Habits and Characteristics of Water Bugs

Water Bugs represent the most common form of household insect infestation. Water Bugs are also referred to as toe biters, light bugs, cockroaches or palmetto bugs. Actually, ‘water bug’ is a term used to represent a large number of insects belonging to the Hemiptera family. As the name suggests, they are attracted towards water sources and water in any form, i.e. stagnant or fresh water. As a result, homes having leak-prone plumbing systems, wet garden soil and damp walls are more prone to water bug infestations. They are also called giant American cockroaches due to the enormous size of the Giant Water Bug. Other types of commonly seen Water Bugs are:

  • Water Boatman (the only, herbivorous water bug)
  • Back Swimmer
  • Water Scorpion
  • Water Strider

Water Bugs Habits

During the early part of their lifecycle, they are found in the underside of wet surfaces. They tend to lay their eggs in the smallest of spaces like gaps in the foundation of walls or wet recesses around the kitchen sink. Some Water Bugs, like the Back Swimmer, are often found near residential swimming pools. Some Water Bugs are attracted to electrical lights, but this isn't the primary reason for their presence in domestic spaces. They are active throughout the year, but their numbers multiply during the fall and later summer season. 

Identifying Characteristics

Water bugs can be easily identified due to their distinct mouthparts that protrude outwards, in a pointed manner. Most of them have wings that overlap each other towards the end of the abdomen, creating a typical ‘X-shaped’ pattern. These are carnivorous bugs, feeding on smaller insects.