Cockroaches are omnivorous insects that have been recorded to derive nutrition from human flesh, both living and dead. They also eat human hair and nails. But do they bite?
Although less likely they do. It is hard to notice but when a cockroach infestation gets out of hand and these bugs are running amok in every corner of your home, getting a bite or two is nothing uncommon.
The bites are tiny but can cause noticeable irritation on the skin. Red bumps and rashes may appear on the place of the bite and if left unchecked it may develop into an infection.
Some people are even allergic to cockroaches and if they are unfortunate enough to get bitten, they might even get allergy attacks needing emergency medical attention.
But as already mentioned, roach bites are an uncommon occurrence and often can be mistaken for regular bug bites even.
In any case, if you are not allergic to these insects, then the bites can be easily treated. Using apple cider vinegar is a useful way to neutralize the bite and stop the irritation on the skin.
Do Cockroaches Bite?
Yes, cockroaches do bite. As unfortunate as it may be, cockroaches do sometimes bite humans on exposed skin surfaces. But relax! Those bumps on your skin are highly unlikely to be from cockroach bites. It’s more probable that their heavy leg spines caused some scratches while they innocently crawled over you while you were asleep.
The approach of any human near them will have them running for their lives so there is no logical reason why roaches would bite humans while risking their lives.
Cockroaches may take a bite out of your nail or your hair and at the most your hands and feet when you are not looking or sleeping. These, however, occur under very specific situations and you will not see cockroaches just approaching a human and biting them.
One such situation is when the infestation is severe and the number of cockroaches has gotten out of hand. If there are too many cockroaches in a limited space then there might be a scarcity of food in the insect colony and in such extreme cases they may bite humans.
What Do Cockroach Bites Look Like?
Like any other insect bite, a cockroach bite looks like a small red bump on the skin. When the bug initially bites you, there might be a slight sensation of a sharp sting with a lingering redness on the spot. The bump will develop in another ten or so minutes.
The best way to describe a cockroach bite will be to compare it with a mosquito bite but a bit larger. A small raised bump will be visible on your skin. The area surrounding the bump will also be red.
In some extreme cases, where the person has developed an infection or allergy because of the bite, the place may become inflamed and filled with pus.
Signs of a worsening allergy attack or infection are intense pain in the area of the bite accompanied by a fever and labored breathing. Such a condition can be fatal and should be treated with utmost emergency.
Show Me Pictures of Cockroach Bites
Here are a few images of roach bites on human beings for a better idea. As already mentioned, cockroach bites can be mistaken for bites from other bugs so it is a good idea to know precisely what the bite from these insects looks like.
Take a closer look at this image that showcases the distinctive marks left behind by a cockroach’s bite.
Get a glimpse of a real roach bite in this revealing image, showcasing the unique mark left behind on human skin.
When Do Roaches Bite People?
Among the recorded cases of cockroach bites, most are that of mysterious bites from the nighttime. That is to say, cockroaches bite humans mostly when they’re asleep.
Although, unsubstantiated it can still be assumed that roaches bite during the night. There are logical reasons to come to this assumption and the most important one of them is that cockroaches are nocturnal creatures.
You will hardly spot these sneaky bugs during the daytime because evolution has taught them that it is dangerous for them when there is light.
They are equipped with organs that help them navigate and forage for food and water in the dark. And it is clear that cockroaches bite humans as a source of food, so it makes sense for them to do this during the night.
Moreover, it can only happen when a person is sleeping and unmoving because cockroaches have a 360-degree compound vision that allows them to detect any movement in their immediate surroundings. Any movement from the sleeping human will make the bug run for its life.
Why Do Roaches Bite Humans?
This is probably the most burning question that anyone may have. After all, it makes no sense for sneaky insects like roaches to expose themselves before humans and risk their lives when their survival does not depend on it. So, why exactly do they do it?
Severe Roach Infestation
Roaches are most motivated by food and they invade places where there is enough supply of food and water.
In simple terms, this is called an infestation and if there is no human intervention to this problem, the number of cockroaches in that limited place will simply keep growing.
When there are too many mouths to feed, it is normal that not all insects will be able to derive sufficient nutrition from the available sources.
Therefore, in such a case they will try to eat directly out of human nails, eyelashes, hair, fingers, and feet to stay alive. This is nothing but a survival mechanism as roaches will never bite you out of spite or simply for the sake of it.
Cockroaches can feed on a large range of things that include both clean and unclean stuff. One of the less savory things they like to feed on is dead flesh or rotting flesh.
There is a famous unsubstantiated anecdote about cockroaches feeding on the dead flesh of wounded people in one of the former Soviet Union hospitals.
This is just a story but the point that comes across is that if you have a severely open wound on your body and leave it undressed while you are asleep, the smell of the fluids and dead flesh may attract roaches lurking around. And if you get bitten on an already wounded spot, the consequences may be quite serious.
Is Cockroach Bite Dangerous?
Several health risks are associated with cockroach bites. The simplest of them is a roach rash or just a red bump that will go away with simple treatments. However, there is also the chance of severe infection that can occur.
Cockroaches are also carriers of several pathogens and microbes. These pests have been linked to carrying salmonella and the polio virus according to the CDC bites from roaches have also been linked to bacterial skin infections. They carry strains of many harmful bacteria such as the Staphylococcus aureus strain.
Some species like the German cockroach are said to carry around 170 types of bacteria at times. When these cockroaches bite, it is thus natural that a skin rash or infection might occur.
In a study, it has also been concluded that cockroaches are one of the most common sources of allergens in the world and can cause severe allergic asthma.
While it is unlikely that you will die from a cockroach bite, it should still be stated that cockroaches carrying harmful bacteria can cause diseases like typhoid fever, hay fever, and dysentery. If these are not diagnosed and treated, the situation can become life-threatening.
What Happens if a Roach Bites You?
Right after a cockroach bites you, the area of the bite will feel stingy. There might even be a sharp burning sensation radiating off the area. It is best not to itch or rub the place.
Soon after you will notice a red bump. If you are not sure about what insect bit you, it is still best to apply some common antibacterial remedies to prevent any infection.
If you or someone with immunity disorders and allergies gets bitten by a cockroach, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Even if you are generally a healthy person and have no concerning issues, you should still monitor any changes in your health after getting bit. Seek medical attention if you see any unusual symptoms.
How Do You Treat a Roach Bite?
Roach bites are usually not very dangerous. But there is no harm in being careful as prevention is always better than cure. Here is how to treat a Roach Bite:-
Wash the Spot With Antiseptic Soap
At the very first, remove any traces of bacteria or germs that the cockroach may have left behind with the bites, wash the spot with soap and water. It is best to use an antiseptic liquid or medical alcohol wipes or soap to prevent any further infections
Apply Some Antiseptic
Once you are done with the above procedures, it is time to use some antiseptic to neutralize the cockroach bite. Any antiseptic such as apple cider vinegar, rubbing alcohol or some tea tree oil will give you relief.
Get Over-The-Counter Ointment
If the irritation persists, it is best to get some actual medical treatment. Any certified chemist will be able to provide you with an ointment that will take care of the bite. If however, you see the bump worsening and other symptoms such as fever and labored breathing, medical attention is a must.
Apply Some Ice
At the very least, apply some ice directly or run cold water through the bitten spot to lessen the irritation. This will also help with the bump and any itching that you may feel.
The Bottom Line
A cockroach infestation must not be allowed to fester to the point where you have to take medicine for cockroach bites. A few weeks of continuously trying to get rid of these insects will yield good results for sure.
There are several safe methods to eliminate cockroaches that include poisoning them with gel baits, setting up traps to throw them out later, or simply cutting off their nutrition supply so they find a new spot to infest.
It is not recommended that you try to use violence and squish the cockroaches to death by stepping on them because the cockroach innards also carry germs and cause irritations and allergies.
However, if unfortunately you still get bitten by this sneaky pest, you can always refer to this post for all relevant information.