Roaches and Seafood Allergies

Hold up……. Keeping roaches can make you develop a shellfish allergy??? (I’ve heard of similar issues of developing an allergy later in life due from being in contact with something too much or something along those lines). I got a 50 gallon tub of discoid roaches on the shelf behind me as I type this. Oh god…… :face_with_hand_over_mouth:



I have been breeding dubias for about 4-5 years now and my belly does not approve of shrimp. Shrimp used to be my #1 food of all time. Now I can’t/won’t eat them.

And I am only in my teen years so not really in that “later in life” stage yet. :slight_smile:


I just thought of another meme…

When you ask for advice, and they say to keep it moist but with low humidity…


So what I’m hearing is if I keep roaches there’s a good chance I can become allergic to my favorite foods of all time? I eat seafood every chance I can get and can eat my weight in crab legs.

Thank you all for this insightful knowledge!


According to @t_h_wyman it will eventually make you develop one. Not sure if it applies to discoid roaches but probably. There is no way to avoid it either. :grimacing:


Welp. The roachies gotta go then. I’ll be damned if I’m giving up seafood. Even if they are kinda cute all trotting over when I give them cut up oranges and bug burger as treats. :expressionless: the adults get spoiled. Their nymphs are harvested and passed off as snackies for the scale babies.

Sorry kids. It’s for my own selfish reasons.


The pun is so intense :crazy_face:


lol I read it as ‘shellfish’ at first. That is a good pun :joy:


I have yet to hear of anyone that has never developed an allergy to roaches over time. I know a few people that say they have not developed a shellfish allergy but some of them are also not big shellfish eaters so that sampling may be skewed. And they may not have reached the level of allergy I did (full anaphylaxis, probably should have used an EpiPen)

There are supposed to be some roach species that are hypoallergenic, but I do not know which those are


Aaaaand that’s enough reason to only keep roaches pinned in a shadowbox display…

Thanks but no thanks, we like our shrimp and crab in this house.:grin:


This is the first I’ve heard that prolonged exposure to roaches causes people to develop an allergy to seafood. Now I’m really happy that my former roommate took the roach colony with her when she moved out! She has three lizards that eat roaches, while I only have snakes right now, so she has far more use for it than I do, but after learning this, I’ll have to think long and hard before getting any reptile that can/should eat roaches!

I’m mostly vegan these days, but when I cheat, it’s always for seafood. I could be perfectly happy never eating poultry or red meat ever again, but I do loves me some seafood. I don’t eat it often (mostly because it’s expensive), but I’d be pretty sad if I couldn’t indulge occasionally.


The chitin in roach exoskeletons is highly similar to that in crustacean (shrimp, crab, lobster, crayfish) exoskeletons so developing an allergy to the prior leads to a broader allergy to the latter


Yep. I have heard that wearing a really good mask at all times when dealing with roaches greatly decreases the risk and prolongs the amount of time until the allergy is developed.

I would guess just buying them as feeders (say, 100(s) nymphs at a time) would NOT make you develop an allergy to them; at least not fast enough or in high enough intensity to matter. It is when you breed them and are in contact with large amounts every day is when you start to notice.

It is basically the same with crickets, mealworms, etc. Their frass is really not great to breathe in at all; like, REALLY at all. Especially when breeding hundreds in a room with subpar ventilation like a bedroom, closet, basement, etc. :slight_smile:


Who doesn’t? :slight_smile: Shrimp and crab are really the best. *+Lobster

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Suspect that it’s probably longterm repeated exposure to the dust from shed exoskeleton that gets stirred up when cleaning. When you inhale the small particulates, you will cause an inflammatory response in the bronchial lining, that is what will lead to the histamine response over time.

Purchasing a few in a small container to feed off every once in awhile should not expose you at the same level, and certainly not chronic exposure. If you are really worried, you could mask up while handling them, seal the container when done, wear gloves and wash thoroughly afterwards. Might be overkill.

There is more than one type of shellfish allergy. If you have a reaction to any and all shellfish, you may actually be allergic to the iodine in the shell. But I think the type of allergy the roaches cause is for the chitin the shells of the arthropods are made from, which should mean that shrimp and crab and lobster are off the menu, but clams and oysters might be ok. If you think you may have a problem, you would be wise to go get tested to determine exactly what you are allergic to. Many medical imaging procedures use iodine, and chondroitin a popular supplement is related to chitin, so you may want to know. For mild reactions, a dose of benadryl may be sufficient. If you are aware that you have any allergy which results in a full anaphylaxis, when lots of bad things are happening in your body throwing off your homeostasis but the immediately important one here is that your airway swells shut and you can’t breathe, then you absolutely should carry an epi pen whenever you might come in contact with your favorite allergen.

I am not a doctor. I have years of experience working in medicine directly with patients in the medical imaging field. We have extensive training on the subject of allergic responses. I am offering information here which is meant for your general edification and is not intended as a replacement for medical advice from your doctor, nor as a recommended treatment. If you have a medical emergency, seek help immediately.


That is what I said :grin:


Woops, yes you did.:grin:

I would be interested to know if the allergy is broad spectrum enough to apply to all arthropod exoskeleton chitin. Could it develop into an allergic reaction to all insects and spiders at some level?

I’m not interested enough to keep dubias for the research.:grin: But it might be important to know for the community at large.

Any tarantula keepers out there also raising dubias that have noticed the can’t handle the tarantula molts without a reaction?

I almost feel like all this discussion needs to be moved to it’s own thread, maybe stickied. I wouldn’t be surprised if the dubia allergy translated over to isopods at some level of exposure.


Complication there is that many T have urticating hairs that can induce a skin reaction as well


Forgot about those, but then I don’t and won’t keep giant hairy nope aliens as pets.:grin:

I don’t want to have enclosures full of giant hairy nope spiders that make my monkey brain wake up screaming with nightmares "kill it with FIRE!!":fire::fire::fire::fire::fire::scream::scream::scream::grin:


Yep, tarantulas are not for the faint of heart :smile: I am just barely (thinking about) getting one, and it will be a dwarf with no urticating hairs. It is hard for me to deal with big bugs, namely arachnids
I am mostly fine with Ts, scorpions, and spiders but CENTIPEDES are a big no no no no no for me. ABSOLUTELY no. I cannot say “no” enough times to describe my fear of them.

I went down to New Mexico for a herping trip and we flipped a large tarp with TENS of Giant Desert Centipedes (S. heroes). I didn’t even think they were social animals. I fainted as they all scattered and woke up on the couch haha.
Earlier in that trip we had flipped many lightning-quick Bark scorpions, trapdoor spiders, Hogna spiders, tarantulas, camel spiders, snakes, etc. and I was totally fine with them. NO NO NO NO NO centipedes. Ever again.
:scream: :scream: :scream: :dizzy_face: :dizzy_face: :dizzy_face: :face_with_symbols_over_mouth: :face_with_symbols_over_mouth: