​​Do Cockroaches Bite

​​Do Cockroaches Bite or Sting Humans?

Cockroaches are infamous for being one of the most resilient and pervasive pests, invading homes and often causing distress among homeowners. They are often associated with the transmission of diseases and can be a real nuisance.

But the question that often comes to mind is, “Do cockroaches bite?” In this comprehensive article, we will delve into the world of cockroaches, exploring their behavior, what drives them to bite, the potential dangers, and how to treat a cockroach bite.

Cockroach Diet: Omnivores at Heart

Cockroaches are omnivorous pests, which means they have a diverse diet. They will eat just about anything that’s edible, whether it’s dead or alive animals, plants, or decaying matter. This dietary versatility is one of the reasons they are such persistent and adaptable pests in various environments.

Do Cockroaches Really Bite?

Yes, the answer is a resounding yes, cockroaches can and do bite. However, it’s important to note that cockroaches do not bite humans as a primary source of food. 

Their natural inclination is to find food and shelter, and humans are not typically on their menu. Instead, cockroaches resort to biting in certain situations:

  1. Scarcity of Food: When cockroaches cannot find their usual sources of food, such as crumbs or organic matter, they may explore alternative options, including nibbling on human skin.
  2. Feeling Threatened: Cockroaches are primarily nocturnal creatures that prefer to remain hidden. If they feel cornered or threatened, they may bite as a defense mechanism.
  3. Extreme Infestations: In cases of severe infestations, cockroaches may become bolder and more desperate, increasing the likelihood of encountering humans and potentially resorting to biting.

What Do Cockroach Bites Look Like?

Cockroach bites on humans are typically small, red, and raised welts. They may resemble mosquito bites but are usually smaller in size.

These welts can be itchy, but the discomfort is generally mild. It’s important to remember that cockroach bites are not a common occurrence for most people.

Variation in Cockroach Biting Behavior

Not all cockroach species exhibit the same biting behavior. While all cockroach species have the capability to bite, some are more likely to do so than others.

German cockroaches, Australian cockroaches, and American cockroaches are among the species that are more prone to biting humans.

However, it’s important to note that the level of pain from a cockroach bite may vary from person to person. Some individuals may only feel a slight twinge or pinch, while others may experience more discomfort.

Read Also: Boric Acid For Roaches?

Are Cockroach Bites Dangerous?

Cockroach bites, in and of themselves, are not dangerous. Unlike some other insects, cockroaches do not inject venom into their victims. Therefore, a cockroach bite typically causes irritation, swelling, and sometimes mild pain, but it does not pose a significant health risk.

Cockroach Allergies vs. Bites

While cockroach bites may not be particularly harmful, cockroaches can trigger allergies in some individuals.

These allergies are typically caused by cockroach allergens found in their saliva, feces, and shed skin. Symptoms may include sneezing, a runny nose, and itchy eyes when exposed to these allergens.

Cockroaches and Disease Transmission

Cockroaches are notorious for being potential vectors of disease. However, it’s important to clarify that they do not transmit diseases through their bites.

  • Instead, cockroaches and baby roaches can carry disease-causing pathogens on their bodies and in their excrement.

By crawling in unsanitary environments, such as drains, sewage, and garbage waste, they can pick up these pathogens.

When they come into contact with food or surfaces that humans touch, they can transfer these pathogens, potentially causing diseases like typhoid, cholera, diarrhea, and dysentery.

When Do Cockroaches Bite, and Where?

Cockroaches are primarily nocturnal creatures, which means they are most active at night. This is when you’re more likely to encounter them if you have an infestation.

Biting usually occurs when they feel threatened or when their food sources are scarce. They may bite areas of your body with some food residue, such as hands, feet, and even dead skin.

How to Treat a Cockroach Bite

If you suspect you’ve been bitten by a cockroach, follow these steps for treatment:

  1. Avoid Scratching: It’s crucial not to scratch the bite area to prevent additional inflammation and potential infection.
  2. Elevate the Bite Area: Keeping the bitten area elevated can reduce swelling and irritation.
  3. Apply an Ice Pack: Place an ice pack over the cockroach bite for about 20 minutes to soothe swelling and discomfort.
  4. Natural Remedies: You can use natural remedies like honey, eucalyptus, coconut oil, rosemary oil, apricot oil, or lavender oil to soothe the irritation.
  5. Over-the-Counter Solutions: Calamine cream can help reduce swelling and irritation caused by cockroach bites.
  6. Hydrocortisone, Peppermint, and Aloe Vera: These ingredients can also be applied to the bite area to reduce irritation and swelling.

When Do Cockroaches Bite During Sleep?

Cockroaches tend to bite humans when they are sleeping, mainly because most of your defenses are down at this time.

  • If their food sources are limited or if the cockroach population in an area has grown too large, they may resort to biting.

This is particularly common aboard ships, where cockroach populations can multiply rapidly, and their food sources become limited.

Related: Use roach bombs.


In conclusion, cockroaches can indeed bite, but it’s not something that should cause excessive concern for most people. Cockroach bites are usually mild, causing irritation and swelling, but they are not inherently dangerous.

  • The primary focus should be on preventing cockroach infestations in your home, as cockroaches are more likely to bite when their food sources are scarce.
  • Maintaining a clean environment, sealing entry points, and using effective pest control methods can help keep these pests at bay.

Remember that cockroaches are more likely to transmit diseases through contamination rather than their bites, making proper hygiene and pest control crucial in keeping your home safe and pest-free.


  1. Fast and Powerful: Biomechanics and Bite Forces – National Center for Biotechnology Information
  2. Cockroach, tick, storage mite, and other arthropod allergies – NCBI – NIH.
  3. Cockroaches as a Source of High Bacterial Pathogens – NCBI – NIH

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