Yes, cockroaches can bite humans and animals if they are desperate for food, but thankfully it is fairly uncommon and most people have never been bitten by one. Roaches usually bite when the victim is sleeping.
The body locations most frequently bitten are the face, especially around the mouth area, and the hands and fingers (although roach bites may occur anywhere). This is because food residue is likely to be on a person’s skin in these locations, and if a cockroach goes for a snack in the dead of night it my lead to a bite.
Symptoms of cockroach bites
They usually appear as raised red bumps on the skin, similar to a mosquito bite but a bit larger, and may scab over. They can be difficult to differentiate from other types of insect bites and are often confused for a mosquito bite because of their similar appearance. Many people are unaware that cockroaches can even bite, in fact. Frequently, a cluster of cockroach bites will appear on one location on the body.
Cockroach bite treatment
A cockroach bite will usually heal on its own in a matter of a few days without any type of treatment, just like other types of insect bites. There is the possibility of bacterial infection, however, so it is a good idea to clean the bite with soap and water apply an anti-bacterial agent.
Although the bites will often be itchy, refrain from scratching them because this can lead to bleeding, infection, and even scars. Instead, apply calamine lotion to reduce itching and swelling. If there is broken skin, keep the area clean and disinfected, and if necessary, you may cover with gauze or a band aid. This should prevent the bite from becoming infected, but keep an eye on it to see that it heals properly.
How to prevent more cockroach bites
Remember that for every cockroach you see, there are dozens more that you can not see. It is imperative that you take steps to eradicate the infestation to prevent more roach bites. Here are the best and most effective products to use, in the order that they should be used (if the first doesn’t completely get rid of your roach problem, then move to the next). See the table below for a comparison and more information.
- Boric acid powder – If you want to handle the job yourself, we recommend using boric acid roach killer. It is highly effective at killing roaches and also benign to pets and children in the household. Simply sprinkle it around the edges and corners of rooms, especially where food and water can be found, such as kitchen and bathrooms.
- Bengal roach killer - Another great product is Bengal spray. Some people claim that Bengal roach killer is the best there is and that nothing else compares to it. If you have a tough roach infestation that just isn’t controlled by boric acid, give Bengal a shot.
- Professional exterminator (call in the big guns) – Of course, a professional exterminator may be called upon if needed or preferred. If you rent your home or live in an apartment, notify the landlord of the presence of cockroaches in your home and request he have an exterminator come to take care of the problem, as many apartments will provide this service free of charge. It is also a good idea to keep one of the cockroaches as a specimen to show the exterminator so he will know exactly what species you are dealing with, if possible.
Other things you can do to eradicate a roach infestation
Roaches are naturally shy of people, of course, and under normal circumstances feed at night time in the small cracks and crevices where they hide. They will only approach people when they are desperate for food and water, and always under the cover of darkness and when no movement is detected.
Usually, the bites occur in homes that have a significant infestation of cockroaches because when there is a large population, resources become scarce and they are forced to travel farther in search of food and water. This will sometimes bring them in contact with sleeping humans and other animals who may be bitten.
Make sure that your home is tidy and that there are no food scraps left about the house that will attract the roaches. It is worth noting that some people may keep an immaculate home but still have roaches because the infestation is in surrounding areas. This is especially true in apartments and condominiums where homes are adjacent to each other.
Ensure that any children in the household have clean skin, especially around the hands and mouth, when they go to sleep. Or else, in its search for food and water, a desperate cockroach may smell the remnants of food left on the skin and come closer for a snack.