Cockroach Infestation vs. Ant Infestation – Which is More Harmful?

close up image of 5 brown ants in the dirt

Asking what’s worse between a cockroach infestation and an ant infestation is kind of like asking a person if they’d rather have a cold or the flu: neither one is very pleasant, and you’d like to avoid them both altogether if possible. But unlike the cold and flu, which can still get you regardless of how careful you are, ant and cockroach infestations are eminently avoidable.

Both types of infestation result from similar practices: lack of cleanliness and abundance of available food. All pests are constantly in search of food, so leaving food unprotected or failing to clean up food particles will attract both ants and cockroaches. You should always store food in airtight containers and put it away in the refrigerator or cabinets. Your kitchen also needs to be kept clean: the tables and countertops should be wiped down daily, the floor should be swept regularly, and the trash should be taken out every night. And when you take out the trash, be sure you keep the outdoor trash can’s lid closed.

So which infestation is more harmful? Let’s compare and contrast the two:


For every roach you actually see scurrying across your floor, there are many more hidden out of sight. A single cockroach infestation could be home to thousands of these pests and the causes of roaches are sometimes unavoidable. Cockroaches are capable of carrying 33 different types of bacteria and seven types of human pathogens (side note: ew.). The presence of cockroaches can also cause allergic reactions, especially in children.


Unlike cockroaches, you’ll see plenty of ants around when you’re dealing with an infestation: especially if there’s fresh food present. But there are still thousands of ants back at the colony that you will probably never see. Some ants can bite or sting you, but most won’t harm you unless provoked. Ant bites/stings are also usually more of a nuisance than an actual cause for concern. However, the mere presence of the yellow pharaoh ant has been linked to respiratory problems, and it is possible for ants to taint unprotected food. But overall, ants are merely annoying and don’t usually present a notable health risk.

So as you can see, cockroach infestations have the potential to cause much more harm than ants. But regardless of which infestation you’re dealing with, a professional pest control company can help rid your home of these unwelcome guests. 

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