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Do I have Waterbugs or Cockroaches?


Despite their similar appearances, cockroaches and waterbugs are two completely different types of insects. The Giant waterbug, also called a toe biter, an electric-light bug, or an alligator tick, is the most prevalent species of waterbug. The reddish-brown American roach and the shiny black oriental roach are two cockroach species that are frequently mistaken for waterbugs. In order to control cockroaches and waterbugs effectively in your O’Fallon, IL home there are a few things you should know first.

Pest Infestation


Unlike typical house cockroaches, which are always smaller than waterbugs and measure approximately half an inch in length, the majority of species of waterbugs are very large and at least 3.8 cm long. The only roach that is the same size as a waterbug is the American roach, but you can tell the difference between the two by looking at the back of its head, which has a yellowish figure-eight pattern. While waterbugs are normally tan to black in color and cockroaches are often light tan to dark brown in color, these differences in hue won’t be much use. Both species have wings and antennae, and their oval, flat bodies. Waterbugs have short, pointed beaks on the underside of their heads and piercing mouth parts.


Waterbugs are typically found dwelling in or close to water sources, as their name suggests. In addition to water, their habitats might include decaying objects like leaves and trash. Adult waterbugs must surface for air since they cannot breathe underwater. Although they like moist environments, cockroaches avoid contact with water on purpose. Both of these pests can enter your home through cracks, holes, or indoor pipes, and they can both leave through drains.


As scavengers and greedy eaters, cockroaches can consume a wide range of goods and meals, including bread, leather, dried skin flakes, dead animals, fermented food, and much more. They mainly eat plant-based foods, but they may easily acclimate to any food source that is readily available. On the other hand, waterbugs are frequently observed killing insects, tiny fish, frogs, and other small vertebrates. This is what caused waterbugs to develop front legs with grasping capabilities.

Bite Risk

Adult giant waterbugs use their clawed front legs to catch larger prey. While only when provoked or if their habitat is disturbed, they can also bite people. Their bites can be uncomfortable, but they rarely have any negative repercussions. On the other hand, a waterbug bite might occasionally cause an allergic reaction that necessitates emergency medical attention. No documented instances of cockroaches biting people exist.

How to get rid of waterbugs and cockroaches

Bug Infestation

In order to stop these pests from spreading, you will need to reduce any unnecessary water sources. To prevent cockroaches from spreading is usually just having good hygienic sanitation practices, like removing clutter, and garbage and setting up traps. Infestations of waterbugs or cockroaches can spiral out of control quickly due to how fast they can spread. The best thing to do is to contact your local Pest Control professionals.

Whether you having issues with waterbugs, cockroaches, or other insect infestations, give us at IMEL Pest Control a call today and we will get those greedy insects out!

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