Cockroach vs. Cicada

Cockroach vs. Cicadas are two different insects/invertebrates that can seem similar at first glance but can be distinguished. Once you have the facts, many traits make it easy for you to know whether it’s a cockroach or a cicada. 

It may be important to know the difference between these two.

We all thought 2021 was the year after the COVID pandemic when everything would return to normal, but not exactly for those who can’t stand insects. It is because this year, Brood X, a brood of periodical cicadas, will set to storm the United States.

What is a Cockroach?

It is a winged insect with a flat, oval-shaped body with a long antenna. The number of wings depends on the gender of the cockroach. Usually, male cockroaches have two pairs of wings. On the other hand, females are wingless and have only vestigial wings. 

Despite having wings, most male and female insects cannot fly. These insects usually prefer to live in a moderately warm environment that is neither cold nor hot.

What is a Cicada?

Cicadas, also scientifically known as Cicadoidea, are spineless insects. With 3000+ species present, most cicadas are around us once a year (annual cicadas) and after every 1 to 2 decades (periodical cicadas).

North America is the only place worldwide where people have spotted periodical cicadas. Conversely, annual cicadas are common in many parts of the world.

Cockroach vs. Cicada: The Main Differences

If you find it hard to differentiate between a cockroach and a cicada, here’s a list of distinguishable traits for their identification.

Looks and Identifying Traits

Physical appearance is the most distinguishable factor/trait of these two insects.

With a small head and flat body, cockroaches have red-brown integument, compound eyes, and two simple eyes along with an antenna.

Opposite to it, cicadas have a broad head with stout bodies and wings through which running veins are visible. Cicadas also have two large compound eyes and three simple eyes.

Endothermic or Ectothermic insects

Endotherms are those organisms that are capable of temperature regulation. Oppositely, those organisms that cannot maintain their body temperature within a tolerable range are called ectotherms.

For example, cockroaches are ectotherms because of their inability to regulate their body’s internal metabolism. Contrarily, cicadas lie between ectotherms and endotherms as they use both these mechanisms for body heat production.

The natural habitat of cockroaches and cicadas

A living organism can live, grow, and breed in natural habitats.  

For example, the natural habitat of cockroaches includes lead litter, debris, bark cavities, and plant stems and woods. 

On the other hand, cicadas inhabit tree trunks, twigs, and woody shrubs, where they suck the juice or sap of these plants.

Which part of the US are cockroaches and insects present?

You can find North American cockroaches in sewers and drains. City sewer systems in the US are where most cockroaches are present. Many cockroaches are around us seasonally during the spring or summer.

Likewise, central and eastern regions, including Midwest, are part of the US where most periodical cicadas reside. Periodical cicadas are around us every 13 to 17 years.

For instance, Brood X is one of the 15 biggest periodical cicadas in the US that appear after 17 years. And 2021 was the year in which this cicada brood emerged.

What do cockroaches and cicadas eat?

Eating plays a vital role in the survival and reproduction of any organism. 

Being omnivores, cockroaches eat meat and plants, including dietary dishes, pet foods, garbage, hair, and books.

Unlike cockroaches, cicadas are herbivores that eat plant debris and feed on the juices and root sap of large trees and twigs. The reproduction of cicadas passes through three stages: 

  • Eggs
  • Nymphs
  • Adult cicadas 

Nymphs cannot eat twigs, so they depend only on plant juices. Inversely, adult cicadas, imagoes, eat them.

Are cockroaches and cicadas dangerous?

Organisms are called dangerous based on how much harm they cause to us (human beings) and our surroundings. 

Cockroaches induce asthma attacks and trigger various allergies. Some also contain bacteria that cause diarrhea, typhoid fever, and vomiting. As a result, we can say that cockroaches are dangerous but usually not deadly and also bite.

But the answer is no when it comes to whether cicadas are dangerous or not! Most cicadas are harmless to humans, do not sting or bite, and most of their species benefit plants.

Because of their size, they can be off-putting to people but present no harm.

Cicadas are great for our environment. When cicadas die off, they provide nitrogen to the plants for better growth.

Do I Have A Cockroach or Cicada Infestation?

Cockroach or cicada infestation occurs when many insects surround your area or home.

How to tell if there is a cockroach infestation?

Cockroaches are nocturnal means they are active during the night. Some of the signs of cockroach infestation are:

  • Black coffee-like drops on the floor
  • Brown irregular marks on watery ground
  • Cockroach shells because they shed their skin 5 to 8 times during their lifecycle
  • Damaged organic food packaging, leather, or books

How to tell cicada infestation?   

Cicada is a common diurnal insect that remains active during daylight. If you see mud chimneys, holes in your home lawn and hear buzzing sounds, the chances are that it is a cicada infestation. Research shows that some species of North American cicadas can produce sounds as high as up to 105 decibels. Such high-pitched sounds can even put planes to shame.

How to get rid of infestation?

To get rid of a cockroach infestation, avoid putting open organic food overnight, wash dishes, and close food containers. Moreover, keep your surroundings clean and take the help of a pest control professional in extreme conditions.

Likewise, you can prevent cicada infestation by spraying water on your plants with a garden hose. Furthermore, wrapping twigs with foil is also a way to eliminate this infestation. 

With all these facts, you can now easily distinguish these two insects from one another.

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