Wondering if cockroaches bite or are dangerous?
We have your answers!
In this Pest Strategies guide, you'll learn:
- Do cockroaches bite?
- Why do they bite if they do?
- When and where would a cockroach bite you (arm or leg)?
- What do cockroach bites look like?
- Are cockroaches and their bites dangerous?
Just like any other home and garden insects, cockroaches sometimes just can't resist human flesh. Cockroaches are classified as omnivores. This means that they have the appetite for both plants and meat. In fact, cockroaches eat almost anything that come across their paths (plants, meat, garbage, etc).
Compared to mosquitoes however, cockroach bites rarely occur. And since these filthy cockroaches are nocturnal insects, it is inevitable for us to become easy targets in our sleep if they decide to have a taste on you.
Want to skip all this research and just hire a decent exterminator for your roach problem?
Do cockroaches bite humans?
Most of the time, no, cockroaches do not bite humans. However, in cases where other food sources are scarce, they will begin to look for alternative food sources such as human eyelashes, skin, or nails.
Although not common, cockroaches do indeed bite if pushed to their edge. Check out the below video for example of what bites look like on arms and legs of other people.
Again, this is an EXTREME case, and chances are, you will never go through a similar situation (or nightmare).
Why do cockroaches bite?
We all know that cockroaches are naturally shy and evasive. They scurry away at the very first sign of human presence. In fact, they are mostly active in the dark and hide whenever you decide to turn on the lights.
So why do they bite?
As mentioned previously, it is rare for cockroaches to bite humans, but bites can occur in places with severe unchecked infestations. If the cockroach population has been allowed to grow, the food sources they began eating may not sustain the population resulting in changes to diet habits.
When and where do cockroaches bite humans?
Cockroaches bite only in our sleep.
As mentioned earlier, cockroaches are shy insects and they wouldn't dare approach a human who is wide awake. Only when we're asleep that they are able to come near us and have a bite. Cockroach bites occur at night considering these insects are nocturnal in nature and we're not.
You should also consider a cockroach bite to be a pretty good warning sign.
If you get bitten by a cockroach then your infestation has already taken place inside your home and is in the process of getting fairly large (not good).
Cockroaches will usually take a bite on your fingers, fingernails, toes, mouth, face, hands, and eyelashes.
What do cockroach bites look like?
There's a whole lot of insects out there that love taking a munch out of us every now and then. And sometimes, it seems impossible to distinguish cockroach bites from those made by other insects.
If you search on the internet for cockroach bite pictures, you won't find much. If anything you'll find pictures of other bug bites people THINK are cockroach bites (but they aren't).
Below is a picture of a man's arm after multiple bites from cockroaches that infested his home. Presumably, the infestation grew so large that it exceeded the food supplies they could reach and started to nibble on his arms, legs, and torso.
Take a look.
Compared to mosquito bites, cockroach bites are quite larger.
The surrounding area of the bitten part appears swollen with the same redness to that of a typical mosquito bite. When scratched, the swelling worsens and grows even larger with pus inside it. Rashes also occur around the bite as an allergic reaction of the skin. Cockroach bites are usually two to three red bumps clustered close together similar to bed bug bites.
Are cockroach bites dangerous?
Cockroach bites lead to swelling, rashes, and minor complications if scratched and left unattended.
These bites can last for days and can be very annoying. People with asthma may suffer from an asthma attack but not directly because of a cockroach bite but because of being exposed to allergens carried by the said insect. Compared to other insect bites particularly those made by mosquitoes, cockroach bites don't really pose a serious threat to human health.
Although, cockroaches are carriers of Salmonella, E. coli, and other nasty diseases that could pose a threat if bitten and your skin is exposed.
How to deal and treat cockroach bites
In the face of a cockroach bite, the very first thing that you should do is resist the urge of scratching it. These bites can be quite itchy and scratching them will only worsen the situation.
Instead of scratching the bite, wash it with soap and water. This is to eliminate all the traces of germs, bacteria, and allergens left behind by the insect. Apply ice on and around the bite area to relieve swelling and itchiness. Rubbing the bitten area with sliced onion is also an effective detoxification process.
Alcohol is also a good antiseptic which can help reduce inflammation. If ice is not around, come up with a baking soda paste. You can do this by mixing equal amounts of baking soda and vinegar. Apply the paste over and around the bite area and leave it for at least 20 minutes. The solution makes a good disinfectant and has a soothing effect on the swollen part of the bite.
How to prevent cockroach bites?
Cockroaches love filth and they are extra sensitive in smelling rotten and leftover food.
To prevent cockroach bites, you should maintain a clean home especially in areas where you do the cooking, cleaning, and throwing. Keep your dining, kitchen, and sink areas squeaky clean and always cover your trash bins. Avoid eating in your bedroom and wash your hands and mouth before you hit the bed.
Lastly, the most effective solution to avoid getting bitten by cockroaches is to continuously monitor for an infestation using cockroach traps, the first step in our 4-step cockroach elimination and prevention strategy. If you find a trap has caught a couple cockroaches, then you can start deploying other removal products and contact an exterminator for a consultation.
Other Cockroach Guides
Curious about other cockroach articles? Check out our other detailed guides to help you deal with your pest problems.