7 Surprising Beetles that Look Like Cockroaches

Many people afraid of cockroaches, and it became a phobia called Katsaridaphobia. Sometimes when we scared, we couldn’t think anything but how to get rid of the fear. Apparently, there are several bugs that looked like cockroaches and commonly mistaken as one. Precisely, this article discusses beetles that look like cockroaches.

Asian Long-horned Beetle

Asian long-horned beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis) is well-known as the native to Korea and eastern China .  Even its origins from Asia, it hitchhiked in infested wood packaging used in international trade, and breed. Most of them lived in North America and parts of Eurasia. It becomes a serious threat because it infests hardwood trees, especially maples.

Here, female beetles lay up to 60 eggs on average. Then, the larvae will stay in the tree and eat the tree tissue that makes the distribution of water flow and nutrients disrupted within the tree. The larvae keep eating deep into the heartwood when they continuing metamorphosis. This attack occurs generation to generation until the tree dies if this beetle won’t be exterminated.

The problem is that maple trees are a preferred host of this beetle, the damage of the tree impacts to the maple syrup industry through the loss of healthy sugar bush. Not only the syrup but also the wood itself will be damaged and cannot be used as furniture like it supposed to be.

This beetle is not so much alike with cockroach because it has white spots and long antenna. The similarity between this beetle and cockroach is the number of the legs and the oval back.

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June Bugs/May Beetles

beetles that look like cockroaches
Beetles that look like cockroaches.

June bugs may be mistaken as a cockroach because of its brown color. But if we can look closer, we can see that this bug has a longer back leg, no antenna, and a peanut-like body. The heavy-bodied June beetles vary from 12 to 25 mm and have shiny wing covers that make them looked like a cockroach. June bugs can be found in ornamental plants, trees, crops, and weeds. These bugs are active during the rainy season and attracted to lights.

Well, the larva is considered a pest because it feeds on the roots of crops and turns green grass into yellow and then brown. The rotten grass can be rolled back like a carpet and it will be spongy to walk on. While the larva rots the root, adults feed on the young and tender foliage of trees and shrubs and damage the leaf-like other leaf-feeding insects.  June bugs’ lifespan is around one to four years depends on the soil and the temperature change.

Giant Water Bugs

Giant water bug (Lethocerus americanus) is often mistaken as a roach because of its flat and brown-colored body. Let’s take a closer look. In this picture shown its front leg looked like a pair of antenna. Also, we can see its eyes, unlike the roaches.  Like the name, this is a giant size of bug so people often mistook this bug as a cockroach. But actually, this bug is 2 inches long or 5 cm more or less.

Giant water bugs are known as Hemiptera, or the “true” bugs, not beetles. You can find this bug in ponds and lakes, and less common in rivers. They eat small fish, tadpoles, snails, insects, and some invertebrates. They are carnivores. They suck their prey’s fluid after immobilized it.

This bug’s main habitat is in wetlands that they become the top of the food chain as an invertebrate predator. Be careful when you touched this bug, because it has a very painful bite. Its mouth has a function as mosquitoes’, like a syringe but larger and nastier.

Ground Beetles

This beetle slightly looked like a cockroach because of its body shape and the hair-like antenna. The differences are the color and the small middle leg. Usually, the cockroach has nobody pattern but as we can see in this picture below, ground beetle has a white striped pattern on its wings. Both ground beetle and cockroach have the ability to run quickly and their tendency to scurry when disturbed.

According to terminix.com, ground beetles are commonly found underwood, rocks, or objects left on the ground. They are attracted to light and occasionally congregate near outside walls in the summertime. They won’t go inside our house, so they are not considered household pests.

Ground beetles are predator for small insects and common garden pests like ants, aphids, caterpillars, maggots, slugs, and worms. However, they can possibly become a pest to our garden because they often eat the seeds, shoots, and pollen of plants that might destroy the garden. If you don’t want ground beetle to invade your garden, you have to get your yard free of rocks, stones, wood, and other debris under which it typically likes to live.

Palo Verde Beetles

Palo verde beetle (Derobrachus geminatus) is native to the American Southwest and northern Mexico, looks like a large cockroach. Probably it’s the long antenna and spines on their thorax that make it looked like a cockroach. Also, it has no body pattern.

Then, this bug is harmless. It has no stringers, bite, or venom. Here, what the larvae eat are the roots of decaying and dead citrus trees, palo verde trees, and cottonwoods. Surprisingly, they don’t eat as adults because they are relying on the nutrition they gained during their larval stage.

Palo verde beetles usually need a 30-day period to mate. There, their mandibles are used to subdue the female in the mating ritual, sometimes the females lost a leg and antennae. Not only for mating, but their mandibles are also used as a defense mechanism by pinching the enemy.

Wood-Boring Beetles

Wood-boring beetles looked like ground beetle but the legs are in even length. What makes this beetle looked like a cockroach is its antenna, flatten back leg, and flat back/wings. The antenna is shorter than cockroach but people still mistook wood-boring beetle as the cockroach.

This beetle-infested woods with its jaws. This report shows that they can make a tunnel with their jaws within the wood as they eat the starch. The larvae usually unnoticed because they feed beneath the surface of the wood and their tunnels are not visible. It took a few months to several years for the larvae to develop completely, depending on the availability of food and moisture in the wood.

You can stop this threat by using polyurethane, varnish, or paint on exposed wood surfaces as a protective layer. Also, firewood should be de-barked, stored outside, and only brought into the home immediately before use. Wood-boring beetle lives in a humid and warm place, so good ventilation in attics and crawl spaces keep the bug away.

You can treat an infestation in unfinished woods with an insecticide. Based on this report, an insecticide is useful to kill the beetles that are on the outer surface. So, you have to wait for them to emerge from the tree or wood.


Among those bugs, I think crickets look very similar to cockroaches because of its size and antenna. But they are actually different. Crickets’ body is cylindrical, like a mini-tube and roaches’ body more like flatten oval. Crickets use their leg to walk and jump (like grasshopper) while roaches cannot use their legs to jump. And crickets have longer back legs. Male crickets can chirp.

The fortunate thing here is that crickets bite is well-known to not carry fatal diseases that can be a problem for humans. So, you do not have to worry if they bite you. But, you have to worry about what stays on their body. Here, cricket is known can carry salmonella and e. Coli.

There are some cultures that allow their people to eat crickets. Apparently, crickets contain protein, iron, and vitamin B12. Thai people consumed crickets since 1998. Well, it is also noted that in 2012, there were around 20.000 cricket farmers. Even in Austria, this is well known as the aboriginal diet.

There are many species of crickets consumed worldwide, according to the journal from umich.edu. There is field cricket (Gryllus sp.), and house cricket (Acheta sp.). Thailand’s field cricket Gryllus bimaculatus contains 120 kcal/100 g (Van Huis, et al, 2013), which is comparable to the 150 kcal/100g of skinless chicken breast.

So, those are insects that often mistaken as a cockroach. Some of them are harmless, others are pests. Well, they are just the beetles that look like cockroaches.

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