What’s the Distinction Between a Water Bug and a Cockroach?


Water bugs and cockroaches are simple to confuse, particularly if you happen to want to maintain your distance from family bugs. Nevertheless, realizing the distinction between the 2 might help owners make knowledgeable selections for pest management.

Learn on to discover ways to determine the 2 forms of bugs.


Water Bug Vs. Cockroach Habitats & Diets

There are virtually 200 identified species of water bugs scattered internationally. Most species stay in freshwater lakes, ponds, rivers, marshes, and streams. Relying on the species, water bugs might want slow-moving versus fast-moving waters.

water bug
Picture Credit score: Canva

Water bugs are likely to spend most of their life cycle underwater, solely taking temporary flights out of the water emigrate or mate. They use their oar-like hind legs to swim swiftly underwater. Most species can keep submerged for as much as 45 minutes. For those who discover massive roach-like bugs crawling out and in of a yard pond or lake, it’s virtually definitely a water bug and never a cockroach.

Cockroaches want darkish, damp locations like basements and below cupboards. Whereas cockroaches want contemporary water to outlive and thrive, you received’t discover them willingly getting into standing water.

When it comes to eating regimen, cockroaches, being the final word scavengers, will devour virtually something natural that comes throughout its path. Water bugs have a extra restricted eating regimen centered round small fish, tadpoles, aquatic bugs, and different small aquatic creatures. Water bugs grasp prey with their entrance legs and insert a needle-like mouth half to suck out bodily fluids.


Bodily Variations Between Water Bugs and Cockroaches

Cockroaches will be harmful in comparison with different bugs, notably these categorized as family pests as a result of they’re vectors of great illnesses like dysentery. Nevertheless, water bugs can ship a really painful chew. It’s, due to this fact, useful to know tips on how to distinguish them from cockroaches.

When it comes to dimension, water bugs are virtually an identical to that of an American cockroach. In comparison with smaller family roaches like German or brown-banded cockroaches, the water bug is considerably bigger. The smallest water bugs measure round 1.5 to 1.6 inches lengthy.

Like cockroaches, true water bugs have an oval-shaped physique. Nevertheless, they’ve a comparatively flattened look in comparison with stouter terrestrial roaches.


Behavioral Variations Between Water Bugs and Cockroaches

Past exterior look, water bugs and cockroaches stay and behave in another way. So, you may normally distinguish the 2 from a distance simply by observing the place they’re and the way they act. 

Cockroaches are primarily nocturnal and keep away from gentle, particularly in open areas.

Water bugs are typically lively at night time and are sometimes drawn to lights, particularly close to water. Because of this they’re typically known as electrical gentle bugs. Throughout the day, water bugs normally relaxation underwater or hidden amongst crops on the water’s edge in search of meals and shelter.

Water bugs can ship a painful chew when threatened or provoked. Their chew is usually described as feeling like a pinprick or bee sting. Water bug bites not often trigger any notable well being points in people past momentary ache and irritation.

Cockroach bites, however, are very uncommon as a result of these bugs do their finest to keep away from direct contact with people. On the uncommon event, a cockroach does chew, it’s unlikely to interrupt the pores and skin or trigger any actual hurt.


Correctly figuring out whether or not an insect is a cockroach or water bug is very vital for owners. With their stark variations in habitat and conduct, water bugs and cockroaches are clearly distinguishable bugs. Consciousness of those key identifiers will assist owners reply appropriately in the event that they encounter both pest round their dwelling.

Water bugs, whereas intimidating in look, aren’t thought-about family pests or threats to human well being. Oftentimes, one of the best plan of action for water bugs is simply to go away them alone or gently take away them from indoor areas and permit them to return open air.

Cockroaches, however, can quickly multiply, contaminate meals and transmit illnesses if left unchecked. Owners ought to by no means tolerate cockroach infestations and should take correct management measures.

Cockroach traps, cockroach repellents, and different numerous forms of cockroach killers are glorious merchandise to jumpstart your DIY pest management efforts.

That stated, I like to recommend consulting a pest management skilled ‌if you’re uncertain whether or not water bugs or cockroaches are invading your property. It’s definitely worth the value of hiring a cockroach exterminator who can positively determine bugs and advocate applicable options to eradicate them if obligatory.



FAQs About Water Bugs

Can water bugs stay indoors?

Water bugs require fixed entry to contemporary water to outlive. They can not set up indoor populations removed from plumbing leaks or different water sources. Nevertheless, particular person water bugs might wander indoors at night time drawn to lights.


The place did water bugs get their identify?

Water bugs are naturally water-loving bugs, dwelling and feeding in contemporary water year-round. Ths behavior earned them their identify. Different nicknames for water bugs are large water bug, electrical gentle bug, and toe-biter. The scientific classification for the frequent water bug is Lethocerus americanus, and so they belong to the order Hemiptera.


Do water bugs carry illness?

In contrast to cockroaches, water bugs don’t unfold human pathogens or pose main well being dangers. Their bites will be painful however are impossible to trigger any notable well being results.


What attracts water bugs into a house?

Water bugs find yourself indoors by chance, both following lights at night time or carried in by pets. They can not breed or survive for lengthy inside with out contemporary water. Fixing exterior lighting and sealing cracks are one of the best methods to maintain water bugs from getting into.


Will pest management kill water bugs?

Sure, pest management corporations have therapy choices that may kill water bugs. Nevertheless, given water bugs don’t multiply indoors, it’s typically pointless. Merely sweeping them again open air is the best and most environmentally pleasant answer.


Are water bugs tougher to kill than cockroaches?

Water bugs aren’t any tougher to kill than cockroaches when pesticides are utilized correctly. Nevertheless, water bugs might return to indoor areas so long as they’ve an ample freshwater habitat open air close by.




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