How to Distinguish Cockroaches vs. Other Pests

Is It a Cockroach?

Cockroaches are such feared household pests that homeowners sometimes mistake other insects for them. Some bugs that look like roaches but aren't include crickets, water bugs, and certain beetles.

Roach Description

Roaches are brown to reddish-brown in color. Their size ranges from a half an inch to almost two inches long. Cockroach bodies have a measure of shine to them, and their wings are folded tightly against their backs.

Bugs That Look Like Cockroaches


Crickets are approximately the size of cockroaches, but their coloring is much darker, with many appearing all black. These pests also make a distinctive, persistent chirping noise, whereas roaches are silent.

Giant Water Bugs

Giant water bugs are easily confused with cockroaches, compounded by the fact that, in some regions, roaches are mistakenly called water bugs. However, true water bugs are their own species, even though they share similar size and coloring with cockroaches.

Major differences include habitat and size: water bugs are usually found near outdoor water sources like ponds and can measure up to one full inch across, while roaches prefer dank sewers and basements and are much narrower.

June Bugs/May Beetles

These beetles are typically no larger than one inch in length and vary in color from reddish-brown to almost black. Adults are active after dusk in late May and early June, hence their common names.

When flying, they often run into windows and can be found clinging to screens. Their backs are higher and more rounded than a cockroach's, and their overall appearance is stockier.

Asian Longhorned Beetle

It is curious that these bugs are sometimes confused with cockroaches, as they have their own distinctive look. Coloring is black with prominent, irregular white spots. Their extremely long antenna curl back and can appear to completely encircle the body.

Pest Control

Having a problem with bugs that look like roaches is almost as bad as having an actual cockroach problem. No matter the type of insect pest plaguing a residence, the experts at Orkin are prepared to deal with the issue safely and effectively.


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