Pest Resources

Do Cockroaches Bite?

In short, yes, cockroaches can bite. Cockroaches are nasty little pests. They invade our homes, scare us, and make us question our own cleaning habits. What’s worse, some of them even fly and hiss! But do cockroaches bite? We have to warn you – the answer might not be what you’re hoping to hear.

 When food is scarce, these bugs, which are naturally scavengers, can exhibit predatory behaviors to ensure the survival of the colony. In fact, if an overpopulation occurs, they will even turn cannibalistic and kill each other to keep their numbers under control.

Do Cockroaches Bite Humans?

The fact that an animal is a predator doesn’t necessarily mean that it will bite a person. However, if we’re being completely honest, cockroaches do bite humans. Luckily, though, cockroach bites are quite a rare occurrence.


If you’re wondering what a cockroach bite feels like, it might help to know that you likely won’t feel it – at least not right away. Cockroaches are nocturnal animals, which means that if one does happen to bite you, it will likely happen in your sleep. However, it is not uncommon for the bite to start hurting after some time passes. This shouldn’t surprise you, as cockroaches are capable of inflicting bites 50 times more powerful than their weight.

cockroach up close
Cockroach up close

What Does a Cockroach Bite Look Like?

Cockroach bites look very similar to bites inflicted by other insects, namely mosquitoes and bed bugs. The best way to tell if a cockroach bit you is if you catch it in the act. However, as we said, cockroaches are mostly nocturnal, so this is not too likely to happen.

Cockroach bites cause a slight inflammation of the skin with the main symptoms being redness, itchiness, and swelling. A good way to tell them apart from bed bugs is to try and find a pattern – bed bug bites usually occur in a straight line of three or more bites.

Where Do Cockroach Bites Occur?

Cockroaches don’t generally have human flesh on their menu (at least not while we’re alive). In other words, even when they do bite us, they most likely do this to feed on food residue found on our skin or on dead skin cells. With that in mind, it comes as no surprise that cockroach bites most commonly occur in these places:

  • The area around the mouth,
  • Eyelashes and around the eyes,
  • Hands, especially palms,
  • Fingertips and the skin around the nail.

In other words, if you want to avoid getting bitten by a cockroach in your sleep, make sure to wash your face and hands thoroughly after every meal.

A cockroach caught in a jar
A cockroach caught in a jar

Are Cockroach Bites Dangerous?

In general, cockroach bites aren’t considered any more dangerous than those inflicted by mosquitoes. In fact, unlike mosquitoes, cockroaches aren’t known to transmit any infectious diseases. 

That being said, it is a well-known fact that roaches aren’t the cleanest of insects, either. With that in mind, a serious infection of the bite wound is possible, although not too likely. Another risk that a cockroach bite carries is the possibility of an allergic reaction. To be more specific, the proteins in the bug’s saliva could cause skin rashes or, even worse, asthma attacks.

A cockroach
A cockroach outside

What to Do if a Cockroach Bites You

If you wake up to discover that you’ve been bitten by a cockroach, the first thing you should do is wash the inflicted area with soap and warm water. This will get rid of any germs that may be on your skin and reduce the chances of an infection. 

Although cockroach bites are very itchy, you should do your best to refrain from scratching. Scratching a bite will only irritate the skin further, causing more redness and pain. What’s more, if you scratch so hard as to cause a tear in your skin, the bacteria under your nails could cause a fungal infection and make matters much worse.

Getting Rid of Cockroach Bites

In all honesty, there isn’t much you can do to get rid of a cockroach bite entirely. As with most other insect bites, the symptoms should gradually subside and finally disappear after about a week. However, there are still some home remedies you can use to ease the pain and discomfort caused by the bite. These include:

  • Icing the area where you’ve been bitten to numb out the pain and itchiness and reduce the swelling;
  • Applying some lemon juice to the skin will also reduce the itchiness and may even help with the swelling;
  • An antiseptic might be a good idea, as it will clean the wound much more thoroughly than soap and water; either ethyl alcohol or hydrogen peroxide will do the job;
  • Seeing the doctor might be necessary if the swelling keeps getting worse, and especially if you notice some other symptoms, such as having trouble breathing.

How to Get Rid of Cockroaches

Prevention is the best medicine, goes the old saying. This is entirely true for cockroach bites. If you want to avoid getting bitten by a cockroach, the best thing you can do is ensure your home doesn’t get infested. To do that, make sure you:

  • Clean up regularly,
  • Get rid of any accumulated moisture in hard-to-reach areas,
  • Throw out the trash daily,
  • Do the dishes every day,
  • Don’t leave food lying around,
  • Clean the area where you eat after every meal,
  • Avoid eating anywhere else other than at the dining table.

However, as much as we try to stay on top of our chores, sometimes, infestations simply happen. In that case, the best course of action would be to call licensed exterminators. By contacting professionals as soon as you notice roaches in your home, you will ensure the problem is swiftly dealt with and avoid letting it turn into a long-term issue. Surely, there are home remedies and roach traps you can buy at your local grocery store, but those are usually only effective with smaller infestations. To ensure every single bug is dead and gone, turning to people with the right tools, skills, and experience is your best bet!

Ronald has 25 years of pest control experience under his belt. He scrutinizes each control method, product and process to prevent infestations effectively. 

Read more here.

Most Popular Articles