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Are Bed Bugs and Roaches Related?

Bed bugs and roaches are both common pests, so it’s understandable to wonder if they’re relatives. 

Bed bugs and roaches are not closely related. Although both bugs are part of the Insecta class, they are not in the same biological order. Bed bugs are in the Hemiptera order, while cockroaches are in the order Blattodea. 

How Closely Related Are Bed Bugs and Roaches?

Close-up photo of a bed bug on an upholstery.

Bed bugs and roaches are not closely related. 

Biologists classify all living organisms in a system that shows how much two organisms are related. 

Basically, the more classifications that two creatures or plants have in common, the more similar they are.  

The system begins broadly with groupings that encompass thousands of different types of organisms before finally making it to the most specific category, which is species. 

In order, the biological classifications from broadest to the most specific are kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species. 

Roaches and bed bugs have the same kingdom, phylum, and class (Animalia, Arthropoda, and Insecta, respectively) but are part of a different order, family, genus, and species. 

What Bugs Are Most Closely Related to Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are part of the Cimicidae family

The Cimicidae family is a group of insects that feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals. 

Some of the other bugs that are a part of the Cimicidae family are: 

  • Bat bugs (such as Afrocimex constrictus and Cimex adjunctus) – Parasites that feed primarily on bats and look almost exactly like bed bugs
  • Swallow bugs (most common is the Oeciacus vicarius) – Parasitic bugs that feed on swallows, particularly cliff swallows
  • Poultry bugs (such as Cimex lectularius and Ornithocoris toledoi) – Blood-sucking insects that can cause anemia in chickens

More generally, bed bugs are part of the order Hemiptera, which encompasses 80,000 species of insects. 

Some of the bugs in the Hemiptera order are stink bugs and cicadas. 

What Bugs Are Most Closely Related to Cockroaches?

Close-up photo of a cockroach on the ground.

Cockroaches are a group of more than 4,000 different species that are all part of the Blattodea order

The other group of bugs part of the Blattodea order is termites, and scientists believe termites actually evolved from cockroaches. 

Can I Kill Bed Bugs With Roach Spray?

Most of the roach sprays you will find on the market will kill bed bugs, but they typically don’t do as good of a job as actual bed bug sprays. 

Also, because manufacturers don’t specifically mean for roach sprays to eliminate bed bugs, you will need to spray your home quite often to kill off the bed bugs. 

Therefore, you can use roach spray if it is all you have, but bed bug insecticides work much better at getting rid of bed bugs. 

Is it Worse to Have Bed Bugs or Cockroaches?

Cockroaches on a wood.

Both bed bugs and cockroaches are bad to have in your home, and it’s hard to say which one is worse. 

Generally, bed bugs and cockroaches are equally bad, just in different ways. 

For one, both bed bugs and roaches are notoriously difficult to kill, namely because they reproduce fast and hide from humans. 

They also both create a lot of stress for the people who have to deal with them. 

But, although the two are similar in some ways, there are differences. 

One of the most obvious distinctions is that bed bugs bite. 

I mean, yes, cockroaches can bite you, and their bites are more painful. 

However, roaches rarely bite humans. 

On the other hand, bed bugs are parasites and must feed on warm-blooded animals to survive. 

Thus, if you have bed bugs in your home, they will feed on you and your pets because they have to do so to live.  

The fact that bed bugs love to bite may make them seem like the worse bug, but there are some major downsides to having roaches too. 

Roaches eat pretty much the same food we do, meaning they will get into and devour everything in your cabinets. 

And because they walk all over our food, they can spread disease if you eat any of the food they’ve infected. 

The most common diseases that roaches spread are salmonella and dysentery. 

In contrast, bed bugs do not transmit disease. 

But their bites can cause allergic reactions, skin infections, and anemia. 

So, overall, neither bug is really worse than the other. 

An infestation of roaches will just affect you and your family differently than bed bugs. 

Read More > Are Bed Bugs Worse Than Cockroaches?

Can You Get Rid of Roaches and Bed Bugs at the Same Time? 

Yes, you can get rid of roaches and bed bugs at the same time with one treatment. 

And the best way to do so is to use heat.  

Basically, the way a heat treatment works is by raising the temperature in your home to at least 120°F (49°C). 

Unfortunately, though, it is difficult and a bit dangerous to perform a heat treatment without the help of a professional. 

If you want to take care of the bugs yourself, you should buy bug treatments with permethrin. 

Permethrin is the best chemical to use to kill bed bugs, and it also works rather well on roaches too. 

Do Cockroaches Eat Bed Bugs?

Close-up photo of a cockroach with a yellow background.

If you’re looking for the bright side of your bug issue, you may be hoping that cockroaches eat bed bugs. 

And, yes, roaches do eat other insects, including bed bugs. 

But, the problem is that bed bugs prefer to hide in tiny areas, which they can easily fit in because of their small, flat bodies. 

Roaches, though, are bigger than bed bugs, sometimes much bigger. 

So, it can be pretty difficult for roaches to reach a colony of bed bugs. 

Thus, while roaches may eat some of the bed bugs in your home, they won’t eat enough to get rid of the infestation. 


Although roaches and bed bugs are both insects, they are not related. 

And because they aren’t closely related, they don’t share many of the same eating habits or hiding spots. 

Yet, despite their differences, there are some treatments that work well at getting rid of both roaches and bed bugs.