Cockroach Reproduction & Life Cycle

How Do Cockroaches Reproduce in Your Home?

american cockroach on sponge

Cockroach Eggs

Several different species of cockroaches inhabit the New England area. The life cycles of all of these species are similar. All cockroaches begin as eggs, which hatch into nymphs, and develop into adults over varying lengths of time.

Egg Cases: Adult female cockroaches start the reproductive cycle by laying multiple eggs housed within a single, protective ootheca, or case.

Case Appearance: Typically ranging from five to 10 millimeters long, cockroach egg cases are easily visible to the naked eye and generally resemble kidney beans in shape.

Eggs in Cases: Each case contains an of average of 16 to 37 eggs, with the prolific German cockroach often producing up to 40 eggs at a time.

Case Placement: Though large enough to be seen, egg cases frequently escape human detection, as female cockroaches either carry the oothecae until just before the eggs hatch (German cockroaches) or lay the capsules in sheltered areas like cracks, crevices, and debris on the floor. Brown-banded cockroaches even glue their egg cases to ceilings, doors, picture frames, and the undersides of furniture.

Cockroach Nymphs

Nymphs: Cockroach eggs hatch after incubating for a period of time ranging from about two weeks to two months. Newly hatched cockroaches are called nymphs and look like smaller, wingless adults.

Molting: Nymphs grow by shedding their skin, or molting, multiple times during the early stages of development. The most common species of cockroach found in New England, the German cockroach, molts six or seven times before developing into an adult in about three months.

Adulthood: Brown-banded cockroaches mature within a few months, while other New England cockroach species, such as American and Oriental cockroaches, can take longer than a year to reach adulthood. The presence of molted cockroach skins, even in the absence of the actual insect, is often evidence of an infestation.

Adult Cockroaches

Size: Adult cockroaches vary in size according to species. American and Oriental cockroaches are the largest cockroach species found in New England as both exceed an inch in length as adults. German and brown-banded cockroaches are generally about a half-inch long.

Lifespan: The American cockroach typically lives the longest, with a lifespan often lasting up to three years from egg to adult. Oriental cockroaches frequently live longer than a year as well, while the life expectancies of German and brown-banded species usually fall within a year or less.

Control & Removal
Because adult female cockroaches produce egg cases repeatedly over relatively short lengths of time throughout their lives, professional pest control services often represent the best option for eliminating infestations caused by the fast reproductive potential of cockroaches.

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