Bed Bugs Vs Roaches

Bed Bugs Vs Roaches: What’re the Differences?

If there are pests in your house that look like cockroaches or bed bugs; you’d better be sure.

One of them will cause damage in the kitchen while the other will bite you and your kids at night.

On bed bugs vs roaches; cockroaches have a bigger body, they can fly and they’ll come out in the daytime – feeding on kitchen scraps. But bed bugs will suck human blood frequently.

You will find it less time-consuming and less costly if you control either roaches or bed bugs in their early stages.

Prior to starting the pest treatment, ensure that you identify the bug correctly or you may hire an exterminator who is an expert in removing cockroaches or bed bugs.

What Are Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs have oval-shaped (flattened) bodies that are reddish-brown in color.

The pests will grow larger with age but they generally measure like poppy seeds.

  • Baby bed bugs are comparable in size to adult bed bugs but they will be lightly colored.

Bed bugs won’t fly but they come with wing-like structures and I think but short antennas on their head.

Bedbugs are described as a public health pest by the USDA, CDC, and EPA. They will irritate humans, cause itching and suck blood they spread and transmit diseases.

So, I advise that you adopt appropriate control and prevention of the bed bugs since these pests can trigger more public health problems.

The increase in bed bugs is due to poor bug control techniques, resistance to pesticides, having limited information on pest prevention, and increased travel.

Controlling bed bugs requires combining chemical and non-chemical strategies.

Bed bugs will hide in crevices and cracks due to their small size, they will be challenging to find & identify.

What are cockroaches?

You can identify mature roaches in a simple way; they have 1 to 2 inches (large body) that is flat oval making it easy to notice these bugs from some little distance.

  • Roaches have a body color that ranges from dark brown or black to light tan. Roaches don’t fly but have wings and some forward-pointing (long) antennas.

Roaches versus Bed Bugs; Differences

Roaches and bed bugs have some similarities, particularly when they are younger.

However, the pests have differences that may assist you in identifying either of them.

1. Bites

Cockroaches and bed bugs can bite humans. But bed bugs will prove highly aggressive in their biting compared to the roaches.

  • Bed bug bites will leave red and itchy skin marks

Bed bugs will bite humans and suck blood for their survival. The pest will bite you and attack itself on your skin feeding on blood until they get filled.

On the other hand, cockroaches will bite humans but rarely (they don’t suck blood) but they will eat feces, food leftovers, and trash.

  • When cockroaches get enough food around their spaces, they won’t bite people. However, when there are limited food sources for cockroaches, the bugs will bite human beings.

2. Running or Fighting?

Cockroaches and bed bugs generally avoid going near humans during the day (during activity) and thus they will run from people.

  • During the day, bed bugs and cockroaches will avoid human contact and hide under carpets, and cracks.

An attempt to attack either cockroaches or bed bugs will cause these pests to run and hide.

Unlike cockroaches, bed bugs have no adaptation to enable them to fight humans. For example, they lack jaws while their stings are adapted only for sucking blood.

  • Therefore, bed bugs cant use their stings to attack or fight off human beings – and so they’re runners.

On the other hand, cockroaches can attack humans using their jaws. However, due to the small size of the bug and its jaws, roaches won’t cause major injury to humans.

However, a direct confrontation between coaches and humans will have the pest running into some hiding places such as cracks – and so they’re also generally runners and not fighters.

3. Do roaches or Bed Bug Fly?

On flying, both bed bugs and roaches have wings. These wings, however, are used differently in these pests.

  • For example, bed bugs are crawlers and thus they won’t fly. Bed bugs will hide in mattresses (but you can use mattress covers) and so these pests will not require to fly to get to their host – the humans being sleeping on the bed.

Further, bed bugs will largely hide in indoor spaces (the home) and thus they don’t need to fly long distances or move outdoors.

However, cockroaches are able to glide through the air and may even fly.

  • This might come as a surprise to most homeowners.
  • The cockroaches have a hard body that tends to hide their wings.

During flying the cockroach will open its hard outer shell and spread its wings.

However, most of the time the cockroaches will be crawling as opposed to flying even when moving into hiding spaces.

4. Nocturnal or Day Runners – Roaches vs Cockroaches

Cockroaches and bedbugs are described as nocturnal and so you will mainly see them in the daytime.

Bed bugs for example tend to feed while humans are in bed (sucking their blood) and this is mainly at night.

  • Over the daytime, bed bugs will be digesting the blood meal taken the previous night, hiding in various locations, and laying eggs.

Bed bugs will run into hiding if humans attempt to irritate or harm them over the daytime.

Cockroaches on the other hand are also known to be nocturnal.

  • They will be rummaging around for food sources during the night as you are sleeping.

It is highly likely that you will see more cockroaches around the house during the day as opposed to the number of bed bugs you can see.

  • Cockroaches are very fast and nimble and so they will avoid getting harmed by running away.

However, cockroaches will remain in their hiding places during the day unless there is an urgent need to move around the house.

5. Do Roaches or Bed Bugs Spread Diseases?

Despite the fact that bed bugs will survive by sucking human blood, no scientific proof shows that they do really spread diseases.

  • But the bed bug’s saliva may trigger itching in humans and this may result in intense scratching around the bite area.
  • Such scratches on the human skin could result in infections.

Notably, most bed bugs will suck blood on an individual or the few people sleeping on the same bed.

  • So, it is less likely that the bed bugs will transmit any infections to other people that are not sleeping in the same bed.

However, due to how cockroaches feed and live, it is more likely that they carry infections and diseases.

  • For example, cockroaches will feed and leave around the sewer and trash bins where there are food sources, and areas that are dark and damp.

So, because of visiting and living in such areas, cockroaches can spread diseases such as cholera fever, typhoid dysentery, and diarrhea.

Besides, cockroaches can trigger allergies and asthma as they move around the dirty boots and pick different germs and allergens.


In summary on cockroaches vs bed bugs, I would recommend getting a professional exterminator to help in the process.

  • However, I know that baby roaches and bed bugs may have a similar appearance.

Other pests that look like baby roaches or bed bugs include fleas, spider beetles, carpet beetles, beetles, booklice, and bat bugs.

The signs of bed bug infestations will include reddish or rusty blood stains on mattresses and sheets.