Bugs & Insects That Look Like Cockroaches

The cockroach is flat and oval-shaped with antennae that are about as long as its body. It has six legs that are covered with spines and adults have wings, although few cockroaches fly. Some may have short wings or none at all. There are several insects that are similar in appearance to cockroaches. Correct identification is important to ensure you can eradicate a potential infestation.

Asian Longhorned Beetles

Native to Asia, the Asian longhorned beetle is a new and serious threat to North America. They prefer maple trees, but infestations of longhorned beetles have also been found in other species including poplars, elms and willows. There is no known chemical or biological defence against this invasive insect and they have few predators. Mature longhorned beetles range in size from 1 to 1 1/2 inches long. Their antennae can be up to 4 inches long, much longer than a cockroach's antennae. Their bodies are shiny black with white spots. The antennae are banded black and white. They have wings and can fly short distances. Because of their wings and the long antennae, they're often confused with cockroaches, but cockroaches are smaller and do not typically have white markings. Cockroaches are also more brownish in colour. However, if a longhorned beetle is found in your home, you should call a pest control professional to ensure you don't have an infestation outdoors.


A cricket is small and fast-moving and in some lighting, can be mistaken for a cockroach. Crickets are brown to black in colour, depending on the species. They have two sets of wings, the leathery front wings spanning half to the entire abdomen. Their back wings are hidden and folded beneath the front wings. Like cockroaches, a cricket's antennae are about as long as its body and some species may not have wings. The obvious difference between a cricket and a cockroach is that crickets produce a chirping sound by rubbing their wings together. This is done by the males to attract a mate.

Leaf-Footed Bugs

Leaf-footed bugs are less than an inch in length, with dark brown bodies and a cream-coloured stripe over the back. Like cockroaches, leaf-footed bugs have wings and a flattened body, but their back legs appear thickened and leaflike. Their distinct hind legs and white markings easily distinguish leaf-footed bugs from cockroaches.

Ground Beetle

One of the largest groups of beetles in North America, ground beetles may be one of more than 2,200 species. Species may vary in body shape and colouring, but typically ground beetles are shiny and blackish in colour. They have ridged wing covers and a smaller head than their thorax. Like cockroaches they have antennae, but these are very thin and threadlike. You can also distinguish ground beetles from cockroaches by the wings. Beetles have hardened front wings. A cockroach has leathery wings or none at all.

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About the Author

Renee Miller began writing professionally in 2008, contributing to websites and the "Community Press" newspaper. She is co-founder of On Fiction Writing, a website for writers. Miller holds a diploma in social services from Clarke College in Belleville, Ontario.