaches exist and, in a controlled environment, are harmless.

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