Do Cockroaches Bite & What Do Roach Bites Look Like?

As if seeing a cockroach isn’t terrifying enough, imagining them biting you in your sleep is already the stuff of nightmares. But luckily, although roaches might technically be capable of biting humans, they only do so in extremely rare situations.

In this article, we’ll talk about if and when cockroaches might bite, and what those bites look like.

Do Cockroaches Bite?

Most of the time, cockroaches will not bite you. And when we say “most of the time,” we’re talking about 99.999999….% of the time. Roach bites are so rare that they almost never happen.

According to entomologist Dini Miller during an interview with Prevention, cockroach bites on humans have only been recorded a few times throughout history, and most of those reports are very anecdotal and unsubstantiated.

Biting isn’t a natural attack or as a defense mechanism for roaches, as it is for other insects. Their mouthparts aren’t even strong enough to pierce through human skin.

At most, cockroaches might seem like they’re biting a person when in fact they’re just trying to pick at food remnants or dead skin. And even that’s very rare, as cockroaches prefer to avoid humans as much as possible. They won’t seek you out unless they have no other choice. 

If you find insect bites on your skin, they’re most likely NOT from cockroaches.

In What Situation Would Cockroaches Bite Humans?

Perhaps the only reason why cockroaches might try to bite a human is if they are absolutely starving and there are no other possible food sources for them to survive on.

In a severe and unchecked infestation, it’s possible that a population of cockroaches might grow to the point where they’re forced to change their feeding habits and resort to biting humans. 

Even then, cockroaches are timid insects that would only bite a person while they’re asleep.

Where Do Cockroaches Bite?

Cockroach bites might appear these four areas on the body:

  • Face
  • Mouth
  • Fingers
  • Hands

That’s because these places are most likely to have accumulated food residue that would attract starving roaches. They might also go after hair, eyelashes, and nails.

If you’re worried about cockroaches biting you, an easy way to prevent it is by practicing good hygiene (e.g. keeping your face, mouth, fingers, and hands clean), especially before bed.   

What Do Roach Bites Look Like?

While we would like to show an picture of a roach bite here, the fact is that they’re so extremely uncommon that there aren’t any documented images from a reputable source.

Based on the physiology of cockroaches’ mouthparts, their bites would probably appear as red, raised bumps on the skin — similar to bed bug bites or mosquito bites but slightly larger.

They have two small mandibles that operate like a sideways version of a mammal’s mouth. These mandibles cannot pierce human skin, so instead they would just gnaw on the outermost layer. Therefore roach bites wouldn’t break the skin, but might feel itchy and cause the skin to become irritated or inflamed.

Cockroach bite marks would likely be between 1-4 millimeters in diameter. And unlike bed bug bites or flea bites that occur in certain patterns, there are no patterns to roach bites.    

If you have an allergic reaction to a cockroach bite, you might develop a skin rash or experience shortness of breath. In extreme cases, the bite area might become infected, causing the wound to be inflamed and filled with pus. If this happens, seek medical attention immediately. 

About MMPC

When it comes to dealing with cockroaches, MMPC is here to help! Our licensed and knowledgeable pest control experts have more than 25 years of experience exterminating cockroaches with effective and eco-friendly methods.