You might not realize it, but some insects are often referred to by incorrect and/or different names. For example, when people refer to a potato bug, there’s a good chance they mean the wood louse (or pill bug), whereas the Jerusalem cricket is often known as the potato bug. Another example is the June bug. While people from places like Arizona are referring to the large, green variety, many residents of the Midwest use the term to refer to a smaller, brown version of the same insect.
This is also what happens when discussing waterbugs and cockroaches. Many people use these terms interchangeably, despite the fact that these two insects — while looking similar — are actually quite different. This is important to know when you’re trying to plan for the possibility of waterbug and cockroach infestations. Let’s take a look at how each species differs:
What They Look Like
Handling waterbug and cockroach infestations can be a bit difficult, as many homeowners have learned. It gets even harder, however, when you don’t even know what kind of insect you’re dealing with. These two critters look quite similar. Their bodies, for the most part, appear close enough to each other, and since cockroaches are typically light tan to dark brown in color and waterbugs are tan to black, even their colors aren’t much help. In fact, the best ways to tell these two species apart are from their mouths, eyes, etc. … and who wants to get that close to either one?
Where They Live
Aside from their appearance, this is the number one reason why people get them confused. Since insects such as the American cockroach often live in sewers, people refer to them as waterbugs. But that is a misnomer. The fact of the matter is that cockroaches live on land, while waterbugs — as their name indicates — reside in the water (at least the majority of the time).
What They Eat
Cockroaches are mainly scavengers and opportunistic eaters. They rarely kill other insects for food, and instead rely on sustenance from whatever’s lying around. Waterbugs, on the other hand, are often known to not only kill insects, but small fish and amphibians.
How to Get Rid of Them
Waterbug and cockroach infestations are handled in a somewhat similar manner, but with one big difference: water sources. This is where you’ll want to concentrate much of your efforts. Although this can also decrease your cockroach population, waterbugs are aquatic, which means they are especially susceptible. By removing water sources from around your home, you’ll help keep waterbugs away. But don’t forget to plug up holes and remove any clutter, as well. And if that doesn’t work, seek the help of a professional.
Photo Credit: Dodo-Bird via Flickr