How to Tell the Difference Between Roach and Waterbug easily

Many people do not recognize the difference between roach and waterbug. If you’re losing sleep over this bug mystery, we’ve got your back.

Our blog dives deep into their world.

difference between roach and waterbug
How to Tell the Difference Between Roach and Waterbug easily

Cockroach Vs Waterbug: Compare External Shapes 

Both cockroaches and water bugs have oval shapes and six legs. But there are ways to tell them apart: 

  • Size and Color: Water bugs are the big guys, often two to four inches long. They have wide bodies and usually come in shades of gray. On the other hand, cockroaches are smaller, about an inch long. They’re mostly brown or black, but sometimes, they can look a bit red or tan. 
  • Antennae and Legs: This is a big hint! Water bugs don’t have those long feelers (antennae) we see on many insects. Instead, they have front legs that might look like antennae, but they use them to grab their food. Cockroaches? They do have antennae. Plus, part of their eyes hides behind their heads and bodies. 
  • Eyes: Cockroaches have unique eyes. They’re a bit hidden by their head and body. Water bugs, on the other hand, have eyes that look more like what we’d expect. 
  • The Mix-Up: There’s this one type of cockroach, the Oriental cockroach, that can trick you. It loves to hang out near water and is pretty dark, so you might think it’s a water bug. But look closely – it doesn’t have wings and can’t fly. That’s your clue! 

>> Read more: Asian Cockroach lifespan: Keys to Effective Home Defense.

difference between roach and waterbug
Roach vs waterbug

Roach vs WaterBug: Place to Live 

Got a pond or marsh near you? You might have water bugs as neighbors! 

These bugs love places like ponds, marshes, and slow-moving streams. One cool thing about them? They can stay underwater for a long time! They have a special tube on their belly to help them breathe. It’s like their personal snorkel that sticks up above the water. 

Water bugs have a nickname: “toe-biters.” Why? Because they hang out just below the water and can give a surprise bite to anyone stepping nearby. Their bite isn’t deadly but, trust me, it hurts! 

Cockroaches, except the sneaky Oriental one, like to stay on land. They’re big fans of dark and wet spots. Inside a house, you might find them in places like basements, under shelves, or in cabinets.

If they’re outside, look under logs or in woodpiles. They’re pretty much all over North America, and when it gets cold, they might try to move into your home for warmth. 

Waterbug vs Roach: Behavior 

Got a big bug buzzing around your bright porch light? It’s probably a water bug! 

Water bugs are sometimes called “electric light bugs.” Why? Because they really like bright lights! When they fly from one place to another, especially between water spots, they’re often drawn to lighted areas.

So, if you’re outside at night and you see a large bug near your lights, it’s likely one of these. 

When they’re not flying around lights, water bugs like to chill near the shore or just under the water. They’re waiting, ready to grab their next meal. And if something bigger comes along trying to eat them?

They’ve got a trick up their sleeve. They can play dead and let out a stinky smell from their back end to scare predators away. 

>> Read more: Oriental Cockroach Bite: Facts and Prevention for Homeowners.

difference between roach and waterbug

Waterbugs vs Cockroach: Diet 

Water bugs are more like predators, and cockroaches are the ultimate snackers. 

Think of Water Bugs as the hunters of the bug world. They eat other insects, fish, and even some small animals. They’re pretty active when it comes to getting their food, chasing and catching what they want. 

Cockroaches aren’t hunters. Instead, they’re like the recyclers of the insect world. They’ll eat almost anything lying around, like crumbs, leftover food, and even pet food. That’s why we often find them in homes and restaurants, searching for any tidbits they can find. 

Waterbug vs Cockroach: How To Get Rid of Them 

Cockroaches love sweets! You can use their sweet tooth against them. Mix sugar or honey with boric acid, and you’ve got yourself a roach poison. You can also try orange oil, bug sprays, or diatomaceous earth.

But if there are way too many roaches, it might be time to call in the pros – an exterminator. 

difference between roach and waterbug

Usually, you’ll only see one water bug at a time. If you’re seeing a lot, they might actually be Oriental or American cockroaches. Found a water bug in your home? The best thing to do is catch it and let it go outside.

It’ll fly away and usually won’t come back. But be careful! Don’t grab them with your bare hands. 

>> Read more: Baking soda roach killer and Unveiling the Truth.

difference between roach and waterbug


In a nutshell, knowing the difference between roaches and water bugs is your first step to a bug-free home.

With this info, you can handle bugs like a pro.

Want more bug tips? Check out our blog at Pestweek. The adventure against pests is just getting started! 

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