Why Are We Scared Of Cockroaches? How To Deal With The Fear

Cockroaches are known to create a cockroach phobia. Many people have this phobia but the reasons behind it are complex. While some people have no reasons to fear roaches and to even eat them, some cultures and groups have an irrational often innate fear of cockroaches.

People are scared of cockroaches because they feel unsafe. This can be a phobia known as katsaridaphobia, perpetuated by redundant exposure to cockroaches. Therapy helps overcome the fear of cockroaches.

We all have different opinions on house pests. We sometimes clean them up immediately. But some people freeze or even suffer from palpitations when seeing cockroaches.

This fear of cockroaches is a phobia known as katsaridaphobia. The reasons this phobia is in our heads are different from case to case.

cockroach in home

It’s generally accepted that this phobia is accompanied by a feeling of not feeling safe. This feeling can get away or it can improve over time.

The fear of cockroaches can only be dealt with by first understanding what’s causing it.

10 reasons why we’re afraid of cockroaches?

There are endless reasons why some people might be afraid of a bug. Cockroaches don’t bite, so it’s not the same type of fear with a biting pest or a stinging pest might come. Yet again, not all people suffering from katsaridaphobia now that roaches don’t bite. Here are a few common reasons why the fear of cockroaches is so present today.

1. Cockroaches are at the bottom of the food chain

One of the biggest problems with cockroaches is their perceived dirtiness. Most people see them as very dirty pests as they live in dark places and as they crawl through sewers.

Roaches are at the bottom of the food chain. They feed on decaying food and on other decaying organic matter which puts many people off.

2. Cockroaches are a pest

Apart from eating decaying foods, cockroaches can also enter homes. They become a pest and pests aren’t well received. Regardless of their impact levels, pests are seen as problematic and people try to kill them as soon as they see them around the house.

3. A phobia following a traumatic event

Some scientists believe the fear of roaches is induced by a traumatic event. This might be something as small as accidentally touching a roach in early childhood.

This type of event would have stuck in the memory of the suffering person for life. It rarely goes away without therapy.

4. Negative experiences since early childhood

A negative experience with cockroaches in early childhood might be more traumatic than in adult life. Children still have limited world experiences and limited emotional maturity to deal with traumatic events.

Being locked in a door home with roaches or even being forcefully made to hold a cockroach is a type of early childhood traumatic event that doesn’t get forgotten even in adulthood.

5. A fear induced by culture

Culture-induced fears are prevalent today. Children are thought was is good and what is not good through the experiences of others.

This explains why some cultures in the world see roaches as a tasty snack and cook and eat roaches while others don’t even want to see cockroaches inside the house. The people around us often influence what we like and what we don’t like.

6. Cockroaches spread diseases

One of the biggest reasons to fear cockroaches is diseases spreading. Roaches carry all types of bacteria that can lead to severe health problems.

From a case of diarrhea to an extreme disease spread of cholera, cockroaches are not to be touched as they carry viruses and bacteria with them. Here are a few diseases and bacteria roaches are known to spread.

  • Dysentery
  • Cholera
  • Leprosy
  • E.coli
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Salmonella

Eating decaying food and living in dark humid places favor the spread of these diseases.

7. A possible genetic fear

Some scientists believe we inherit the fear of cockroaches. In other words, we are born with an innate fear of these pests and there’s nothing those around us or our direct experiences with cockroaches have to do with it.

The fear is innate and we can only limit it with therapy according to some studies. This theory is based on the principle that children are afraid of cockroaches even when they see them for the first time without already having some type of traumatic roach experience.

8. Roaches live in dark places

Animals and bugs that live in dark places aren’t too popular. Bats are a good example of how a creature living in dark places always has negative assumptions tied to it.

Cockroaches are no different. They live and crawl in dark spots, areas that are often dirty and unknown to us. These dark places arise dark thoughts and sometimes irrational fears about roaches.

9. Roaches crawl

Crawling creatures aren’t always positively-received. Tarantulas, spiders, and cockroaches are all part of a group people don’t typically like.

While there are people that have no problems with these creatures, many are still afraid of them. Crawling is different from walking people are used to and this can induce certain fears.

10. Cockroaches don’t have pleasant vivid colors

One of the reasons people often overlook when it comes to the fear of cockroaches is their dark coloring. This puts many people off.

One of the arguments for this idea is that other bugs with more vivid colors aren’t triggering the same negative reactions. Vividly-colored bugs are sometimes positively received.

Red, orange, and yellow ladybugs are a good example of how a predatory bug can be tied to positive experiences. Ladybugs generally have positive meanings associated with them which is the opposite of how cockroaches are seen.

5 methods to deal with the fear of cockroaches

Once the fear of cockroaches is understood, it can be minimized and even overcome. You can look past this fear by asking for professional help or by practicing self-improvement techniques as follows.

1. Get therapy

Therapy for phobias is normal. People go to a therapist for many things and a phobia is high among the least reasons.

Therapists discuss this fear with you and they help you understand your relationship with the fear beyond the fear others have tied to this phobia.

2. Watch coffee consumption

It’s best to quit coffee and energy drinks or limit their consumption if you’re the type of person that suffers from palpitations or panic attacks when you see a cockroach.

This is often the advice therapists give to those who also suffer from shortness of breath whenever they see these crawling insects around the house.

Drinks that boost energy are generally good but they might increase these palpitations further. They might be adding to your fear instead of calming you.

3. Practice praying or meditation

Praying and meditation are some of the self-care techniques you can practice eliminating the fear of cockroaches. Both are known to induce a state of calmness which helps you understand your fear and deal with it.

A calm person is going to react better when seeing cockroaches, even when the fear is still present. Meditation can also help you get past a fear of cockroaches that have been induced since childhood.

4. Talk about your phobia with friends

If you can’t reach a therapist you can also discuss feeling scared of cockroaches with your friends. Talking about cockroaches and what your friends do to keep them out helps.

Many people don’t know certain things in the house attract roaches. Leftover pet food, traces of food on the floor, and even high humidity are all elements that attract cockroaches. Your friends or family might help you understand your fear through their experiences of eliminating cockroaches.

5. Practice breathing therapy

Breathing therapy is one of the modern calming therapies you can learn to deal with the fear of cockroaches. Breathing techniques are often recommended to people who see cockroaches that freeze without any reaction.

While your home can be roach-free, not every building you go to is going to be free of cockroaches. This is where breathing therapy can help you react better whenever you see cockroaches in any type of social situation.


Fear or disgust are common reactions when seeing cockroaches. Some of these fears have good reasoning behind them, such as cockroaches carrying disease.

An irrational fear of cockroaches is also common. Fear can become truly problematic when you start to cry or scream when you see cockroaches. An elevated heart rate or a motionless reaction to seeing cockroaches isn’t healthy either.

Fear of cockroaches is often tied to katsaridaphobia. This phobia can be dealt with by visiting a therapist. But not all cases of cockroach fears are phobias and they can be mitigated by understanding where this fear is coming from.

Cockroaches are pests and the truth is nobody likes pests. Still, there are methods of learning how to cope with extreme reactions when seeing cockroaches. Modern therapies help people cope with all types of phobias, including cockroach phobia.

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