Baby Cockroach Vs Bed Bug: What Are the Differences?

Written by Kyle Glatz
Updated: October 30, 2023
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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

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/

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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 2″ 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/

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/

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


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.

Why Do I Keep Finding Baby Roaches in My Bed?

Since baby cockroaches can’t fly, they rely on jumping and scurrying to seek refuge in cracks, crevices, or hard-to-reach spots. If you’ve spotted one of these pests in your home, chances are there’s a nest nearby, indicating that you might already have an infestation or are at risk of developing one.

Baby cockroaches, also referred to as nymphs, are diminutive creatures, measuring about 3/8″ in length. They possess a flat, brown appearance, with two long antennae and spiny legs.

These young roaches are sometimes confused with wood-boring beetles, red-flour beetles, ground beetles, June bugs, or bed bugs. If you come across baby cockroaches, it’s typically a sign that there’s a nest in the vicinity.

How Many Types of Cockroaches vs Bedbugs Are There?

Types of Bed Bugs - Cimex lectularius

The Common Bed Bug, Cimex lectularius, is the type of bed bug you are most likely to encounter.

©Pavel Krasensky/

This discussion may have made you wonder how many different species of cockroaches and bedbugs there are, and what impact they have on humans. Believe it or not, there are over 4,500 different types of cockroaches on the planet! Of those, 69 species live in the United States. The most common types include American cockroaches, German cockroaches, brown-banded cockroaches, smoky brown cockroaches, and Oriental cockroaches (often referred to as waterbugs). Other American varieties are the Pennsylvania wood cockroach, three-lined cockroach, field cockroach, and Florida woods cockroach.

Bed bug varieties don’t come close to cockroaches in number. Worldwide, there are 90 known bed bug species. The good news is that only 4 of these types suck on blood, with 2 consuming human blood. The bed bug you hear about most often as being a problem for humans is called the common bed bug. The other type is the tropical bed bug. The main difference between the two is habitat, with common bed bugs living in any climate worldwide, while tropical bed bugs thrive in tropical climates. In the U.S., they are only found in Florida. Other types of bed bugs include:

The photo featured at the top of this post is © bamgraphy/

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About the Author

Kyle Glatz is a writer at A-Z-Animals where his primary focus is on geography and mammals. Kyle has been writing for researching and writing about animals and numerous other topics for 10 years, and he holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Education from Rowan University. A resident of New Jersey, Kyle enjoys reading, writing, and playing video games.

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.

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