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Do Cockroaches Bite + What Do Cockroach Bites Look Like?

Cockroach facing forward

No one can deny how terrifying it is to see a cockroach scurry away, but what’s worse is when we start asking ourselves: do cockroaches bite?

Cockroaches are common pests in the United States and it’s just not possible to come across someone who hasn’t encountered these annoying and dirty pests at some point in their lives. Roaches carry several disease-causing viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens, and spend their time crawling through dirty places and even eating their own feces.

Considering how common roach infestations can be, it’s important to learn what you’re dealing with and what you can expect from these pests.

But fortunately, you’d be happy to know that although cockroaches are technically capable of biting people, this only happens very rarely and under certain circumstances.

Our article discusses the situations in which cockroaches bite and what those bites may look like. You’ll also learn the signs of a cockroach bite and home remedies you can try.

Cockroach Feeding - Macro

Photo Credit: Dreamstime.

Do Cockroaches Bite?

Roach bites are rather rare. Roaches prefer actual food to humans. They are omnivores, which means they will eat both plants and animals. All kinds of fatty, sugary, meaty, and starchy foods are among their favorites. Even paper and clothes are fair game.

Generally speaking, cockroaches will not bite humans. In fact, roach bites are so uncommon that they hardly ever occur. Cockroach bites on people have only been recorded a handful of times throughout history.

Roaches don’t bite as a natural defensive mechanism or as a means of attack like other insects do. Their mouth parts are so weak that they can’t even cut through a human’s skin.

Usually, when people suspect that cockroaches might be biting them it’s more that they are simply picking at food crumbs or dead skin. Cockroaches often stay away from people, so even that scenario is unusual. The only time they’ll come looking for you is when they have no other option.

If you discover that you have been bitten by insects, it is quite unlikely that cockroaches are the cause of those bites.

Cockroach Mouth

Cockroach Mouth – Photo Credit: Dreamstime.

What Would Make Cockroaches Bite Humans?

There are two primary explanations for why a cockroach might bite you, none of which include the cockroach’s intention to harm you.

The first reason roaches bite is because they can detect food on your skin. Food is more appealing to cockroaches than biting humans is. And so, you might get bitten if you have food scent on your skin and a cockroach happens to be crawling on you.

The second potential cause of cockroach bites is an infestation that has surpassed the food source in or near your home.

Cockroaches may resort to biting humans if they run out of other food sources such as garbage, spilled food, crumbs on the floor, or leftovers in sinks. And this would only occur in the most severe of circumstances.

The risk of being bitten by a cockroach is highest at night because that is when they are most active. Cockroach bites typically occur on the hands, feet, eyelashes, and fingernails.

Cockroach Head Close Up

Photo Credit: Dreamstime.

Do Cockroach Bites Hurt?

Whether or not a cockroach bite is painful is entirely dependent on the person and the situation. Every case is different, and different people handle pain in different ways.

A roach bite may feel like a pinching sensation or sharp pain.
The initial bite should only be painful for a few seconds. Some people may not even notice a bite.

If a cockroach bite turns into an infection, it could cause you a lot of pain. We’ll come back to that later. But that pain will be caused by an infection, not by the bite itself.

What Does a Cockroach Bite Look Like?

Cockroach bites would likely show up as red, raised bumps on the skin, and they would be slightly larger than bed bugs or mosquito bites. The size of a cockroach bite is about 1/8 inch.

Since cockroach bites are so rare, this is mainly based on the physiology of cockroach mouthparts. Roach bites might also result in a scab.


Do Cockroach Bites Carry Diseases?

The good news is that cockroach bites don’t actually transmit any diseases and they’re also non-venomous. Cockroaches, however, are filthy creatures and good carriers of infections.

They can transmit disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and allergens through bite wounds through feces, saliva, and vomit.

The following infections and diseases have been linked to cockroaches:

  • Salmonella
  • Dysentery
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Cholera
  • Giardia
  • Staphylococcus
  • Streptococcus

In light of this, we’ll explain how to swiftly and effectively treat and manage a cockroach bite.

Cockroach Front and Side View - Close Up

Photo Credit: Dreamstime.

How Do You Treat Cockroach Bites?

Cockroach bites require treatment. Even if it doesn’t hurt, you should make sure the area where you were bitten is properly cleaned with soapy water as soon as possible, and you should continue to keep it clean until it has healed.

Using this method ensures that any potentially infectious bacteria or other contaminants are eliminated and it also reduces any risk of infection.

Try not to touch, rub, or scratch the wound, and if it’s swollen and itchy, use an ice pack to soothe it and bring down the swelling.

Signs of a Cockroach Bite

  • A short, sharp pain
  • Irritation
  • Itching
  • Swelling
  • Infection
  • Red bumps
  • Skin rash

Home Remedies for Cockroach Bite

There are some useful home remedies that can help alleviate the pain caused by roach bites. To relieve the bite wound, try some of the following natural remedies:

  • Lemon juice
  • Aloe vera gel
  • Bicarbonate of soda and water paste

How to Deal with an Infected Cockroach Bite

A cockroach bite might hurt a little bit. If a bite gets infected, which is a very real possibility, you might notice swelling, pain, and red, purple, or even green skin around the wound.

If you think your bite might have turned into an infection, you should see a doctor right away. If you’re experiencing anaphylaxis, you should seek medical attention right away because roach bites have been known to trigger allergic reactions.

In fact, one in three Americans is allergic to cockroaches. Moreover, people who suffer from asthma may find that the presence of cockroaches, even dead ones, sets off their condition.

Your doctor will provide you with a prescription or over-the-counter medication and ointment to help heal the infection and any other symptoms you might be experiencing.

Feeding Cockroach

Photo Credit: Dreamstime.

How to Prevent Cockroach Bites

In order to avoid getting cockroach bites, you must keep your home free of cockroach infestations. If you already have an infestation, you must get it treated right away.

Dirt attracts German cockroaches, which are the most common residential cockroaches in the United States. Maintain your home clean by sweeping and vacuuming the floors, keeping your skin clean, and throwing food and waste outside.

Since roaches can enter a home through any open door or window, it’s important to keep the outside of your house and yard neat and tidy as well.

Since cockroaches are most active at night, this is when they are most likely to bite. Make sure you and your family take care of yourselves before bed, with a focus on clean fingernails, faces, and mouths.

Check out our guide if you want to learn more about the signs of a cockroach infestation and how to get rid of cockroaches.


Other Cockroach Articles from Planet Natural:

Baby Cockroach: What They Look Like + How to Get Rid of Them

Palmetto Bug Or Cockroach: Differences & How to Kill Them

Water Bugs: What Are They Exactly and How to Get Rid of Them

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