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Cockroaches will eat pretty much anything. They are known as omnivores, but they are particularly fond of decaying matter. Some species of cockroaches prefer meats, sweets and the things humans shed such as hair. There are even cockroach species that will eat paper, books, dead trees and decaying wood.
The question that sometimes gets asked, when you have an insect that seems so willing to take a bite out of everything, is do cockroaches bite people? The short answer is yes, sometimes they do, but there's more to it than that.
A cockroach's mouth is one of the more primitive in the animal kingdom. Their mouthparts are considered "biting and chewing" parts, similar to some kinds of beetles and grasshoppers. They may not have the biting power of some other insects, but they can and do bite their food.
Cockroach mouthparts contain four parts:
Labrum - this is the exterior part of the mouth that clasps the food and guides it into the part that does all of the real hard work.
Mandibles - these are the real jaws. They chew up and grind the food for digestion.
Maxillae - the secondary part of the jaws. They are usually lined with small teeth and are also used to grind and chew the food, but can also act like little hands to hold onto it.
Labium - this is what closes up the mouth area so the food gets where it needs to go.
Cockroaches have been known to bite people. However, they only do so when the infestation has gotten so great that their normal food supply is diminished. That's a pretty serious infestation, if the cockroaches are going hungry and have to turn to people in order to find nourishment.
Sailors have told stories of infestations on ships where the cockroaches got so numerous they had to turn to the sailors. What did they eat? They went after the hair, eyelashes, eyebrows and facial hair and they loved to dine on fingernails.
Of course, they might also bite on the skin. Generally these are minor bites since the mouthparts are not even like that of the bed bug, capable of piercing deep into the flesh. It may look like mosquito or spider bites and be red and irritated.
Generally there not health concerns with cockroach bites. They are not blood feeders so there is no transfer of material into the bloodstream like with mosquitoes.
If you think you have cockroaches, the best thing to do is call in the experts like here at Western Exterminator. Call us at 888-674-7095 or use our online form to schedule an appointment with one of our highly trained Western Exterminator cockroach experts. We'll find where the cockroaches are coming from, remove them and help you prevent them from returning.
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