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The Cockroach Life Cycle

Posted: June 22, 2021

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Like many other insect pests, such as termites, bed bugs, and ants, cockroaches reproduce rapidly and can cause an infestation in a home or business in a shockingly short period of time. Because they are also difficult to kill using home remedies, and enjoy hiding in dark, out-of-the-way places, cockroaches also have lots of time to reproduce and make an infestation worse. Here’s what you need to know about the life cycle of a cockroach.

 

Mating and Eggs

Cockroaches have a unique ritual for mating. The male shows off to the female by flapping its wings, exposing its abdomen, and even nibbling at the female. Once the two have mated, the female will create a tan-colored egg capsule or case called an ootheca that can hold anywhere from 16 to 40 eggs, depending on species. It then finds a dark, secluded spot and glues the ootheca to a surface with saliva to allow the eggs to incubate.

  • German cockroaches lay 20-40 eggs at a time, with an incubation period of about 28 days. The female can lay four or five egg cases in a lifetime, which means it can produce an average of about 200 young total.
  • American cockroaches lay about 16 eggs at a time, with an incubation period of about 44 days. The female can lay six to fourteen egg cases in its lifespan, or an average of about 224 offspring.
  • Oriental cockroaches lay about 16 eggs at a time, with an incubation period of about 60 days. The female can lay about eight oothecae in its lifespan, or an average of about 128 offspring.
  • Brown-banded cockroaches lay about 10-18 eggs at a time, with an incubation period of about 37 to 103 days, depending on the temperature of the environment. The female can lay about 14 oothecae in its lifespan, or an average of about 200 offspring.

Maturation

Once cockroaches finish hatching, they become known as nymphs, and they immediately begin growing. Cockroach nymphs undergo several developmental stages, known as instars, before reaching their adult stage, shedding their exoskeletons as they grow. Immature cockroaches are commonly white or cream-colored when they hatch, but over time, they become their mature black, brown, or gray coloring. A nymph cockroach will molt several times before becoming an adult.

  • German cockroaches molt six or seven times before reaching maturity, over a period of about 103 days.
  • American cockroaches molt ten to thirteen times before reaching maturity, over a period of about 600 days.
  • Oriental cockroaches molt seven to ten times before reaching maturity, over a period of about 589 days.
  • Brown-banded cockroaches molt six to eight times before reaching maturity, over a period of up to 276 days.

Adult Cockroach Lifespan

Once cockroaches become adults, the process starts over, assuming they can find food and water and are not eradicated from their chosen location. Adult female cockroaches often live longer than adult male cockroaches, but the length of time for each is dependent on species.

  • Adult German cockroaches can live a little less than 200 days for both males and females.
  • Adult American cockroaches can live about 362 days for males, and about 700 days for females.
  • Adult Oriental cockroaches can live about 160 days for males, and about 180 days for females.
  • Adult Brown-banded cockroaches can live about 206 days, depending on the environment.

Cockroach Control

Cockroaches are tough insects, difficult to kill and completely eradicate from a home or business. That’s why it’s best to call the professionals if you have a cockroach infestation. At Dodson Pest Control, we have over 75 years of experience dealing with cockroaches, so we can create a customized plan to get rid of them for you.

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