Bugs That Look like Cockroaches but Aren’t

Cockroaches are one of the most well-known pests worldwide. However, several other insects are often mistaken for these critters, leading to confusion and misidentification. Let’s delve into some of these roach look-alikes and their distinguishing features.

At first glance, the brown or black coloration of crickets can be mistaken for cockroaches. However, crickets have more cylindrical bodies, longer antennae and are recognized for their long rear legs, responsible for their characteristic chirping sound. Unlike cockroaches, crickets prefer leaping when threatened, achieving much higher jumps.

Beetles, especially ground beetles, May beetles, and wood-boring beetles, bear some resemblance to cockroaches in terms of size, color, and general appearance. However, beetles have shorter antennae and legs, and their wings, when present, are neatly folded beneath hard wing cases.

Palmetto Bug
Surprisingly, palmetto bugs are another name for certain cockroaches, including the American, Florida, and smoky brown varieties. The confusion arises from their similar appearance, such as brown hues and wing structure.

June Bug

Despite their reddish-brown to black color, June bugs are distinguishable by their rounder body and curled antennae. These beetles are purely herbivorous, preferring leaves and vegetation, and are somewhat clumsy fliers.


Though they do not closely resemble cockroaches, these insects share a close evolutionary relationship. Termites have softer bodies, shorter antennae, and more social behavior than roaches’ solitary nature.

Ground Beetle
Both roaches and ground beetles can have similar colors and sizes. Yet, ground beetles are differentiated by their hard, protective front wings and their predominantly vegetarian diet.

Bed Bug
Due to similar sizes and colors, German cockroach nymphs are often confused with bed bugs. However, bed bugs have a more pronounced oval shape and shorter antennae.

Water Bug
water bug identification,What Kills Water Bugs

Contrary to popular belief, roaches aren’t water bugs. True water bugs inhabit stagnant waters, can grow larger than roaches, and are known predators. They also lack the characteristic antennae found in cockroaches.

Asian Longhorned Beetle
Although both have long, oval-shaped bodies, the shiny black color, distinct white spots, and long thick antennae of Asian long-horned beetles make them easy to distinguish from roaches.

Palo Verde Beetle
Native to the American Southwest, Palo Verde beetles can resemble roaches due to their size and color. However, their harder shells, ability to fly, and long antennae differentiate them from the common cockroach.

Wood-boring Beetle
While they may share color and somebody features with roaches, wood-boring beetles have a distinct behavior of boring into wood, which insects do not. They also often sport unique black, white, and yellow body markings.

In summary, while many bugs might bear some resemblance to the dreaded cockroach, a closer look reveals apparent distinguishing features. It’s essential to correctly identify these pests, as the treatment and control methods might vary considerably.

Scroll to Top