Cockroaches, as well as water bug species, are often mistaken because of numerous similarities in their outlook. Being quite distinctive, these creatures require different methods of their elimination. Contents:1 Differences…

Giant Water Bug vs Cockroach: 10 Differences

Cockroaches, as well as water bug species, are often mistaken because of numerous similarities in their outlook. Being quite distinctive, these creatures require different methods of their elimination.

Differences in Appearance

From a scientific point of view, water beetles are from the order of Hemiptera, which characteristic feature is an ability to bite through the prey’s skin, inject venom and then feed on the victim. They possess oval-shaped bodies, antennae and three pairs of legs that work as paddles when the bugs appear in a pond or other water reservoir.  A giant water bug is measured as up to 70 mm. Flattened form and strong front pedipalps allow them to hide and catch their prey as well. The color is mostly black or dark-brown.

Cockroaches do not show themselves as predators. They are actually scavengers that can eat practically everything in the human’s house. Their great variety of coloration depends on the type. But the most common cockroaches have brown or light-brown hues. The size also differs from less than 3 mm to more than 50 mm in their body length.

differences in appearance

A giant water bug is measured as up to 70 mm.

 Which of the Pests are Aquatic?

Water bugs are considered amphibious animals. They live mostly in the water but need some oxygen to breath. In most cases, the bugs keep an air in special spaces on their bodies. So, for example, giant water species have air bubbles in the hairs underneath the body. When diving into the water, air is collected and then used while the insect swims. So, they can’t live solely in the water or on the land.

As for cockroaches, they present creatures that need water only for drinking. At the same time, the pests are often found near water sources inside the house: in the bathrooms or in the kitchens near the sink. Liquid plays an important role in their life as they can survive a month without food, but will die from dehydration within a couple of days.


Water bugs are considered amphibious animals.

Where do You Find Those Pesky Insects?

Water bugs are frequently observed in damp and warm places around the human house. It is often a pool and leaking tubes. In the wild, their favorite spots are fresh water reservoirs. They are never found inside the house, unlike roaches. Water bugs also need liquid to breed. If there is rotting wood or piles of garbage in the yard, you are sure to find them.

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Cockroaches prefer places, which have appropriate temperature and forage. They are intolerable to cold weather; hence they are rarely seen outdoors.

water bug

They are never found inside the house.

Read: How to Kill Bed Bugs: Natural and Commercial Treatments Review

Whether the Pests Solitary or Collective?

True bugs prefer being solitary, mating only in a breeding season. Sometimes they can congregate in small groups. Nevertheless, they are not good friends to each other.

Roaches feel more confident living in large groups. Usually, one creeping creature that appears in the house signals about hundreds of other siblings following him. They look for appropriate places with good living conditions. Killing the first “guests” and taking preventive measures are enough to stop roaches’ invasion.

Can Water Bugs or Cockroaches Bite?

Water bugs hunt on a wide range of insects and feed on them using a specific mechanism for biting and sucking. Hence, they can be aggressive for people. Though the bugs do not consider humans as the victims, they attack only being scared. But first of all, they tend to flee or play death, of course. Forced to bite, water bugs do it very painfully. The venom causes no danger to human’s health, but the wound needs proper care to avoid a secondary infection.

Cockroaches do not need to chase their future dinner. They normally aren’t interested in humans as a food. But in very rare cases, some species may take a bite of eyelids, hands or fingernails. But the bite is less dangerous incident as compared to the tendency to spread bacteria throughout the house.

big bug

They can be aggressive for people.

What are Their Food Preferences?

Cockroaches are absolutely persnickety about their food and have got used to dwell human houses as there is always something to eat there. Most of all, they adorn sweet and starchy things as well as everything they can find – food residues, liquids, their own or humans’ cast-off skin, dead siblings, droppings, cardboard, books and so on.

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Water bugs use their camouflage colorations to catch small fish, insects, and frogs. They prefer fresh food. The bugs do not chase a victim. Instead, they hide among waterweed and grab everything moving nearby. In swimming pools, they are attracted by algae and garbage on the bottom.

Are the Water Bugs and Cockroaches Really Able to Fly?

Cockroaches own well-developed wings, but they use them primarily for gliding only for short distances off the tree or the roof. But usual species run quite fast and do not need to use their wings.

Water bugs are also familiar to many people as electric light bugs as they fly to bright light sources. During a mating period, they tend to fly from pond to pond searching a mate.

water bug

During a mating period, they tend to fly from pond to pond searching a mate.

Extermination Methods Suitable for Both Pests

Since two creatures prefer different places to live and various conditions, there is an individual approach to each of them.

  • Water bugs are unwelcome guests in pools. So here are some tips to get rid of those nasty pests,
  • Keep the reservoir clean from algae and other insects that can be food target for the bugs,
  • Perform sanitary procedures with the help of chlorination twice a week,
  • Catch and kill water bugs naturally using a bucket of water and a liter of sunflower oil. Just throw the caught bugs into the bucket and close the lid.

Cockroaches need another approach to their extermination. It includes:

  • Cleaning the surfaces from all food residues;
  • Keep the area free of water as well as weakened or injured roach usually feels much better after drinking water;
  • Fix all pipes in order to prevent their leakage;
  • Store food in the refrigerator or in plastic bags;
  • Clean off the garbage boxes regularly.
  • Use glued traps or baits to catch and kill cockroaches.
  • Spray running bugs with repellents to get rid of them on contact.
  • Sprinkle powder, which contains boric acid.
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Breeding Behavior

Both animals show a different attitude towards their babies. So water bugs care for the eggs with special delicacy. Males tend to look after the breed, hiding it from other predators and from time to time soaking it with water. Instead, the larvae will die from dehydration or the lack of oxygen. Cockroach females may carry their unhatched babies on the back side of their bodies. But after 2-3 days they usually leave them alone in special oothecal. Red roaches carry the kids until their hatch to protect them from other predators or their siblings.

 Where Can You Find the Insects’ Eggs?

Cockroaches drop their ootheca anywhere they like. At the same time, water bugs always hide their unhatched babies beneath the leaves in water or in debris.

Although the bugs have a lot of similar traits, there is a wide gap between them. Since you the peculiarities of each species, it will be quite easy to choose the best method of extermination.

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