Home » Cockroaches » Cockroaches vs Earthworms: What Are The Differences?

Cockroaches vs Earthworms: What Are The Differences?

Both cockroaches and earthworms can be annoying pests, meaning anyone who spots them in their home or garden will want to get rid of them. 

But, to eliminate your enemy, you have to know your enemy. 

Thus, you will need to understand the distinctions between these two creepy-crawlies. 

The main difference between cockroaches and earthworms is their appearance. Roaches are brown, oval-shaped, and have a hard exoskeleton. Earthworms, on the other hand, are usually pink, tube-shaped, and flexible. Cockroaches and earthworms also differ in where they live and what they eat. 

Differences Between Cockroaches and Earthworms – Appearance 

Close-up photo of an earthworm on grass.

The main difference between cockroaches and earthworms is their appearance since the two creatures look nothing alike. 

Cockroach Appearance 

There are about 30 cockroach species that live in human dwellings, but the most common are the: 

  • German cockroach (Worldwide, but tend to stay away from frigid regions)
  • American cockroach (Worldwide)
  • Australian cockroach (Worldwide, but most common in tropical areas)
  • Oriental cockroach (Found mainly in the US, Europe, Australia, and South America)

And since there are so many different species, they don’t all look the same. 

However, most cockroaches share similar features. 

For example, they are almost all brown, but a few species appear black. 

They also all have six legs, long antennas, and a hard-shelled, oval-shaped body. 

Earthworm Appearance 

Although there are more than 1,800 species of earthworms, they share many similar traits, making them easy to identify. 

For one, all earthworms have a long, tube-shaped body that is much softer and “gummier” than a roach’s. 

Also, most earthworms are pink, but others can be shades of brown, red, or purple. 

Many species of earthworms also have a distinctive band near their front end that is a bit thicker than the rest of their body. 

Differences Between Cockroaches and Earthworms – Location 

Another difference between roaches and earthworms has to do with where they live. 

Cockroach Location

When roaches are living outside, you can typically find them in places like bushes and caves. 

However, cockroaches prefer to live around people because our homes contain plenty of the foods roaches love. 

Thus, you can find cockroaches pretty much anywhere that humans live. 

If cockroaches have gotten into your home, you can typically find them: 

  • Behind the fridge 
  • Under the sink 
  • In cracks in the wall 
  • Inside cabinets and drawers 
  • In the microwave, toaster, and coffee maker 
  • Inside furniture 
  • Behind pictures and other wall hangings 
  • Behind or inside the trash can 

Overall, roaches like to live in tight, dark places because they make the best hiding spots. 

Earthworm Location 

Earthworms generally like to live outside in moist soil. 

These insects prefer soil because it is the best place for them to find the things they love to eat, such as decaying earth matter, dirt, and feces. 

However, although they’d usually rather stay outside, earthworms can sometimes make their way into people’s homes. 

If you have an earthworm infestation in your house, you are most likely to find them in your basement, near ground-level doorways, or in moist areas. 

Additionally, you should keep in mind that earthworms love to munch on decaying wood. 

So, if you have any rotting wood in or around your house, you should replace it so that you don’t attract earthworms. 

Differences Between Cockroaches and Earthworms – Diet 

Photo of earthworms on a moist dirt ground.

Since cockroaches and earthworms are such different insects, it isn’t surprising that they don’t eat the same foods. 

And, of course, knowing what types of food each consumes will help you prevent these insects from getting into your home and living there. 

So, let’s take a look at the diet of each of these creatures. 

Cockroach Diet 

Cockroaches love to eat, and they show that through the sheer diversity of foods they consume. 

For the most part, a cockroach will eat pretty much anything that used to be alive, meaning they will munch on both plants and animals as well as anything made from these organic materials. 

Yet, although roaches will eat almost anything, they do have preferences. 

Typically, cockroaches prefer sweet, starchy, greasy, and meaty foods. 

So overall, their favorite foods are the same as the ones humans enjoy, making it hard to get them out of a home. 

Earthworm Diet 

The types of materials earthworms eat depend on the species. 

However, most earthworms will consume just about any decaying plant or animal matter. 

Thus, earthworms typically like to snack on rotting plants, feces, leaf litter, decomposing wood, dirt, and microorganisms. 

This diet of dying matter makes earthworms less likely to want to come into your home since you probably don’t have any there. 

But, just because they would rather stay outside doesn’t mean you can never find them indoors. 

Do Cockroaches and Earthworms Live Everywhere on Earth?

You can find cockroaches and earthworms on almost every continent in the world. 

Not every species of roach and earthworm will live in every part of the planet, though. 

Yet overall, you can find both insects just about anywhere humans live. 

Is it Worse to Have Roaches or Earthworms in Your Home?

Close-up photo of a cockroach climbing on a wall.

Roaches are definitely worse to have in your home. 

One reason roaches are so awful is that they are tough to eliminate. 

In fact, roaches are one of the most challenging pests to eradicate from a house. 

Earthworms, on the other hand, usually aren’t difficult to get rid of, mainly because there is no dirt in a home where they can hide. 

Secondly, roaches are more distressing to have than earthworms because they crawl on food, allowing them to spread disease quite easily. 

The most common diseases spread by roaches are gastroenteritis and salmonella. 

Earthworms can transmit diseases as well, but since they rarely crawl on food, it isn’t likely that a person will get sick from an earthworm infestation. 


The main difference between roaches and earthworms is their appearance. 

However, besides looks, roaches and earthworms also live in different places and eat different foods. 

Furthermore, when it comes to a home infestation, roaches are undeniably worse than earthworms.