Cockroach Life Cycle: Round And Round

This home invading pest has quite an interesting life cycle which is important to know to control them. There are three stages in the cockroach life cycle:

  • Egg, nymph, and adult
  • They have a lifespan of from 6 to 15 months
  • A cockroaches lifespan is determined by the species, temperature, and moisture

Let’s investigate further to learn more about the life cycle of these notorious pests.


The Cockroach Life Cycle

As said before, there are three stages in the life of a cockroach so let’s take a closer look at them.

First Stage: Egg

It all begins with the egg.

A female cockroach can lay between one and 18 egg cases (or egg sacks) in a lifetime, each containing about 16 – 50 eggs. For the babies to hatch, it may take from two months up to 100 days, depending on the temperature.

A female cockroach can lay between one and 18 egg cases (or egg sacks) in a lifetime.

These eggs are laid inside a hard case called an ootheca which develops about one week after mating. The female will develop about one of these ootheca per month, depending on the species.

Some have as many as fifty per year.

Inside these hard cases, there will normally be around 16 eggs that will hatch out in a certain time, depending on the species and temperature. Some species, such as the German cockroaches, will have as many as thirty to forty eggs in each case.

The female will carry this case for a few days before she will store it in a safe place to await hatching. The hotter the temperature, the faster these eggs will hatch, so they prefer to choose a hot place to store these casings.

These cases will be attached to other surfaces such as furniture and even on a piece of cardboard to keep it safe in one place. The eggs inside the case will then hatch in roughly about fifty days, depending on the species and the environment.

You will most likely find these cases with eggs under stoves or sinks or even inside or attached to the bottom of appliances. Heat and moisture are the primary factors when you try to find these eggs so you can get rid of them.

Some cockroach species can easily produce up to 300 eggs per year, which means an infestation can spread wildly if not contained. This is one of the main reasons why it is so difficult to prevent cockroaches from spreading and controlling them.


Second Stage: Nymph

These are the baby cockroaches, and they may differ in size and even in color, from translucent and whitish to brown. The baby stage or nymph stage will last until adulthood and may take up to one full year to complete.

The nymph will shed their skin often, and every time they do the shedding, the baby cockroach will grow a little bit. The nymph may also look just like the adults, but they will not have grown wings yet and are smaller in size.

The American cockroach will change in size anything from six to fourteen times, and this may take as long as 600 days. The German cockroach nymph is darker than the adult and has a lighter stripe over the back part of its body.

As soon as these baby cockroaches hatch, they will start looking for food and moisture and will grow fast in ideal conditions. A German cockroach will grow into an adult as quickly as just over 100 days with a full set of wings.

On average, depending on the species, a cockroach will grow into an adult in about 300 days, and they will feed all that time. If you find any empty cases in a place, you know that these pests are spreading all around your kitchen, searching for food.

On average, depending on the species, a cockroach will grow into an adult in about 300 days, and they will feed all that time. If you find any empty cases in a place, you know that these pests are spreading all around your kitchen, searching for food.

Sometimes you may find as many as five or six of these cases in one place, which means you are infested. Knowing this will help you to have better control over the spreading, but it is better to find unhatched eggs than empty cases.


Third Stage: Adult

The adult stage is where the cockroach has fully developed and can now reproduce to further invest in the area wherever they dwell. The average adult is anything from 15 to 30mm and is ready to start the reproduction cycle all over again.

The bad thing is that cockroaches have quite a long lifespan, which means they can infest any place very quickly. Most species will live as long as a year and will be ready for the next reproduction cycle every sixty days.

You can calculate that in that year, thousands of new cockroaches can be added to the population where they dwell. Depending on the temperature and the availability of food and water, as well as the species, you will quickly have many, many cockroaches to deal with.

This is why it is so important to have better control, and knowing their life cycle will help with that. If you find a female cockroach with the case attached to the back, you need to kill it just there.

To have control, you need to know the species of cockroach that has infested your home so you can know how long it will take to hatch. This means that you will have to apply insecticides regularly, so you know that you get rid of the next generation.


Most Common Cockroach Species In The US

There are up to 9 different cockroach species that are commonly found in buildings all over the US. They are the following:

There are up to 9 different cockroach species that are commonly found in buildings all over the US.

  1. American cockroach: These are quite large at 1.5 to 2 inches
  2. German cockroach: Smaller at ½ to ⅜ of an inch
  3. Oriental cockroach: A bit larger than the German but smaller than the American species
  4. Brown Banded cockroach: About the same size as the oriental species and prefer warmer temperatures
  5. Smoky Brown cockroach: Mostly found in the Southern US
  6. Australian cockroach: Will stay indoors during colder months but prefer outdoors
  7. Brown cockroach: Dwell in humid tropical areas
  8. Pennsylvania Wood cockroach: Found in East and Central US and prefer a lot of timber
  9. Surinam cockroach: Found in tropical and subtropical areas and prefer rich soils

Conclusion

The cockroach lifecycle goes from egg to nymph, to full adult cockroach, and finally to dead roach, with many opportunities for reproduction along the way.

Roaches are an incredibly resilient species, and will likely be around long after we humans have died away.