Cockroaches are one of the most loathed, feared, and disgusted of all insects. Unfortunately, entomologists believe up to 2-and-a-half trillion roaches are alive and active today.
While a bedroom is seldom a cockroach’s preference, they sometimes find their way into sleeping spaces. This is likelier if your bedroom is humid and cluttered. Cockroaches love dark, messy hiding places.
Eating in the bedroom can attract roaches, as they’ll detect the scent of leftovers and dropped crumbs.
If you see a cockroach in your bedroom, kill it and assume that other roaches are nearby. While cockroaches rarely approach a waking human, they may unintentionally bite you while you sleep.
Are Cockroaches Common in Bedrooms?
While bedrooms can host cockroaches, they’re more commonly found in kitchens and pantries. Cockroaches are drawn to food supplies and warm, dark hiding places.
Bathrooms are another popular location for roaches due to their humidity.
If you have roaches in your bedroom, you may have a home infestation or unintentionally create a welcoming environment for cockroaches.
Why is There a Cockroach in My Bedroom?
If you spot a cockroach in your bedroom, it’s attracted to something in your sleeping quarters. Common reasons to find roaches in a bedroom include:
- You eat in bed, leaving crumbs and leftovers lying around. Sugar is especially appealing.
- The bedroom is overly warm, damp, or humid – many cockroaches are native to tropical climates.
- Your bedroom is filled with clutter, which provides hiding spaces during the day.
- The room has dark corners you rarely venture into, meaning cockroaches are undisturbed.
Cockroaches live in “intrusions,” so if one roach has located your bedroom, others may follow.
Should I Kill A Cockroach in My Bedroom?
If you spot a cockroach in your bedroom, you may instinctively reach for the closest shoe or boot and squash the bug. This may not even kill the cockroach, as their exoskeletons can withstand pressure up to 900 times their mass without physical harm.
Even if you kill a cockroach through force, squashing it will release bacteria into your carpet, onto the sole of your shoe, or even into the atmosphere. This may trigger allergic reactions while you sleep.
The claim that cockroaches release pheromones that attract other bugs upon death is a fallacy. While a dead cockroach releases a scent that other insects can detect, this scent is a warning, not an invitation.
You can still kill a cockroach but do so more subtly. Insecticide sprays, baits, or traps will be effective, though they may make your bedroom inhospitable.
Cockroach baits are the simplest way to kill roaches without expert assistance. A bait tempts a cockroach into a trap and tricks it into consuming a fatal insecticide. This will not just kill the roach in question but any other members of a colony that attempt to cannibalize it or eat its droppings.
You could leave basic cockroach traps around the room, which feature a tempting aroma and glue a cockroach into a single space – usually a small box.
The issue is you’ll only be killing one roach at a time and must deal with the dead bugs upon waking.
Is it Okay to Sleep in a Room with Cockroaches?
For many people, the fact that cockroaches exist is enough to cause a sleepless night. Behavior Research and Therapy divides the fear of animals among humans into 3 categories:
- Fear-irrelevant. A seemingly irrational fear of a harmless animal. An example of a fear-irrelevant animal response would be a phobia of butterflies or squirrels.
- Fear-relevant. A hardwired fear of fierce or dangerous animals based on personal safety. Animal phobias in the fear-relevant category could include wolves, tigers, or bears.
- Disgust-relevant. As well as feeling repulsed at the sight of these animals, the human brain also rightly feels apprehensive as they’re potentially harmful. Snakes often fall into the disgust-relevant category, as do cockroaches.
Will cockroaches actively bother you in your sleep? This depends on various factors.
Are Cockroaches Active at Night?
Cockroaches are nocturnal, becoming more active at night. You may have cockroaches in your bedroom during the day, but they’ll remain out of sight, resting in a dark, damp location.
You may wonder, “Will sleeping with the light on keep cockroaches away?” It’s possible, but opinion is divided on whether cockroaches actively fear traditional light sources or prefer darkness.
The Journal of Economic Entomology said UV light is a powerful tool for killing cockroaches.
Do Cockroaches Crawl on You at Night?
Plenty of urban legends claim that cockroaches crawl into the mouths and ears of humans, laying eggs within. This may happen, but it is unlikely, especially if you take the necessary precautions.
Although katsaridaphobia is common in humans, roaches will be just as afraid of you. Cockroaches try to avoid having anything to do with humans due to the size discrepancy.
Cockroaches are also driven by survival instinct and will do what it takes to survive. If your bed is home to crumbs and other food remnants, cockroaches may clamber over you to reach this nourishment.
Do Cockroaches Bite Humans in Their Sleep?
A cockroach will only consider approaching a sleeping human to obtain food.
If the roach is successful in this mission, it may bite a human. This is usually accidental and a result of the cockroach feeding in your vicinity.
Symptoms of a cockroach bite include the following:
- Raised, red lumps on the skin, similar in appearance to mosquito bites, but usually larger.
- Itchy rash on the skin. Avoid scratching the impacted area, as this will aggravate the problem.
- Hives and skin bumps. These can be a warning sign of allergy.
If you suspect a cockroach has bitten you, wash the area with antibacterial soap and water, and consider applying an ice pack to reduce inflammation.
Seek medical attention if you experience swelling or pain that lasts longer than 24 hours.
How To Keep Cockroaches Away from Your Bed
You can take steps to keep roaches out of the vicinity of your bed, including the following:
Seal Gaps or Crevices
Before returning to bed, check for holes, gaps, or crevices in your floor or walls, especially if they’re close to the bed. Cockroaches can squeeze through the tiniest spaces.
If you spot a space you feel a cockroach can get through, seal it up. Use strong tape or, better yet, sealant. Also, consider adding a roach-repelling scent.
If you close your bedroom door to sleep, look at the bottom of the door. If a gap is large enough to provide access to a roach, apply a heavy draft excluder to prevent it from entering.
Tidy and Sanitary
The cleaner and tidier your bedroom is, the less accommodating it will be to cockroaches.
If you embrace minimalism, roaches will have nowhere to hide. Keep piles of clothing off the floor, especially by the bed, and reduce general clutter wherever possible.
If you keep suitcases or bags in your bedroom, ensure they are always firmly fastened closed. If you have space on top of closets, use this for storage rather than leaving things under the bed.
Don’t eat or drink in your bedroom. If you do, clean up after yourself immediately. Remove dirty dishes or utensils, vacuum the floor and bedding, and regularly launder your bedsheets.
Dehumidify the Room
If you have humidity in your bedroom, get a dehumidifier. Some indoor plants will serve the same purpose, but the soil may attract roaches, which is counterproductive.
Elevate Your Bed and Sheets
While cockroaches have wings, most species are poor flyers, and some don’t fly. If a roach is going to access your bed, it’ll be by climbing up from the ground.
The higher your bed is elevated, the harder it’ll be for a cockroach to clamber up. Keep your sheets off the ground so they don’t provide easy access.
Cockroaches have an impressive sense of smell and use this to navigate the world. Use this to your advantage by bringing scents that roaches hate into your bedroom, especially around your bed.
Some typical aromas that deter cockroaches are as follows.
- Mint, especially peppermint.
- Tea tree.
These scents are also believed to inspire natural and restful sleep in humans. They also act as deterrents for spiders, another small bug that inspires fear and loathing in many people.
You can bring these smells into your room in several ways.
How To Sleep Knowing There Are Cockroaches in the Room
If you can’t sleep due to cockroaches, follow these simple steps:
- Leave the room for a while. Don’t stay in bed thinking about the fact that you saw a cockroach. Your brain must break this association.
- Play music, listen to an audiobook, or turn on an electrical appliance that generates white noise. Don’t rest in silence, or you’ll be constantly listening for the sound of skittering.
- Keep a can of Raid or a similar roach-killing tool handy.
Give yourself 20 minutes to fall asleep. If you’re still too unsettled to rest, consider sleeping in a different room for the night until you’ve had the chance to speak to pest control.