Pest Information 10 Different Bugs That Look Just Like Cockroaches

10 Different Bugs That Look Just Like Cockroaches

Think you may have a cockroach problem but aren’t quite sure? There are many different bugs that look like cockroaches, and here’s some of the most commonly mistaken bugs you’ll find!

There are over 4,000 species of cockroaches, so it’s no wonder people often mistake beetles and other insects for cockroaches. Cockroaches are an invasive pest that can destroy your home. Many people turn to home remedies or stronger, more industrial solutions to get rid of them.

But some of these bugs that look like cockroaches can be just as problematic. While they may not smell or act like cockroaches, here’s a complete list of the most common bugs that look like cockroaches.


Cricket bug on floor
Crickets are one of the most common bugs that people mistake for cockroaches.

There are over nine hundred species of crickets. Crickets have cylinder bodies, rounded heads, long antennas, and long pointed wings. Their long antenna, which can be as long as their body, make them look like cockroaches. But their large back legs, used for hopping, identify them as crickets.

Crickets grow to be about a three-quarters inch long. But some species can be up to two inches long. Crickets live about ninety days.

What Do They Eat?

Crickets are scavengers like cockroaches. They eat plants and dead or weak insects. But if inside a home, crickets can eat fabrics and cause damage to clothes and upholstery.

Where Do They Live?

Crickets can live in a variety of habitats. Many are found in trees, bushes, grass fields, and gardens. Crickets can also be found around caves, rotting wood, and garbage dumps, which is why they are often mistaken for cockroaches.

 The University of Minnesota noted that crickets enter homes through:

  • Windows
  • Doors
  • Cracks in the foundation

If crickets enter your home, you can use pesticides to get rid of them. Luckily crickets generally don’t lay eggs inside homes, so they usually die off in the fall or early winter.

Ground Beetles

Ground Beetle
Ground beetles are also commonly mistaken for cockroaches.

Worldwide, there are over forty thousand species of ground beetles. In North America, there are over 2,200 species, making the ground beetle the most common beetle. Ground beetles have smaller heads, large thoraxes, and long abdomens. They are usually black or metallic. And because they move fast, people often confuse them for cockroaches.

Ground beetles live up to four years. Full-grown adult ground beetles range in size from two to twenty-five millimeters.

What Do They Eat?

Ground beetles are active at night and prefer dark places like cockroaches. Predatory insects, ground beetles eat other insects and prefer caterpillars, maggots, and snails.

Where Do They Live?

Ground beetles live under bark, leaves, rocks, and logs. They also prefer to be near water sources like ponds and streams.

Ground beetles may get inside your home through doors and cracks. And they love dark basements. Thankfully, they prefer to be outside. To get rid of ground beetles, you can sweep them out or pick them up and discard them.

Water Bugs

Water bugs have an exoskeleton that somewhat resemble a cockroach.

Nepomorpha or True Bugs are often commonly known as water bugs. There are about 2,000 water bug species and can be found all over the world. These brown insects look very similar to cockroaches. Water bugs have small round heads, long flat bodies, and their antennae usually tuck against their heads like a cockroach.

The Giant Water Bug is often mistaken for a cockroach because it can grow up to four inches long. Giant Water Bugs can live for a year.

The WNYC News reported that cockroaches and water bugs look very similar in body shape, but they vary in how they eat. Cockroaches are scavengers, whereas water bugs are predators. They attack other insects, fish, and amphibians.

What Do They Eat?

When they catch their prey, they inject their beak, which pierces like a fang or stinger, secrete a toxin, and then suck out the victim’s guts. Water bugs have even bit humans, making them nastier than a cockroach.

Where Do They Live?

Water bugs get their nickname because they prefer to live around freshwater. They carry the air supply behind them when they swim using their hind legs like oars.

Because they are attracted to light, people usually find them in parking lots and by porch lights. Be very careful disposing of Water Bugs because they do have a nasty bite.

Asian Longhorned Beetles

Asian Longhorned Beetle on Wood
The Asian Longhorned Beetle is also another cockroach lookalike.

Asian Longhorned Beetles are shiny black with white spots on their bodies. They also have long striped antennae similar to a cockroach. They have long bullet-shaped bodies and small rounded heads, which often mistake them for cockroaches.

Asian Longhorned Beetles grow to be up to one and a half inches long. An adult can live for about two months. Unfortunately, an adult female can lay over a hundred eggs inside the tree during those two months.

What Do They Eat?

Asian Longhorned Beetles live in hardwood trees and can be very destructive because they are wood-boring. They burrow inside the tree. They love to eat the living tissue of hardwood trees. When their tree dies, they move to the next tree.

Where Do They Live?

According to the USDA, the Asian Longhorned Beetle is an invasive species that currently threatens recreational and forest areas because of the damage they inflict on hardwood trees.

While the Asian Longhorned Beetle lives predominantly in China and Korea, Asian Longhorned Beetles currently infest Massachusetts, Illinois, New Jersey, Ohio, South Carolina, and New York.

They often hitchhike into homes and yards through firewood and wooden packing materials because they live in wood. If you notice round holes about a half-inch wide in your trees, contact a professional pest control company.

Palo Verde Beetles

The Palo Verde beetle is a bug that very closely resembles a cockroach.

Derobrachus hovorei, known as a palo verde beetle, is a longhorn beetle found in Mexico and the southwest of the United States. These beetles emerge after the monsoon season with long black bodies, spindly legs, and really long antennae. The Palo Verde Beetle looks very similar to a cockroach.

One of the largest beetles in the United States, the Palo Verde Beetle, can grow three to six inches. Because the adult beetles only live long enough to mate and then die, they typically live one to two months.

What Do They Eat?

Palo Verde Beetles eat wood and can kill the tree if left unchecked. But because their larvae are subterranean, the larvae are just as destructive. The larvae feast on trees’ roots and damage the tree before signs of the adults are present.

Where Do They Live?

It gets its name because it prefers to burrow in palo verde trees. But it has been known to burrow in other hardwood trees like cottonwood, mulberry, and elm trees. If you have palo verde beetles in and around your trees, you’ll need to immediately treat your trees with pesticides.

Wood Boring Beetles

Slightly darker in color, Wood Boring Beetles also closely resemble a cockroach.

The pesky Wood Boring Beetle is found throughout the United States but prefer the coastlines. There are three common types of Wood-Boring Beetles:

  • Powderpost
  • Deathwatch
  • False Powderpost

The Wood Boring Beetle has a long black body and short rounded head that looks similar to a cockroach. The antennae are shorter, making them more distinguishable as beetles.

Laid as eggs inside the wood, the Wood Boring Beetle larvae feast on the wood until they become adults. Then they eat their way out of the wood to fly to other trees to mate. Their entire life cycle ranges from three months to one year, depending on the area where they live.

What Do They Eat?

While Wood Boring Beetles will eat any hardwood, they prefer oak, hickory, mahogany, ash, and walnut trees.

Where Do They Live?

Wood Boring Beetles like humid, warm-temperature climates and live inside trees. While they usually are outside, they can get into homes through crawl spaces or firewood. They sometimes bore into furniture, hardwood flooring, molding, and decorative wood.

If these pests get inside your home, you can treat your wood with insecticides. But for more significant infestations, you may need to call a professional pest control company.

June Bugs

June Bug Beetle
June Bugs can be mistaken for cockroaches due to their color and body structure.

Found in the northern hemisphere, the Scarab Beetle is also known as the May Beetle or June Bug. June Bugs are brown, black, or rusty colored. They have stout, oval bodies, and clubbed antennae. They can be mistaken for cockroaches because coloring and their legs are similar.

The June bug can grow to be an inch long. During the winter, the larvae hibernate, so they often emerge as adults in late spring, hence the nickname. As adults, they live until late fall.

What Do They Eat?

June Bugs eat plants, trees, shrubs, and flowers. Large infestations can destroy crops, lawns, and gardens.

Where Do They Live?

As larvae, they live in the soil. They prefer warm temperatures. As adults, they emerge in the late spring to eat the vegetation around them. They prefer gardens, fields, trees, and under leaves. The June Bug will fly to find food and are often attracted to light.

If you have June Bugs in your garden or fields, you may want to use pesticides because a large infestation can destroy your property.

Bed Bug

Bed Bug up close
While Bed bugs can look like cockroaches, they are much smaller insects.

Bed Bugs are tiny reddish-brown insects. Because they are oval with flattened bodies, they can often be mistaken for baby cockroaches. They can’t fly, but they can move fast like cockroaches too. They can also leave a mean bite if they aren’t immediately taken care of.

Bed Bugs are tiny and grow to about 3/16 inch long. They become fully mature after a month and live for about ten months. Bed Bugs rapidly reproduce, making them a serious pest.

What Do They Eat?

Bed Bugs drink the blood of animals at night. However, they prefer the blood of humans. The larvae need blood to grow, so they are often laid inside a mattress. Like the Palmetto Bug, Bed Bugs are very resilient. They can go for several months without eating.

Where Do They Live?

Active at night, Bed Bugs hide near places where people sleep, such as beds, couches, other furniture where people like to rest. Bed bugs are often found inside mattresses, bed frames, and box springs.

Because they are small, Bed Bugs hitchhike in clothes, pillows, blankets, and suitcases. If you notice signs of bed bugs, you’ll need to eradicate them immediately before they spread throughout your home. The EPA offers several solutions for getting rid of Bed Bugs.


Termite on Wood
Termites were once part of the cockroach family, although they don’t look much alike.

Once a part of the cockroach family, termites are believed to be evolved from cockroaches. Termites can be found all over the world. Because they are from similar insect families, they share the same shape with long bodies and rounded heads. Termites use their antennae to identify their surroundings because they are blind.

Termites are about a half-inch in length. They also have a caste system similar to ants. Worker termites can live to be two years old.

What Do They Eat?

Termites eat wood, but they have also been known to eat paper, books, and insulation. They will bore holes in drywall to get to wood beams.

Where Do They Live?

Termites prefer to live in trees, woodpiles, and shrubs. But termites can also get inside homes through crawl spaces or windows. They work their way into the walls to hollow out the wood beams.

If you noticed winged adult termites inside your home, then you may have an infestation. If termites get inside your home, you’ll need to exterminate them before destroying your home. The University of Kentucky offers several solutions for getting rid of termites.

Palmetto Bug

Palmetto bug on a rock
Palmetto bugs also look quite similar to a cockroach.

Found in the Southeastern United States, Palmetto Bugs are actually cockroaches. People in the south refer to them as Palmetto Bugs because they are often seen around Palmetto trees. Because of this, people don’t think they are cockroaches.

The Palmetto Bug is reddish-brown. They are known for having a small rounded head, long body, and long antennae. Palmetto bugs also have a yellow band behind their head. They can grow to be an inch and a half long. Palmetto Bugs are incredibly resilient. A survivalist insect, Palmetto Bugs can live up to a year, and they can live without food for three months.

What Do They Eat?

Palmetto Bugs are omnivore scavengers. They don’t discriminate. They eat plants, meat, and garbage.

Where Do They Live?

Palmetto Bugs live in moist, humid environments. Palmetto bugs love to be in mulch. But they can also be found in gardens, trees, and dumpsters. If Palmetto Bugs get into your home, they congregate in bathrooms, kitchen, attics, and crawl spaces. If you have Palmetto Bugs inside your home, you will want to call a pest control company to eradicate the pests.

Wrap Up

While these bugs are not cockroaches, they look and act very similar. The majority of these bugs have long bodies, rounded heads, and long antennae. And even though these bugs are not cockroaches, many are serious pests and should be removed from homes and gardens.

Managing Editor & CEO Jack has been writing as a contractor and for businesses for over 10 years. He owns his own home, and has been doing his own pest control since he bought his first house.

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