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Waterbugs: What You Need to Know

Need to get rid of waterbugs? Read on to learn the answers to all of your important questions. Need help? Call our professionals today to get started.

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When Is A Waterbug A Waterbug?

In order to properly treat any bug infestation in your home, it is important to be certain of the kind of bug you find in your home, otherwise you might waste time and money trying to get rid of the wrong bug. 

Waterbugs are commonly confused with cockroaches but are actually quite different insects. Though the two insects do share some similarities in their appearance, there are also many differences. Read on to find out about waterbugs and cockroaches and why the difference is important.

What Is A Waterbug?

The bug most often confused with cockroaches is the Giant Water Bug. Giant water bugs are commonly larger than cockroaches, typically about 2 to 2.5 inches in size. Their name comes from the fact that they live in water like ponds and lakes and near slow-moving water such as streams and creaks. Adult water bugs live off of other insects, small crabs or crayfish, tadpoles, snails and small fish. 

Like the larger cockroaches that you might find in the United States, giant water bugs are brown in color and have oval shaped, elongated bodies. Like some large cockroach species, they are winged and attracted to light while flying at night. Appearance-wise, the main difference between the two is that giant water bugs have two claw-like appendages on the sides of their heads that they use to get air at the surface of the water.

The largest difference between giant water bugs and cockroaches is that giant water bugs are known to bite if handled or disturbed. The bite itself can be quite painful but is not venomous or poisonous. They don’t like humans and will run away if given the chance. 

What Cockroaches Are Confused With Waterbugs?

Most of the time when you hear people talk about waterbugs in the U.S., what they are referring to is any number of insects that look like a large roach. This colloquial term most often refers to Oriental cockroaches/black beetles and American cockroaches. Both of these species of cockroach are large, about 1 inch in length, and have brown to black oval, elongated bodies. They are winged (though Oriental cockroaches do not fly) with the same number of appendages, however, you can tell cockroaches from giant water bugs by the fact that cockroaches typically have very long antennas. Unlike giant water bugs, cockroaches will come into your home in search of food, water and shelter.

When Should I Call Pest Control for Waterbugs?

If you are wondering which of the many kinds of insects often called “waterbug” you might have in and around your home, don’t wonder any longer.


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The creator of this review received compensation by RMICPA, LLC on behalf of Terminix®. This review is the opinion of its creator and its claims are not endorsed or evaluated by RMICPA, LLC.

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