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Do cockroaches bite?

Cockroaches are everywhere. The only places in the world which do not have a roach population are Antarctica and the Arctic. There are numerous species of cockroaches and they come in a variety of sizes and shapes. These hardy insects are prodigious at reproducing and any type of cockroach infestation an quickly overwhelm a household. Cockroaches are notorious for being unsanitary and their tendency to inhabit garbage and other potential bacterial contaminants, can make food preparation areas that become roach-infested unusable.

The question we often get asked is - do cockroaches bite? The short answer is: sometimes. However, you may be curious to know how often cockroaches bite people and how risky is it to have cockroaches around children, pets and other people?

If you have a cockroach infestation, get rid of cockroaches by contacting Ehrlich Pest Control. We will remove the existing cockroaches and offer solutions to prevent cockroaches from returning.


Cockroach mouthparts

Cockroaches do have mouths, of course, but they prefer to use them to eat soft things like fruits and meats. The pests will gladly roam through dumpsters looking for scraps of food and have no problem scrounging through the most disgusting things humans cast aside to find food. However, cockroaches have mouthparts which are very much like other insects and are composed of several moving parts including:

  • Labrum - the front part of the mouth. Since roaches do not have hands, they have to pull their intended food toward their mouths using this part of their mouth.
  • Mandibles - when you are talking about insect jaws, you are talking about the mandibles. Mandibles are found on most insects and are the parts that tear apart the food into smaller pieces so the insect can then pull them into their throats.
  • Maxillae - basically the teeth of the roach. These are secondary chewing parts that further grind down the food into smaller and smaller pieces so they can be pulled into the digestive areas for nutritional purposes.
  • Labium - if you had to draw a comparison to a human mouth to that of a roach, this would be the lips. Of course, roaches don't really have lips, but this part of the mouth closes up the chewing cavity and prevents food from falling out.


When do cockroaches bite?

It is important to point out that cockroaches do not normally bite. You are much more likely to be stung by a bee or wasp, bitten by bed bugs, or bitten by a mosquito than you are a cockroach. Even spiders bite more people than roaches. Humans are just not generally on the menu for cockroaches. They do not carry venom to inject into people or live animals. Roaches may infest a home, but they do not work together in colonies the way ants do, so they do not swarm.

However, that is not to say it's impossible for cockroaches to bite. The most likely case for a cockroach bite is in a place where the infestation is exceptionally bad. A building or home that has become completely infested with hundreds of cockroaches may present a problem for the insects because they may run out of other food sources. In this case, it's possible cockroaches may take a bite a person.

Cockroaches have been known to go after extremities. They will bite hair or try to chew on eyelashes, for example. There are stories of ancient ships that became so infested with so many roaches in such a confined space that sailors had their eyelashes chewed off by the insects. They have even been known to bite fingernails.

However, a cockroach is also not above trying to use all of those mouthparts listed above to take a bite out of someone's skin, too. These instances are rare, but it can happen.

What do cockroach bites look like?

A bite from a cockroach is likely going to appear as a red bump much like other insect bites. The bite area may itch and it may also swell up much like mosquito bites. If they are washed with soap and kept clean, there is likely to be no risk, but if conditions are bad enough for a cockroach infestation where the insects are biting, infections are possible.

Cockroach bites are not going to contain venom because roaches are not venomous. However, if you are sensitive to insect bites, there may be some concern. Plus, cockroaches are known to carry bacteria which can lead to an infection.

If you are bitten by a cockroach and are concerned at all about your reaction to the bite due to excessive itching, redness or swelling, seek medical attention.

Ehrlich Pest Control removes roaches

The best way to avoid cockroach bites is to call the professionals at your local Ehrlich Pest Control office. Our cockroach control specialists are trained to identify what type of roaches you are seeing and where they are coming from. That knowledge, combined with our treatment methods, allows our pest specialists to find their hiding places and offer an effective treatment to eliminate the roaches in the house.

Ehrlich Pest Control also offers both homes and businesses solutions to prevent cockroaches from coming back. Stop roaches from becoming a bigger problem and reduce the risk of being bitten by a cockroach by contacting Ehrlich Pest Control today.

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