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Do cockroaches bite?

Cockroaches, synonymous with dirt and filth, are great survivors. These crawling insects can survive in almost any location, and are omnivorous creatures, eating almost anything they come across.

But does their large diet of vegetables, meat and glue ever include us?

Did you know when food is scarce cockroaches will turn cannibal and eat the weaker members for the intrusion?

Do cockroaches bite?

So, do cockroaches bite humans?

To answer your question in short, yes they do.

However, unlike other biting insects such as fleasmosquitoes and flies, cockroaches don’t rely on humans to complete their life cycle, i.e. they don’t need to feed on us to survive. Cockroach bites are fairly uncommon and only occur when the populations outgrow the normal food sources, forcing these crawling insects to seek other means of food.

It is very rare for cockroaches to bite humans. However, there has been a few cases recorded where cockroaches have eaten human flesh. This usually consists of eyelashes, fingernails and dead skin. The majority of time, when it comes to feeding on humans, cockroaches only feast on the deceased.

Cockroach bites

cockroach in mug

Roaches are nocturnal by nature, and naturally shy of humans. That’s why cockroach bites usually happen at night time while the victim is asleep.

The main locations on the body which cockroach bites occur are:

  • Face
  • Mouth
  • Hands
  • Fingers

The reason behind this is suggested to be down to food residue resting in these locations.

Did You Know a cockroach can generate a bite force 50 times stronger than their own body weight?

What do cockroach bites look like?

Cockroach bites can sometimes be mistaken for bed bug bites, and those from other biting insects. However, there are a few subtle differences that can help identify the culprit of the itchy red marks on your skin.

One of the key ways to identify if a cockroach has bitten you is catching the crawling insect in the act. However, this is not always possible as roaches tend to bite during the night time when you are asleep.

Cockroach bites are a lot like bed bug bites in their shape and form. They are bright red and are around 1-4mm wide and slightly larger than bed bug bites.

Compared to bed bug bites which are usually found in groups in a straight line, cockroach bites only appear one at time.

Like most insect bites, cockroach bites cause the skin to react by swelling up and becoming itchy. In the rare case that a cockroach bite becomes infected, the area will become inflamed and fill up with pus. The bite may then become as large as your hand.

German cockroach bites

German cockroaches are one of the most common pests found around the globe. Their diet mostly consists of sugary and starchy foods, but they have been known to bite humans on rare occasions. This only occurs during cockroach infestations where food has become limited.

German cockroaches bite humans to feed on the food residues on the faces and hands of sleeping humans and dead skin particles on the hands.

American cockroach bites

American cockroaches are another popular species of cockroach around the world. American cockroaches will often feed on dead animals and fermented foods. Like German cockroaches, these roaches will bite if food is in short supply, or they have stumbled across some food residue on your body.

Are cockroach bites dangerous?

Compared to mosquito bites or tick bites, cockroach bites aren’t dangerous. Unlike other biting insects, cockroaches don’t transmit any diseases through their bites. Learn more about insect-borne diseases.

However, cockroaches aren’t the cleanest of animals. They are known to carry an array of different germs, bacteria and pathogens on their bodies and can transmit diseases such as salmonella through their faeces, urine, vomit and sometimes saliva. These diseases can be transmitted through infecting open wounds or inhalation.

Cockroaches are also known to trigger allergic reactions. This can sometimes occur through a cockroach bite via the proteins found in a cockroaches saliva as well as the germs located on the cockroaches body and its excrement.

How to get rid of cockroach bites

The best way to get rid of cockroach bites is to follow the necessary treatment procedures to reduce swelling and the possibility of infection.

If the bite welts up, or an allergic reaction in the form of anaphylaxis begins to occur then you should contact your doctor immediately.

How to treat cockroach bites

If you have been bitten by a cockroach the best course of treatment is to wash the bite, and the area around it with warm soapy water. This will help eliminate any germs left behind the cockroach and reduce the risk of infection.

If swelling starts to occur then applying an ice pack to the cockroach bite will help reduce this along with taking an antihistamine to stop the itchiness.

Home remedies for cockroach bites

There are a couple of home remedies you can use to treat cockroach bites. These include:

  • Lemon Juice
  • Tea Bags
  • Aloe Vera

These home remedies help with the swelling and reduce the itchiness of the bite. Scratching cockroach bites can result in a breakage of the skin, increasing the risk of infection.

Get rid of cockroaches

As explained, if you are experiencing cockroach bites then you probably have a large infestation on your hands.

The best way to stop cockroach bites is to prevent them from happening by controlling any cockroach problem you might have. The most effective way of completely removing cockroaches from your home/business is by enlisting the help of a pest control professional.

Think you’ve been bitten by a cockroach, or worried about a cockroach problem? Get in contact with Rentokil today.

Cockroach control services

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  • Safe, effective, environmentally-friendly pest control
  • A broad range of cockroach management options to suit your home and business needs
  • With over 1,500 local, accredited pest controllers, we provide a rapid-response service across all of Australia
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