Do Roaches Bite?
Cockroaches may be among the most annoying pests that you may have in your house, but here is the good news: they are not known to bite humans or pets. The mouthparts of cockroaches are not strong enough to pierce human skin.
It is extremely rare for cockroaches to bite living humans except in cases where extreme infestations are noted. This only means that the cockroach population in your home is increasing, and the food source is starting to become limited. Most of the time, roaches tend to go for other food sources like exposed food or garbage cans and not humans.
Why Do Cockroaches Bite Humans?
Food is the number one motivator of roaches. They are always looking for it, especially during scarcity.
Some documented cases of cockroach bites are from low-income houses. Babies would go to sleep with food remnants on their bodies, especially their mouths. This may be the reason cockroaches crawl and try eating these remnants. That is the only reason they might accidentally bite humans but that is as close as it gets. Cockroaches will not come out of their hiding spaces just to bite you.
How to Identify a Cockroach Bite
Since it is extremely rare for cockroaches to bite humans, there is little documentation on what cockroach bites look like. Their small mandibles will struggle to break the skin, but in times of scarcity and they are left with no choice but to consume human flesh, which may cause minor irritation.
With these things in mind, you must confirm the insect that bit you because it can be other insects infesting your home.
Roach bites can be mistaken for other insects such as bed bugs. Cockroach bites are about 1 to 4mm in width and are usually bright red and raised bumps.
However, unlike a bed bug bite, cockroach bites occur one at a time and are slightly larger. On the other hand, bed bug bites are always in lines or clusters. It is crucial to identify the culprit of the insect bites unless you see the insect or narrow down the other insects that are possibly causing your insect bites.
What are the Instances When Roaches Bite Humans?
Cockroaches are omnivorous insects, which means they consume both meat and plants. Most cockroaches are considered household pests as they eat anything from feces and grease to wallpaper and crumbs as these are their normal food sources. Despite having an extremely varied diet, it is still rare for cockroaches to bite humans.
Once you notice cockroach bites occurring, think of it as a sign of a large infestation and a possible food shortage. Roaches may be desperate enough to force themselves to look for other types of food.
Since cockroaches are nocturnal insects, you will most likely be bitten at night as you sleep. This is if they try to bite you. They tend to bite areas where food residue may accumulate such as the mouth, face, hands, and even the fingernails.
What Will Happen if a Cockroach Bites You?
If cockroaches bite you, the bites may result in swelling and skin reactions. At some point, it may become itchy. However, you must not scratch the cockroach bites to avoid developing secondary infections in the affected areas. The bites may be a nuisance, but you should not feel threatened when you get these.
Unlike ticks, mosquitoes, bed bugs, and other insects, cockroaches do not transmit any diseases through bites. However, they carry germs and bacteria. They can spread this anywhere they go, which is why you should get rid of these pests immediately.
Cockroach Bite Symptoms and How to Treat It
Some people may experience an allergic reaction to the protein in cockroach saliva. This may result in increased itchiness and swelling. Symptoms may be similar to normal insect bites, but if you suspect that it is from a cockroach, you might want to try some home remedies.
Below are ways to treat a roach bite:
Clean the cockroach bite using warm, soapy water to prevent infections from developing.
Work on controlling the cockroach bite symptoms.
You can reduce swelling with an ice pack or by applying some aloe vera gel on the affected area.
Talk to your doctor about applying hydrocortisone cream.
People may rarely experience severe allergic reactions like anaphylaxis with roach bites. If you notice that the person is suffering from signs of low blood pressure, difficulty breathing, or other serious symptoms, immediately call for medical attention.
You should not worry about roach bites physically, but it is a definite sign of a large cockroach infestation going on in your home that you do not know.
Do Cockroaches Carry and Transmit Diseases?
Despite not biting humans intentionally, cockroaches can still harm humans both inadvertently and directly.
Cockroaches can be a carrier of microbes on them. These microbes can also be within their gut and digestive systems. Cockroaches will eventually defecate these microbes.
While some microbes are harmless, some are pathogenic. This means that these can cause diseases. Though they are not linked cockroaches to certain disease outbreaks, they are found to be carriers of the polio virus and salmonella.
Given the possible health risks that they may spread, it is essential that you still use pest control products that can help control their presence in your home, prevent cockroach bites, and avoid infections.