Read Our Reviews

What Does A Water Bug Look Like?

November 19, 2021 Vinx Pest Control cockroaches
What Does A Water Bug Look Like?

Most people have heard of a water bug, but what does a water bug look like? Water Bugs and cockroaches tend to have some similar physical attributes which can make it easy to confuse the two. But, other than their similar appearances, water bugs and cockroaches don’t have that much in common.

Water bugs are typically grayish or brown in color with an oval-shaped body but they don’t have the identifying antennas of a cockroach. The one cockroach that is commonly mistaken for a water bug is the Oriental cockroach. This roach looks different from other cockroaches but since it dwells in your pipes and plumbing is commonly called a water bug.

Water Bug Identification 

When you discover a “water bug” under your sink or in your basement, most people don’t truly know what species they have found. Odds are likely it was a cockroach. Even though they are super similar in appearance, the two insects have very different biology and belong to different orders. Water bugs belong to the order called Hemiptera while cockroaches belong to the order Blattodea. 

So why is it important to tell the difference between the two insects? Identifying an insect in your home correctly makes it far easier to know how to effectively get rid of it and prevent future infestations. 

While water bugs aren’t actively seeking ways into your home, they’re just trying to go where the water is. Cockroaches can thrive in your home as it provides them with the food and water sources they need as well as a comfy shelter. 

Cockroaches are capable of spreading human disease and can often trigger allergies or asthma. They’re also known for spreading contaminants that can cause food poisoning and diarrhea. 

Another similarity between water bugs and roaches is that they are nocturnal. This means they become active and hunt for food at night so you might not see them unless you go looking for them or have a serious problem on your hands. 

Baby Water Bugs 

Baby water bugs are very small in size, measuring only about half an inch in length. They have oval-shaped bodies that are soft and either yellowish or transparent in color. The baby will eventually grow into a reddish-brown

nymph. They don’t have wings yet. Those only come once they have reached adulthood. An adult female typically lays up to 150 eggs in a single hatch. 

Water Bug vs. Cockroach 

When it comes to habitat, water bugs are usually found living in or near a water source. They may also be drawn to habitats full of moisture such as rotting leaf piles or other stacked debris. Cockroaches also live in humid locations but aren’t drawn to water in the same way. They are scavengers, searching for whatever food and water sources they can find. But, both water bugs and cockroaches alike will enter your home through cracks, holes, pipes, and drains. 

How to Get Rid of Roaches

Water Bugs in Texas 

The Giant Water Bug, also known as the “True bug”, loves to call Texas its home. The largest of its family, these horrific bugs can be up to four inches in length. If their size won’t scare you, their bite surely will. They inhabit sources of water such as fountains, ponds, and pools. This species is one of the only water bugs that can breathe underwater because it carries its own oxygen supply.

It preys on everything from surrounding wildlife to small insects. It’s nicknamed the “Toe Biter” because this water bug won’t differentiate between human toes and other moving prey such as crustaceans, frogs, and fish. If you live in Texas, we serve Sulphur Springs and the entire Dallas area. That includes Fort Worth, Lake Highlands, and Denton.

What do water bugs eat? 

Water bugs are generally carnivores with a predatory nature. Using their front legs, they hunt their prey. This might consist of other small insects, small fish, frogs, and tadpoles. The way their mouthpieces are designed allows them to nibble on prey that is twice their size. 

Types of Water Bugs 

There are several different types of water bugs throughout the different regions of the world. Here are a few of the most common water bug species: 

1. Backswimmer 

This type of water bug belongs to the Notonectidae family. Their small, light bodies give them the ability to swim backwards and float on the water’s surface. They measure only ½ an inch long.

2. Water Strider

Water Striders belong to the family Gerridae and are unique because they have extremely hairy legs. This feature actually allows them to walk on water. Also measuring only ½ inch in size, they certainly aren’t giants. They prefer stagnant areas like ponds and swamps instead of free flowing rivers and streams. 

3. Water Boatman 

These water bugs are from the Corixids family. They feed on plants, algae, and moss and are the only herbivore water bugs in nature. They can’t bite, but can nibble on and suck the juices found in vegetation. They are unique in the fact that they are very attracted to bright lights. 

Flying Water Bugs 

Most adult water bugs have wings. This allows them to fly over different bodies of water during mating season in search of a partner. While flying, they’re attracted to bright lights that are often seen in parking lots or front porch lights. 


Even with all the facts, it can still be difficult to tell the difference between a water bug and a cockroach. If you have questions about whether or not you may be dealing with a cockroach or water bug infestation, give Vinx Pest Control a call. Anytime you need service, just give us a call and we’ll be right out to help. When it comes to Dallas pest control, our guarantee is simple. We guarantee your satisfaction or we’ll keep servicing until you are completely satisfied. 

In addition to serving much of Texas, we also serve the entire areas of Charleson, South Carolina and Greenville, South Carolina. That includes Spartanburg, Simpsonville, Mount Pleasant, and North Charleston.