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Cockroach vs water bug

Water bugs are most commonly confused with cockroaches. The two insects bear a certain resemblance to each other, but there are key differences. Water bugs pack a powerful bite, but they are not the pest that cockroaches are.

The experts at Western Exterminator can easily determine if your problem is with cockroaches or another insect. Call us at 800-937-8398 or use our online form to connect with us.


Cockroach and water bug differences

The main difference between cockroaches and water bugs is their appearance. Though they do look similar, there are some distinctive differences that will help determine which pest you are dealing with.


This is the common cockroach. The round body shape, wings and brownish color differentiate it from the water bug. Cockroaches are also usually smaller in size and their habitats differ greatly.

  • Size - Generally 1-1 1/2" in length.
  • Habitat - Some species can survive in water, but they prefer to be on land.
  • Eating habits - Cockroaches are not picky when it comes to eating. They do not really hunt, but instead scavenge through garbage.
  • Temperament - Cockroaches are fairly shy creatures. They will scamper away from bright lights and approaching humans and don’t usually bite people.
  • Pest determination - Cockroaches, bringing with them a whole host of health concerns, are true pests.

Water bug

Water bugs usually live in water. If handled, water bugs can bite in defense. However, they rarely enter homes and are not known to scavenge like cockroaches. Instead, they prefer to eat other insects and creatures in the water.

  • Size - Generally about 2" in length.
  • Habitat - Water bugs prefer to spend their time in the water and can hold their breath for a long time.
  • Eating habits - Water bugs are hunters. They paralyze their prey with their proboscis and then inject a powerful liquefying enzyme, allowing them to suck out the insides of the prey.
  • Temperament - Water bugs will bite if they feel threatened. The bite is painful, but not dangerous to humans.
  • Pest determination - Water bugs are not considered pests and actually feed on other insects, not humans.
Water bug

Western Exterminator specialists are experts in cockroach identification

If you have questions about whether the pests you're seeing are cockroaches or water bugs, don't hesitate to call the experts at Western Exterminator. Our specialists have the experience and training to identify the type of infestation you have and then recommend the most effective treatment plan.

Give us a call at 800-937-8398 or contact us via our online form.

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