What Does It Mean to Dream of a Roach?

Dream of a Roach

Seeing a roach, also known as a cockroach, in your dream can be troubling. What might be more troubling, though, is all the well-hidden roaches you don’t see in your life.

When you see a roach in your dream, you at least have the opportunity to see where the problem is.

Roach Dream Summary

Roach Symbolism

Roaches are associated with dirty environments, so dreaming of a roach can symbolize that there is some sort of filth or negative energy in your life. Dreaming of a roach can also symbolize that you think that someone or something in your life is disgusting or is the cause of all your problems, whether or not that is entirely objectively true.

Roaches can also symbolize resilience, as it is hard for humans to get roaches out of a home or motel that the roaches have claimed. This association between roaches and motels can also give roaches a symbolic link with travel and adventure, especially the hard parts of travel where you don’t have control over your environment.

Common Roach Dreams

  1. Dream of being in a house infested with roaches
  2. Dream of trying to exterminate roaches
  3. Dream of eating a roach
  4. Dream of a roach causing illness
  5. Dream of becoming a roach

Roach Symbolism

Roach Symbolism


Roaches are associated with filthy environments such as those found in the homes of people with hoarding disorder.

Industry magazine Pest Control Technology reports that hoarding disorder presents a challenge for pest management professionals, as pests such as cockroaches and bed bugs hide in clutter. Until the clutter is removed, pest management professionals are limited in what they can do to address the problem.

As a pest management professional on the TLC TV show Hoarding: Buried Alive pointed out while surveying a trashed kitchen with a colleague, “The problem you’ve got is that there’s just not enough accessible areas to do anything with it.”

Dreaming of roaches may therefore symbolize that you feel that there is something dirty about your environment. If there is not a physical problem like clutter, maybe you feel there is something ethically dirty about the way that people around you are treating each other.

The interaction between roaches and clutter, though, shows the way that negative energy tends to attract more negative energy. Whether the negative energy in your own life began with physical clutter or with a relationship problem, one can easily lead to the other, and they can then reinforce each other in a cycle.

Dreaming of roaches may therefore symbolize that you feel like your life is spiraling out of control.

R.H. Stavis describes this larger phenomenon of energy being attracted to its own level in her book Sister of Darkness: The Chronicles of a Modern Exorcist, which I discuss further in What Does It Mean to Dream of Demons?

If your most obvious problem is physical clutter, though, an excellent resource with practical guidance for cleaning up your space and your life is Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui (Revised and Updated): Free Yourself from Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual Clutter Forever by Karen Kingston.


A popular brand of roach trap is the Roach Motel by Black Flag. As hinted in the slogan, “Roaches check in…but they don’t check out®,” roaches are lured into the trap, and then they become stuck in glue and die.

Meanwhile, roaches are a staple of one-star reviews of dirty motels intended for human travelers. Though the Roach Motel roach trap has been around since 1976, long before online reviews existed, one wonders if it was named after this phenomenon of low-quality roadside lodging.

The online video series Another Dirty Room by Dan Bell investigates such poorly reviewed motels and generally finds filth to support the reviews’ claims. For example, Bell found roaches in the mini fridge at the Econo Lodge in Rockport, Texas.

When you travel, you often don’t have the level of control over your environment that you do in your own home. For example, I used to have a medically diagnosed food allergy. At that time, traveling provoked me to have dreams regarding my food allergy because I knew I had less control over what went into my food when I ate out at unfamiliar restaurants on the road than I did when I was at home.

Dreaming of roaches could similarly reflect anxiety about travel. You can do your best to select a good hotel based on the online reviews, but ultimately you can’t know for sure what your experience will be like until you get there. If you do wind up having a bad experience, there might not be a lot you can do about it.

One of the reasons people pursue travel for pleasure is often to get out of whatever rut they are in at home – to intentionally be a little bit out of control. Roaches, however, are very difficult to control in any setting, and they can represent the chaos of travel gone too far.

If you find yourself dreaming of roaches in a context that suggests it is related to your travel habits, this may symbolize that you have bigger issues with your travel habits. Maybe you are compulsively traveling to avoid some situation at home that you really should be dealing with. Alternately, maybe your job requires an excessive amount of travel, and you feel pushed around by your employer and not in control of your schedule.


It is often joked that, if nuclear war were to happen, the only survivors would be the cockroaches.

ThoughtCo reports that cockroaches do have much higher tolerance for radiation exposure than humans do, and their ability to hide in strange places would help them somewhat. However, the intense heat at the center of a nuclear blast would be enough to destroy even a cockroach.

On a less dramatic level, it is hard to just get roaches out of a house or motel using pesticides and household chemicals. Humans are much bigger and smarter than roaches, so they should have a clear advantage, but humans can be driven to extreme frustration by these little bugs.

Dreaming of a roach can therefore symbolize that you are succeeding in a situation where the odds are against you, or that you have recovered from a serious setback.

Common Roach Dreams

Dream of being in a house infested with roaches

being in a house infested with roaches

If you dream that your own house is infested with roaches, this might symbolize that you feel like your own life has fallen into disorder. You might feel attacked by the world in general, though there could also be an element of feeling sorry for yourself that is compounding the problem.

If you dream of being in someone else’s house that is infested with roaches, think about whether the person in your dream is anyone you know in waking life.

If it is someone you know, and you know they really do have a roach problem at their house in waking life – or their personal habits are sloppy enough that it would not surprise you if they did – this dream may just be processing routine events. It might also show that you feel more disgust and repulsion toward them than you would like to admit.

If the person whose house is infested with roaches in your dream is someone you know to have a squeaky clean reputation in waking life, there may be more to this person than you think. They may have a dark side they keep hidden.

Alternately, the person may be struggling under the weight of misfortunes that are not necessarily their own fault and trying to put on a brave face.

Dream of trying to exterminate roaches

trying to exterminate roaches

If you dream of trying to exterminate roaches, this symbolizes that you are confronting your problems aggressively. Whatever negative energy is in your life, you want to get rid of it and take your power back.

The word “exterminate,” however, brings up associations with genocide. NPR reports that, in the Rwanda genocide, the Hutus actually called the targets of their genocide, the Tutsis, cockroaches. More broadly, whoever perpetrates a genocide has usually managed to look at their target as less than human – as a vermin, like a cockroach.

Dreaming of trying to exterminate roaches might therefore symbolize that you need to take a closer look at whoever or whatever you have identified as the cause of all your problems. Do they really deserve all of the blame you have given them – and, if they are human, are you keeping their humanity in your perspective?

For more information on dream symbolism related to blame and killing, see also What Does It Mean to Dream of Demons? and What Does It Mean to Dream of Killing?

Dream of eating a roach

eating a roach

The Los Angeles Times reports that, in China, cockroach farming is a growing industry. Cockroaches are used in traditional medicine. More recently, they are being explored for use in food as well.

If you dream of intentionally eating a roach that was prepared as a delicacy, this could symbolize that you are open to new experiences and that you may get the adventure you seek.

If you dream of intentionally eating a roach in a situation of extreme scarcity, like if there was some sort of cataclysmic event resulting in roaches being the only food possibilities remaining, you may feel that you do not have the resources you need. Whether or not this perception is founded in reality, this dream would symbolize that you will be able to get through your difficulties somehow.

If you dream of unintentionally eating a roach, like you ordered food unrelated to roaches at a restaurant and wound up with a roach in your food due to the kitchen being dirty, this might symbolize that you feel a lack of control over things in your life. Even if you are trying to do some totally routine thing like order a bowl of soup at a restaurant, it manages to go wrong somehow.

Dream of a roach causing illness

a roach causing illness

Western Exterminator Company reports that cockroaches can spread illness through their deposits of vomit and feces, as well as through direct contact. Many of the diseases that cockroaches spread fall into the category of food borne illnesses that cause digestive symptoms.

Cockroaches can also trigger allergies and asthma. Furthermore, Terminix reports that some types of cockroaches bite humans, though it can be hard to tell a cockroach bite from the symptoms of a cockroach allergy.

If you dream of a cockroach biting you or otherwise causing you to become ill, this symbolizes that you cannot hide from your problems any longer. You must confront whatever is insidiously wrong in your life because the effects are becoming bigger and bigger.

Dream of becoming a roach

becoming a roach

The novella The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka tells the story of Gregor Samsa, a man who wakes up one day to discover he has turned into a giant bug. English translations sometimes describe this bug as a cockroach, though Kafka preferred to keep the bug’s identity vaguer in the original German.

Prior to his transformation into a bug, Gregor Samsa was taken advantage of by his family – they cared only for what he could provide for them financially. When he became a bug and could no longer provide for them financially, this dynamic became more obvious.

If you dream of becoming a roach, this could symbolize that you feel like the people around you do not really care about you and are treating you like you are vermin.


Dreaming of a roach often symbolizes that you need to pay attention to the difficult things in your life. Even though it might seem easier to ignore them and focus on something else instead, your problems, like a roach infestation, will only get worse the longer they are not directly addressed.