Cockroach Bites: a Guide for All You Need to Know 2023

Cockroaches are one of the most commonly infested pests in homes with bite force fifty times stronger than their body weight.

Cockroaches can reproduce five hundred cockroaches by just one female cockroach. They spread diseases and contain drug-resistant bacteria pathogens, and are allergenic.

Their feces are used as fungal colonies and act as allergen reservoirs, lasting several months even after full extermination.

In an infected area, 5-10% of the general population could be positive for cockroach allergens in the house dust.

Cockroaches’ bits could present a potential health risk for many households. Cockroaches regurgitate fluid (half-digested food) from their mouth from where they feed.

They usually bite on eyelashes, fingernails, hands and legs, and soft skin, which can leave a nasty bite mark on your skin.

Even though their bit isn’t deadly, however, given the circumstances, it could be dangerous. So, one needs to act quickly before it’s too late.

Are Cockroach bites common?

Cockroaches are omnivorous scavengers; unlike other insects like fleas, mites, and mosquitoes, their bits may not carry deadly pathogens. However, it can be harmful.

Usually, cockroaches don’t bite unless they desperately seek food or are threatened. 

They don’t go after humans as the typical foods preferred by cockroaches are mainly sugar, chocolate meat, milk, and bread, but cockroaches can eat almost all human food.

Dead insects, blood, feces, and bird droppings are not forgiven from their diet list. Cockroaches usually bite at night when they are most active, i.e. during your sleep.

The bite on a human body means they are looking and checking for food.

German cockroach bites

If you have seen a cockroach in your home, more or less, it would be a Garman cockroach. This is the number one cosmopolitan cockroach type.

Found all over the world, mainly in warm and humid environments with a small amount of waste food, it can flourish.

Believed to be spread from Asia to Eastern Europe and was later introduced into the New world by Europe.

German cockroaches are extremely adaptable to the southern and northern climates.

German cockroach Males are light yellowish-brown; on the other hand, females are slightly darker.

The male can live up to 100 days in an unfavorable environment, but a favorable environment gives it up to one year.

Because of their durability and wide feeder range, Garman cockroach bites are more common than other cockroaches bites.

American cockroach bites

Unlike the Garman cockroach, the American cockroach is not a fully cosmopolitan cockroach.

Still, it shows its presence occasionally, and interactions can occur in restaurants, food plants, bakeries, and kitchens (mostly places associated with food).

It originated in tropical Africa and spread through commerce. So, like its birthplace, it likes warm, humid environments.

Due to the fact they can be active up to -21° C and can be found near latrines, outhouses, and sewers, they can be out dwellers and easily be overrun.

American cockroaches are shining red to chocolate-brown color, and adults have prominent yellow to buff sub-marginal pattern with a dark interior.

American cockroaches are bigger than Garman cockroaches but less commonly seen than the German type. So, it is rare to see it bite; however, a larger size means a larger bite mark.

What do cockroach bites look like on humans?

The cockroach bite may look like an ordinary insect bit. However, the examination should be done by observation to demine the cause or identification of a cockroach bite.

One will see a small red bump, and for the obvious reason, it will be bigger than other ordinary house bug bits, such as mosquitos, bed bugs, etc.

cockroach bite will cause red skin and a big bump. The infected area can be scratchy and can cause rashes and allergic asthma.  

Cockroach bites on the skin

On adult human skin, the bite mark should look like a red swollen bump bigger than a mosquito bite and much more sporadic.  

cockroach bite will be reddish. The bite could be mistaken for another biting incest bite. Due to the reason that cockroaches bite at night, it is hard to detect a cockroach during or after the bite.

Cockroach bites on baby

Cockroach bites on babies could be severe as they have less immune response than adults.

Cockroach bites on babies can cause allergic reactions plus could introduce new diseases.

Babies tend to spoil food, and the smell and a tiny leftover can attract cockroaches and thereby could be bitten during sleeping time.

Do cockroaches bite humans in their sleep?

Only while people are asleep are they vulnerable to cockroach bites, which are quite uncommon.

Cockroaches are opportunistic feeders. No, they don’t consume persons that are still alive.

They only care about one thing: eating, and a sleeping person provides the perfect opportunity to scavenge for dead skin, leftovers, sweets, and the most susceptible areas of the body.

Cockroaches consider a sleeping human to be fair game because they don’t move at night.

What happens if a Cockroach bites you?

It is believed that cockroaches may operate as vectors for the transmission of a variety of human-harming pathogens.

In their natural environments, cockroaches may harbor up to forty distinct types of bacteria as well as the eggs of creatures that transmit disease Helminths.

At the same time, cockroaches are capable of transmitting other diseases, such as the Asiatic cholera, fever, anthrax, black leg, and rat leprosy, amongst others.

If a person gets bitten by a cockroach, they will not know what diseases the cockroach may be carrying with it.

It is dependent on the location from which the cockroach originated. Although it is incredibly difficult to verify, there is a significant connection between cockroaches and the transmission of illnesses, which is thought to be caused by the cockroaches’ behavior while they are active throughout the night.

Are Cockroach bites dangerous?

The bites of cockroaches are mostly harmless; they lack venom and are thus not lethal. But may result in:

  • Pain and skin swallowing
  • Itching and allergic responses
  • Certain instances can induce infections

Nonetheless, cockroaches are incredibly appealing to pathogens. In hospital clinics, they carry more lethal pathogens and may potentially transmit them.

Therefore, those with medical issues or compromised immune systems (babies or the elderly) may become ill.

Luckily, there have been no reports of cockroach bites causing death or severe illness.

Cockroach bites symptoms

At first glance, it may look like an ordinary insect bite. One needs to pay attention and match the symptoms to find out the actual culprit for the bite.

Cockroaches bite at night, so it is hard to detect; some of the symptoms and signs are:

  1. Bite marks after sleep
  2. The red, swollen, raised area around the bite
  3. Big bite mark compares to mosquito or bed bug, and sporadic frequency if there are many bites
  4. Burning or itching could be allergic reactions.
  5. Deep wide skin penetrations compare to other insects

Cockroaches Bites vs Insects Bites

Cockroaches bites could be mistaken for other insect bites. They are almost similar at first glance. But if looked carefully, there are some major differences.

CockroachBed bugsMosquitosFleaMite
Cockroaches’ bites are bigger than other insects and sporadicBed bug bites are relatively small and numerous. Dark center with a red or lighter surrounding area.Mosquito bites are less frequent and with small red puffy look depending on your skin color.Flea bites are small, combined with more severe itching.Mite bites are small and more numerous in one place.

Cockroach bites treatment

As we discussed, cockroach bites are not deadly, but they could cause you trouble if not treated properly.

Cockroaches bites and itching

Cockroach bite may leave an itching sensation, and this itching can worsen the situation as we don’t know what pathogen that cockroach may carry.

So instead of itching, the wound should be cleaned first.

One can use a commercially available product such as an alcohol-based rub or other insect bites creams that could be applicable as a first step.

If you don’t have alcohol use hot water and soap to clean the infected area, as it will destroy any bacteria and germs.

Cockroach bites treatment at home (Low budget natural remedy for cockroach bites)

Since cockroaches’ bites are not generally dangerous, one can treat the bite at home if it is not infected or causing serious illness.

Treating a mild reaction to a cockroach bite

Slowly wash the area with hot water or alcohol if possible. Suppose none of them is available; use tap water and soap. At any point, don’t starch or itch the area.

Then apply cold water or ice for about fifteen minutes to prevent swelling, which will reduce pain at the same time.

Gently apply Antiseptic Creams or any insect bite cream if available. If none of them is available, use baking soda paste, apple cider vinegar, Honey (anti-inflammatory), Tea tree oil (reduce itching), Aloe vera gel, and Lilac oil.  

If the homemade remedy is thick, dilute equal amounts of water and do the same with raw apple cider vinegar; use directly baking soda pest, Honey, etc.

  1. Use a cotton fabric or ball to apply the remedy over the infected skin.
  2. Leave the mixture until it dries out, and wash them with warm water.
  3. This procedure should be done a minimum of two times a day.

If the bite doesn’t disappear in 3-4 days or if the person develops a fever, severe inflammation with uncontrollable itching, or body chill, then it is time to call a doctor. The situation should be taken seriously.

Cockroaches’ favorite biting spots

Cockroaches don’t bite all over the body; they have bite-specific areas. Most of the attack occurs:

  1. Face (Edema of the eyelids)
  2. Hands (Fingernails)
  3. Feet
  4. Mouth

If hygiene is not properly followed and the house is infested with cockroaches, most of the bites will be placed on body parts that it used for eating.

Small food partials are the influence for a cockroach bite. Unclean bodies and dead skin may attract cockroaches regardless of food.

How to prevent Cockroach bites?

cockroach bites are not poisoning but painful and can cause illness and infection. To be safe from cockroach bites, first of all, you must first get rid of cockroaches at home.

Cockroach Prevention

Cockroaches migrate from adjoining homes or apartment to apartment. To prevent them, it is necessary to close all unnecessary openings, holes, and gaps on the wall, floors, wiring, windows, etc.

The water, sanitation, steam pipes, and all other electric and utility lines should be checked carefully and filled with fillers if necessary.

It is noteworthy that cockroaches can pass through a small hole, so the filling must be done with caution.

Another way they can get in is by containers, luggage (especially with dirty clothing), packages, and open food containers that can carry cockroaches to your home.

So, careful inspection before you get items into your house, especially if the area is suspected of cockroach infestation.

At the same time, all unnecessary items, boxes, loose baseboards, unclean basements, and food debris-contaminated areas should be removed or cleaned regularly.

Anything warm and close to the cockroach’s food list should be kept safe from them.

The trash box should be sealed and located in a place where they can’t go and emptied before the night to keep it out of cockroaches.

The cockroaches can reproduce quickly and undetectable until it already overrun. If you have a cockroach’s bite, it is the final indication of a big infestation going on behind the scenes. So, it is better to be careful in the first place.

Even after all these careful steps, cockroaches can overrun one house. Cleanliness, minimizing cockroach habitat and overall awareness surely make a significant difference.

Cockroaches bite prevention

If your house is overrun and cockroaches are biting you, as temporary measurements, you can take the following steps:

  1. Wash your hand, mouth, and cloth before going into bed.
  2. Don’t sleep on the ground, couch, or any place where cockroaches can climb easily.
  3. Use pesticides before going to bed, as it may keep you safe for the night.
  4. Keep an extra eye on children and elders as they are more immune to compromise.

Final words

Cockroaches are containers of pathogens; they contaminate food and introduce dermatological relations and asthmatic relations.

While we are sleeping, they can bite our fingernails, eyelids, etc. Early detection and prevention can stop this form from happening.

Success in the long-term prevention of cockroaches depends on awareness control and getting professional help at the right moment.

Though long-term success can be difficult due to cockroaches’ hardy nature, however, an overrun colony of cockroaches can be controlled if proper decisions are taken at the right moment.

Featured image credit: Mohammed El Damir, | slight edits were applied | licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.