Do Cockroaches Bite Humans in Their Sleep? Get the Facts

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Do you get itchy skin that wakes you up during the night? If so, you must think that; it would be due to mosquitoes, spiders, or bed bug bites. However, having a cockroach infestation in your house makes you wonder; do cockroaches bite humans in their sleep?

Yes, cockroaches may bite you while you are sleeping. However, they bite in rare situations when they have nothing to eat. Their bites can last up to a week and cause local swelling, itchiness, and redness.

Are you interested in knowing more about cockroach bites and their treatment? Read the below guide to learn everything about roach bites.

In Which Conditions Do Cockroaches Bite Humans?

As cockroaches are omnivores, they can eat both plants and animals. They can eat anything from grease and feces to food crumbs and wallpapers. Although they have such a diverse diet, roaches rarely bite people. The only time cockroaches will attempt to bite a human is if they are out of food and have no other options to feast.

If a cockroach infestation is severe, they might alter their eating habits and turn to bite humans. However, cockroaches are fearful animals that would only attack a sleeping human. If you’re concerned about being bitten by cockroaches, you can easily avoid it by following good hygiene habits.

How Does a Cockroach Bite Look Like?

Although cockroach bites and those from other insects, including bed bugs, are similar, there are some variances. One of the best ways to identify that the cockroach is biting you is to catch it during the act. Below are the specifications of common cockroach bites.

Cockroach Bite

American Cockroach Bites

American cockroaches are one of the most common species of roaches found worldwide. These cockroaches frequently consume fermented foods and dead animals as nourishment. Moreover, these roaches usually bite when they have short of food supply, and their bites leave scratch marks on your body.

German Cockroach Bites

They are the most common types of household cockroaches found throughout the world. Although they often eat meals high in sugar and starch, they occasionally bite people. It only happens when food is less available.

Furthermore, German cockroaches bite you to consume the meal remnants and dead skin cells on your hands and faces while you sleep.

Oriental Cockroach Bites

These are other common types of cockroaches. All that will result from one of these insects bite you is a red welt. The only danger that oriental cockroach bites cause is the spread of illness. If you clean and disinfect the wound properly, there would be no risk of threatening conditions.

What Happens When a Cockroach Bites You?

According to the Journal of American Entomologists, cockroaches are omnivores scavengers that can eat plants and dead animals. Cockroach bites are bright red and give rise to lumps of 1-4mm in diameter. To distinguish them properly, below are the common signs.

Common Signs and Symptoms of a Cockroach Bite

  • Cockroach bites are larger than bed bugs and have no clusters.
  • They appear as small, red, raised lumps on the skin.
  • A cockroach bite may occasionally cause you to have a severe allergic reaction.
  • The adverse effect of cockroach bite may result in severe swelling, shortness of breath, and even shock.
  • In the worst situations, the bite site may contract an infection, resulting in an inflammatory, pus-filled lesion.

On Which Part of Your Body Does a Cockroach Bite?

Cockroaches are nocturnal creatures and prefer to hide during the day, and are inherently afraid of humans. Hence, even though it’s not very prevalent, cockroach bites mostly happen at night while you are asleep and immobile.

Moreover, Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control Journal claims that cockroaches are responsible for the spread of lethal pathogens to humans. Thus, in addition to skin irritation, cockroaches bite may result in severe infection.

The most common sites of cockroach bites are:

  • Fingers
  • Nails
  • Face
  • Eyelashes
  • Mouth
  • Hands
  • Feet

A Cockroach Bite Lasts for How Long?

As cockroaches are night-loving pests, they used to bite you during the night when they had nothing to eat. Cockroach bites may result in skin itchiness, swelling, and redness that may last from a week to a few days. Aside from swelling, the bite site develops a cluster of bumps over time.

Thus, when a cockroach bites you, you should take immediate precautions to prevent further harm.

Are Cockroach Bites Painful?

Now you’re aware that cockroaches can bite, even though, it’s uncommon, you undoubtedly want to know how painful those bites are. It depends on your level of pain tolerance. The pain lasts for a few seconds and may feel like a pinch. However, roach bites are very powerful.

Although you might not feel them when they bite you, the aftereffects could be terrible. Moreover, their bites are 50 times stronger than their body weight. Your ability to cope with it determines how long the discomfort you experience lasts.

How Do You Treat Cockroach Bites?

When a cockroach bites you, you should take the required steps as quickly as possible to stop an infection. Below are some steps that you must follow to treat cockroach bites.

  • Firstly, don’t rub or press the wound and wash it with water.
  • If there is swelling, treat the area with gentle icing.
  • To prevent infection, don’t scratch the affected region.
  • Moreover, you can also apply hydrocortisone cream on the affected area, but you should consult your doctor before using it.
  • Additionally, you can apply cold tea packs, alcohol, lemon, baking soda, and aloe vera gel on the concerned areas to reduce redness and swelling.
  • Above all, the best way to prevent cockroach bites is to prevent their entry into your home.

How Do You Keep Roaches Away While You Sleeping?

You should keep cockroaches away while sleeping by following the same steps to repel them from your home or property. Some of the best ways to deter roaches are mentioned below:

Wipe Out Standing Water

Cockroaches are always searching for food, water, and shelter.  There may be a probability of a cockroach infestation if there is standing water in your home. The best way to repel cockroaches is to wipe out any standing water from your home so, they don’t dare to enter your home.

Remove Trash Regularly

If you don’t remove the trash regularly, then you may have the chance of a cockroach attack in your home or bedroom because cockroaches love waste and debris. To prevent their infestation, you should remove trash from your garbage cans before leaving for bed.

Clean Your House Regularly

Another way to keep cockroaches away while sleeping is to clean your house regularly. Sometimes, while eating, you may leave food particles on floors that attract cockroaches to have the feast. Thus, to keep roaches at bay, you should properly clean your house and bedrooms.

Declutter Things

As cockroaches love cluttering to hide, you should properly arrange things to keep cockroaches away from your home and bedrooms. Avoid placing wet towels on your bed, and don’t eat while sitting on the bed to keep away roaches. Put the things in their places before sleeping to prevent cockroach infestation.

Use Pesticidal Spray

One of the easiest ways to kill or repel cockroaches is to use a cockroach-repelling spray. You can buy such pesticides from your nearby market. To get immediate effects, sprinkle the pesticide in the suspected areas of cockroach infestation to deter cockroaches.

Seal All Gaps and Openings

As cockroaches can pass a minute hole and gaps in your walls and windows, you should close them to prevent their entry into your home. If you find any cracks in your walls or doors, close them using a caulk gun to keep away cockroaches.

Store Food Properly

Storing your food properly is another effective way to ward off cockroaches. You should keep your food in a tight plastic container, and don’t leave the food open so, cockroaches don’t dare to infest your food and ultimately, your home.


Can a Cockroach Bite Kill You?

No, cockroach bites don’t kill you, but they cause serious health issues if you don’t treat them properly. As cockroaches are dirty pests, they spread deadly pathogens or bacteria to humans and cause serious diseases. Thus, you should adopt precautions to keep them at bay.

Why Do Cockroaches Bite Eyelids?

Cockroaches used to bite your eyelids because they love the dead skins around your lashes. And since the biting cockroach delivered bacteria into the wound, such bites tend to enlarge quickly. If a cockroach bites your eyelids, you should seek care from your ophthalmologist.

Will Cockroaches Crawl on You While You Sleep?

Although it’s rare, creepy cockroaches may crawl on you while you sleep. During the night, cockroaches come out of their interior hiding places to look for food, and occasionally, while doing so, they crawl over people who are sleeping.

Can Cockroach Bites Transmit Disease?

Yes, cockroach bites may transmit disease if you don’t treat them immediately. Even though there is little connection between cockroaches and illness, they can spread bacteria. It’s essential to eliminate them instantly because they bring bacteria and germs that can spread anywhere they go.

Do Cockroach Bites Pose a Threat?

No, cockroach bites don’t pose a threat. When a cockroach bites you, you may get redness, irritation, and local swelling on your skin. Despite the annoyance of these bites, the majority of symptoms subside within a week.

Wrap Up

Cockroach bites you in exceedingly rare situations when they have nothing to feed. Since they are timid insects, they would much rather flee from danger than engage in war. Moreover, cockroaches can’t tear your skin, so even if you get a bite, there wouldn’t be much noticeable damage.

To prevent cockroach bites, you should follow preventive measures to stop their entry into your home or bedrooms. Above all, the best way to eradicate a large cockroach infestation and protect yourself from harmful effects is to ask for help from a professional pest controller.


Josh Shoemaker, Cockroaches Feeding on Humans: Not Only for the Dead, American Entomologist, Volume 68, Issue 1, Spring 2022, Pages 48–51.

 Abdolmaleki, Z., Mashak, Z. & Safarpoor Dehkordi, F. Phenotypic and genotypic characterization of antibiotic resistance in the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strains isolated from hospital cockroaches. Antimicrob Resist Infect Control 8, 54 (2019).