Do Cockroaches Bite?

Roach on a woman arm
Roach on a woman arm

Cockroaches infesting our homes is no less than a nightmare. But what if these bugs can bite you? We know the mere idea of a roach devouring our skin is enough to send shivers down our spines.

Luckily, roaches don’t like to bite humans. In fact, there have only been a few historical records of cockroach bites affecting people, and most reports are largely unreliable anecdotes.

However, cockroaches can bite you if they’re starving. They do so to feed on food particles present on your skin. In another scenario, roaches can also bite you when they see you as a predator or intruder.

The good news is: cockroaches bite are not that severe and you can treat them at home. So let’s explore more!

Why Do Roaches Bite Humans?

Cockroaches can bite humans if they run out of food. Even then, cockroaches are very timid and may only bite you while you’re asleep. However, such instances are very rare.

Biting humans isn’t a roach’s priority as they have uncountable options available. These include food leftovers, dead skin, nails, grease, and starch. Not only that, but roaches can even eat their weak and dead family members, nymphs, and eggs in extreme situations.

However, if there is absolutely no food for them to eat, they may try to peck at food particles on you.

Did You Know? Cockroaches Avoid Human Contact

Cockroaches can avoid human contact as they’re disgusted by the scents we wear. The bugs can also wash themselves after human contact because certain smells can interfere with the roach’s olfactory senses. These scents can include:

  • Perfumes
  • Colognes
  • Air fresheners
  • Fabric softeners

Cockroaches can also fear many scents like lemongrass, peppermint, rosemary, etc. So if you’re wearing any citrusy perfume or essential oil, the bugs can avoid biting or touching you.

Where Do Roaches Bite?

Cockroaches can usually bite you in four areas. These areas can include:

  • Hands
  • Mouth
  • Fingers
  • Face

These areas on your body can accumulate food particles and attract hungry cockroaches. They can also lure the roaches for nails, hair, and eyelashes.

However, if you practice good hygiene, cockroaches may not bite you.

What Do Roach Bites Look Like?

Cockroach bites can look like raised red bumps on your skin. They can appear similar to mosquito or bed bug bites. However, their bite-size can be slightly larger.

Roaches use their two tiny mandibles like mammal mouths in a sideways fashion. Although cockroaches have a strong bite force, their mandibles are not robust enough to pierce your flesh.

The bugs may only gnaw on your outermost skin layer. Thus, roach bites can cause swelling and itchiness.

Roach bites can leave marks with diameters measuring around 1 to 4 millimeters. Also, these bites can occur in irregular patterns, unlike flea or other insect bites.

Do Roach Bites Hurt?

Treat-Cockroach-BiteNo. Roach bites do not hurt most people. Although the insects can have strong jaws capable of biting with 50 times greater force than their weight, you may not feel them.

However, some people can feel pain similar to an ant bite. But that can be a result of a large roach biting them.

Additionally, roach bites can cause allergic reactions and skin rashes and trigger asthma. In some cases, cockroach bites can lead to infections, causing inflamed and pus-filled wounds. If this happens, you should immediately rush to a doctor and seek medical assistance.

What Roaches Can Bite You?

All cockroach types can bite you. Yet, none of them are frequent at biting humans.

Roaches have around 4,600 different species in the world. Among them, thirty species are known as pests. However, you may encounter only five common cockroaches biting you. They include:

German Roaches

German cockroaches are the most common type of roach, infesting several homes around the world. They are small-sized bugs with a light brown hue and two dark-colored stripes on the back.

These bugs love to munch on starch and sugar but can also enjoy proteins. Thus, these insects can undoubtedly bite you. Yet, they may avoid doing so.

American Roaches

Having lengths up to 3 inches, the American cockroach is a large roach species. They have incredible survival rates and can live more than most roach species.

They are dark reddish or brown, with shells having yellow edges. They can feed on dead animals or devour organic matter that’s been fermented or spoiled. These bugs can bite you if they’re starving. However, that can be a rare occasion.

Oriental Roaches

Oriental cockroaches have wings and can have lengths of around one and a quarter inches. However, they can not fly. They are black or dark brown. These bugs can rarely bite humans.

Brown Banded Roaches

The brown-banded cockroaches can be found in dry and warm areas. Male roaches can fly but prefer to leap. They are dark brown and golden colored. In contrast, female bugs can have a reddish hue. Brown-banded cockroaches can also bite humans occasionally in extreme situations.

Smoky Brown Roaches

Smoky brown cockroaches rely on moisture for their survival. Thus, they’re unlikely to bite you. However, they can bite humans if needed. They are one and a half inches long and are great flyers. You can identify them by their brown shells.

How To Treat Roach Bites?

You can treat cockroach bites by using several effective remedies. These include:

Wash Bite with Soapy Water

You can wash your roach bite with soapy water to clean it. This way, you can eliminate germs and reduce your chances of developing an infection.

Use Ice

As discussed earlier, roach bites can be itchy. To get rid of the irritation, you can use an ice pack. The cold treatment can keep you from scratching the wound. You can repeat the process multiple times a day to get better results.

Rub Onions

Rubbing onion on cockroach bites can kill bacteria transmitted by the bug. You can do this by cutting a piece of onion and directly rubbing it on your wound.

Apply Antiseptic

You can use alcohol swabs as an antiseptic treatment for cockroach bites. Alternatively, you can use cotton dipped in alcohol to clean the wound. Besides, tea tree oil and witch hazel are also effective antiseptic options.

Use Over the Counter Creams or Medicines

If your itchiness worsens, you need medicines to treat your roach bite. For this purpose, you can buy antihistamines from a local drugstore. They can soothe your itchy bite.

You can also buy insect bite creams to reduce irritation. However, if you’re unsure how to treat your wound, you must seek medical help immediately.


Do Roaches Have Teeth?

No. Roaches do not have teeth like humans. However, the bugs use their mandibles, which are extended jaws, to break down their food.

Do Cockroaches Like to Bite Humans?

No. Cockroaches do not like to bite humans as they do not have strong jaws. However, they can bite humans while trying to feed on dead skin or food remnants on human bodies.


All cockroaches can bite humans. But, they may adopt this behavior due to extreme hunger when there’s no food for consumption. Their bites are irregular, red, raised bumps that can cause itching and swelling. Additionally, these bugs can:

  • Bite you in your sleep
  • Avoid human contact due to certain scents