Water Bug vs Cockroach: Identification, Difference and Ways of Efficient Prevention and Extermination

Cockroaches are often called water bugs,palmetto bug and vice versa. That’s because both these insects have the same appearance. However, these two insects are not the same and you will be able to discover some significant changes after a close study. For example, cockroaches are common insects that can be found in your home, whereas water bugs love to stay within your swimming pool.


How can you differentiate cockroaches from water bugs? If you have these two types of insects around your home, it is extremely important for you to learn how to differentiate them. Otherwise, you will not be able to deal with these insects and get rid of them.

From the recent studies, it has been identified that there are over 4,000 different types of cockroaches out there in the world. Out of them, the Asian cockroaches, German cockroaches, Brown cockroaches, Florida wooden cockroaches and American cockroaches are common. The average lifespan of a cockroach is between 2 to 4 years. The water bugs can be considered as cockroach species. They are commonly called oriental cockroaches or black beetles.

Water bugs is a broad term that is being used by people in order to refer a variety of little bug types. They include toe biters, brown water bugs, electric light bugs and giant water bugs. All of them are members of the Hemiptera family. These little insects are equipped with mouth parts, which they use to suck and pierce. More than 1,500 species of water bugs have been identified from every corner of the world. Most of the water bugs live on fresh water and they can commonly be found on the surface of water. These insects have a oval shaped body, six legs and a set of antenna.

What is the difference in between water bugs and cockroaches?

Dorsal view of an adult giant water bug, Lethocerus sp. Photograph by P. M. Choate, University of Florida.

Dorsal view of an adult giant water bug, Lethocerus sp. Photograph by P. M. Choate, University of Florida.

As the name suggests, water bugs live in water and they can commonly be found in swimming pools. On the other hand, cockroaches are adaptable creatures and they have the ability to live in different conditions. In other words, cockroaches are not aquatic insects like water bugs. The diet pattern of these two insects is one of the most prominent methods available to differentiate them. Cockroaches are scavengers with opportunistic behaviors. They have the ability to dine on any food source that is available for them. They would love to dine on fermented or decaying food. That’s the main reason why you can usually find cockroaches on garbage. On the other hand, water bugs tend to hunt and kill minnows, tadpoles, small fish and insects.

Both water bugs and cockroaches have an oval shaped flat body. The average size of a water bug is about two inches in length. However, the size of cockroaches differs from one species to another. For example, the German cockroaches are only about half inches long whereas the American cockroaches are about 1.5 inches in length. Cockroaches usually do not bite human beings. In fact, no such cases have been reported in the recent past. However, water bugs tend to bite humans, which can be quite painful. In fact, the water bugs would inject a digestive juice into your body, which can be quite creepy.

As mentioned earlier, cockroaches are highly adaptable creatures. They have the natural tendency to get attracted towards water. As a result, you will be able to see cockroaches on water as well. It is possible for you to differentiate cockroaches from water bugs while they are on water. The legs of water bugs act as paddles when they move through water. The cockroaches do not show such behavior. The water bugs are relatively large when compared to cockroaches. Since water bugs hunt for their food, their front legs have been evolved in a way so that they can act as pincers. The water bugs are also equipped with an exoskeleton, which acts as a hard outer shell, which covers their flying wings.

When the cockroaches sense fear, they would run and hide as a self-defensive mechanism. However, the water bugs prefer to play dead. However, they would not play dead all the times and some of them would bite the threat. The water bugs can usually fly in between the water bodies. Even though most of the cockroach species out there are equipped with wings, only few of them have the ability to fly. The cockroaches have the natural habit to congregate. As a result, they prefer to be in large groups. However, the water bugs are solitary creatures and they prefer to live alone.

The appearance and behavior of Oriental and American cockroaches are almost similar to water bugs. Therefore, you will not be able to find any significant difference in between these two types in terms of appearance.

American cockroach

American cockroach

The cockroaches are usually known as land insects. In other words, they prefer to live in dark spots within your home. That’s the main reason why you can find a lot of cockroaches in your bathrooms and kitchen. They also prefer warm temperatures and do not have the ability to tolerate cold temperatures. You can also find them in crevices, basements and crawl spaces. On the other hand, water bugs are amphibious or aquatic. They spend most of their time in fresh water bodies. They also look for dark areas to hide. If you have leaky pipes in your home, you have higher chances of finding water bugs in there. The water bugs prefer hot and humid climates. That’s the main reason why you can find a lot of water bugs in United States. You can also find them hiding in leaves and rotting wood. Even though water bugs can swim extremely well, they do not have the ability to breathe when they are under the surface of water. Therefore, they often return to the water surface in order to breathe in air.

The cockroaches have the ability to eat a variety of materials such as fermented food, dead animals, plant materials, flakes or dried skin, glue, bakery products and leather. They also have the ability to feed upon dead or wounded cockroaches. However, water bugs tend to kill other insects such as minnows and tadpoles. They prefer to eat food that tastes sweet. In other words, the water bugs prefer to eat things that are made out of starch and syrups. They also love to eat algae. That’s the main reason why you can find them in swimming pools. Therefore, the diet can be used to differentiate cockroaches from water bugs.

It is better to have a clear understanding about the life cycle of water bugs and cockroaches as it can assist you to differentiate the two animals. The cockroaches go through egg and nymph stages before they turn into adults. They can be divided into two main categories as ovoviviparous and oviparous. Among ovoviviparous cockroaches, the eggs are produced within the female body. However, the eggs are attached to the body after reproduction in oviparous cockroaches. The number of eggs a female cockroach can bear at a time depends from one species to another.

The life cycle of water bugs can be divided into three main stages as the egg stage, larvae stage and the adult stage. These three stages have a span of about 600 days in average. The female species lay hardy and small eggs, which have an oval shape. The egg would turn into larvae along with time. They do not develop any wings during the larvae stage. Adult stage is the final stage, where most of the body developments take place.

Ways of effective prevention

The same procedure can be followed to prevent both water bugs as well as cockroaches. The most effective method available out of them is to clean up your home and surrounding thoroughly. If the water bugs and cockroaches do not have anything to eat within or around your home, you will not have to worry about anything because these insects would not breed. It is better to pay special attention towards the water sources that are located inside your body to get rid of water bugs. If there are standing water areas inside or outside your home, such as swimming pools, you have a higher chance of finding water bugs. It is better to clean algae in such water areas to get rid of the water bugs.

You can also think about seeking the assistance of available powders, sprays or traps in the market in order to get rid of cockroaches and water bugs. However, it is important to keep in mind that all these commercial products are not in a position to deliver effective results to the users. Therefore, it is better to go through customer reviews and determine the effectiveness before you spend your money on a product.

You can easily find water bug and cockroach traps in your local stores. Using glue traps is one of the most convenient methods available to capture these little insects. A typical trap can be used for a period of about 12 months. Or else, you can use baits. However, the baits should be stored in a cool and dry area. Parents are encouraged to keep their little ones away from the cockroach and water bug baits.

Extermination of Water bugs and Cockroaches

If the things are out of your control, the best option available for you would be to seek the assistance of a professional extermination service. You will not have to go through any hassle in order to locate a reputed extermination service in your local area. This is more convenient and effective than the do-it-yourself methods mentioned above to get rid of cockroaches and water bugs in your home. However, the amount you have to pay in order to get the assistance of professional service providers is relatively high. If you feel like you cannot eliminate the water bugs and cockroaches from home on your own, this would be the best option available out there. The average cost of a professional extermination service is somewhere in between $100 and $500. It is important to keep in mind that the cheapest service provider out there might not be able to provide the best possible service. Therefore, it is better to go through customer testimonials and then select a professional extermination service instead of looking for the cheapest service. Moreover, you need to pay special attention towards their guarantees.

The professional extermination services use different chemicals in order to eliminate cockroaches and water bugs. Therefore, you need to check whether those chemicals are safe for you or not. In fact, it is better to use a extermination service that uses chemicals that are not associated with harmful side effects in the long run.

Having water bugs or cockroaches around your home should be considered as a serious issue. Whether these little insects are dead or alive, they have the potential to cause a variety of allergies and health issues to you. They include salmonella, hepatitis and asthma as well. Therefore, you will need to get rid of cockroaches and water bugs as soon as possible from your home. You need to examine your home and figure out whether they live and breed. If you can eliminate the food sources, you will be able to get rid of them in an effective manner. Or else, you can use commercial products that are available in the market or seek the assistance of a professional service provider.

After you get rid of water bugs and cockroaches, there is a chance for them to return back at any point of time. Excess amounts of water and food sources can lead you towards an explosion of water bug and cockroach population. If you take necessary measures to eliminate them, you will not have to worry about anything.


Latest Comments

  1. msds cypermethrin technical December 19, 2016

Leave a Reply