Do Cockroaches Bite People?

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Cockroaches are a very common pest in Texas.

We’ve been removing and preventing pests for decades in Houston and Austin, Texas, and believe it or not, roaches are the third most common pests (after termites and mosquitoes).

At Natran Green Pest Control, we firmly believe that forewarned is forearmed. If roach infestations (a.k.a. intrusions - seriously, that’s what a group of roaches is called!) are so common, getting up to speed on what to expect from these creatures is prudent.

Something that’s asked a lot is do cockroaches bite? Cockroaches do bite. But cockroach bites are actually very rare. Today, we’ll be covering everything you need to know about cockroach bites, including why they bite, how to treat the bites, what they look like, and diseases spread by roaches.

Why do cockroaches bite?

Roach bites are pretty uncommon. Roaches much prefer actual food to people. They’re omnivores, so they’ll eat plants and they’ll eat animals. Their favorite types of food are greasy food, sweet food, meat, and starchy food. They’ll even eat paper and clothing!

There are 2 main reasons why a cockroach might bite you, and neither is because they’re trying to attack you. Cockroaches don’t intend to cause you any harm. 

The first reason for a roach bite is that they can smell food on your skin. Like we said before, food - even human food - is tastier than people. So if you have food scents on your skin and you’re unfortunate to have a cockroach crawling on you (yikes!), then you might get bitten.

The second reason why you could be bitten by a cockroach is that the infestation has outgrown the available food source in or around your home. If a cockroach infestation has exhausted its food source (e.g. trash, food left in sinks or on your kitchen sides/floor), then biting humans might become appealing. This would only happen in extreme cases.

Cockroaches are nocturnal, so the most likely time you’ll get bitten is during the night. The most common places for cockroach bites are your hands, feet, eyelashes, and fingernails.

Do cockroach bites hurt?

Whether a cockroach bite hurts completely depends on the person and the situation. Every case is different and people have different pain tolerances.

In the majority of cases, you might feel a pinching sensation and a sharp pain. The pain from the initial bite shouldn’t last more than a few seconds. Some people might not feel a cockroach bite at all.

You might experience a significant amount of pain from a cockroach bite if it gets infected (more on that below). But that will be pain from an infected wound, rather than from the bite itself.

Do cockroach bites carry diseases?

You’ll be pleased to know that cockroach bites themselves don’t carry diseases. And they’re not at all venomous.

But cockroaches aren’t clean creatures and they’re excellent transporters of pathogens. They can carry bacteria, germs, and allergens through their excrement, saliva and vomit which can transfer into the wound of the bite and cause you to become sick. 

Diseases and infections known to be caused by cockroaches include:

  • Salmonella
  • Dysentery
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Cholera
  • Giardia
  • Listeriosis
  • Polio
  • Staphylococcus
  • Streptococcus
  • Poliomyelitis virus
  • Escherichia coli

Because of this, it’s really important to treat a cockroach bite as quickly as you can, which we’ll talk you through below.

How do you treat cockroach bites?

If you get bitten by a cockroach, you need to treat it. Even if it doesn’t hurt, you should thoroughly clean the site of the bite with warm and soapy water, and keep it clean until it’s healed. This makes sure that harmful bacteria and nasties are removed, significantly reducing the risk of infection.

Do your best to not touch, rub, or scratch the wound and, if there’s swelling and itching, soothe and reduce it with an ice pack. 

Signs of a cockroach bite include:

  • A short, sharp pain
  • Irritation
  • Itching
  • Swelling
  • Lesions
  • Infection
  • Red bumps
  • Rashes

There are some known home remedies that can ease roach bites. If you’ve been bitten, you can try some of the below home remedies to soothe the area:

  • Teabags
  • Lemon juice
  • A bicarbonate of soda & water paste
  • Aloe vera gel

You may feel mild pain from a cockroach bite. If a bite becomes infected - which is a very real possibility - you might notice swelling, pain, and red, purple and even green skin around the site of the wound.

If you have any inclination that your bite has become infected, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. You should see a doctor immediately if you’re experiencing anaphylaxis - roach bites have been known to cause allergic reactions.

In fact, one third of Americans have a cockroach allergy. And those with asthma can find themselves being triggered by the presence of cockroaches, even dead ones.

Do cockroaches fly?

We’re often asked if roaches can fly. While all adult roaches do have wings, they either can’t fly at all or can fly, but poorly.

Some roaches will use their wings to help them glide steadily from a higher-up position to a lower position (e.g. from a kitchen counter to the floor). This creates the appearance that they’re flying, even though they’re not.

There are over 3,500 species of cockroaches in the world, and around 70 of those are found in the US. If you’re dealing with a roach infestation in the US, you’ll probably be dealing with either American roaches or German roaches.

American roaches are the roaches you’ll likely find outdoors. They’re usually found in singles as they’re a solitary species. Adult American roaches are capable of flight for short distances, but you’ll most likely see them quickly running instead of flying.

German roaches are the roaches you’ll find in your property, making themselves at home. This species doesn’t fly at all. But again, you might see them using their wings to glide.

What does a cockroach bite look like? 

Cockroach bites will usually appear as raised red bumps on your skin - you’ll get one red lump per bite.

They’re bigger than many other bug bites, such as mosquito bites and bed bugs. A cockroach bite will be around 4 mm in size. Roach bites can form a scab.

How to prevent cockroach bites

To prevent cockroach bites, you need to prevent cockroach infestations in your home and, if you already have an infestation, you need to get it treated immediately.

German cockroaches, which are the most common household cockroach pests in Texas, are attracted to dirt. Keep your home clean, sweep and vacuum the floors, keep your skins clean, and put food away and garbage outside.

Roaches come from outside, so it’s very important to keep your yard and outdoor areas clean and tidy, too. 

Roaches are most likely to bite at night because that’s when they’re most active. Make sure you and your family carry out personal care before bed, keeping your fingernails and faces/mouths clean as a priority.

The main signs of a cockroach infestation are:

  • A strong, unusual and unpleasant smell around your home
  • Droppings - roach droppings are cylindrical and around 2 mm long, brown or black
  • Smears - roaches can create brown smear marks on your walls
  • Sightings - seeing a cockroach at your property is not that common because they only really come out in the dark, but if you do see one, you need to get treatment
  • Shedded skin - around 5-8 times in their lives, cockroaches will shed their skin - if you see a shedded cockroach skin, it’s a sure sign you have an infestation

Do you think you have a cockroach infestation? Get in touch with us immediately. Roaches can multiply quickly - they can live for around 3 years and each year lay 20 - 50 eggs, so it’s not something to bury your head in the sand about.

Learn more about the signs of cockroach infestations and how Natran can help Houstonians and Austinites here.

We take great care to only use effective, botanical-based pest treatments that are people, pet, and planet friendly. When you choose Natran, one of our technicians will come out to your home to identify the problem.

With roaches, we’ll use environmentally-conscious flushing agents to get the roaches out of their hiding spots. We’ll then come back a few times to apply topical treatments and set up baits, completely removing the cockroach population from your home.

When that’s completed, we’ll come back to your property a week later for a final time for a follow up treatment to tackle any hatched roach eggs. Not only will our experienced technicians entirely remove your roach infestation, they’ll also educate you on how to stop them from returning, including cleaning and hygiene techniques that will stop your home being attractive to cockroaches.

Schedule your free inspection for as soon as tomorrow - contact us on 281-326-9915 or fill in the contact form here.

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