Waterbug or Roach

Water bug or Roach seems to be a question every homeowner has thought after noticing large black bugs scurrying for shelter on the back patio pavement at night. ‘Water bug’ seems to be a fitting name for insects that hide out in damp parts of a home and in sewers—essentially places of high moisture. Typical hideouts might be in or around drains, washing machines, sewage lines, and crawl spaces. They may also find a hiding place beneath refrigerators.

Water Bugs are Oriental Cockroaches

Though they are drawn to places with abundant moisture levels, ‘water bug’ isn’t the only name by which they are called; they’ve acquired several other titles as well. Water bugs are also known as Oriental Cockroaches, confirming that they are indeed cockroaches—for  those who admit they have water bugs at their house but are in denial that they have cockroaches. Then there’s ‘black beetle’—a name used in England that provides an obvious description of the insect’s color. That, and it’s tradition for the English to call any crawling insect a beetle. But there’s more. The water bug has also been dubbed the ‘mill beetle’ and the ‘black clock’, most likely because it appears at night.

What Does a Water Bug Look Like?

In addition to being dark brown or black, other features distinguish these roaches: they are about 1 ¼ inches long and have wings, though they cannot fly. Younger water bugs do not have wings. The wings of female water bugs are shorter and have the appearance of a pad. Males have a slighter look to them and their wings are longer; they cover their entire back.

Water Bugs in House

The water bug has not been given so many monikers as terms of endearment. On the contrary, the roaches are unwelcome guests in a home. Their food source is garbage that is going bad and plant and animal substances that are likewise rotting. Therefore, people can get sick if the water bugs enter a house and contaminate areas of the home like the kitchen, bathroom, and countertops. The roaches’ saliva can cause food to rot, and they don’t exactly emit a pretty smell. These water bugs are most likely to make appearances three months of the year: May through July. In very warm climates, oriental cockroaches may be present almost year-round.

On a positive note, the roaches are easily identifiable because apparently they are slower moving than other cockroaches. And it is possible to prevent the roaches from entering a house. Here are some ways to keep these bad houseguests away:

  • Inspect paper bags and other containers from stores before bringing them inside. Water bugs may be hiding out in them.
  • Do not leave out water and food; they are an open invitation to water bugs. Sanitize countertops. Crumbs and spills should be wiped up. Do dishes immediately after a meal; don’t wait until morning.
  • Clean floors often.
  • Cover containers storing food, pet food, and garbage.
  • Ensure that openings around walls and doors are sealed. Cockroaches can move to neighboring apartments and rooms through small cracks and openings.

If the cockroaches have been identified, the best way to eliminate them is to determine where and how big the problem is; determine the reason for the problem (lack of cleanliness, for example) and take corrective action; and use tools to kill them—gel baits or liquid pesticides such as Demand CS are very effective. Call them what you will: water bug or roach, thorough pest control is essential to ensure a home free of water bugs, Oriental Cockroaches, or whichever of their several names you choose to call them!