6 Common Bugs That Look Like Roaches But Aren’t

What bugs can be mistaken for roaches? Are there any beetles that look like roaches?

Roaches present a great deal of discomfort for homeowners as they’re known to cause all kinds of problems which are mostly health-related.

Such include diarrhea, salmonella, giardia, dysentery, gastroenteritis, leprosy, campylobacteriosis, typhoid fever, and cholera.

Types of Bugs that Look Like Roaches

For the most part, roaches are easy to identify.

However, some bugs might look quite similar to roaches. This article provides a ready guide to help identify and distinguish some of these bugs from roaches.

Any doubts or confusions you had before now will be clearly explained as you read on.

  • Is it a beetle or a roach? You need to look out for these:

To properly distinguish roaches from other bugs, there are several features to look out for. Irrespective of type or species, roaches have general features that differ from bugs.

Knowing these helps you easily tell them apart from other bugs. You’ll need to look at the color & markings as well as the body.

Other areas of comparison include the life cycle, habitats & habits, movement, wings, and diet. Beetles and crickets are often the most compared with roaches.

Let’s discuss each of these points before going into specifics on bugs that look like roaches.

  • Color & Markings

Roaches are generally observed to be reddish-brown to black in color, with some species having multiple colorations. Further distinctions can be made from markings found on their bodies.

For example, the German roach light brown clear striped markings below its head.

While there are other roach species with slight color variations and markings, it’s important to appreciate the fact that there are thousands of beetle species that have some form of resemblance to roaches.

If you aren’t so sure of the color and markings, the other points of comparison may help.

  • Body

Compared to beetles, roaches have flat, oval-shaped bodies accompanied by a pair of antennae and long legs. Beetles, tend to have shorter legs and antennae.

Plus, their exoskeletons tend to be harder than those of roaches.

  • Life Cycle

There’s a clear difference in the lifecycle of beetles and roaches.

For beetles, these emerge as worms or grub. As they develop, they morph into various forms with the worms eventually turning into adult bugs.

This is quite different from roaches as they emerge from eggs and have the resemblance of adult parents.

  • Habitats & Habits

One of the primary ways to differentiate between beetles and roaches is by looking at their habitats.

Although beetles are outdoor creatures, they won’t hesitate to enter your home if presented the opportunity. Most roach species live on land while one lives primarily in water.

What more? In terms of habits, you’ll find beetles being attracted to light while roaches prefer darkness. In other words, roaches are mostly nocturnal creatures.

  • Movement

Some roach species will fly around when the need arises, but these are known to run around to evade danger mostly. Beetles will also run or swim while evading danger.

  • Wings

Are roach wings different from those of beetles? They are! Roaches mostly have wings that rest flat on their backs. These are easily observable.

However, it’s quite different with beetles as their wings are often covered or folded beneath the hard cases that form part of their exoskeletons.

  • Diet

When it comes to diet preferences, there’s a significant difference between what beetles are attracted to and what roaches consider as food.

As scavengers, roaches will feast on all sorts of things, including feces and garbage. For beetles, these can be predators of smaller insects or target wood and crops.

Beetle Bugs Look Like Cockroaches

Knowing the differences between some bugs and roaches is essential as it helps identify easily. We’ve provided many features to look out for above.

In this section, the focus is on beetles that look like roaches. Examples of these include palmetto bug, June bug, and water bug.

Others include crickets, long-horned beetle, and Palo Verde beetle. Oftentimes, people confuse these beetles for roaches. To help you out, we’ve discussed the major differences and how to tell one apart from the other.

i. Palmetto bug

Here, the name might sound confusing, but the fact remains that Palmetto bugs are indeed a type of roach. The name comes from palmetto leaves which these roaches hide under.

Roaches mainly classified in this category include smoky brown, American, and Florida roaches.

All of these have similar appearances with slight differences. These are called by several names including flying cockroach, flying water bug, southern cockroach, and Bombay canary.

ii. June Bug

June bugs have a black to reddish-brown appearance and are easily mistaken for roaches.

The main differences between these bugs and roaches lie in their diet, body shape, and antennae. Speaking of diet, June bugs are primarily vegetarians. They tend to have a rounded shape compared to roaches.

You’ll mostly find these bugs on trees. They fly but aren’t as agile as roaches are. As stated earlier, these beetles like most are attracted to light.

iii. Water Bug

Water bugs have a preference for stagnant water habitats.

These roach look-alikes grow bigger and are known to bite. Their bodies are well adapted as predators to feed on prey. Unlike roaches, water bugs don’t have antennae.

iv. Crickets

Crickets are noisy insects that also have some form of resemblance to roaches. This resemblance is mainly in the form of their color which is either black or brown.

Like grasshoppers, crickets have long rear legs that help with moving around.

v. Long-Horned Beetle

Also called the Asian long-horned beetle, these beetles can easily be distinguished from roaches. In other words, there isn’t many similarities between them.

The most obvious point of comparison is their oval-shaped bodies and size. Outside of these, there’s nothing else to compare.

vi. Palo Verde Beetle

The color and size of the Palo Verde beetle make it comparable to the roach. These beetles tend to have harder exoskeletons and thicker antennae.

If you’re having difficulty identifying between beetles and roaches, a simple internet search will go a long way in helping you distinguish between the two.

Cockroach Look Alikes

These are some of the bugs that look like roaches.

It’s not an exhaustive list as there are lots of others. So far, we’ve seen that some beetles share more features with roaches than others.

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