How to Tell Cockroaches and Waterbugs Apart

When it comes to large bugs in Northern California, cockroaches and waterbugs are some of the most frequently spotted, but they can often be hard to tell apart. Scientifically, they are entirely different orders of insects. Roaches are also more likely to be a pest problem in homes and businesses.

The biggest difference between these two bugs, and the one that makes it important to determine which one you have spotted, is that water bugs are harmless to people. Cockroaches are not. They can carry thousands of bacteria and cause respiratory issues and asthma attacks in some people. Determining which bug you saw in your home can help you figure out if you need pest control.

Differences Between Cockroaches and Water Bugs

At first glance, roaches and water bugs look very similar. They are relatively large bugs with oval bodies and brownish coloring. But there are some specific features of their appearance and behavior that will help you tell them apart:

  • Color – Water bugs are brown or sometimes grey and roaches range from brown to black. The key difference is that roaches will usually have some red tinting that distinguishes them from the brown of a water bug.
  • Size – Depending on the cockroach species, their bodies will be a maximum of 1.5 inches long. Water bugs grow up to 2 inches long on average.
  • Location – Another source of confusion between the two bugs is that they both like water. Water bugs live in or near water. Roaches live on land, but like moisture and dampness, so you will often find them in wet or humid areas.
  • Bite – Cockroaches cannot bite humans, but water bugs will bite if they feel threatened. Their bites are harmless, although they can be painful. If a bug bites you, you can rule out it being a cockroach.
  • Diet – While you probably will not catch either bug eating, knowing their diet can clue you into their preferred habitat. Roaches will eat whatever they can find and are predominately herbivores. Water bugs are carnivores that eat aquatic animals like tadpoles, crawfish, fish, and some insects.

If you suspect a bug in your home is a cockroach or you still are not sure, pest control from Adapt Pest Management is your best choice for identifying and getting rid of this resilient pest before it can cause any diseases. Although water bugs are not harmful, we know they can be unpleasant to have too near you and we have pest control solutions for them as well. Call us today to set up a pest control visit.

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