Do Cockroaches Crawl on You at Night? | The Creepy Myth and Prevention Tips

Written by George Climer

Cockroaches are one of the most unwanted pests in homes all around the world. They can be very dangerous since they carry diseases like allergies, asthma, dysentery, food poisoning, diarrhea, leprosy, and plague. The fact that we share our homes with these pests and that we can be seriously infected with many kinds of diseases is disturbing enough. But that is not all. When you’re sleeping, do cockroaches crawl on you?

Do cockroaches crawl on you at night? At night, cockroaches crawl on humans. They are inclined to seek warm, humid environments. Also, they are fond of the soft tissues of the human body. Thus, if there is a chance for the cockroach to crawl on you, it will most likely do so.

In this article, we’ll discuss information about cockroaches, including their appearance, habitat, preference, the reasons why they crawl on humans, and how to keep them away.

What Are Cockroaches?

What are Cockroaches

A cockroach has an oval-shaped body. It has six legs, long antennae, a flat and low-lying body, and is winged. They are also fast-moving pests.

Cockroaches have three life stages: egg, nymph, and adult. A female cockroach may lay around 10 to 40 eggs. In her lifespan, they may lay about 30 batches of eggs on average. The newly born cockroaches resemble adult cockroaches but they are smaller and have no wings.

Currently, there are a few thousand different species of cockroaches. But there are four most common species that intrude on our homes: American cockroach, German cockroach, Brown-banded cockroach, and Oriental cockroach. American and Oriental can be found both indoors and outdoors. On the other hand, German and Brown-banded can be found indoors.

Related: What Is a Cockroach? | Comprehensive Overview

What Do Cockroaches Eat?

What do cockroaches eat

Cockroaches are omnivores, which means they have similar eating habitats as humans. They like to eat the food humans eat. But the difference is that cockroaches would eat anything when it comes to deficiency of food. That means they would eat garbage humans produce, feces, and even dead individuals of their kind.

Cockroaches are also attracted by some chemicals, such as volatile fatty acids. They can be found in fermented food like beer, cheese, and bread.

Related: What Do Cockroaches Eat? | Surprising Foods and Prevention Tips

Where Do Cockroaches Live?

Where do cockroaches live

Cockroaches are nocturnal insects. They like to hide in dark, warm, tight places that are close to humans. Moreover, they can be easily found in kitchens (especially behind counters, under fridges, toasters, and in garbage cans), basements, and children’s rooms.

The disturbing reality is that these pests share our living environment. They devour our food, damage the environment around us, and may even eat sections of our bodies while we go about our daily lives. Furthermore, they may be extremely dangerous since they transmit diseases, such as allergies, asthma, dysentery, food poisoning, diarrhea, leprosy, and plague.

Related: Where Do Cockroaches Live? | Preferred Habitats and Prevention Techniques

Do Cockroaches Bite?

Do cockroaches bite

Cockroaches can bite humans. When cockroaches bite and scratch the skin on the human body, people can often feel pain and itching. After some time, crusts are starting to show, and in the end, it leaves scars. Cockroach bites are recognizable triangle marks, thus easy to determine.

Related: Do Cockroaches Bite? | When, Why, and Health Risks

Reasons Why Cockroaches Crawl on Humans

Cockroaches like to live with humans because of similar eating habits. As they are nocturnal insects, there is a bigger chance you will see them at night.

Cockroaches are generally afraid of people, so there is a small possibility they will appear in front of people during awake hours because of the movements people make. But when people are asleep, there are much fewer movements. People are just laying down, so cockroaches have much more confidence to get closer to people.

Cockroaches are in constant chase of food sources. As humans represent organic matter, they will be driven by instincts to crawl on people in search of food. This happens because they are attracted by body heat. When humans are asleep, they radiate.

Furthermore, they will search for soft tissues, such as dead skin cells, eyelashes, and nostril hair. They can eat thickened skin on the heels and elbows, as well as fingernails. There are cases when cockroaches have eaten toe fingernails entirely from a dead human body. It is more common for cockroaches to crawl on children because they have softer skin and hair.

Related: Do Cockroaches Make Noise? | Hissing, Clicking, and Chirping

Do Cockroaches Crawl in Your Mouth?

As we previously established, cockroaches are likely to search for warm and humid spaces. They also like soft tissues in the human body. So, if there is an opportunity for the cockroach to crawl into the human mouth, they most probably will.

There are some cases of cockroach laying their eggs in the mouth of people and children. There is no evidence of bites inside people’s mouths. But there is some evidence of hatching nymphs from eggs in the mouth and evidence of people carrying ootheca in their mouth.

Do Cockroaches Crawl in Your Ears?

Another warm, humid, and also tight place cockroaches like to crawl into is people’s ears. Except for these reasons, there are also volatile fatty acids human earwax contains. All of that makes a strong attraction for cockroaches to crawl toward their ears.

Additionally, earlobes and earwax are suitable food for cockroaches, which gives them one more reason to crawl. People who experienced this were complaining of pain in their ears.

Do Cockroaches Crawl in Your Nasal Cavity?

There are some cases of cockroaches crawling into people’s nasal cavities. The symptoms were nasal congestion and pain. However, when the insect was ejected by blowing the nose, you can immediately feel relief. The cockroach was already dead and enmeshed in a film of mucus.

Can Cockroaches Crawl Out of Vacuum Cleaners?

In the battle against these very unwanted pests, many people are using vacuum cleaners. However, even if this seems like a good idea, the practice has shown that adult cockroaches can survive being vacuumed and could find their way out of the vacuum cleaner.

Not only that adult cockroaches can survive if you vacuum ootheca with eggs, but there is also a chance for nymphs to hatch and crawl out of vacuum cleaners. But if there are just fewer individuals, vacuuming can be a good choice. After vacuuming, the cleaning bag should be quickly cleaned.

As cockroaches can find their way out of vacuum cleaners, others also can crawl up walls and drains. With that in mind, if there is a possibility of infestation, it is good to check up on ventilation drains.

How to Keep Cockroaches From Crawling on You During the Night?

In cold climates, it is much easier to achieve since cockroaches do not like cold weather. On the other hand, in warm and humid climates, the best thing you can do is to keep them from entering your house.

To keep your house clean:

  • Do not leave food anywhere. All food has to be stored properly.
  • Clean floors as often as you can, especially kitchen floors.
  • Clean beneath and behind the countertops, the refrigerator, the mattresses, and any other tight, warm, and dark areas.
  • After each use, clean the vacuum cleaner bag.
  • Regularly empty the garbage can.
  • Repair holes in the walls.

In clean houses, there is still a chance of finding cockroaches, but they are not likely to make colonies.

If cockroaches are already in the house, it is critical to do everything listed above, as well as the following:

  • Check the whole house and try to find the nest.
  • Do not leave any pets with food or water.
  • Do not stack magazines and newspapers.
  • Make sure that there is no dripping water from the faucet.
  • Make poisoned bites for cockroaches that they can carry back to the nest and possibly kill the whole nest.
  • Use sugar traps.

In case of a bigger infestation, make sure to call pest control and let them deal with cockroaches since they are really difficult to suppress.

Related: 8 Proven Home Remedies for Cockroaches | Effective and Natural Solutions


Cockroaches are very common and difficult to deal with. They are afraid of people. So they are not likely to crawl on you while you are awake, but most likely to do that when you are asleep.

There are many reasons for this to happen as they are attracted by the heat your body radiate, and the chemicals in your earwax, and they see you like their food. Also, cockroaches can crawl into your mouth, ears, and nostril, and they can leave eggs that can hatch nymphs.

As a result, dealing with them is extremely difficult. However, there are various ways to keep your home safe from cockroaches. If you see a cockroach, make sure to keep your home clean and deal with cockroaches properly. But if there is a larger infestation, call pests professionals.

List of Sources

Peairs, F. B. (2012). Cockroaches. Colorado State University Extension.

Cockroaches. (2018). Victoria State Government.

Hahn, J., Ascerno, M. (2019). Cockroaches. University of Minnesota Extension.