Types of Bugs That Look Like Cockroaches in South Florida

March 29, 2022
A giant water bug on a white background
A giant waterbug is just one of the types of bugs that look like cockroaches here in South Florida.

Some species just don’t get along. That’s the case with humans and cockroaches. When they’re outdoors far from any human habitation, cockroaches are beneficial decomposers, feeding on dead or dying plants and animals. But as soon as they start to share space with humans—as they frequently do in South Florida—cockroaches become a health risk and a general menace.

Of the 69 species of cockroaches known to be present in the U.S. the ones that plague South Florida homeowners and businesses the most are the American, German, Asian, Australian, and Brown-branded varieties. These insects are so common in our state that people tend to label any oval-shaped crawling insect that measures from a half-inch to two inches long a “cockroach.”

The problem is there are many types of bugs that look like cockroaches roaming around South Florida, and the procedures required to get rid of them vary. So the first step in eliminating any pest from your home or business is to know which type of insect you’re dealing with. This guide will help you determine whether that creepy-crawly scurrying around your kitchen is a cockroach or some other kind of uninvited guest.

Identifying the Types of Bugs That Look Like Cockroaches 

The cockroach species most prevalent in Florida measure from a one-half inch to two inches in length and typically have brown to dark-brown bodies. The American cockroach is the largest at up to two inches long, while the German, Asian, and Brown-banded cockroaches are from a half-inch to one inch in length.

The general description of brownish bugs measuring one-half inch to two inches could apply to thousands of insect species within the beetle family alone, including June bugs (also called May beetles) and Asian longhorn beetles. In addition to certain types of beetles, other types of bugs that look like cockroaches South Floridians are most likely to encounter are giant water bugs, crickets, and bed bugs, which can be mistaken for cockroach nymphs.

June Bugs (May Beetles)

Adult June bugs are about one-half inch to an inch in length and vary from yellow to dark brownish-red. They emerge from the soil as it warms in May or June and feed on foliage from plants, fruit trees, and crops. While the larvae can damage grassroots, adult feeding usually doesn’t harm trees but can damage new foliage on plants.

A june bug sitting on a flower in Florida
Although not identical, a June bug does resemble a cockroach.

Asian Longhorn Beetles

There are more than 200 species of longhorn beetles found in Florida, nearly all of which feed on dead and dying trees, so they pose no threat to human interests. An exception is the Asian longhorn beetle, which hasn’t been confirmed in the state but poses a serious threat to the eastern hardwood forests of North America.

An Asian Longhorn beetle sitting on the ground in Florida.
Aside from the antenna, the Asian Longhorn Beetle resembles a cockroach.

Floridians have sometimes mistakenly identified similar-looking species as Asian longhorn beetles, which have the same shape and size as cockroaches. However, these insects are black with white spots, and their antennae are longer than their bodies and banded in white.

Giant Water Bugs

Many people think that the terms “water bug” and “cockroach” are synonymous, but the giant water bug is a separate species. Also called electric light bugs, these insects measure from two inches to four inches long and have a grayish-brown color. The good news for homeowners and businesses is that giant water bugs are outdoor critters that rarely find their way inside. However, they have been known to bite humans who pick them up.

A picture of a giant waterbug
When it comes to types of bugs that look like cockroaches, a Giant Waterbug comes close.


The two types of crickets found in Florida that may cause problems for homeowners and businesses are the house cricket and the mole cricket:

  • House crickets are about one-half inch to one inch long and are yellowish-brown in color. While they spend most of their time outdoors, they sometimes hole up in buildings where their “song” gives them away.
  • Adult mole crickets are yellowish-brown and measure from one inch to 1.5 inches long. Three species of mole crickets cause damage to turfgrass, plants, and crops throughout Florida.
A cricket on a green leaf
Crickets can also be mistaken for cockroaches.

Bed Bugs

Adult bed bugs measure less than one-quarter inch in length, so they’re not likely to be mistaken for an adult cockroach. However, cockroach nymphs are about the same size and color as bed bugs. These blood-sucking parasites typically feed on sleeping humans but are also found in couches, chairs, and other furniture. They are prevalent throughout Florida.

a picture of a bedbug that could be mistaken for a cockroach
Bedbugs are similar to tiny roaches

A Word About ‘Palmetto Bugs’

What many people refer to as palmetto bugs are actually three different species of cockroaches: American, Florida woods, and Australian. They got this moniker because of their tendency to take shelter under palm leaves.

A graphic illustrating types of bugs that look like cockroaches but are not.

Getting Started With Nozzle Nolen

If you find cockroaches or what look like cockroaches in or around your home, it’s time to take action because the pests that pose a threat to your health and your property rarely go away on their own. The one-stop solution to cockroaches and a range of other home invaders is Nozzle Nolen’s 365 Complete Home Protection package that covers rodents, termites, ants, wasps, and other common pests. The service’s No Pest Guarantee ensures a return treatment in 24 to 48 hours should the problem recur.

Nozzle Nolen has been serving South Florida residents for more than seven decades. So, if you suspect you have a cockroach problem or a problem with one of the above types of bugs that look like cockroaches, give us a call at 800.226.6536 or Contact Us. We look forward to serving you.

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