Baby Cockroach Vs Bed Bug: What Are the Differences?

Written by Kyle Glatz
Published: February 26, 2022
Image Credit bamgraphy/Shutterstock.com
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You turn on the lights in your home and see a small, reddish-brown insect scurry across the floor. You grab a jar and trap it. However, you can’t quite tell what it is or what steps you need to take now that you have found it. That’s why we’re going to show you the differences between a baby cockroach vs bed bug. You’ll know how to tell these insects apart from one another even if they are really small.

Comparing a Baby Cockroach and a Bed Bug

A-Z-Animals.com

Baby CockroachBed Bug
SizeLength: ¼ inch to ½ inch
– 1-2 inches long when mature
Length: ¼ inch
Do They Bite Humans?Rarely, and only if they lack foodYes, and their bites are typically a primary sign of infestation       
Shape– Cylindrical– Oval-shaped
AntennaeAlmost as long as their bodiesShort, not even half the length of their body
Coloration– White after hatching and molting
– Reddish-brown while they grow
– Reddish-brown    
Eyes– Appear to run from the top of the bug’s face to the bottom as black marks– Protrude from the side of the head and obvious to look at with unique morphology
WingsYes, but only late in their nymph stageNo
Hiding spots– Warm, moist environments in the kitchen and bathroom  – Clothing, mattresses, couches, electrical receptacles,

The 8 Key Differences Between a Baby Cockroach vs Bed Bug

Types of bed bugs - Cimex hemipterus
Bed bugs are rounder and smaller than baby cockroaches

7th Son Studio/Shutterstock.com

The greatest differences between a baby cockroach and a bed bug include size, shape, and antennae. Baby cockroaches are equal in size but grow slightly larger than them in a short amount of time. Baby cockroaches are cylindrical in shape, but bed bugs are oval-shaped, and that difference makes it easy to distinguish these creatures.

Baby cockroaches have antennae that are about as long as their bodies, but bed bugs have relatively short antennae. Combined with the other differences we’ve mentioned, it should be easy to tell these insects apart from one another. Still, we’ll explore each difference that we’ve already named along with others.

Baby Cockroach vs Bed Bug: Size

Baby cockroaches are larger than bed bugs in the majority of cases. A baby cockroach will be about ¼ inch to ½ inch in length. They will grow up to 2in long as adults, far larger than a bed bug. Bed bugs only grow about ¼ inch long as adults, so this size disparity can be a way to tell the insects apart.

However, size is rarely enough to determine the insects’ identity since they are so similar.  

Baby Cockroach vs Bed Bug: Do They Bite Humans?

Bed bugs bite humans because they feed on blood, but baby cockroaches rarely bite humans unless situations are dire for them. Cockroaches are enticed to live in an area with ample food supplies. That means they usually have more than enough food to survive without coming into contact with humans.

On the whole, cockroaches rarely bite human beings except in cases where the infestation is very large, food is short, or when a person has died.  

Baby Cockroach vs Bed Bug: Shape

bed bug on mattress
Bed bugs are rounder than cockroaches.

Dmitry Bezrukov/Shutterstock.com

Baby cockroaches are cylindrical, but bed bugs are oval-shaped insects. The shape of these bugs is one of the easiest ways to tell these creatures apart from each other. For example, if the bug’s body is round instead of long, it’s probably a bed bug.

Baby Cockroach vs Bed bug: Antennae

Baby cockroaches have antennae that are almost as long as their body. Bed bugs have relatively short antennae that do not extend from their body nearly as far as a cockroach’s antennae.  

Baby Cockroach vs Bed bug: Coloration

Baby cockroaches can be white right after hatching or right after they molt as part of their growth phase. However, when they are still nymphs, many baby cockroaches will be reddish-brown, the same color as bed bugs. If you catch these insects when they are young or after a molt, you can tell the difference. Otherwise, their color will look the same.

Baby Cockroach vs Bed bug: Eyes

What Do Cockroaches Look Like - Cockroach Head
Cockroaches have eyes that round out their head instead of jutting out to the side.

gan chaonan/Shutterstock.com

Bed bugs have abnormally prominent eyes when you look at them head-on. Their eyes jut outward from the sides of their head, but a cockroach’s eyes are large black spots that do not stick out from the side as much but run from the top of their “face” toward the bottom.  

Baby Cockroach vs Bed Bug: Wings

Baby cockroaches won’t develop their wings until late in their juvenile stage, but they will become apparent after a few molting cycles. Bed bugs do not have wings as nymphs or adults. Thus, wings are a great way to tell the differences between juvenile cockroaches and bed bugs.

Baby Cockroach vs Bed Bug: Hiding Spots

baby cockroach and mother
Cockroaches will stay in warm, moist areas to find food

iStock.com/Dzurag

Baby cockroaches can be found in warm, moist areas like the kitchen or bathroom where food is plentiful. As their name implies, you can find bed bugs in furniture, mattresses, clothing, and other places.

Baby cockroaches need access to food and water to thrive, so they are not as likely to invade a bedroom if it doesn’t have anything available for them to eat. Bed bugs feed on blood, so they will secure a good meal by staying close to the furniture that humans and their pets use.

Baby cockroaches and bed bugs may have a similar color at times, but that is one of the few similarities these creatures possess. By taking a close look at their size, shape, eyes, antennae, and hiding spots, you’ll quickly see how unique these insects are from one another.

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About the Author

I'm a freelance writer with 8 years of experience. I've written in a variety of niches such as video games, animals, and managed service providers. I graduated from Rowan University in 2014 with degrees in English and Education. When I'm not working, I enjoy playing video games, reading, and writing for fun.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What Should I Do If I Find a Baby Cockroach or Bed Bug?

Your best bet is to take a look at the insects’ most common hiding areas around your home. If you spot additional insects or signs that they are living there, such as waste or eggs, then it’s time to consult a pest control company.

If you do not have any signs of an infestation, then it might be wise to start using perimeter defenses and insect controlling measures to kill bed bugs and cockroaches in and around your home to prevent one from starting. Of course, if you or a family member have bites on your skin, then it’s past time to call for pest control.