Cockroach vs. Beetle vs. Water Bug and Few More…

Cockroaches are not desirable in the home.

We understand that the last thing people want to see in their living rooms are roaches crawling lazily across the floor.

Fortunately, there are many different bugs that only look like roaches. But they are not!

Indeed, that roach that was scuttling through the kitchen might actually be one of six common bug species that are very similar to cockroaches.

6 House Bugs That Look Like Roaches – But Aren’t


I’ve compiled a list of bugs that could all possibly be the culprits moving about your home, to help you rule out the possibilities.

Let’s check more about them and know how these are different from common kitchen roaches.

1- Beetle vs Roaches

There are hundreds of thousands of beetle species in the world, and as such a few of them happen to look like roaches.

The June bug, for example, is squatter and wider than the average cockroach, but with a quick glance they can look immensely similar.

And the June bug isn’t even the only beetle species that looks like a cockroach.

It is one of many that can make the job of knowing what is what really difficult.

The Basic Differences

Cockroaches do not have wing cases, and beetles do. This is one of the first things to look for when you see a bug in your home.

A beetle will often not have exposed wings. They tuck them neatly into their bodies, under their external skeleton.

Cockroaches are just the opposite, leaving their wings resting outside of their bodies.

Then, of course, there are the more obvious attributes. Cockroaches have longer legs and antennae than beetles.

As said earlier, beetles are squatter and wider where cockroaches are longer.

When in doubt, if the bug is long and skinny, it might be a cockroach.

Beetle Types and Comparisons

Then there are ground beetles which are numerous. Ground beetles and oriental cockroaches look very similar.

While there are many ground beetles that are not look-alikes at all, because they have different colored exteriors, many of the dark ones look like the oriental cockroaches to a large degree.

The biggest difference is that oriental roaches have larger heads.

These bugs will be found outside, under wood and rocks or in more damp areas.

As mentioned above, yet another beetle that looks like a cockroach is the June bug.

The bug is attracted to light and feeds on plants. This is sign that it is a beetle, not a cockroach.

Indeed, the beetle is also darker and rounder than cockroaches are.

Again, the squatter bugs are likely to be beetles. There is another thing that should be mentioned, however; beetles like to live in nature.

It is less likely that they will choose to live indoors, which is another fact that should be taken into account.

Cockroaches like the dark, and so tend to live inside more often.

Overall, it can be tricky to tell a cockroach apart of some of the different kinds of beetles.

Luckily, the typical beetle behavior is the one of the giveaways.

Beetles will often be more active and spend time in wider, brighter outdoor spaces.

They are also squatter and wider. Make sure to take these things into account when you are trying to tell a roach apart from a beetle.

2- Water Bug vs Roaches

Water bugs, also known as toe-biters, are often thought of as many different species.

The oriental cockroach mentioned earlier, for example, is often called a water bug even though it cannot live in the water.

Real water bugs live near or in water where cockroaches prefer only damp areas.

There are many other insects that are titled ‘water bug’ and there are many things that set the real water bug apart from the imposters.

It can be hard to tell what is what, so here are some things to keep in mind about water bugs and cockroaches.

A water bug differs from a cockroach in a few important ways.

First of all, despite the fact that both are relatively the same size, the water bug does not have, nor does it need antennae.

In addition, much like beetles, the water bug likes to live near light.

This leads to another key difference. Cockroaches are prone to minding their own business and inhabiting inhospitable areas.

The water bug, however, is a predator. A bite can cause severe damage due to the face that their enzymes can disturb areas in humans.

The water bug has large pincers on the front of its body, which also help set it apart of the cockroach.

Overall, they are more active and open than cockroaches are.

Now you know the difference between a cockroach and a water bug and what to look out for.

And honestly, as annoying as cockroaches are to get rid of, at least they don’t attack things as water bugs too.

In the end, if either of these things are in your home, you’ll want to get them out as soon as possible.

3- Palmetto Bug vs Roaches

So far, the bugs on this list have been completely different from the American cockroach, and there is not reason to think anything different about the palmetto bug.

Only, the palmetto bug isn’t different from the cockroach.

They are, in fact, the same thing. The palmetto bug is a species of cockroach from Florida that enjoys hiding under leaves.

The name then spread to many other kinds of cockroach.

Largely, the ‘palmetto bug’ became popular because people didn’t want to admit that they had roaches in their homes.

Fortunately for them, the difference went unnoticed and to this day many people believe the palmetto bug and the common cockroach are entirely separate insects.

They aren’t, but the name stuck.

Because the American cockroach is the most common roach, it is the one most often called the palmetto bug.

As listed above, people also call it a water bug as well, in addition to some other nicknames, such as the ‘southern cockroach’ that have stuck over the years.

4- Bed Bug vs Baby Cockroach

It can be almost impossible to tell bed bugs apart from baby cockroaches without catching one to get a closer look.

They are both roughly the same size and colour, with very few differences.

The baby cockroach is a slightly lighter color, with slightly formed stripes from its exoskeleton.

In addition, just like beetles, the bed bug is squatter and rounder than the baby cockroach.

This would be almost impossible to see unless both of the species could be compared with one another, but it is true nonetheless.

Finally, bed bugs have longer antennae than baby roaches do.

5- Termite vs Cockroaches

The difference in size between termites and cockroaches is not as prevalent as the difference in behaviour.

The average termite, despite the fact that there are roughly forty species, likes to be in groups.

They have monarchs of their colonies, a king and queen, and gather in large groups. It is rare to find a singular termite.

This is not the case with cockroaches. Cockroaches are not so prone to living in groups and are bigger than termites are.

In addition, termites are darker, hardened creatures. Where termites almost look see-through, cockroaches look nearly black, except for the albino cockroach.

Another thing that separates termites from cockroaches is that they live in different areas.

Termites don’t care as much about water sources or food.

They like to live secluded in walls and tight spaces, and they only take to eating wood and wood products.

Cockroaches, however, are often found in kitchens and places with food and moisture where they can easily find things to eat.

6- Cricket vs Cockroaches

Crickets are not commonly found in the home, given that they are not suited to indoor environments.

Crickets are a dark colour, whether it be black or brown, and they are much more prone to jumping than scuttling.

This is perhaps the greatest difference between cockroaches and crickets.

Crickets have large back legs that they utilize to chirp and jump.

Often, it should be clear that whatever in the home is either a cockroach or a cricket.

Crickets will chirp and jump, and roaches will do just the opposite.

Keep that in mind whenever you are trying to figure out what insect is lurking about your house.

In Conclusion

Pest control services provide numerous solutions to household problems.

The issue is that most of the services are specific to the type of insect or creature that needs to be removed.

Therefore, in order to make sure your house is getting the treatment it needs, it is best to properly identify the critters that are inhabiting it.

Cockroaches are capable of spreading disease and should be removed whenever possible.

Unfortunately, there are so many bugs that resemble cockroaches that it can be hard to figure out what creature is what.

Luckily, there are simple things that, when learned, can help you determine the bugs in your house.

It isn’t the most glamorous activity, learning about insects, but neither is having them in the home.

By doing the extra work, you can be prepared to deal with an insect situation whenever it arises! 

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