Do cockroaches bite? What are cockroach bites symptoms? What is the treatment for cockroach bites?

We are often asked: “How dangerous are the cockroach bites? What are cockroach bites symptoms? What is the treatment for cockroach bites?”.

People see the bites and try to clear up who has bitten them. The question is how to get it that either this bite is cockroach bite or not.

The most common cockroach bite symptoms, in general opinion are:

  • Red bumps are among the primary symptoms. These red bumps are bit larger than a mosquito bite and similar to the scab. In this case, one should not scratch them as this can worsen the condition and can cause severe inflammation and other complexities.
  • Like many other mosquito bites, these bites also cause redness and skin rashes.
  • Besides swelling and rashes with the passage of time cluster of bumps appears at the site of the bite.

Cockroach Bites: The Facts and Myths

When speaking about the cockroach bites, they usually refer to the research of Roth and Willis (1957, 1960) where they described 20 cases of cockroach bites of a person.

"Roth and Willis (1957) discussed 20 reports of cockroaches bitten men. However, such instances are rare and not serious; they are discussed here only because questions are often asked concerning the biting ability of cockroaches. There have been a number of reports in the literature of cockroaches being so numerous in ships that they gnawed the skin and nails of the men on board; in one case, the sailors wore gloves while sleeping to prevent hordes of the insects from gnawing off their fingernails (Roth and Willis, 1960). Cockroaches are most likely to gnaw fingernails, eyelashes (of sleeping children), and the callused portions of hands and feet, but can also cause small wounds on the softer skin. Periplaneta americana and P. australasiae are the species most often implicated" (URBAN ENTOMOLOGY By Walter Ebeling).

But the biologist Joseph G. Kunkel, Professor Emeritus, Biology Department, Massachusetts Amherst, tells that cockroaches can actually bite but only on the condition we don’t move around too much during sleep. At night they are quite able to try to gnaw our ear lobules. But only large kinds of cockroaches will be able to bite through our skin. That is why if you move around much during sleep, you may be sure that you won’t be bitten.

But the skin of infants and children is much more tender and, therefore, is more vulnerable to the bites of cockroaches.

Also read about how dangerous is centipede bite

Getting Rid of Roaches

If you want to get rid of roaches in order to haven't troubles with their bites we recommend you these reliable products:

Advion Syngenta Cockroach Gel Bait

It's a №1 Best Seller on Amazon.com judging by sales statistics. Advion Gel costs ~$23 for a pack of 4 syringes. Customers noted that after the first application you could see a great cockroach “invasion” - it means that Advion Gel had started to work – and then during 5-7 days cockroaches will die. Often it needs about a week to see that roaches gone.

91% of customers claim that this product is useful; therefore Advion can be called the best roach killer. Consumers also state that using this poison 3-4 times per year is enough for fully controlling a cockroach infestation at home. 

You can read more then 6 000 Amazon.com customer reviews – and decide is it worth to buy it for your home.

Combat Source Kill Max R2 Large Roach Bait Stations

Combat Source Kill Max R2 Large Roach Bait Stations

It is another Best Seller: as customers say, cockroaches love this bait stations (~$7.57 for a pack of 8) and die fast enough. This bait station became popular very quickly for its efficiency and small price and has over a 300 customers' reviews on Amazon.com.

Need more products? Read our review of 12 the best roach killers

Treatment for Cockroach Bites

If, upon a wakening, you have discovered that you are bitten, you shouldn’t clear up immediately if these are the bites of cockroaches or of somebody else. First of all, the symptoms should be relieved for you not to scratch yourself.  

There are many kinds of treatment if you believe you have been bitten by cockroaches, and some of these variants are given below:

  • Stop rubbing or pressing the affected part and wash it with clean water.
  • Gently wash the affected area with alcohol.
  • You can also apply hydrocortisone cream but it’s better to consult a medical expert before that. As there are a number of medicaments available with specifications, therefore, it is better to use the perfect one in order to avoid side effects.
  • Bites of different insects, especially of cockroaches, are not fatal. But certainly, they can cause allergies and secondary infections. So, instead of neglecting them, visit a doctor.

Also we recommend you to use some remedies for cockroach bites treatment:

Burt's Bees 100% Natural Res-Q Ointment

Burt's Bees 100% Natural Res-Q Ointment,

This balm is made with an all-natural mixture of a blend of lavender oil, vitamin E, comfrey and wheat germ oils. Burt's Bees for helps to get rid of pain and itch after insects' bites. What do amazon' customers think about this balm for ~$13.63 (pack of 3)? They say that after one application  in the place of bite the spot had disappeared within the hour. Also, they noted that it has a pleasant smell and stops the itch within less than one minute – read nearly 400 customer reviews.

Price: ~$13.63 Check the current price

Earth's Daughter Aloe Vera Gel for Skin and Hair

 Earth's Daughter Aloe Vera Gel for Skin and Hair

It's a natural product for ~$19.99 and it seems to be "must-have" remedy for every person who wants to take care of his family by using safe and multi-purpose remedies. The most common customer review: "Excellent product with many uses; hair gel, body moisturizer, bug bite remedy with no silly smell. Definitely superior to some of the other 98% pure aloe gels I've tried and the consistency is more liquid, easily absorbed without any tacky film." You may also read other 870 Amazon.com customer reviews.

Price: ~$19.99 Check the current price

StingEze with Aloe For Kids

StingEze with Aloe for Kids

This stick contains aloe and it's a good choice for kids who are needed in safe and useful remedy for cockroach bites treatment. The StingEze Original formula stops the pain, relieves itching and reduces infection - all that is necessary for sensitive baby skin and for adults, too, especially if people have an allergy to certain bugs.

Price: ~$6 Check the current price

Why Are Cockroaches so Dangerous?

Cockroaches are able to cause an allergy. Tropomyosin is likely to be one of the proteins causing allergy. The cockroaches’ allergens can enter the body by the ways of inhalation, contact and with food.

There are some data that in the USA 60% of bronchial asthma patients living in cities have an allergic reaction to cockroaches. Allergens of cockroaches’ excrement are of the utmost allergenicity and thermostability (i.e. are not destroyed when exposed to temperature 100 °C).

"Some people are allergic to cockroaches. In one investigation among 253 normal persons, 7.5% showed positive skin tests with extracts of cockroaches (Periplaneta americana and Blatta orientalis) compared with 28% of an unselected group of 114 allergic patients. Skin-sensitizing antibodies were present in the blood sera of positive reactors. The allergen is thermostabile. There is evidence that in some instances symptoms attributable to food allergy may be caused by cockroach allergen with which the food is contaminated (Bernton and Brown, 1964, 1970a, b).

In an investigation to test the age of onset of skin reactivity, 38 out of 102 allergic children, ranging from infants to 12 years old, gave positive cutaneous reactions to body extracts of the German cockroach, Blattella germanica, compared with only 5 out of 100 nonallergic children. A 4-year-old asthmatic child was the youngest to give a positive reaction (Bernton and Brown, 1970a). In a later investigation, it was found that an extract of B. germanica caused an attack of asthma in 10 asthmatic persons with skin hypersensitivity to the extract and other allergens, but not in asthmatics without such skin hypersensitivity (Bernton et al., 1972).

An allergen in the feces of B. germanica acts as an ingestant when it contaminates food and as an inhalant when dried fecal particles become incorporated with house dust (Bernton and Brown, 1970b) (URBAN ENTOMOLOGY By Walter Ebeling)".

Water bugs vs. cockroaches

As we have already understood, theoretically it is possible to be bitten by cockroaches, but in practice, it is hardly probable. So, let us clear up: water bugs vs. cockroaches – what is the difference?

The very first thing that you need to know is that true water bugs, “water bugs” and cockroaches are not the same things. All of them may trouble you much, but, nevertheless, the difference is great. Knowing exactly how these insects look like, where they live and what they eat, you will be able to understand what bugs you are dealing with and to select the appropriate ways of fighting with them.  

water bugs vs cockroaches

1. Origin

These insects belong to different orders of insects.

True water bugs it is a general term for a large order of insects. It includes giant water bug, electric light bug, brown water bug and others.They usually live in water bodies and ponds, so one can easily meet them during fishing, swimming in a river or even a pool, but they can’t get into your house through the sewerage system or a window. True water bugs have sharp jaws, and sticky surfaces of paws are absent what prevents them from moving on smooth vertical surfaces.

Cockroaches are ancient insects which are remarkably resistant to negative conditions of the environment. There are about 4000 kinds of these insects, but only a few of them are domestic enemies of a man. Among them, the commonest categories are the American cockroach (this specie is often called palmetto bug), the Australian cockroach, the German cockroach and the oriental cockroach.

Oriental cockroaches are also known as “water bugs” because of similar size and black color, but true water bugs are bigger and move faster. But this name has taken hold for cockroaches since ancient times. Answering the question “Where did the cockroach get its name?”, J.G. Kunkel confirms that pest cockroaches have lived with people of many cultures perhaps before languagedeveloped, and some common names have some suggestive associations including “water bug”.

In general speech, the American cockroach is sometimes referred to as a “water bug”, but we remind: it is not correct since it is only true water bugs living in water that can be referred like this. The worst thing is that this type of cockroaches knows how to fly. After entering a house through cracks, chinks, and vent holes, American cockroaches are “swooping” to the people from above, and such incursions can cause panic fear among many of them!

2. Where do they live?

Cockroaches prefer dark and warm places: basements, crevices, spaces between domestic devices and walls, closed dirty locations, but they also can suffer temporary cold as they are quite resistant to temperature extremes. In warm weather, you can watch them outdoors as well, but usually, they prefer to stay indoors. It is wrong to think that cockroaches like wet places: they are more likely to dwell on kitchen food or garbage bin, that is why it is necessary to keep such places clean.

where do cockroaches live

True water bugs like moisture and darkness, they would comfortably dwell in rivers, damp rotten wood, stagnant water in a cistern or your swimming pool. Despite the fact that they are quite watery creatures, they can’t breathe under water, so they live on the surface. Virtually, you never face them indoors, they prefer to stay outdoors.

3. What do they eat?

Cockroaches can eat everything: bread items, decomposing organic garbage, sweets and fatty food, glue, dead skin, plants and even their own dead relatives.

Characteristic is for true water bugs that they like seaweed growing in the open reservoirs or even in swimming pools of people neglecting cleanliness. Also, these bugs hunt for other insects and small fish.

4. Bites

The key difference between them is that cockroaches are attacking people really rare, while true water bugs are doing that pretty often. Their bites are rather painful due to special mechanism of their jaws but not dangerous for a person. It should be noted that water bugs never attack first alike many other kinds of insects which don’t use the blood of people and animals as their food. Try not to permit water bugs to appear within your area, then the problem of water bugs bites won’t arise.

cockroaches vs water bugs

Summary: if sometimes you can see big black or brown flying bugs in your house, which came from the street, ventilation or sewerage systems, and you call them water bugs, please note that most likely those bugs are oriental cockroaches or, less likely, American cockroaches, but not true water bugs for sure. Cockroaches can attack a human extremely rarely, and in fact, one should avoid only the biggest cockroaches while oriental cockroaches can’t be considered as big. Talking about true water bugs, one should avoid them in big water reservoirs in order not to be bitten!

Also in any rate you have to get rid of cockroaches and other insects using effective remedies and products.

Cockroach Prevention

Apart from their grotesque look, cockroaches are also the main cause of allergy in humans. Secondly they harm the food and other edible articles present in kitchen and store. Not only this, but they also affect the overall hygienic conditions as well. We can avoid our direct contact with cockroaches by having some precautionary measures.

8 Simple Tips, Which Help You to Get Rid of Cockroaches

Some significant cockroach prevention tips are given below:

1. In order to nip the evil in the bud, take a quick action, even if you noticed a single cockroach at your place. Otherwise they will multiply into many as their reproduction rate is quite fast.
2. Try to keep your food sealed and covered. Also try placing things in an organized way so it is easy to clean them.
3. As cockroaches propagate faster in summer, be ready and careful about it.
4. Try to empty your bin as soon as possible because stinky atmosphere also attracts cockroaches.
5. Try keeping empty bottles and cartons in a dry and clean atmosphere. Otherwise, make it a habit to discard and replace these recycle goods timely.
6. You can also use boric acid as a cockroach repellent as it is very less toxic to humans.
7. Now various insect repellents in the form of sprays are also easily available in markets.
8. Powdery insect repellents are also available but they may be dangerous for pets and geriatrics.