They are brown. They are slimy, and they invariably scurry for safety EVERY time you switch on the kitchen lights at night.
Yes, you guessed it right, Cockroaches – the world’s leading house pest, causing a nuisance, damage, and frustration among homeowners for years.
There is no denying the fact. Your house is always susceptible to their visit, and it is a headache to eradicate their colonies.
BUT. It can prove extremely dangerous if you assume that every pest invading your home is a cockroach.
So, what else could it be?
Surely you can recognize your enemy by its looks and behavior?
How Common Are Cockroach Infestations?
With such a diverse species variation creating over 4,500 species to consider, it’s not surprising why many people mistake other pests for cockroaches.
In your defense, most of the time, the oily pest you witness is a cockroach. After all, they are the no. 1 bug attacking homes in the United States.
However, several other pests can crawl their way into your home and create a cause for concern in the near future, considering the diseases they can bring.
They can spread numerous allergies and even establish enormous colonies unnoticed.
Let’s find out what other insects closely resemble cockroaches, to help you identify the kind of infestation you are facing and act accordingly.
Bugs That Look Like Roaches
Beetles and cockroaches look quite alike. Both are medium-sized insects and primarily nest on the ground.
They also share the number of limbs- having six legs.
In fact, they are anatomically very similar. Possessing segmented bodies, with a hard, darkly colored exoskeleton, they can often be mistaken for each other at first glance.
But, cockroaches and beetles have a few major differences
First, cockroach antennae are noticeably longer than beetle antennae. While beetles have antennae almost equal to the length of their head, cockroach antennae often exceed the length of their body.
The shape of the Legs
Cockroaches also have long, slender legs, and while beetle legs are usually smooth and lacking in any ridges or markings, cockroach legs are thick and have pronounced spikes.
In fact, these legs also help the cockroach attain significantly higher running speeds than common beetles.
This is the most important visual differentiator.
While beetles have heads visible from above, cockroach heads are covered in a thick shield called a pronotum.
Water bugs are another class of insects that may be mistaken for a cockroach. However, they usually live in aquatic settings, like ponds or marshes. Very rarely, they may make their way into homes.
Water bugs and roaches bear a minor resemblance, but there are some key differences.
A water bug possesses distinguishable pincers. Such pincers are missing in a cockroach.
Unlike cockroaches, whose mouths are present under their body, water bugs have extremely large, instantly visible mouthparts. They stick out of their head like a snout and match a small pair of pincer-like arms.
A water bug’s eyes are much larger and more pronounced than a cockroach’s, which can be identified on close examination.
A water bug’s abdomen always converges at a point. Cockroaches, however, have short, flattened, almost ovoid-shaped abdomens.
Water bugs usually lack wings. However, many cockroach species have wings and can also break into a flight when threatened.
Both termites and roaches can wreak havoc in your house and are SERIOUS bad news. However, it always pays to identify the bug troubling you before you opt for an extermination process.
Cockroaches feast on any organic matter they find, including garbage, pieces of meat, food crumbs, and vegetable peels; they emit nasty smells and gross stains wherever they visit.
Termites, on the other hand, only feed on wood and can entail a major dent in your finances, by causing major damage to buildings.
Again resembling each other, mainly because of their appearance, size, and affinity for a surprise nocturnal attack, it’s easy to differentiate a termite from a roach.
The easiest way is to inspect the head, for instant confirmation of the pest you are dealing with.
If it is a termite you have spotted, then the head should be MASSIVE. It would also have black, wicked-looking pincers.
Oftentimes, termites are honey-colored, whereas most cockroaches are reddish or dark brown.
Plus, they are wingless, while many common cockroach species have body-length wings.
At first glance, bed bugs closely resemble cockroaches.
BUT. When you dig deeper and take a closer look, the differences are immediately identifiable.
Cockroaches have flattened, ovoid-shaped bodies, while bed bugs are much plumper, with stomachs that are flat, but spread out like a teardrop, much more pronounced as compared to roaches.
Additionally, bed bugs tend to be visibly orange in appearance, while cockroaches are more black-brown in shade.
So, the question arises.
Which infestation is worse?
Cockroaches attract bacteria, which multiply in their gut and can cause staphylococcus, salmonella, or streptococcus diseases.
They also can host intestinal infections like cholera and dysentery.
With all of these concerning side effects, it’s prudent to know if you’re dealing with roaches or something that resembles these oily stubborn pests.
So, do you heave a sigh of relief if the pest you spotted is NOT a roach?
The answer depends on what it ultimately turns out to be.
While a water bug or beetle is a minor inconvenience, termites and bed bugs are both major concerns that need to be eradicated ASAP.
Try to hire a professional exterminator and rid your house of these insects.
Not only do they deliver painful bites, but also leave lasting effects on your health and happiness.