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German Cockroach vs. Water Bug: How to Tell the Difference

By WebFX Dev
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German Cockroach vs. Water Bug

When you notice an insect in your home, you usually don’t have the time or extensive knowledge to identify it. Your first reaction may be to get rid of it. When you do spot a bug in your home — especially if it’s something that looks like a water bug — it’s essential to get a good look at it and see what it really is.

Why Know the Difference Between German Cockroaches vs. Water Bugs?

Knowing the difference between a German cockroach and a water bug will help you determine what to do next. While water bugs can deliver a painful bite, they aren’t toxic to humans. German cockroaches, on the other hand, carry allergens that can cause asthma. They also carry harmful bacteria that can cause illness if ingested.

German cockroaches can often be confused with water bugs. If you do have a cockroach problem, however, you’ll want to call a professional service to get the problem taken care of as soon as possible.

What Are German Cockroaches?

The German cockroach has a small, flattened, oval-shaped body and a shiny, leathery exterior usually colored light brown. It has long, threadlike antennae protruding from its head and two dark stripes running down its back. Though they have wings, the German cockroach prefers running to flight.

These types of cockroaches like to live in dark, humid environments — kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms are all likely places for German cockroaches to nest in. They’re able to find their way into homes by latching onto grocery bags, backpacks or anything else that someone is bringing into the house.

Once they’re inside, German cockroaches can create a lot of issues. Aside from bringing in diseases and harmful allergens, they can also be very damaging to items in your home and even the foundational structure of the house itself. German cockroaches will eat pretty much anything that has some sort of nutritional value — they have a varied diet that ranges from books to bed bugs.

Because of their color and similar appearance, German cockroaches and water bugs are easy to confuse. Cockroaches, however, can be much more detrimental to your home’s structure and the people living inside, so it’s important to know the subtle differences between the two. To spot those subtle differences, you’ll also need to know the unique characteristics of a water bug.

What Are Water Bugs?

Water bugs are usually tan or brown in color, around two inches in length with an oval-shaped body, four legs and two short antennae. As their name implies, these insects like to live in water. They do not like to be held and will often bite if handled by humans. Interestingly, water bugs are not considered pests. Most of the time, they will seek to live outdoors.

They’re also hunters of other insects. Using their proboscis and a powerful liquefying enzyme, water bugs paralyze their prey to consume them.

Though they have a vicious hunting streak, water bugs are only a danger to insects and don’t carry the kind of allergens and bacteria that German cockroaches do. For this reason, water bugs aren’t as much of a danger as cockroaches, although they can still be unnerving to see around your house.

Most of the time, water bugs will have been attracted to your home by large bodies of water outside — from here, they could get in by accident.

German cockroaches, on the other hand, can find what they need to survive in homes. A lot of times, they’ll seek out the cool, damp areas in houses to nest in. From here, they can spread allergens and harmful bacteria. They may look very similar, but German cockroaches are the far-more dangerous insect to see around your home.

Core Differences Between Water Bugs and Cockroaches

When it comes to delineating water bugs from German cockroaches, look for some key differences. German cockroaches and water bugs will differ on a few main characteristics:

  • Antennae: While a water bug has two shorter, stalk-like antennae, German cockroaches have much longer antennae extending far past the head.
  • Flight: Even though German cockroaches have wings, they usually won’t fly. Water bugs, on the other hand, do. If you ever see something you thought was a cockroach fly, there’s a good chance it may actually be a water bug.
  • Habitat: Water bugs live in water and can’t survive long without it. Cockroaches, though they tend to nest in cool, damp places, may not be found in water. This is a telling sign that you could be dealing with a German cockroach.

Use characteristics like antennae, flight and habitats to determine whether an insect is a German cockroach or a water bug. If you do find that you have cockroaches in your home, it’s time to develop a strategy to get rid of them.

Exterminating Water Bugs vs. Cockroaches

The process for getting rid of water bugs and cockroaches is pretty similar. Usually, when you think you’ve spotted a water bug, it’s actually a German cockroach, as these are among the more common type of pests in American homes.

To help exterminate them, you may look into setting bait traps. Still, it’s usually more effective to contact a professional service who can help you take care of your insect problem. Professionals will talk to you about the pest problems you’ve been having before inspecting your property and implementing solutions.

With a professional service, you can experience many advantages, like:

  • Convenience: Trying to take on extermination on your own sacrifices a lot of time and energy. Professional pest control services, on the other hand, mean you’ll be getting that time back and focusing on more important aspects of your life.
  • Effectiveness: When you try to get rid of pests on your own, you may question the effectiveness of your tactics the whole way through. A professional has all of the tools, knowledge and experience needed to take care of your pest problem effectively. You’ll have confidence in the results.
  • Safety: When it comes to pests, safety should be your top priority. German cockroaches, though they don’t bite, can carry dangerous allergens and bacteria. To protect yourself and others in your home, leave extermination to professionals who know exactly what they’re doing.

Call Pestech to Take Care of Your Cockroaches or Water Bugs

At Pestech, we take care of all of your pest control needs. We’re a family-owned business that has been around since 1989, serving New York and beyond. We can help inspect your home or business and see what the best strategy for extermination would be. We offer an effective, convenient way to make sure your property is free from pests. Contact us today!

Call Pestech for Cockroaches and Water Bugs