What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Dear Bug Man,
A half an hour ago I woke up to find a palmetto bug on my leg. After nearly breaking my hand on the wall throwing it (and it felt sticky), I got up (couldn’t sleep after that repulsive incident) and noticed the area on my leg where the roach had been was very red. Then about 6 bumps (like mosquito bites, almost) appeared in an oval configuration about an inch long. One of the bumps was long (about half an inch) and thinner than the rest. My question is do these things bite? I immediately jumped on the internet to look for an answer, and most sites state that they do not. But the redness/bumps on my leg seem to indicate otherwise. That thing must
have bitten me. Should I be worried? What should I do?
Thank you
Stefanie in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Dear Stephanie,
All the information I have ever read agrees with the internet, that Palmetto Bugs do not bite, however, it could still have been responsible for your skin irritation. People will sensitive skin might get pricked by the spines on their legs, and this could have happened when you grabbed it, something like a contact dermatitus. It could also have been a psychosomatic reaction to the repulsive incident.

Thanks for the response…it definitely wasn’t in my head…still have the red marks. YUCK!
Thanks again,
Stefanie H.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination


  1. Julie says:

    That is the grossest big and even the thought of ot biting
    is even worse. Don’t think I’ll ever go to Florida again!!

  2. Johnnie says:

    They do bite. One bite me in my face. I must have grab it in my sleep because when I woke up it was in the bed with me. Yuk! I almost died when I saw it.

  3. Jj says:

    Do Palmetto_Bug
    Bite when you are a sleep

  4. J says:

    They bite! One bit me on the neck this evening. Not the first time. I don’t see many only after hard rain.
    But…they absolutely do bite!

  5. Allen Fraley says:

    As an older man I went in half asleep at 2 AM to pee suddenly as I sat there I felt a sting , there it was a large palmetto bug.

    Weird, I think he saw his rope from drowning and grabbed on. So it may have been a pinch. Although it stung like a bee. Running a little paranoia I hope I don’t get some weird wasting disease from a cockroach swimming in urine.

    So I washed and used an alcohol pad.
    Is there any history of infection from these insects?

    • bugman says:

      According to Better Health, an Australian Government site: “It is believed that the cockroach may be a reservoir for a range of bacteria including salmonella, staphylococcus and streptococcus. The cockroach can also harbour viruses such as the polio virus. Like the household fly, the cockroach will eat virtually anything ranging from food spills on a kitchen floor to faecal matter. Ingested bacteria can survive in the cockroach’s digestive system, sometimes for months or even years, and are passed in its droppings. Cockroaches will vomit and defaecate on food and it is thought that disease may be transmitted to humans when humans eat food contaminated by cockroaches. Recent research suggests that the cockroach may also be associated with human allergies.”

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