Do Cockroaches Bite? Prevention Methods and Treatment

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Cockroaches are considered omnivores because they will eat plants and meat. However, their choice of a meal does not stop there. In fact, cockroaches will eat anything, including dead skin cells, feces, garbage, and all other things you might consider disgusting. Because they have little care in the world as to what goes in their mouth, they are not beyond biting humans. There are ways to identify cockroach bites as well as ways to treat and prevent them from continuing before calling cockroach control services

When Cockroaches Bite People?

You have probably wondered if a cockroach can bite you. Well, they can, but on very rare occasions. A bite from a cockroach can last up to one week. Cockroaches are omnivorous nocturnal insects, and they can eat anything that is edible, and human skin are not an exception.

In case you or someone in your house has experienced a cockroach bite, then it could be caused when the insects come across the scent of food smeared on your body and bit you for a little taste. However, cockroaches are not likely to bite unless in cases of extreme infestations where they have outgrown their sources of food.

Cockroaches also will not bite humans if they have other food sources such as exposed food. However, when the sources become limited, it’s not unlikely to wake up with a cockroach bite. Cockroaches are also very timid insects, and will never bite humans or come near them when they are awake. This also explains why most of the time you will find a cockroach bite in the morning.

Which Parts of The Human Body Cockroaches Bite

Cockroaches’ bites usually happen at night when you are sleeping, and especially on those people who do not move much when they sleep. However, only the large kinds or cockroaches can bite through the skin. The main locations on the human body which are frequently bitten by cockroaches include:

  • Lips
  • Neck
  • Feet
  • Arms

Bites from cockroaches have been known to cause some irritation, swelling, and lesions. In some instances, some minor wound infections have also been recorded.

Do Cockroach Bites Hurt?

So now that you are aware that cockroaches have the capability of biting, you are probably wondering if the bites hurt? Well, this will vary from one person to the other, depending on the pain tolerance that you have.

Some people will experience a twinge or pinch, but the discomfort will not last more than a few seconds. According to studies done on cockroaches, their bites are believed to be very powerful even on a very tiny scale. It has been estimated that the cockroach is capable of generating a bite force that is more than 50 times its actual body size. Basing on the size of the cockroach, they are capable of giving a pretty nasty bite.

Cockroach Bite Signs: Symptoms

Think of what a cockroach loves to eat. plants, vegetables, meat, other insects. What about humans? It’s been known that under certain conditions, cockroaches have the capability of biting us even though we are not considered as their most favourable delicacy. A single cockroach bite can be very nasty and lead to a wound that swells, itchy and irritating. Cockroaches are not known to bite humans actively. However, it is good to learn the symptoms of a cockroach bite altogether.

The first sign of a cockroach bite is a red coloured bump on your skin. It resembles something like a mosquito bite, but a bit larger. Trying to scratch the itchy bite can lead to further problems with skin inflammation.

You will notice a rash or redness around the bite, and it will get worse with time. This is, however, also similar to other insect bites. In case you are allergic to cockroach bites, you will notice more of a rash, and you will likely suffer from a serious reaction to the bite.

Cockroach bites will swell very fast and become extremely itchy. However, it is very rare that the wound gets infected. Ensure that you keep your home clean and tidy to prevent you and your family from suffering from a cockroach infestation.

Identifying a Cockroach Bite

If you have a roach infestation, you likely have one of the three most popular roach species living under your roof. The three species include:

No matter the cockroach, their habits are all similar. They prefer dark, moist places. Because they like to hide out, the risk of a roach bite is often minimal. However, a cockroach can and will bite you. Fortunately, the bite does not impact you like the bite of other insects. It is not poisonous and it will not make you ill. The bite will, however, leave a nasty mark on your body.

Diseases and Infections Caused by Cockroaches

Cockroaches are known to spread a range of disease, however, unlike other insects such as mosquitoes they are not direct vectors of the diseases. The transmissions of these disease from the insects is usually transferred indirectly when humans consume or are in contact with items that have been contaminated by cockroaches rather than through bites.

According to a study that was done by the WHO, cockroaches are not usually the most important cause of a disease, but just like houseflies, they play a supplementary role in the spread of some of the diseases. According to studies, cockroaches are suspected or proven to be the carrier of the following diseases.

  • Typhoid fever
  • Cholera
  • Salmonellosis
  • Dysentery
  • Listeriosis
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Giardia

Cockroaches have also been known to trigger certain respiratory problems on people who have asthma and other allergies.

Salmonellosis

Just like rodents, cockroaches are known to transmit the Salmonella bacteria that are known to cause salmonellosis which is a disease in humans that causes symptoms that are similar to food poisoning. They can transmit this disease by accumulating the bacteria as they forage through contaminated food.

Typhoid

This is a disease that is caused by bacterial infection by the Salmonella typhi bacterium and is a highly infectious disease. Cockroaches can accumulate this disease when they feed through feces that is contaminated by the bacterium. Some of the symptoms include:

  • High temperatures
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Exhaustion
  • Stomach pains
  • Head and muscle aches

Cholera

This is an acute diarrheal infection that is normally caused by Vibrio bacterium. This disease is more common in developing countries and areas that do not have adequate environmental management. Humans will get infected by this disease when they are exposed to the bacterium. Cockroaches have the capability of spreading the organism through their vomit or feces contaminating the surfaces of food.

Dysentery

This is a type of gastroenteritis that results in diarrhea with blood. In most cases, people who suffer from it will ensure it for a week without any medication. Dysentery is normally transmitted through poor hand hygiene or when you consume and eat food that is contaminated with the organisms. Symptoms are usually diarrhea that has mucus or blood, severe painful stomach cramps, vomiting and nausea, and soaring temperatures.

Leprosy

Cockroaches, as well as other insects, are suspected to carry the bacillus Mycobacterium laprae which is responsible for causing leprosy. Cockroaches are believed to spread the disease through their feces. While the bacteria are not highly infectious, if it is left untreated, it can cause permanent damage to the skin, eyes, nerves that often leads to disfigurements and deformities.

Plague

While it is often thought as a rodent-spread disease, cockroaches are also suspected of spreading the Yersinia pestis bacterium, that is also known as the bubonic plague. Some of the symptoms of this disease are:

  • Chills
  • Muscle cramps
  • Swollen and painful lymph nodes
  • High fever

If a person is infected by the plague, they need immediate medical attention and should be treated with antibiotics within 24 hours.

Keeping your home clean is a sure way of preventing you and your family from getting infected by diseases that are spread by cockroaches. It is important that you do not leave any food uncovered. During storage, cover food with tight-fitting lids. Also, ensure that your surfaces are always clean. If you suspect that you have a cockroach infestation call your local pest control company immediately and have your house inspected. The bigger the population of cockroaches in your house the more likely you will get affected by the diseases above.

Treating Cockroach Bites

If you got cockroach bites, it might be a sign of a rather large infestation. Roaches typically only resort to biting humans when they lack a sufficient food source. At most, you may have an allergic reaction to the bite. Fortunately, there are ways to treat cockroach bites. Not all bites sting the same. And depending on which bite you experience you will need different first aid treatments. So, what happens when you get bit by a cockroach? Well, it’s quite frightening to find out that you have a cockroach problem in your house. However, the idea of them biting you is horrific.

Back in the day when sailors took to the sea, some of their biggest fears did not concern cannon balls or tough waves. They had so many cockroaches on the ships that they often gnawed on the flesh of the sailors. Some sailors had to wear leather gloves at night to prevent being bitten by roaches as they slept.

Good news is that a cockroach bite is not life-threatening. Their bites will cause minor irritation, swelling, and in rare occasions an infection. In case you get bit by a cockroach, you should immediately sanitize the wound by rubbing antiseptic or alcohol. If the bite doesn’t disappear in a weeks’ time or appears infected, visit your nearest physician.

Cockroaches are generally cautious insects and have very little desire to mess with humans. They would rather bite something that won’t fight back like leftover food, garbage or cardboard.

1. Lemon Juice

To effectively treat a cockroach bite with lemon juice, slice a fresh lemon in half and squeeze as much juice as you can. Dab a cloth or a cotton swab in the squeezed juice and apply it to the bite area. Gently clean the affected area without irritating the wound. You can also use bottled lemon juice, however, the most effective is fresh lemon juice. Monitor the wound for a week, if the symptoms don’t change you might have an infection from the bite. Check with your doctor immediately.

2. Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is one of nature’s most versatile plants because it has so many healing benefits. Just the way you would apply Aloe Vera on rushes, you could do the same for a cockroach bite to help provide great relief and ease the painful itching and swelling. The gel squeezed out of Aloe Vera has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties as well as antiseptic agents.

Wash and rinse the affected area with clean water and soap. Leave the affected area to dry completely. Apply the squeezed gel out of the Aloe Vera plant on the affected area. Let it dry before it gets into contact with clothing.

3. Anti-Itching Cream

Depending on the cockroach bite, using Anti Itching Cream will help relieve the effects of the bite. The first thing you need to do is clean the bite area with fresh, clean water and soap. Give the wound time to dry. Then slowly and gently apply the Anti Itching Cream on the affected area ensuring that you don’t cause further irritation by rubbing on it. It’s important to note the symptoms of the bite before using the cream. Anti-Itching Cream will work best for skin irritation. If your wound is swollen and painful and the symptoms do not cease in a few days; it might be a wise idea to see a doctor immediately.

4. Rubbing Alcohol

Most of the time people are bitten by cockroaches (which rarely happens) its normally in the safety of your home. And while your kitchen cabinet might be hosting these pesky creepers, it might also have a remedy to ease the pain of a cockroach bite. Your regular bottle of alcohol, or even rubbing alcohol is a home remedy that can be used to help with cockroach bites. First, clean the bite area with clean water and soap. Allow it to dry as you soak a cotton swab or cloth with alcohol. Gently apply to the affected area without causing further irritation. If the symptoms do not decrease in a few days, see a doctor.

5. Teabags

Did you know that teabags could help you relieve the pain from a cockroach bite? A bite from a cockroach will typically cause a lump with a hole in the middle. This can later turn itchy and provoke a mild like reaction.

Steep a few teabags in boiling water for about 10 minutes, allow them to cool. Clean the bite area with clean water and soap and allow it to dry. Dip a cotton swab or cloth in the teabag solution and apply gently on the affected area. The tea bag solution helps in relieving inflammations since the tannins that are in the tea are astringent and help in reducing the swelling.

6. Baking Soda

In case you got bit by a cockroach soaking the affected area in baking soda might help. Since it’s an alkaline, the bicarbonate in baking soda will help in neutralizing the PH levels at the affected cockroach bite site.

First, wash the site with clean water and soap. Allow for the cockroach bite site to dry. Add two teaspoons of baking soda into a cup of warm water. Soak a cloth, or towel in the baking soda solution and place on the bite area. Let it rest on the affected area for 15 to 20 minutes. If the symptoms persist for more than a few days, contact your doctor.

7. Banana Peel

Did you know that the banana peel you threw away in the trash could help relieve the pain caused by a cockroach bite? Banana peels have anti-pruritic, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial effects. To make the best out of it, peel out the banana and scrap the inner aspect of the banana peel. Blend it with rose water to get a thick consistency.

Wash the affected cockroach bite with clean water and soap. Cover the infected cockroach bite with the paste and dab it with ice wrapped with cloth or just a wet cloth. Leave it for 30 minutes to an hour and wash. If the symptoms persist for more than a few days, see a doctor.

8. Epsom Salts

Enduring cockroach bite can be very frustrating. However, there are a few natural remedies that you can use to help you relieve the pain. Epsom salts are one of the richest sources of magnesium that is easily absorbed into the skin. Thisinexpensiveremedy can be purchased at your local convenience store, and drug store everywhere.

Wash the bite site with clean water and soap. Let it dry. Add two teaspoons of Epsom salt to a cup of warm water. Soak a cloth or towel in the solution and cover the bite site. Leave it for 15 to 25 minutes. If the symptoms do not reduce in a few days, consult a physician.

9. Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint is an extremely versatile oil and can help in relieving the pain and inflammation caused by a cockroach bite. When it is applied to the skin diluted with a carrier oil, it gives a cooling sensation, precisely what you need after a cockroach bite. Apart from stopping burning, itching and stinging, Peppermint essential oil is also an anti-microbial agent that reduces the chance of the cockroach bite site becoming infected. You can also use peppermint oil to deter cockroaches from your house.

10. Sliced Onion

Did you know that Onions can be used to reduce swelling? Well, if you ever experience a cockroach bite, you could also use it to reduce the pain and irritation caused by the swelling. The onion will also help you get rid of the feeling to itch. If the swelling does not reduce in a few days, it is important that you see a doctor immediately.

11. Vinegar

Did you know that you could use vinegar to sanitize your kitchen as well as a bathroom? Well, this natural home remedy can also be used to neutralize itches that are caused by cockroaches. Apple cider is best for this situation since it is less acidic. However, you could still get any vinegar you have. Just like you would do with alcohol, soak a cotton swab or cloth in vinegar and apply it to the bite site. Ensure that the site is washed with clean water and soap before you neutralize it with vinegar. Vinegar can also be used to deter cockroaches in your home by spraying it in areas where cockroaches frequent.

12. Camphor Essential Oil

Camphor essential oil is ideal for treating cockroach bites thanks to its antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties. It can also be used as a mild insecticide to deter cockroaches from invading your home. To relieve the effects of itching, camphor will gently warm your skin masking the symptoms from the cockroach bite. It’s very important to note that bites from cockroaches could get worse if you apply camphor oil. Therefore, you should take care when using this remedy.

Prevention of Bites

There are a few things you can do to prevent cockroach bites, including using boric acid and diatomaceous earth. Both are said to be effective against roaches. However, the best way to prevent bites from occurring is to call in a professional for help. An exterminator can inspect your home to determine the best method of prevention.

Avoiding Being Bitten by Cockroaches

Did you know that cockroaches bite? Cockroaches will bite if they feel threatened, and some are likely to than others. It’s important to know that cockroaches are timid creatures and will not dare come close to humans when they are awake. Most of the time (if they ever bite) will happen when you are asleep or inactive.

Preventing a cockroach bite is far more preferable than having to treat it afterward. Therefore, to be able to prevent cockroach bites, you need to understand their behaviour. Cockroaches are scavengers. They will feed on dead animals as well as food that they find on surfaces or floors. They are attracted by dead animals and food. Therefore, to prevent chances of being bitten by a cockroach you need to decrease these two things.

Methods to prevent cockroach bites

Hire an exterminator- hiring an exterminator is perhaps the most effective method you could use to prevent cockroach bites in the future. For one, their service is guaranteed. Exterminators have the experience and skill on how to get rid of cockroaches in your home. They can easily locate the cockroach nest and get rid of your cockroach problem for good.

Practice clean habits

Food is a cockroach attractor. Since most of the cockroach bites happen when we are sleeping, simply make sure that you do not eat where you sleep. In case you have particles of food scattered in your bedroom, it will attract cockroaches.

Crumbs in your bed will stick on your skin, and cockroach attracted to the meal will bite you in the process. Having dirty dishes in your bed also means that cockroaches will crawl up your sheets as you sleep. In case you wake up during sleep, you could scare the cockroaches forcing them to bite. Practicing clean habits in your sleeping spaces will prevent you from getting cockroach bites.

Wounds

If you have cockroaches in your home, and you also have wounds, scabs or scratches, there are a couple of things you need to do. Clean everything with an alcohol wipe, avoid using drinking alcohol since they often include sugars which will attract the cockroaches. Use rubbing alcohol that you can get in a pharmacy. Cover your wounds with bandages so that cockroaches will be unable to get to the dead parts.

It is important to note that if you do not have cockroaches, then you will not need to worry about preventing cockroach bites in the first place. There is numerous ways you could get rid of these creepers, however, getting an exterminator is a sure and guaranteed method to get rid of them entirely. In case you and your family suffer from cockroach bites when you sleep, contact your local pest control service to help you get rid of your problem.

Once an analysis is complete, the exterminator will set up an appointment to come in and spray or use roach bombs in your home. Keep in mind that the sprays and roach bombs used by professionals are different than what you would buy at the store. Professionals have access to commercial grade agents used to kill roaches and put an end to an infestation.  Contact The Exterminators inc. at 647-496-2211 for the quick and safe cockroach control and check pest control products if you want to do it yourself.

 

Article Updated: November 1st, 2018

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Joe The Exterminator
Joe The Exterminator

Joe is a professional pest control exterminator with over 15 years of experience and enjoys sharing his knowledge about different pests and how you can deal with them.