Water Bug vs. Cockroach: What’s the Difference?

water bug vs cockroach

Even though water bugs and cockroaches look very similar to each other, they act and affect humans very differently.

Both are pretty nasty (and can spread disease,) but only one has a seriously painful bite.

Today we’re going to show you how to tell the difference between a water bug and a cockroach.


Cockroaches are scavengers and survivalists. They can make you feel as though they can never die. The two most common types of cockroaches found in America are German and American cockroaches. These pests love places that can provide enough warmth, food, and moisture to survive. They particularly love wooded and dirty areas.

They only grow to about 1 to 1.5 inches. They have flat, oval, reddish-brown bodies with long antennae and “hairy” legs.

Water Bugs

As their name suggests, these bugs love water and spend most of their time in the water hunting for other bugs, fish, frogs, and small vertebrates. They also go by the names toe biter, electric-light bug, and alligator tick.

Although they’re not harmful to humans, they will bite if they’re handled or feel threatened. 

These bugs are bigger than cockroaches and are normally about 2 inches big. They have wings close to their bottom in an “X” shape. Water bugs have shorter antennae around the sides of their heads, close to their eyes.

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