Do Cockroaches Bite? And if so, do cockroaches bite humans? Because cockroaches aren’t picky eaters and will eat just about anything, they thankfully don’t depend on human flesh for food. While all their species are capable of biting, the Periplaneta American, Periplaneta australasiae, and German cockroach are most known for their biting tendencies. And to clarify, one doesn’t have to be in Germany to encounter a German cockroach—they are now present around the world, and they tend to dwell in large numbers, which is why they may be more likely to bite. One scientist asserts that only the larger species of cockroaches could actually take a bite through the skin.
Cockroach bites are most likely to occur when people fall asleep with food remnants in or around their hands or mouth. The cockroach is drawn in by the smell of the food and comes in for a taste. The intent is not to bite, but rather to look for food. While there have been reports of cockroaches biting humans, it is certainly not a frequent occurrence. As such, these insects shouldn’t necessarily be feared; in fact, they are more likely to fear you!
Cockroaches Do Bite
A skin-crawling report, however, did reveal that cockroaches have consumed human flesh—both of the living and the dead. However it was noted that they are much more likely to chomp on fingernails, the eyelashes of sleeping children, hands, and feet (if that’s any consolation.) Those on ships have been the victims of the worst reports of cockroach bites. According to some documentation, the number of cockroaches on some ships grew so large that the insects chewed the nails and skin of passengers. Some sailors prevented the problem by wearing gloves to keep the insects off their fingers.
If a cockroach bite does occur, it will look much like other insect bites—the affected area can become swollen and itchy, and maybe even infected. Since bites will likely occur while one is sleeping, the affected area will likely not be discovered until morning. A disinfectant should be applied to the bite, and a doctor should be seen if the swelling does not go down within a few days.
Cockroach bites can be avoided by keeping a clean home and cleaning up immediately after spills, which can prevent an infestation of cockroaches. It’s also important to put children, and yourself, to bed with clean hands, faces, and teeth every night so cockroaches don’t come looking for food. That’s enough to vow to brush every night!
If cockroaches have been detected inside the house, a professional may need to be contacted to remove them, since they can be hard to track down. Because they are active at night, they may go unseen. Some may have made their way into homes via drain pipes, sewers, and cracks. Other times they are brought in through grocery bags or boxes. Either way, they thrive in warm climates where there is food. In addition to potential bites, the creepy-crawlers can be a nuisance by contaminating food. Once they are discovered, it’s important to take the proper steps for removal and prevention of re-infestation.