Pesky Little Critters

Overcoming Fear:
Understanding Why We’re Scared of Cockroaches

Updated: March 30, 2023

Cockroaches, also known as roaches, are one of the most common household pests. They are known for their resilience, speed, and ability to survive in almost any environment. However, despite their small size, many people are terrified of cockroaches. In this article, we will explore why we are scared of cockroaches and how to overcome this fear.

Why Are We Scared of Cockroaches?

Evolutionary Response

One reason why many people are scared of cockroaches is because it may be an evolutionary response. In the past, our ancestors had to deal with dangerous insects and creatures that could harm or kill them. Therefore, humans developed a natural fear response to protect themselves from harm.

Cockroaches may trigger this fear response because they are often associated with filth and disease. They are also fast-moving and can appear suddenly, which can startle people.

Cultural Factors

Cultural factors can also play a role in why we are scared of cockroaches. In many cultures, cockroaches are seen as dirty and disgusting pests that should be avoided at all costs. This perception can lead to a fear response when encountering a cockroach.

Personal Experiences

Personal experiences can also contribute to a fear of cockroaches. If someone had a traumatic experience with cockroaches in the past, such as being bitten or having an infestation in their home, it can lead to a fear response.

How to Overcome Fear of Cockroaches

Exposure Therapy

Exposure therapy is a treatment method used to help individuals overcome their fears. It involves gradually exposing the person to the feared object or situation in a controlled environment until they no longer experience fear.

For example, someone who is scared of cockroaches may start by looking at pictures of them and gradually work their way up to being in the same room as a live cockroach. Exposure therapy can be done with the help of a therapist or alone.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is another treatment method used to overcome fear. It involves identifying and changing negative thought patterns and beliefs that contribute to the fear response.

For example, someone who is scared of cockroaches may have the belief that all cockroaches are dirty and carry diseases. Through CBT, they can learn to challenge this belief and replace it with a more realistic and less fearful one.

Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can also help reduce anxiety and fear. These techniques can be used in conjunction with exposure therapy or CBT to further reduce fear.


Can cockroaches harm me?

While cockroaches are not typically harmful to humans, they can carry bacteria and pathogens that can cause illness if ingested or come into contact with open wounds.

How do I prevent cockroach infestations in my home?

To prevent cockroach infestations, it’s important to keep your home clean and free of food debris. Seal any cracks or openings in walls or windows to prevent entry. Store food in airtight containers and dispose of garbage regularly.

Should I try to kill a cockroach if I see one?

If you see a cockroach in your home, it’s best to try and eliminate it using non-toxic methods such as trapping or vacuuming. Avoid using pesticides as they can be harmful to humans and pets. If you have a severe infestation, it’s best to consult a professional pest control service.