Little could be worse than being accused of being a cockroach. There are numerous bugs that people confuse with cockroaches. If you’ve ever had a June bug flying directly into your face, you might not care whether or not it was a cockroach. But June bugs are just big beetles and, providing they don’t bounce off one of your eyeballs, they pose little threat to humans. While cockroaches live on garbage, rotting animals, and feces flowing through sewers, June bugs are leaf-eating vegetarians. They can damage plants when they emerge in large numbers, but June bugs are not cockroachian disease vectors.
The June bug’s cousin, the ground beetle also bears passing resemblance to the roach. Some of the 2,000 species of ground beetle in North America are sometimes confused with oriental roaches because they are both shiny and very dark in color. However, beetles have hardened front wings while roaches have leathery wings or no wings at all. Like the cockroach, the ground beetle comes out at night to feed and will run away quickly when exposed. However, if you see a ground beetle in your yard, do not kill it. They eat pests such as snails and root maggots which can wreak havoc on your garden and flowerbeds. If a beetle wanders into your house through a crack under the door or around the window, simply return it to the wild.
The cricket is another bug often misidentified as a cockroach. Crickets like cockroaches, can be brown or black and both species have antennae as long as their creepy little bodies. Like all insects, crickets have six legs. And the front wings that cover their abdomens are similar to those found on cockroaches. But other than a vaguely similar resemblance, crickets are nothing like roaches. They eat plant material and live outdoors in grassy fields and lawns. And while cockroaches leave trails of allergenic saliva and feces while exploring your house, crickets are beneficial to the environment. They provide a chirping food source to birds, reptiles, and mammals. If you see a cricket in your house, it got there by accident. You can try the catch and release method with a glass and a drink coaster. Then enjoy the sounds of the crickets singing on a summer night.