Many of us are used to getting bitten by various insects. Mosquitoes and bed bugs are among the most popular pests that annoyingly feed on human blood and leave tiny, itchy bites in their wake. But what about the ever-dreadful roach? Do cockroaches bite, too?
It might be weird to think that a cockroach can bite you. It seems like all they do is scavenge for food and try to run or fly away when they see humans. But you’ll be surprised at the possibility of getting a cockroach bite if you find yourself living in a home with a severe cockroach infestation.
Today, we’ll delve into whether cockroaches bite people, what these bites might look like, and what you can do to heal them. Tune in to learn more about cockroach bites.
Do Cockroaches Bite People?
Although many people are deathly afraid of cockroaches, these pests aren’t likely to bite people. However, there are exceptions to this.
Sometimes, when a home is infested with a huge population of roaches, their food supply can run out. If they can’t find any food crumbs or open garbage cans to rummage through for a snack, they’ll look elsewhere for sustenance.
When they’re competing for food, some of them might try to attack human beings and feed on their blood to survive. As a result, people can wake up from their sleep with cockroach bites. Species that are most likely to bite people include the American cockroach and the German cockroach.
Cockroaches will typically try to bite humans when they’re sound asleep at night. This is because roaches are usually cautious of people. If they attack in the dark and while their victims are asleep, they are most likely not to get caught.
Since it’s quite rare to see cockroaches biting humans, finding these bites on your body might indicate that the roach infestation in your home is getting worse. It’s a sign that there are way more cockroaches than your garbage disposal and exposed leftovers can feed.
What Do Cockroach Bites Look Like?
If a cockroach were to bite you, it would usually do so on very specific parts of your body. They target areas where there might be leftover food debris, such as on your mouth, hands, or underneath your fingernails. So, roach bites will usually turn up in these areas.
Check out this quick video to see an explanation of why cockroaches bite people on specific body parts, and how these areas end up looking after a bad cockroach bite:
Cockroach bites look a lot like bed bug bites. However, they are bigger, have a bright red color, and can occasionally come in clusters on the skin. These raised bumps can be up to four millimeters wide.
You’ll also feel a lot of swelling, irritation, and itchiness on your skin. Some roach bites might lead to an infection where the bites are tender to the touch and are filled with pus. If you have a low tolerance for pain, you might feel a lot of discomfort with these kinds of bites.
Other people, on the other hand, might have allergic reactions to the cockroach bite. The proteins in the feces and saliva of roaches can cause irritation and allergies in humans. Some people with asthma might even find that cockroach bites will trigger shortness of breath.
What to Do When You’ve Been Bitten by a Cockroach
If you notice a cockroach bite on your body, it’s important to take action right away. Thankfully, most roach bites are likely harmless. However, it is still better to be extra cautious since roaches are known to carry around bacteria and diseases that can harm you in the long run.
Did you spot some bites on your skin when you woke up? Don’t panic. Here are some of the things you should do if you have a cockroach bite:
1. Wash your bitten skin right away
Cockroaches are known for carrying around all sorts of germs and bacteria that can get people sick. They’ve been linked to passing around diseases like cholera, dysentery, and streptococcus, among many others.
To make sure that there aren’t any pathogens and germs on your skin after you get bitten by a roach, wash your skin right away with soap and water. This will reduce the risk of getting sick from the cockroach that had to audacity to bite you.
After washing your skin, apply an antiseptic cream to the cockroach bite. This can soothe any itchiness and irritation while preventing an infection from developing.
2. Apply a cold compress to the area
If your cockroach bites are feeling extra inflamed and swollen, you can press an ice pack or any kind of cold compress on it to alleviate the pain. Leave the cold compress on for about 15 minutes for the best results.
You can also try slathering cold aloe vera gel over the area to soothe it some more. Applying even a thin layer of the gel can help give you some instant relief.
3. Fight the temptation to scratch the bite
Cockroach bites get even itchier and more inflamed if you scratch them. Although scratching itchy skin is just natural, try your best not to do it. Instead, run it under soapy water to make it feel less itchy while simultaneously giving it a good cleanse.
4. Take some over-the-counter pain meds
If your bites are swollen, they can get quite painful. If you feel that the pain is interfering with you doing your daily activities, you can take some over-the-counter pain medications for relief. Pain meds can help reduce pain, inflammation, and itching on those bites.
5. Seek medical attention if needed
Cockroach bites aren’t usually dangerous. Most of the time, you can get away with treating them with a cold compress and antiseptic ointment at home. But if you feel severe symptoms like fever, skin rashes, or pus draining from the bites, it’s best to seek medical attention at a clinic or hospital.
How to Prevent Cockroaches from Biting You
Worried about getting even more insect bites from cockroaches? Here are a few things you can do that help minimize these scary, nightly encounters with hungry roaches:
1. Wash your face and hands before bed
Roaches are attracted to the parts of your body that may have leftover food debris, like your mouth and fingers. So, before going to bed, make sure you wash your face and hands to get rid of any crumbs or food odors there.
2. Keep your bedroom clean
Your bedroom will be very attractive to cockroaches if it’s not clean. Make sure that there are no dirty dishes, open garbage bins, or leaky faucets near the room you sleep in. If you have a pet that sleeps in the same room as you, make sure they don’t have pet food lying around.
If you can, reduce the clutter in your bedroom, too. Cockroaches like to hide in the crevices of clutter. The tidier your room, the less likely roaches will hang around in it. That means fewer insect bites for you!
3. Repel roaches with strong scents
Deter cockroaches from entering your bedroom at night by using strong, distracting scents that they hate. Diffuse peppermint, lavender, or citrus oils at night. These may be super relaxing for people, but cockroaches will stay as far away as possible from them since they’re overwhelming.
Other scents cockroaches won’t appreciate include catnip, bay leaves, citronella, basil, and orange and lemon peels.
4. Call a trusted pest control professional
The best way to prevent cockroach bites is by addressing the root of the problem—your roach infestation at home. And the most effective way to get rid of those pesky roaches once and for all is by calling the professionals to do the work for you.
Pest control professionals will assess the infestation situation in your home and identify the source of the problem. They’ll then come up with a treatment plan to finally keep your home roach-free.
The team will use professional-grade chemicals and insecticides to kill the cockroaches and ensure that they don’t come back. They may even do extra work like sealing potential entry points for roaches, so you don’t have to worry about any future infestations.
It’s not every day that cockroaches bite people. Most of the time, they’ll stay away from humans. But when they’re extra hungry and can’t find food sources, they may attempt to feed on human blood and give your flesh a bite.
Roach bites can leave your skin swollen, inflamed, and super itchy. These bright red bites can even cause allergies and asthma attacks for some. As soon as you see these bites on your skin, wash your body. Don’t hesitate to seek medical attention if you have severe side effects and pain.
Keep cockroaches from biting you by making sure your face, body, and even your bedroom is completely clean before you go to bed. You can also use essential oils and other strong scents to keep roaches away. And when all else fails, ring in the professionals to get rid of your infestation.