Beetles That Look Like Roaches: 6 Look a Like Insect Pests

The word “cockroach” is enough to make some people squirm. And there’s good reason for that—roaches are notorious for carrying diseases, causing food poisoning, and sparking allergies. We’re not sure if this will reassure you or make you more uneasy, but there are several species of beetles that look like roaches but aren’t.

We’ll describe the most common ones here so you can figure out what type of bug is in your home.

Beetles vs. Roaches

Beetles That Look Like Roaches

If you’re willing to get close enough to an insect, you’ll notice there are some distinct differences between beetles and roaches. They include:

  • Cockroach wings are papery
  • Beetle wings have thicker wings
  • Cockroaches can hide their heads
  • Beetle heads always stick out

6 Beetles That Look Like Roaches

Without further ado, below are some of the most common beetles that look like cockroaches.

Palo Verde Borer Beetles

Beetles That Look Like Roaches

Palo Verde Borer Beetles are one of the largest beetles in North America, spanning up to six inches long. Although Palo Verde Borers resemble cockroaches because of their spiky legs, oval-shaped bodies, and fast movements, they have longer antennae.

Unlike roaches, Palo Verde Borers also have spiny collars around their necks. Palo Verde Borers are also tree-loving beetles, given that they feed on plant roots. So, it’s uncommon for them to take a stroll through your kitchen.

June Beetle

Beetles That Look Like Roaches

June Beetles can look like a small roach to the untrained eye, given that they have a similar dark brown color. Not all June Beetles are brown, though, so you certainly won’t mistake all varieties within this species for cockroaches.

You’ll encounter June Beetles emerging from grass, given that they eat the roots. However, these insects aren’t wise and often fly into homes if given a chance. They thrash their legs around when they turn upside down, much like a cockroach.

Ground Beetle

Beetles That Look Like Roaches

Let’s put appearance aside for a moment. Ground Beetles and cockroaches share the characteristic that they’re both nocturnal. While several types of Ground Beetles exist, they all share the oval body iconic to roaches.

That said, these beetles have smaller heads than cockroaches. They also give off a strong odor, although we doubt you’ll want to get your face close enough to give them a smell. In contrast, roaches have no odor.

Soldier Beetle

Solider Beetles resemble roaches from afar because they have long bodies and antennas. They come in several different color patterns, with the brown and black varieties tricking some people into thinking they’re cockroaches.

Upon closer inspection, you’ll see that Soldier Beetles have a two-toned color on their collar and stripped antennas, both features that roaches don’t have. Although you understandably don’t want Soldier Beetles in your house, do your best to gently move them outside, for they eat plant-damaging bugs in gardens.

Click Beetle

If the insect you think is a roach starts making a clicking sound, you’ve got a Click Beetle on your hands. Click Beetles are common insects that share the dark brown coloring and elongated bodies of cockroaches.

Although young Click Beetles can scurry across the floor like roaches, they’re more mobile. For example, they can stand upright, and, unlike cockroaches, they can flip themselves over if they land on their backs.

Wood-Boring Beetle

Unlike some of the beetles on this list that avoid entering homes, Wood-Boring Beetles thrive on decaying wood. So, you might see these up to 2-inch long black beetles munching on the old furniture in your attic. 

Since Wood-Boring Beetles have such long legs, people often mistake them for baby cockroaches. However, they have a more defined head and neck and don’t congregate around human food as roaches do.

The Bottom Line

It’s never fun having insects in your home. But now that you know how to identify beetles that look like roaches, you’ll hopefully have more peace of mind—and impress those around you—when you can properly identify the roach-looking insect you encounter.

If you have cockroaches in your garden you may be interested in finding out about plants that keep roaches away.