Cockroaches do bite, and documentation indicates that they eat dead and live human flesh. When large populations are unable to find food in garbage cans or from available food around the house, the insects may bite exposed areas such as fingernails, feet and hands.
Cockroach bites may irritate the skin and cause lacerations, bruising and site swelling. Infections are not uncommon due to bacteria that the insects often walk in or ingest from locations such as sewers, garbage disposals, bathrooms and kitchens. Food contamination is often spread when cockroaches eat food supplies then walk on kitchen counters and over dishes and utensils. Other food sources for cockroaches include the starch in book bindings, leather, decomposing plant matter, dirty clothing and flakes of dried skin.