COCKROACH BITES: IS IT POSSIBLE?
Cockroaches lord it over when it comes to filth. This is the biggest reason why they are universally loathed, and the mere sight of them makes homeowners run away from them screaming. The thought of roaches crawling on your body is cringe already, but what more if you find out that roaches bite?
Being bitten by cockroaches, if they do bite, is one of mankind’s worst nightmares. Since cockroaches are nocturnal, they are active when most of us are asleep. Think about these filthy, ugly looking creatures crawling on you as you sleep, then taking a bite of you in the face. It is certainly is not just one of those gross moments, it can also be dangerous as roaches are known to spread diseases.
If you have a cockroach infestation problem, you may also be wondering if these creatures bite. It is bad enough that they keep crawling around the house because nobody wants them around, don’t we?
Do roaches bite? And if they do, are they able to transmit diseases that way? Read on to know more.
Cockroaches bite humans
Cockroaches do not respect our personal spaces. Unlike some pests like mice, rats, and spiders that avoid confrontation with humans as much as possible, roaches are fearless. Notice how they still try to get near you despite all your best efforts to turn them away.
Worse is, they do bite. They do not bite as often as, let us say, mosquitoes. They bite the skin of humans, living or nonliving. Though they bite any part of a human’s body, they tend to favor the hair, fingernails, and eyelashes. Imagine that!
As we said, roach bites are rare. They do this only when their population grows out of control and their food becomes scarce. Humans then become their last resort.
Cockroaches are known to be omnivores, so they eat even human flesh. This does not mean that humans are normally part of their diet.
What cockroach species bite humans?
All cockroach species can bite humans. It is probably in their nature to do so, but there are a few that do bite more frequently. This is probably due to their proximity to human dwellings. These cockroaches are the American cockroach, German cockroach, and the Australian cockroach.
This creepy crawlies are equipped with chewing mouthparts which makes them very capable of inflicting painful bites.
- Australian cockroach – Australian cockroaches are similar in appearance to the American cockroach, only smaller. They are around 1 inch to 1 ¼ inch in length. They have a yellow area on their thorax, their bodies are reddish-brown in color, and with yellow stripes on the outer edges of their wings. They feed on plants and on any decaying material. They also like starchy materials like the bindings on books and glue on boxes. They are good fliers, unlike the American cockroach. They enter homes and buildings where they can find food. The female adult cockroach lays egg cases in hidden areas, like cracks and crevices. Each egg case contains about 24 eggs.
- American cockroach – The American cockroach is the largest of common peridomestic cockroaches are the most common species found inside houses. They can reach up to 4 cm in length on average, with oval-shaped and reddish-brown colored bodies. They have well – developed wings but cannot use them well and are not very good flyers, unlike their Australian counterparts. Adult female cockroaches can have as many as 150 offspring per year and are next only to the German cockroach in terms of abundance. They like dark, wet places like sewers and pipes in homes too. They also thrive in steam heat tunnels and institutional buildings. Outdoors, American cockroaches can be found in moist, shady areas. They can be found under woodpiles, trees, and worst of all, in garbage bins. They invade human dwellings in search of food.
- German cockroach – The German cockroaches are usually found in restaurants, hotels, warehouses, and apartment houses. hey are small cockroaches, about 1.1 to 1.5 inches long, but are considered the most troublesome. They prefer sweet, fatty, and starchy foods. They can be found inside soda dispensers, feeding on the sweet residue coming from the sodas. If you see them during the day, it only means there is a severe infestation. They are able to invade establishments by getting a ride inside boxes, packages, and even luggage and bags. They can cause health hazards in restaurants and hotels.
- Brown-banded cockroach – They are characterized by the brown band that is found across their bodies. The brown-banded cockroach is akin to the German cockroach but is slightly smaller. They are half an inch long and come in brown to light brown colors. They thrive in warm and dry places, and they hide their eggs under furniture, clothes, cracks on the walls, cracks on the floor, or wood. The lifespan of an adult is about 200 days. Because they have wings, the male cockroaches can fly when disturbed, but the females cannot. The diet consists of organic matter and is very good scavengers. They eat rotten meat, excrement, and body fluids.
- Oriental cockroaches – The Oriental cockroach is the filthiest of all cockroaches. They are in between the American cockroach and the German cockroach in terms of size. The male adults can grow to an inch, but the females are larger at 1 ¼ inch. They are dark brown to black in color. Both males and females have wings but cannot fly. They also do not move as quickly as their other counterparts. They also cannot climb walls with smooth surfaces. They like to eat garbage and organic material. They thrive in dark, moist, dirty, and cool places and create a strong smell. They prefer staying outdoors, but they can go indoors to look for food.
Treatment in case you are bitten by roaches
Though cockroach bites are rare, I have encountered some friends who have been bitten by these pests. I guess what I am trying to say is, it is real and it happens. And if you are one of the unfortunate ones, you might be wondering how you can treat it.
Roach bites are treated the same way you treat any other wound.
- Clean the wound. Wash the wounded area with soap and water. Another way is to get a clean cotton ball and dip into alcohol, then apply the alcohol to the wound. Tea tree oil or witch hazel may be used.
- After cleaning the wound, apply some products that can stop the itching as well as inflammation. One way is to apply an ice pack to the affected area. Due to the cool sensation it gives, it would keep the swelling and itchiness down.
- Put some diluted lavender oil on the site of the bite. This would keep the wound clean, and minimize the inflammation and itchiness as well.
- Mix baking soda and some water to make a paste, then apply it on the wound.
- Choose only 1 among the 3 products mentioned above. After applying these, observe the wound. Usually, roach bites resolve itself without any further treatment. Still, it would be best to monitor the bite, especially on children. Check for signs of infection. Some of the signs to look out for are swollen glands; pain, redness, or inflammation on the site of the bite; and pus around the bite. If you see these symptoms, consult with your healthcare provider.
- If the roach bite is around the eye area, consult your doctor.
Do roach bites spread diseases?
Cockroaches are known to be disease carriers. The World Health Organization says that roaches spread a number of diseases like typhoid fever, cholera, dysentery, and diarrhea. Cockroaches eat anything, regardless of whether they are dirty or not. They eat fresh food rotting food, garbage, feces, and decaying dead bodies of insects and animals. They crawl through garbage, sewers, and drains in search of anything they can eat. Due to these filthy habits, they get to carry with them bacteria and viruses.
It is when they contaminate your food with their droppings, saliva, vomit, or just simply crawling on your food, that the problems begin to arise.
A cockroach bite is less likely to spread these diseases because the diseases they transmit affects the digestive system. Ingestion is really the way to get these.
What could happen is for the bite to become infected. As long as you keep the wound clean, the bite is not dangerous and would heal on its own.
How to get rid of cockroaches
Preventing cockroaches from invading your home is the best way to get rid of them. Here are a few tips to keep in mind, so that you would not have to worry about roach bites:
- Seal cracks and crevices by caulking. This will remove all possible entry points for the roaches.
- Store your food in sealed containers to avoid contamination.
- Dispose of your garbage properly. Cover your trash cans as well.
- Practice good sanitation.
If you need help with getting rid of roaches in my kitchen, be sure to contact the only the trusted pest control management in North Carolina – the Go-Forth Pest Control.