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a cockroach sitting on the side of a bathroom sink basin

Cockroach or Beetle? How to Identify a Roach Infestation

Here’s a bug that can make even the toughest of people squirm: the cockroach. So, what is a cockroach, and what does a cockroach look like? Many species of cockroaches exist all across the globe. The species of cockroaches most commonly in infestations include: 

  • American cockroaches 
  • Brown-banded cockroaches 
  • German cockroaches
  • Oriental cockroaches 

Generally a cockroach has a flat, brown body with six legs and may appear oily. The typical cockroach averages between 35-41 millimeters in length. In some species, male and female cockroaches have wings that allow them to fly short distances. 

Bugs That Look Like Cockroaches

Despite their fame (or infamy) as being a “gross” bug, cockroaches do have a similar appearance to other insects that should be equally as unwelcome in your home. Bugs that look like cockroaches include crickets, water bugs, bed bugs, but perhaps the easiest insect to mistake for a cockroach is the beetle. 

At first glance, both beetles and cockroaches are small, brown or black, oily-looking insects. However, they are very different bugs altogether, even coming from different Orders of classification. Some key differences between the two include body shape, antennae, legs, pattern of movement, and life cycle. 

Differences Between Cockroaches and Beetles

If you’re unfortunate enough to get a close look at the bug scurrying across your floor, pay attention to these features. Most cockroaches have an oval and flattened body shape to them while a beetle leans toward the thicker, rounder side. Many beetles also have long stipe-like lines running down their bodies. Cockroaches also have a shield, sort of like a helmet, covering the top of their head.

Cockroach Antennae vs Beetle Antennae

On just a quick glance, you can tell a cockroach from a beetle based on antenna length. The antenna of a beetle ranges toward the shorter size and doesn’t move much. A cockroach has long antennae, often the same length as their body, that are constantly moving and twitching to look for food and water. Though both insects have six legs, cockroach legs are long and have visible spikes that they use to grip smooth surfaces.

Differences in Movement 

Another easy way to distinguish the two insects is their speed and pattern of movement. The nocturnal cockroach will scatter away from light sources to find protected shelter. They will move very quickly and tuck themselves into tiny, protected areas for safety. On the other hand, a beetle moves slowly and deliberately. 

How To Tell Which Pest Is in Your Home

If you think you may have a bug infestation on your hands, but aren’t sure if it contains beetles or cockroaches, you may find the answer in their offspring. Most simply, beetles develop from larvae and cockroaches hatch from eggs. Beetle larvae look like maggots but cockroach eggs are small and brown. 

To identify a cockroach infestation, make sure to look for cockroach eggs. Female cockroaches lay their eggs in a sac known as an ootheca. This small, hard egg case looks similar to a brown or black pill, and can hold up to 40 eggs. You’ll typically find an ootheca near sources of food or water, like under a sink or fridge. Other signs of cockroaches include their droppings, which can look similar to black pepper.

Signs of a beetle infestation, on the other hand, may include damage to carpet or fabric items. Beetles are known for using their sharp mandibles to chew their way through cloth, wool, or even leather. You may mistake beetle damage on your clothing for moth holes, so it’s important to pay attention and watch out for any insects in your home so you can properly identify the problem.

Expert Beetle and Cockroach Control From Las Vegas Pest

If you think you may be in need of some expert cockroach control, contact your friends at Las Vegas Pest. Due to their quick reproduction and tendency to track bacteria and allergens into your home, getting rid of these pests is a priority. 

Las Vegas Pest Control can give you a free quote on your pest control needs with same day service and great pricing. Contact us today to get your free estimate!