A Guide to Bugs that Look Like Roaches: How to Recognize Them?

Cockroaches are some of the most common insects known to man. However, they’re commonly mistaken for other insects (bugs mostly). How can the difference be identified?
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Last updatedLast updated: October 28, 2021
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Cockroaches (or roaches for short) are winged insects very common in domestic places, especially in homes. However, roaches have very similar features to other insects, many of which are common bugs and domestic insects. Therefore, several bugs look like roaches. This resemblance can become very problematic.

Cockroaches have proven to be quite dangerous Trusted Source Cockroaches Cockroaches are among the most common pests in many homes and other buildings. At night they search for food in kitchens, food storage places, rubbish bins, drains and sewers. They are pests because of their filthy habits and bad smell. Some people may become allergic to cockroaches after frequent exposure. Cockroaches can sometimes play a role as carriers of intestinal diseases, such as diarrhoea, dysentery, typhoid fever, and cholera. www.who.int . Apart from constituting a nuisance, they also carry disease-causing organisms which could harm humans. To combat their spread and growth, several control measures are employed. However, if they are mistaken for bugs, controlling them might be another challenge.

On the other hand, bugs are also nasty insects. Bedbugs, termites, beetles, and a host of others also cause damage to properties and are harmful Trusted Source Bed Bug Bites: Symptoms and Treatments Bed bugs are wingless, oval-shaped insects. Their bodies are small and flat and can be very hard to detect in your home. The bites usually look red and swollen with a dark red center, or there may be hives at the bite site. We’ll show you how to identify your bed bug bites and how to get rid of them. www.healthline.com to man. It is therefore vital to understand and easily identify the differences between roaches and bugs that have similar features. Let’s consider some bugs similar to roaches. We’ll later see how to control the spread or perhaps eradicate both cockroaches and all kinds of bugs to be considered.

Roaches and Beetles

Beetles – not like the rock band, are winged insects that have similar physical features to roaches. Beetles are of different species numbering more than 300,000 and are very commonly seen around us. They have flat wings, just like roaches, and are brownish. Beetles are commonly misconstrued with cockroaches because of similar colors, wing patterns, and size (in early developmental stages).

However, make no mistake – cockroaches are very different from beetles. The strongest disparity they have is that beetles are not harmful to human health and wellness. Apart from their minimal impact on human wellness, beetles are also quite smaller than roaches in their adult stage. They have shorter hind limbs and tougher wings.

Furthermore, beetles can be seen moving around in daylight which is very uncommon in cockroaches. Roaches revel in the dark and are rarely seen in exposed in daylight. Therefore, these differences can prove helpful when trying to identify beetles.

Water Bugs and Cockroaches

A Guide to Bugs that Look Like Roaches: How to Recognize Them?

Water bugs have different-looking eyes and feet.

Another common misconception many have is confusing roaches and water bugs for each other. While they are not found in all areas where they can be seen, these bugs are similar in shape, size, and color to roaches.

Just as the name suggests, water bugs live in water and water bodies. Cockroaches do well in wet and water-logged areas; however, they can’t survive in water bodies. This disparity is the most visible in body structure; roaches and water bugs are too similar. However, after a closer look and comparison, you’ll find that cockroaches are shorter in length than water bugs. Also, instead of regular antennas found in most insects, water bugs possess pincers (horn-like parts) for capturing their food.

Cockroaches are also notorious for their appetite; they consume all kinds of things, from food leftovers, litter to paper and even fabric. Water bugs, on the other hand, only eat food found in their habitats. This may include some small fishes and other aquatic life. Although they may have a striking resemblance, roaches and water bugs are not the same.

What’s the difference between Palmetto bugs and Roaches?

The palmetto bug has close similarities with cockroaches. In places like the southern states of the United States, many people commonly refer to roaches as palmetto bugs. Many consider it disgusting to say they have cockroaches in their home, so to be careful, they call them palmetto bugs.

In the Sunshine state (Florida), it is not uncommon to find these bugs hide from the sun and take shelter under the palmetto trees. Thus, they are called by the name Palmetto bugs. There are various breeds of cockroaches; the ones found in these areas are commonly referred to as Palmetto bugs.

Bed bugs and Roaches

A Guide to Bugs that Look Like Roaches: How to Recognize Them?

Bed bugs are much smaller in size.

Bed bugs are one of the nastiest insects known to man. They have a very rapid rate of reproduction and constitute a nuisance to humans, especially in homes. Once they find their way into homes, it takes a great deal of work to get rid of them. While they don’t carry diseases, they are still very lethal. Bed bugs suck human blood during sleep, and many are frightened by them.

Bed bugs don’t grow into relatively large sizes compared to other insects; therefore, it is very likely to confuse them with other insects especially developing cockroaches. However, if closely observed, you’ll find that bed bugs have rounder abdomens than cockroaches and possess a shorter antenna when compared to nymph cockroaches. Most cockroach breeds are also more brightly colored than bed bugs.

A major reason many confuse bed bugs and roaches for each other is that they both are sensitive to light and reside in unexposed areas. Bed bugs are found in closets, old books, clothes boxes, under the mattress, among other enclosed spaces. Similarly, cockroaches are found in these places. Both insects, therefore, come out of their night mostly at night. However, if the proper measures are taken, they can be found and eliminated during the day.

Cockroaches and Termites

Termites are very popular social insects and are known for their peculiar habits, which most cockroaches don’t exhibit. While the great distinction between these two insects exists, advancing research Trusted Source How Solitary Cockroaches Gave Rise to Social Termites: Tales from Two Genomes | NC State News Termites are “social cockroaches.” NC State researchers examine the genomes of both termites and cockroaches to find clues about how this evolution occurred. news.ncsu.edu has proven that termites can be categorized as a kind of cockroach.

Some major differences between roaches and termites include size, color, and habit, among others.

Typically, most breeds of adult cockroaches are above four inches in length, while most termites are usually about an inch. Termites have a light brown color, and when newly hatched, they are white cockroaches. On the other hand, have a reddish-brown color. Termites are social insects that live in colonies and are usually categorized into a caste system, while most cockroaches live alone and exhibit a solitary lifestyle. These are just some of the many ways most breeds of roaches differ greatly from termites. Other differences include lifecycle and food.

Сockroaches vs. cricket

A Guide to Bugs that Look Like Roaches: How to Recognize Them?

Crickets have different bodies and milder coloring.

Crickets, those insects notorious for their incessant chirping sound. However, without the sound, they can be easily confused for roaches. They have a similar body structure with some cockroach breeds. However, a closer look will reveal some peculiar distinctions.

Apart from the obvious difference, which is the chirping sound of crickets, they are also notorious hoppers – a trait absent in many cockroaches. This unique trait would account for the next difference, the elongated hind limbs found in cricket. Their ability to hop at an instance is a result of their long legs.

Crickets also have longer antennae than many cockroach breeds, which serves as an observable distinction. As mentioned, cockroaches are harmful to human health and wellness. They constitute a nuisance and can carry infectious diseases, crickets; on the other hand, they are quite harmless and don’t live in human homes. They only constitute a nuisance when making those chirping sounds.

Controlling the pest infestation

One thing common with all the insects that have been considered is that they are all considered pests. They all have a direct or indirect impact on plants and human food in general. In contrast, they all don’t cause adverse effects on man; they need to be controlled to achieve balance. The following are some methods of controlling pests.

Use of pesticides

This is a common method of pest control. Pesticides (chemicals that kill pests) have proven helpful in controlling many insect pests. Usually, they come as liquids or sprays and can be easily applied to affected areas. Some insecticides are also helpful in detecting the positions of pests. As mentioned earlier, cockroaches and bed bugs revel in enclosed spaces; therefore, finding them may prove difficult; therefore, finding their hiding place is quite important.

Mechanical control

This involves the use of brute force when getting rid of these insects. Mechanical control includes handpicking and or killing such insect pests. This method is usually practiced in homes and other domestic areas. It might not prove as effective as pesticides; however, it is usually faster and costs nothing. However, be sure to wash your hands properly after handpicking insects.

Final thoughts

We’ve considered to a reasonable detail how many common insects compare with cockroaches. These bugs can be easily found around us, and thus they directly or indirectly affect human health and wellness. Many of these bugs share similar characteristics with roaches which include physical appearance and habits. On the other hand, many of these bugs differ greatly regarding other social instincts and sensitivity to the environment.

It is important to understand the distinctions between these domestic bugs for many reasons. Prominent of this reason is that correct identification of each insect helps in their control and extermination from homes. Also, in insect bites, treatment will be made easier if the insect responsible can be correctly identified.

When using pesticides and other means of controlling these pests, great care must be taken to avoid ingesting those chemicals. They can be dangerous to human health. Get rid of all harmful pests in your home to prevent the risk of contracting an infection.

References

1.
Cockroaches
Cockroaches are among the most common pests in many homes and other buildings. At night they search for food in kitchens, food storage places, rubbish bins, drains and sewers. They are pests because of their filthy habits and bad smell. Some people may become allergic to cockroaches after frequent exposure. Cockroaches can sometimes play a role as carriers of intestinal diseases, such as diarrhoea, dysentery, typhoid fever, and cholera.
2.
Bed Bug Bites: Symptoms and Treatments
Bed bugs are wingless, oval-shaped insects. Their bodies are small and flat and can be very hard to detect in your home. The bites usually look red and swollen with a dark red center, or there may be hives at the bite site. We’ll show you how to identify your bed bug bites and how to get rid of them.
3.
How Solitary Cockroaches Gave Rise to Social Termites: Tales from Two Genomes | NC State News
Termites are “social cockroaches.” NC State researchers examine the genomes of both termites and cockroaches to find clues about how this evolution occurred.
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