11 Insects that Look Like Cockroaches But Aren’t (Make No Mistake)

Can you distinguish between a baby cockroach and a bed bug? Not so sure, right?

Yes, some other insects (primarily beetles and bugs) look like cockroaches at first glance. However, if you take the time to know what cockroaches look like, you may find it easier to tell a baby roach from a bed bug. 

It is easy to mistake any of these insects – bed bugs, carpet beetles, silverfish, red flour beetles, drugstore beetles, booklice, or psocids – for cockroach nymphs (baby roaches).

Some insects even have similar colors and movements as adult cockroaches. But, there are key differences between them. For example, bed bugs have shorter antennae and a more oval-shaped body than baby roaches. 

So, please continue reading to find out the 11 insects that look like cockroaches and how to differentiate them.

11 Insects that Look Like Cockroaches But Aren’t

Which insects look like a cockroach?

Now, you already know all you need to identify the common cockroaches you will likely encounter. So, below you have a list of insects that look like cockroaches but are not;

House crickets

house cricket

With relatively similar size and long antennae, you can understand how crickets can be mistaken for cockroaches. Fully-grown crickets are around 0.9 inches long and have a yellowish-brown appearance. 

In contrast to roaches, however, crickets’ bodies are cylinder-shaped, while cockroaches are oval-shaped. Another key difference is in their movements. 

Crickets have long hind legs for jumping, while cockroaches don’t jump. So, if the insect is jumping (or hopping), it is more likely a cricket. 

Giant water bugs

Giant water bug

Sometimes, American roaches are called water bugs, but water bugs are different insects altogether. However, the giant water bug’s flat, oval-shaped, dark brown or black body is enough to make it resemble a cockroach at first glance.

Also, a fully grown water bug can grow to be anywhere from 1.5 to 2.5 inches. Nonetheless, water bugs are primarily found in ponds and creeks, while roaches do not live in water. 

Bed bugs

a bed bug close up

It is easy to say a bed bug resembles a baby roach (nymphs) because they have similar sizes and colors. Bed bugs have flat, oval-shaped bodies with a reddish-brown appearance.

The average size of a bed bug is 0.19 inches. Also, bed bugs primarily infest beds or couches because they feed on your blood.

Hence, it would help if you exterminated bed bugs urgently by using traps, repellents, or a homemade bed bug spray.

Wood boring beetles

Wood boring beetle

Wood-boring beetles are mistaken for cockroaches due to their oval-shaped bodies and legs. 

However, unlike fleet-footed cockroaches that run at incredible speeds, wood-boring beetles are slow and do not flee at the sight of humans. 

Wood boring beetles are typically 0.25 inches long, but some can grow to be as large as 2 inches.  

Ground beetles

Ground beetle

The chief similarity between ground beetles and cockroaches is that they have six spiked legs. However, they also have oval bodies and move at incredible speeds, like cockroaches.

Still, you can always differentiate ground beetles from roaches by their signatory stench and small heads.

June bugs

June bug

With long spiked legs and shiny reddish-brown coats, it is no surprise that people mistake June bugs for cockroaches.

Meanwhile, June bugs are small bugs/beetles that feed on grass, flowers, or foliage. 

Sow/Pill Bugs

Pill Bug

While their long antennae may make you think sow bugs resemble cockroaches, their seven pairs of legs should tell you they are not.

Also, they are known to curl themselves up whenever they are disturbed. Furthermore, sow bugs cause no damage to your house and do not spread any disease or bacteria. 



Earwigs look like small roaches, like German roaches, due to their speed and color (brown-black body, a reddish-colored head, and yellow-brown legs). 

However, you can distinguish between an earwig and a cockroach by the characteristic pincers or forceps at the end of an earwig’s abdomen. 

Black caterpillar hunter

Black caterpillar hunter

Since they also have an oval-shaped body, antennae, and long legs, black caterpillar hunters are often mistaken for cockroaches. 

One distinguishing feature of black caterpillar hunters is their big bodies; they can grow as large as 3 inches! 

Finally, their visible mandibles/teeth also differentiate them from cockroaches. 

Soldier beetles

Soldier beetle

Soldier beetles are often mistaken for cockroaches because of their long oval-shaped bodies and antennae. 

However, unlike cockroaches, they’re harmless to you as they feed on soft-bodied insects like caterpillars and aphids – effectively serving as a biological pest control. 

Click beetles

Click beetle

Aside from the characteristic click sound these beetles make, you may find it hard to tell the difference between a click beetle and a cockroach.

This is because click beetles do not only have six long legs and oval-shaped bodies, but they also run at high speeds, too – especially the smaller ones.

What do cockroaches look like; Identifying a cockroach. 

While there are over four thousand cockroach species (with more being discovered yearly), only 30 of them are regarded as pests. 

Out of these 30 species, the ones you are likely to come across in your home are just a handful – about six.

Here’s a detailed description of the common house cockroaches;

American cockroach (Periplaneta americana)

American cockroach

Although adult American cockroaches are winged, they can only fly over a short distance. They are the largest house-invading cockroach species (they can grow up to 50 mm or 3 inches).

Similarly, American cockroaches are reddish brown or mahogany colored with a yellow band behind their heads. They also have six legs, an oval body, and long antennae. 

 Note: Generally, roach nymphs do not have wings. Hence, they do not fly. 

German cockroach (Blattella germanica)

German cockroach

The German cockroach is one of the most common cockroaches. They have a light brown appearance, and on their backs, just behind their heads, German cockroaches have two dark, almost parallel stripes. And despite possessing wings, german roaches rarely fly. 

German cockroaches have six legs, oval-shaped bodies, and antennae, just like the American cockroach. Lastly, German cockroaches are smaller than American cockroaches, with adult german roaches being around ½ inches – ⅝ inches long. 

Oriental cockroach (Blatta orientalis)

Oriental cockroach

This cockroach can spread bacteria in your home if it is not controlled quickly. Oriental cockroaches are either black or dark brown. 

They are not as big as American roaches, yet they are bigger than German roaches. Male oriental cockroaches have wings that cover only ¾ of their bodies, while females have much shorter wings.

Note: Although they have wings, oriental cockroaches do not fly.

Brown-banded cockroach (Supella Longipalpa)

Brown-banded cockroach

With their adult roaches ranging from 0.4 inches to 0.6 inches, brown-banded cockroaches are tan to dark brown cockroaches with oval-shaped bodies. 

The name brown-banded comes from the two distinctive brown strips which run from left to right. The strips are not usually visible when they grow wings, though.

Also, these roaches are the second most common roaches in the US. 

Smoky-brown cockroach (Periplaneta Fuliginosa)

Smoky-brown cockroach

Smoky-brown cockroaches have smooth, shiny, dark brown flat, and oval bodies. And an adult smoky-brown roach with a dark brown head is about 1.4 inches in length.

Furthermore, it has six legs, a pair of antennae, and two sets of wings. Unlike the other cockroaches, smoky-brown roaches fly very well.

One significant difference between smoky-brown and American roaches is that they do not have any yellow band behind their heads.

Note: Smoky-brown cockroaches are also called palmetto bugs. 

Asian cockroach (Blattella Asahinai)

Asian cockroach

Asian roaches look very much like german roaches, except that Asian cockroaches have dark stripes across their heads and long wings, which german roaches don’t.

They have a light brown to golden color and a flat elongated body. Likewise, Asian roaches have two long antennae (longer than their bodies). Moreover, female Asian cockroaches have more oval bodies than males.

An adult Asian cockroach is between 0.63 inches to 0.68 inches in length, and they have wings longer than their bodies, thus, allowing them to fly very well.


There you have it; this post has given you several bugs that look like cockroaches, so now you can go ahead and identify them yourself!

Other bugs that look like cockroaches include the Asian longhorned beetle, carpet beetle, palo verde beetles, and so on.

That’s it, then. Without a doubt, you can now distinguish between all the insects above and a cockroach.

If you have identified your visitor as a cockroach, you should remove anything that attracts roaches, are lay down some bait-laden traps straight away.

Good luck!


About the author

DIY Pest Control Enthusiast Since 1996

After spending the entire night lying awake in a cockroach-infested hotel, I have driven myself to build knowledge on all things pest control. Since then, I've tested pest control techniques to see what works and what doesn't. Now, here I am giving you all the info I have learned!

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