It’s no secret that cockroaches are one of the harshest pests when it comes to transmitting household diseases and embarrassing homeowners 😭😭. Definitely, roaches are omnivorous pests and thus will eat anything that’s edible including dead or live animals and plants. But some homeowners are still worried – can cockroaches bite human beings? I discuss that, and more, below.
So, do cockroaches bite? Well, the short answer is, YES. However, cockroaches will only bite human beings when the roach population outgrows their available food sources. Therefore, roaches would not bite human beings when there is exposed food or food in garbage cans. They’ll bite hands, dead skin, and feet because these areas may have some food residue. The cockroach bite may cause swelling, lesions, and irritation, which may last for about a week.
Do all Cockroach Species Bite? Does it hurt?
First things first, all cockroach species can bite – they mainly target your dead skin cells, feet, hands, calloused skin, eyelashes, or fingernails. However, German roaches, Australian roaches, and American cockroaches are more likely to bite humans compared to other species.
But does the bite vary with the roach species? Well, no, bites from different roach species roach will have almost similar pain and skin reactions (such as swelling). However, the level of pain from a roach bait will mainly depend on how much pain you can tolerate. Therefore, some people may report feeling just a twinge or pinch that lasts just a moment.
Roach will use their strong mandibles to bite but since the pest is small the damage on human skin will be minimal and even the pain may go unnoticed. Sidenote: you can control the cockroaches in your house and apartment using roach killers or roach bombs.
What Do roach Bites Look Like?
Let me bring this closer home, roach bites are something almost similar to the regular mosquito or spider bites. However, roach bites tend to be larger and may have a scab. However, if your skin is allergic, then you might experience stronger irritation and swelling. In addition, the bite might cause a rash – the bumpy and reddish swellings on your skin.
So, roach bites are mainly denoted by swelling and rashes around the bite area. So, when you’re sleeping roaches might bite your hands, feet, and eyelids – where you might be large irritations. However, for places that are prone to roach infestations, you might need to avoid sleeping on the floor and even wear gloves if you’re aboard a ship.
Are cockroach bites dangerous?
Beside causing swelling and irritation with their sharp mandibles (jaws), cockroach bites are not dangerous. This is mainly because cockroaches will not inject any venom into your body and thus its justs cause panic, irritation, and swelling – which will most likely subside after a few days.
However, you must avoid scratching your skin near the bite area as this may cause further skin inflammation, which would otherwise slow down the healing process or attract other infections. The main role of cockroach mandible is for transportation, feed baby roaches, digging, and cutting food into smaller pieces.
But we said earlier that roaches transmit diseases? Definitely YES, roaches can carry disease from one place to another – including typhoid, cholera, diarrhea, and dysentery by transporting parasitic worms and their eggs. This is mainly because roaches will crawl in dirty places and eat garbage waste, drains clogs, and sewers (but you can use drain cleaners as a remedy for drain clogs). Hence, cockroaches will cause diseases mainly be contaminating your food with dirt (causing food poisoning) and not through their bites.
When do cockroaches bite? When sleeping?
Evidently, cockroaches run for their safety when they see human beings. So, at what time exactly do they gather the courage to BITE you? Well, roaches will mainly bite you when you’re sleeping since most of your external security is down at this time and if their food sources are limited or the roach population has gone overboard.
So, cockroaches bites are most prevalent when one ism aborad a ship. This is mainly because the cockroach population might grow exponentially without offloading and thus the pests outgrow their available food sources on the boart or ship.
With the high roach population and limited food, roaches may suddenly start attacking and biting human beings on the ship while they’re deep asleep. Therfeore, it would be wise to wear some gloves whenever you’re sleeping aboard a ship.
How to avoid roach bites
How to Treat a Roach Bite
The sad moment might come that you’re already bitten by a roach. So, here is the step you should take to treat the roach bite. First, as noted above, you must never scratch the bite area to avoid additional inflammation of your smooth skin.
However, when you or your children scratch the bite area, you can use s0me anti-itch cream. Below I outline a prescription for a DIY cream for the roach bite.
- Ensure the bite area is well elevated with the aim of reducing the intensity of the irritation and swelling.
- Use an ice pack over the roach bite and hold for about 20 minutes.
- Soothe the swelling and irritation by applying some honey and eucalyptus.
- You can also apply comes coconut oil, rosemary, apricot or lavender oil to also sooth the irritating roach bite.
- Also, you can also apply calamine cream to lessen the swelling and irritation.
- Finally, hydrocortisone peppermint and aloe vera can also help reduce roach bite irritation and swelling.
1. Fast and Powerful: Biomechanics and Bite Forces of the Mandibles in the American Cockroach Periplaneta americana. National Center for Biotechnology Information.
2. Cockroach, tick, storage mite and other arthropod allergies: Where do we stand with molecular allergy diagnostics? NCBI – NIH.
3. Cockroaches as a Source of High Bacterial Pathogens with Multidrug-Resistant Strains in Gondar Town, Ethiopia. NCBI – NIH