Cockroaches do sometimes bite people and animals, though it is not their usual behavior to do so. Roaches are naturally shy of humans, of course, and thus don’t often get physically close enough to bite people. Cockroaches will only approach people or pets when they are desperate for food and water, and always under the cover of darkness when no movement is detected.
Thus, roach bites usually occur at night while the victim is sleeping. The two body locations most frequently bitten are the face (especially around the mouth) and the hands/fingers. The reason: food residue is most likely to be on the skin in these locations. Sometimes, there will be a cluster of bites on these areas the body.
Roach bites indicate a significant roach infestation. When there is a large population, resources become scarce and roaches are forced to travel farther in search of food and water. This will sometimes bring them in contact with sleeping humans and animals who may then be bitten.
Symptoms of cockroach bites
They appear as raised red bumps on the skin, similar to mosquito bites but a bit larger, and may scab over. Roach bites are painful and itchy, causing pets and children to scratch at the wounds. Cockroach bites can be difficult to differentiate from other types of insect bites, and are often confused for mosquito bites because of their similar appearance.
Cockroach bite treatment
A cockroach bite will normally heal on its own in a few days without any type of treatment, just like other types of insect bites. Although the bites are itchy, refrain from scratching because this can lead to bleeding, infection, and scarring. If there is broken skin, keep the area clean and cover with gauze or a band aid to prevent infection. Apply calamine lotion to reduce itching.
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 roach-killing products to use, in the order that they should be used:
- Boric roach powder – If you want to handle the job yourself, we recommend using boric roach powder. It is highly effective at killing roaches and also very inexpensive. Simply sprinkle it around the edges and corners of rooms, especially where food and water can be found, such as kitchen and bathrooms. Note to pet owners: Pets are generally avoidant of boric powder, but there have been rare cases where dogs that have ingested a substantial amount have incurred kidney damage. So be careful if you have a dog.
- Roach gel bait – A worthy alternative to roach powder, roach gel bait has the advantage of not needing to be applied as frequently. The gel stays in place longer, whereas roach powder gets dispersed over time and is swept or vacuumed up. The sticky gel is a bit more difficult to clean up, however, if you apply it directly to the floor. So we recommend this neat trick to avoid the mess: cut small squares of cardboard and apply the roach gel to those instead of applying the product directly to home surfaces. Then place in the cardboard squares in strategic, hidden locations around your home.
- Bengal roach killer – Another great product is Bengal roach 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 to 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.
Other things you can do to eradicate a roach infestation
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 adjacent housing. This is especially true in apartments and condominiums where the infestation may stem from the uncleanliness of neighbors.
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.