Pest Resources

Do Cockroaches Bite?

Are you wondering if cockroaches bite or if they are dangerous?

You’re in the right place. 

In this Pest Resources guide, you will learn:

  • Do cockroaches bite?
  • Why Do Cockroaches Bite?
  • What Do Cockroach Bites Look Like?
  • What Type Of Cockroaches Bite?
  • Are Cockroach Bites Dangerous?
  • Treatment for Cockroach Bites
  • Cockroach bite prevention
  • Summary of Cockroach bites

Do cockroaches bite?

While it is very rare for cockroaches to bite humans, it has been recorded in some cases where other food sources have diminished. This causes cockroaches to start searching for other food sources, such as various parts of the human body including human eyelashes, skin, or fingernails. 

Even though it is extremely rare for cockroaches to bite humans, there have been several recorded cases, and below we will show examples of what these cockroach bites may look like on the skin.

Why do cockroaches bite?

While cockroaches may bite humans, cockroach bites are actually very rare. This is due to several reasons, such as these pests being nocturnal insects. Due to these insects being nocturnal they are mostly active at night time under the cover of darkness and will scurry and hide whenever you switch on the lights.

Another reason it is rare is because of what cockroaches eat. Cockroaches are omnivores, which means that they have multiple food sources which include both plants and meat. When most people think of cockroaches, they spare little thought to what these pests actually eat. As it turns out, cockroaches will eat almost anything in their path, which includes: plants, meant, trash, leftovers etc. 

However, once cockroaches eat all their primary food supplies, they begin to look elsewhere. Which includes humans.

So what makes these insects bite humans?

So now you know that it’s extremely rare for cockroaches to bite humans, but why do they bite? Like all living things, cockroaches need to eat. If a cockroach infestation has been allowed to grow, or simply their presence was unknown, this generally means that these cockroaches have been allowed to mate and therefore there will be lots of cockroaches surviving off the same food source. 

Therefore, once their food source begins to decline, these pesky insects will begin to look for other food sources, and yes while you lay in your bed, you look like a tasty snack for cockroaches. Disgusting thought right? 

What do cockroach bites look like?

It seems that humans are on the menu for a whole bunch of disgusting and curious insects. Due to this, it can be almost impossible to distinguish cockroach bites from other insect bites. 

If you perform a brief google search on the internet for cockroach bite pictures, the results will be almost zero. It’s more likely that you’ll stumble across pictures of other bug bites on the skin that people merely think are cockroach bites but most likely aren’t. 

We managed to find a picture of a man’s arm who suffered from multiple bites on the skin from cockroaches that took over and infested his property. We can only assume the cockroach infestation reached a point where there was no food supplies left for these cockroaches, so they began to bite his arm. 

If you look closely at the man’s skin and compare these cockroach bites to that of sand fleas or mosquito bites, cockroach bites are quite a bit larger.

While the area is quite large, the surrounding area of the cockroach bite is swollen, which is typical of a mosquito bite. If you begin to scratch this bite, the swelling will worsen and grow bigger in size, which creates pus inside the bite. Cockroach bites tend to be two or three red bumps in clusters similar to that of bed bugs.

What Type Of Cockroaches Bite?

If you are one of the rare cases to be bitten in the United States by a cockroach, then it’s highly likely the culprit will be the American cockroach, otherwise known as the water bug.

American cockroaches tend to be quite large in size, around 2 inches in length, reddish brown, and the adults have wings. American cockroaches scurry around quickly in dark areas such as sewers, trash cans, and outdoors.

Another type of cockroach that is common in the United States is the German cockroach, which may also bite. These cockroaches are much smaller in size compared to the American cockroach, but they choose to live inside and are capable of producing at a faster rate.

Are Cockroach Bites Dangerous?

Similar to other insect bites, Cockroach bites will mean swelling, rashes, welts, redness, and itchiness, which can lead to minor complications if scratched.

These bites are a nuisance and can take several days to clear. If you suffer with asthma, you may suffer from an asthma attack, although not directly because of the cockroach bite itself, but because you’ve been exposed to other allergens that the cockroach carries.

Unlike other insects that are more dangerous such as mosquitoes, which carry numerous diseases, cockroaches do not pose a serious threat to your health. With that being said, cockroaches do carry Salmonella, E. coli, and a few other nasty diseases, so could pose a threat if bitten and your skin is left exposed.

Treatment for Cockroach Bites

Pest Resources will recommend, like with the majority of insect bites, that you resist the temptation of scratching the bite. Instead, wash the area with soapy water. This will aim to eliminate germs, bacteria, and any allergens left by the cockroach. 

The next step we recommend is to apply ice on and around the red area, which relieves any itchiness. Try rubbing the cockroach bite with a sliced up onion, which can be effective for detoxifying the bite. 

Using alcohol is a good antiseptic which has been known to help reduce any inflammation. If you’ve run out of ice, try using baking soda. Mix the baking soda with a little bit of vinegar and apply this mixture around the bite area and leave for at least 30 minutes. This mixture is a good homemade disinfectant which comes with a nice soothing effect for the swollen part of the bite.

Cockroach bite prevention

The best prevention method Pest Resources can recommend is maintaining a clean home, focusing on areas such as the kitchen or eating areas. Anywhere that food has come into contact with, ensure these areas are disinfected and wiped clean. Another great tip, is make sure your trash bins are always covered. 

One final bit of advice to deal with cockroaches is to invest in using cockroach traps. Especially in an area of high infestation for cockroaches, traps are great. If one of the traps has caught a cockroach or two, then we would advise deploying other pest control products as well as contacting a pest control expert for a consultation. 

Other cockroach guides

If you learned a thing or two about cockroaches and want to learn more, we’ve created a library full of other detailed guides to help with all your pest problems. 

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

Read more here.

Most Popular Articles