Bugs That Look like Cockroaches

Bug infestation is a serious problem and should be tackled quickly to limit the amount of time they have to create even more roaches. But before formulating a plan of attack, you first need to identify what kind of bug it is because there have been several instances when people mistake cockroaches for other pests and set up things like roach bug bombs that won’t really help with their situation since pesticides in these cockroach bombs usually are not applicable for other pests. So here are a few insects that are commonly confused and mixed up with cockroaches and how to tell if what you are looking at is a cockroach or one of these roach lookalikes.

Crawling insects that look like cockroaches


People are most familiar with the chirping sound of crickets but when spotted, they are often mistaken for a cockroach. They are similar in color as cockroaches with deep red and brown exterior but they are smaller and faster than roaches. However, it’s precisely the speediness and color that makes crickets resemble cockroaches as you can’t really examine them closely before they run away.

House cricket

Vladimir Wrangel/Shutterstock.com

Luckily, there are many ways to tell a cricket apart from cockroaches, the most distinctive feature being the long hind legs of the crickets that they use for hopping. Crickets are also not harmful but they can be a nuisance due to their noisiness. And you can easily get rid of crickets by using bug sprays that are available in most stores or by setting up cricket traps.

Ground beetles

Ground beetles can also be mistaken by cockroaches due to their similar characteristics. They have the same deep red or brownish exterior and wide frame with leathery, translucent wings. Therefore telling ground beetles apart from cockroaches can be a challenge. So it’s a good idea to trap one and examine it closely to identify the distinguishing features which differ these beetles from cockroaches.

Just keep in mind that there are over 2,500 species of ground beetles known to man, each varying in color and size. And more than 4,500 species of roaches also varying in size, color, and other characteristics. So if you really want to tell the two apart you will have to do some serious research or consult a professional. Fortunately, ground beetles are not dangerous pests. They do not destruct materials and fabrics and don’t spread diseases as cockroaches do. But since the beetles need to directly come in contact with most commercial insect sprays for the product to be efficient setting up an outdoor barrier will be your best bet of keeping them away.

Water bugs

Water bugs can also be easily confused with cockroaches. While the exterior of these bugs, which are often called Croton bugs or Palmetto bugs, might trick you into believing them to be cockroaches, each of these pests comes with its own distinct characteristics.

Waterbug is a generalized term that covers most insects that prefer a wet and damp habitat. They are usually found near standing water, whereas cockroaches infest areas that are humid but not wet. And compared to cockroaches water bugs are usually larger and more aggressive. Their bites are quite painful and they can spread diseases and cause skin irritation.

You might need a professional’s help to tell the two apart. But generally, a water bug has a darker and deeper color without the reddish-orange tint that cockroaches often posses. And the best way to prevent water bugs infestations to keep your home and its surrounding area clean and free of standing water.

Asian long-horned beetles

The shape and size of the Asian Long-horned Beetle can sometimes make them resemble cockroaches. However, they do have some quite distinctive features that differentiate them from roaches. For example, Asian long-horned beetles usually are jet black in color instead of brown, they also have irregular yet prominent white spots on their bodies. And their antennas are long and curl back up to encircle their bodies completely which is a feature that cockroaches do not have.

To get rid of Asian long-horned beetles you need to follow the same protocol that you would use to get rid of ground beetles.

Flying insects that look like cockroaches

The only thing more terrifying then spotting a cockroach is if they would take a flight! Luckily, most roach species don’t fly. Yet, during the humid summer days, you might spot some flying pests that look like roaches. So here are some of the flying insects that look like cockroaches but are an entirely different species of bug.

Palo Verde beetles

They are most commonly found in the southwestern US and resemble an American cockroach due to their size and color. However, the Palo Verde Beetles are an entirely different species altogether. They are also darker in color thank cockroaches with harder shells and longer bodies and, of course, they also can fly! Palo Verde beetles lay eggs under the paloverde trees (hence their name), rose bushes or olive trees and once hatched the baby beetles then live on the tree’s roots until they mature.

Wood boring beetles

Wood Boring Beetle

Henrik Larsson/Shutterstock.com

Wood-boring beetles can also resemble cockroaches at first glance. Just like roaches they have similar antennas and shape with six legs and reddish brown translucent wings covering most of their body. However, there are also things that distinguish them from cockroaches. The Locust borer beetles, for example, have distinctive yellow, black and red margins that can be clearly spotted once they land and stay still which roaches don’t have. While Ash borers move much faster than cockroaches and are darker in color.

Characteristics of a Cockroach

As mentioned before, there are a lot of different species of cockroaches. And while they all do differ in some regards, they also have some similar features which make them easily identifiable and distinguishable from other pests and bugs when observed closely.

Typically, roaches range from 0.7 to 3 inches in length. Their antennas are on their head and look very different from those of any other pest. The outer shell of cockroaches usually have a reddish brown color and their wings are slightly more orange and translucent. Which, however, can change when they molt or shed their exoskeletons for growth. Then they can appear more whitish.

All cockroaches have an oval-shaped body and appear flattened if you look at them from the top.

Despite having wings, cockroaches can’t fly. But they can move fairly fast, sometimes at a speed of three miles per hour or even faster.

The most common cockroaches are brown-banded, German, American and Oriental roaches. And if you do notice a cockroach infestation, you should address it as soon as possible, no matter which roach species you encounter. You can do that either by using store-bought products or by calling in a roach exterminator.


Main editor

Expert in mosquito control and the main website editor at InsectCop.net. Karen started InsectCop to help people get rid of mosquitoes. But now she gives advice an all things pest control.

Submit a comment

Your email address will not be published*