Cockroaches are great breeders, and that’s part of what makes them it such a pain to get rid of cockroaches.
If roaches only came into your home from the outside, it would be a lot easier to deal with infestations – it’d be a matter of killing what few roaches you have and sealing your house from further problems.
But it’s not that simple in reality. Roach infestations are a huge problem – Up to 63% of homes in the United States have cockroaches or cockroach debris, and this can have a major impact on people’s health.
Once cockroaches infest your home, they start breeding. And those cockroach babies (nymphs) grow into adult roaches that breed again, giving you a major mess to clean up. As always, we have all the information you need to recognize cockroach babies, get rid of them, and take your home back from these filthy invaders.
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Identifying Baby Cockroaches
Cockroaches undergo incomplete metamorphosis. This means they aren’t like ants, flies, or termites where they have distinctive life phases with different body shapes.
The nymphs (baby cockroaches) just look like smaller versions of adult cockroaches. This makes them easy to identify. The size of a baby cockroach will vary as it matures and between species, but here are some general size estimates:
German Cockroaches (Blattella germanica)
German cockroaches are about a half-inch long as adults, and the nymphs are about an eighth inch long when they hatch, so you may find nymphs at any size in between those extremes.
Because cockroaches molt as they grow, you’ll often see baby cockroaches be pale in color. Some people confuse these for albino roaches, but it’s actually just freshly molted. They will revert to the normal color as their new exoskeleton hardens, and then molt again.
American Cockroaches (Periplaneta americana)
American cockroaches are much larger than their German cousins, growing up to two inches long. Their nymphs can also be a bit larger than German nymphs, starting off at about a quarter-inch in length.
Their color tends to be a bit greyer than the brown adults, and they also molt several times, so you may see ghostly white baby cockroaches in your home.
Does Finding Baby Cockroaches Mean There Are More?
If you find one cockroach, whether it’s a nymph or an adult, there are almost certainly more lurking out of sight.
Cockroaches can breed quickly, especially when they start to build up their numbers. They don’t lay single eggs at a time. When a cockroach is pregnant, she will produce an egg sack called an ootheca (fun fact – this is also the name for a praying mantis egg case) that can contain up to 40 eggs for a German cockroach and 12 for an American cockroach.
See also: Are Cockroaches Dangerous?
While this isn’t as many eggs as some other insects lay (those mantises lay hundreds in theirs), they make new egg cases frequently. For example, an American cockroach creates a new ootheca every five days, and up to 14 total in her life.
For a single roach, even this isn’t too extreme compared to other insects, but the problem is that the population can grow exponentially when newly hatched cockroaches mature and start to breed themselves.
How Long Does it Take Baby Cockroaches to Mature?
Cockroaches go through several phases called instars in between molts, but they don’t change their appearance much as they mature – just their size.
The time and the number of instars can vary between species. For German cockroaches, they take about three months and molt six or seven times. American cockroaches are a bit slower, which makes sense since they’re so much larger. They take around 10 months and will molt between 10 and 13 times.
So while they aren’t at the same level of rapid-fire breeding as other pests like fruit flies, do not underestimate their ability to take over your home. It’s easy to miss cockroaches if it’s a single clutch of nymphs, but once those mature and start breeding, you could have have an exponentially increasing disaster on your hands.
Getting Rid of Baby Cockroaches
If you start to see baby cockroaches, don’t wait to act, because you may be able to catch your infestation before it starts growing exponentially. There are several steps you can take to start controlling the problem! These include setting traps, flushing out cracks and crevices with a pesticide, putting out cockroach baits, and calling an exterminator if the problem gets too bad.
Whether they are baby cockroaches or adults, don’t let an infestation control your life. Start getting it under control now, and your home and your health will thank you later.