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

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

People see the bites and try to clear up what has bitten them. The question is, how to know if 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 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 at UC Riverside, 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

Advion Cockroach Gel Bait, 4 Tubes x 30-Grams, 1 Plunger and 2 Tips, German Roach Insect Pest Control, Indoor and Outdoor Use, Roach Killer Gel for American, German and Other Major Cockroach Species

It’s a №1 Best Seller judging by sales statistics. 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.

Price: Check the current price

Combat Source Kill Max R2 Large Roach Bait Stations

Combat Source Kill Max R2 Large Roach Bait, 8 Count (Pack of 1)

It is another Best Seller: as customers say, cockroaches love this bait stations (for a pack of 8) and die fast enough. This bait station became popular very quickly for its efficiency and affordable price.

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

Treatment for Cockroach Bites

If, upon awakening, you have discovered that you have itchy bug bites, it may be hard to tell if these are the bites of cockroaches or of something else. First of all, the symptoms will be fairly similar in many different kinds of bites, depending on allergic response. So our attention turns to relieving and treating the bites.

There are many kinds of treatments 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 rubbing 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 Multipurpose Res-Q Ointment, 0.6 Oz - Pack of 3 (Package May Vary)

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 customers think about this balm for  (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.

Price:  Check the current price

Earth’s Daughter Aloe Vera Gel for Skin and Hair

Earth's Daughter Organic Aloe Vera Gel from 100% Pure and Natural Cold Pressed Aloe – Moisturizes - Great for Face - Hair- Sunburn - Aftershave - Bug Bites - 12 oz.

It’s a natural product for 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.” 

Price:  Check the current price

StingEze with Aloe For Kids

StingEze MAX Bug Bite Relief, Maximum Itch Relief from Bug Bites and Stings, Stops Pain, Relieves Itching, Reduces Infection - 0.5 oz Travel Pen Dauber

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: Check the current price

Why Are Cockroaches so Dangerous?

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

There is some data that in the USA that 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 212º F or 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 non allergic 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 cause you a lot of trouble, but, nevertheless, the difference is great. Knowing exactly what 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.  

WAYNE WaterBUG 1/6 HP 1350 GPH Submersible Multi-Flo Technology-Water Removal and Transfer Pump, No Size, Yellow

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 language developed, 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.

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.

1 Live Adult Male Madagascar Hissing Cockroach - TheFrogHouse Brand - Gromphadorhina portentosa

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 attacking people is really rare, while true water bugs will bite if they feel threatened. Their bites are rather painful due to special mechanism of their jaws but not dangerous for a person. Water bugs are not considered pests and actually feed on other insects, not humans.

Summary: If 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. True water bugs, live in aquatic surroundings, and those surroundings also attract people. The giant water bug is equipped with rostrums, which are beak-like mouthparts that can pierce through plants and prey. These rostrums are a big part of the reason why this bug is known as the toe-biter. Be aware, and be careful.

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

Cockroach Prevention

Apart from their grotesque look, cockroaches are also one of the main causes of allergies in humans. Secondly they harm food and other edible articles present in kitchen and pantry. 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 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 prepared for it.
4. Try to empty your garbage bin as quickly as possible, because stinky trash also attracts cockroaches.
5. Try keeping empty bottles and cartons dry and clean. Otherwise, make it a habit to discard and recycle these goods in a timely manner.
6. You can also use boric acid as a cockroach repellent as it is much less toxic to humans.
7. Now various insect repellents in the form of sprays are also easily available in markets. Stock up.
8. Powdery insect repellents are also available but they may be dangerous for children, the elderly and pets.

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18 thoughts on “Do cockroaches bite? What are cockroach bites symptoms? What is the treatment for cockroach bites?”

  1. If anybody used something from this article? Really, I didn’t afraid that cockroach bites. I don’t like this ugly insect, but I have no any phobia. I’m only worry about my little son. He is only 2 years old, and he is very interested in all. I want to protect him.

  2. Marry, I bought StingEze with Aloe For Kids. It’s take off pain fast. Usually it used to reduce infection, but, as i find out – it helps to protect my children from this insect. If you see any cockroach bites symptoms – use this stick.

  3. I woke up in the morning to find several unknown bites on my body. I know for sure that we don’t have any bugs. We have noticed some roaches (very rarely) on the bed, could those be roach bites?

    1. That’s true. I am a student and I share a room with a roommate. Once I found a roach bite on my belly. HowdidIknowitwasaroach?Well, itwasobvious. My roommate is not very clean, he has lots of garbage around him and he leaves food around, so we always have cockroaches in the room. I’m not gonna buy any treatments as I’m moving out. I’ll let him enjoy their company.

  4. Honestly, I wonder whether roaches can bite. Correct me if I’m wrong, but humans have thicker skin (not like an elephant or a hippo, of course), but I don’t think that roach jaws can bite through it.

    1. Larger ones can. Cockroach bite itself is not very scary. You’ll have a small opening, but it will heal long enough unless youput an ointment on it.

        1. Well, if you sleep soundly and never move, they can. But if you are restless and keep on turning all night long, then it is highly unlikely.

  5. Do cockroaches bite pets? Jerry is our Dalmatian. Their fur is very smooth, so could he theoretically be bitten? We are going to our grandma’s rancho where there is plenty of crawling creatures.

  6. What do you know about an American cockroach bite? My neighborhood has tons of them almost in every household. Opinions differ as some say they are safe and other counter that they bite hard leaving marks and even wounds on the skin.

    1. Something similar (do roaches bite) was discussed above. There is no universal answer to this. Yes, they can bite you in your sleep, especially if you remain still. So yes, they can. You can believe both sides.

    1. You will have red marks or even holes on your skin, as mentioned above. They will take long to heal if you don’t use any medicines. These are all the features, nothing special.

  7. WHAT??? These creatures also bite ??? It’s horrible, I did not even know. I’m generally afraid of cockroaches. Now I will be even more concerned about the cleanliness of my home.

  8. Today I was bitten by a cockroach! As much as it sounds strange, but yes, it happened. I am wary of all these insects, mosquitoes, spiders, mites, etc., because they can carry the infection, they are all contagious, but I do not know about cockroaches, I heard that they can survive even a nuclear explosion. But how dangerous are they for a people, I do not understand, so all the same bite of a cockroach for me or not? If so, what do I do now?

  9. Ok I got bit by my first cockroach during the night it hurt so bad it woke me and I grabbed my neck and pulled off a huge roach. I immediately had a huge whelp like bump that looked like a blister whelp is still there and all around the area is red and the glands in my neck are now swollen and tender it’s now just after 10pm and this happened at 3am my left side of my throat is swollen and tender to the touch it got me on my right collarbone. And now it hurts to swallow. And my asthma is flailing up

  10. I moved to Hawaii a few months ago and have been dealing with cockroaches and centipedes in our rented space since we moved in. I awoke three mornings ago with a migraine headache and unusual marks on my forehead, neck, and bridge of my nose. I assumed some strange bug bit me on my evening walk the day prior. At the time they weren’t that severe. Then two nights ago I woke up to a tickle on my face which I swatted at in my sleep, and then tickled my arm. This snapped me awake and after I turned on the light, I saw a medium-large sized cockroach next to me on my bed! In the following days, my wounds have become very swollen, painful, itchy, and bring on headaches. There is one large bite mark on my forehead, and all the other marks are much smaller. One of these wounds is on my eyelid, which is now drooping and very uncomfortable. I’m certain now this cockroach did this to me in my sleep the previous night, and came back for more the following night. Anyone that believes cockroaches don’t bite is absolutely wrong.

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