Baby cockroaches in your home? Learn what they mean.

cockroaches-insect

Finding a single baby cockroach can be scarier than finding several adult roaches scurrying across your floor because many folks aren’t familiar with the site of baby roaches.

If you’re ever unlucky enough to see a white cockroach nymph (often confused with albino cockroaches), then you can assume that this one immature roach baby likely means many more adult roaches are hidden somewhere you cannot see.

You quickly realize cockroaches have become comfortable enough to breed freely in your home. Baby roaches are usually bad news for home owners!

Why? Keep reading to find out all the details, but finding baby roaches in your home or apartment often means several cockroaches (likely at least 10, possibly much more!) are planning on staying and spreading in your house or apartment unless you do something about it quickly!

Video showing and American Cockroach egg pod hatching (around 16 nymphs emerge)

How do cockroaches reproduce so fast?

The cockroach reproduction process starts with an adult female cockroach releasing pheromones to attract male cockroaches.

They mate and the female stores the male’s sperm for egg production. About a week after initially mating, she will produce her first ootheca or egg pouch.

These pouches can hold around 16 eggs each and a female in her prime will produce one or two per week, averaging one per month throughout her life cycle. After the female lays an ootheca, American Cockroach egg pouches take about a month to hatch.

American cockroaches have a life expectancy of a year up to a year and a half. You can see how this is a very efficient way of bringing hundreds of roaches into the world with minimal effort on the mother’s part.

Video showing a cockroach laying eggs and the cockroach eggs hatching

One adult female is responsible for adding a couple of hundred baby roaches to the population of which roughly half again will be female and thus the cycle continues.

American cockroach females deposit the egg pouches rather quickly, while female German cockroaches carry the pouch around attached to their abdomen for a few days before finding a suitable hiding place to deposit it.

The numbers of offspring they can produce also varies largely. Where a German cockroach and her line can produce a staggering 300,000 new roaches, the American cockroach only brings up about 800 in one year.

It is, therefore, no surprise the German cockroach is one of the most prolific pests in the world today.

What happens to cockroach nymphs after they hatch?

Baby roaches (or nymphs) remain in the egg pouch for about three weeks but can take up to two months to hatch, depending on species and environmental conditions.

They emerge from their egg pouches as white nymphs, and it takes a few minutes for them to gain use of their limbs. They typically darken into the brown roach color most of us are familiar with after a few hours.

Freshly hatched cockroaches and each molting stage thereafter are called instar nymphs until they reach adulthood. The nymphs move around soon after hatching looking for their first meal.

Video showing baby roaches right after hatching (notice how mobile they are)

Since cockroaches are insects, they cannot grow without shedding their skin. A cockroach nymph has to molt several times during the growth process and it takes about a year for a cockroach to be fully grown into adulthood.

Each molt means the cockroach has to grow a new skin underneath the old one, which then splits open and the newly formed roach in its next growth stage emerges.

Cockroaches are white and soft immediately upon molting, just like the babies that just hatched from their egg pouch.

It’s not uncommon to find a white roach in a home that’s heavily infested but due to the fact that nymphs are most vulnerable right after molting, they usually tend to molt deep within their harborage area.

Adult cockroaches have wings and depending on the species; they will sometimes fly or glide. Nymphs don’t have this luxury. Cockroaches don’t develop their wings until the final molting stage into adulthood.

Adult cockroaches have wings and depending on the species; they will sometimes fly or glide. Nymphs don’t have this luxury. Cockroaches don’t develop their wings until the final molting stage into adulthood.

What to do if you see a baby cockroach

Spotting a cockroach nymph is a good indicator that you have a well-established colony inhabiting your home.

The nymphs are comfortable enough, and the population is prolific enough for the juveniles to not feel threatened by leaving the safety of the nest. This is obviously not a good sign for your home.

The best way to deal with a prolific roach infestation like this is to kill them right at the heart of their harborage.

The simple act of trapping and killing roaches that may wander through your home is not enough to stem the flow of newborn babies and eggs that are still hatching at the nesting area.

Different types of bait are designed to not instantly kill the roaches on contact but to be carried back into their hiding places where they are intended to be ingested by other individuals in the colony.

The simple act of killing roaches that may wander through your home is not enough to stem the flow of new baby roaches that come from their harborage.

It’s important to take advantage of roaches’ propensity to eat dead or dying individuals in an attempt to keep the safe haven clear of carcasses and debris.

This just results in the pesticide getting spread further around the colony. If left alone at this stage, a mature colony may quickly rebound because eggs may hatch on a delayed schedule after bait is distributed and dissipates through the colony.

The types of roach bait available over the counter are often times not strong enough to eliminate a full-blown infestation and more aggressive pest control is necessary.

A trained professional has access to a much larger arsenal and can combine different methods, such as fumigation, baits, and traps, to eliminate an overwhelming roach problem once and for all. A multi-prong attack strategy is usually the only way to ensure success.

Frequently Asked Questions about baby cockroaches

  • Do cockroach mothers take care of their cockroach babies?
  • Do baby cockroaches fly?
  • I’m still seeing baby roaches after extermination. What should I do?
  • Why are baby cockroaches called “nymphs”?
  • What do roach nymphs look like?
  • My house is very clean but I found a baby cockroach in my kitchen yesterday… how did this happen?
  • I found a baby cockroach in my house, does this mean I have a roach infestation?
  • How small can baby cockroaches be?
  • What do cockroach eggs look like?
  • Can you see baby roaches with the naked eye?
  • Is this a Silverfish or a baby cockroach?
  • How many baby cockroaches does a female cockroach usually have?
  • How long does it take cockroach nymphs to reach maturity?
  • How can baby cockroaches get inside a human ear?
  • Can cockroaches hurt my baby?
  • Is this a baby cockroach on my bed? I think I found one crawling on my mattress!
  • Can baby cockroaches jump or hop or could this be a springtail? What does it mean if I found baby cockroaches in my bathroom?

Additional about baby cockroaches

  1. Cockroach Frequently Asked Questions – University of New England
  2. Difference between Palmetto Bugs and Cockroaches
  3. List of Different Bugs that Look Like Cockroaches
  4. Dealing with Cockroaches – Removal and Prevention
  5. Life Stages of Cockroaches: Incomplete Metamorphosis – Ask a Biologist

By David Jackson

I enjoy learning about new pest control strategies and sharing what I learn at NeverPest.com. I aim to create a reliable resource for people dealing with all sorts of pest issues.

12 comments

  1. Hi David,

    I recently moved to Hawaii, and with Hawaii comes lots of bugs. I’m renting a room in a house that has a large garden with lots of fruit trees, and roaches hang out in the garden, especially at night. I’ve seen them lurking in the grass and on the path once it gets dark out on my walk to my door. Last week, I found a large roach in my shower, and tonight what seemed to be a baby roach scuttled into my bedroom. Because we’re in Hawaii, we have screen doors that have gaps alongside the top and bottom… I talked to my landlady about this and she said we have to have screen doors to keep the circulation flowing or else the house will get hot (we don’t have central AC). Because I regularly see them outside, it doesn’t seem like we have an infestation in our home… more like they live outside in the garden and sometimes scurry inside. I picked up some ‘keep out’ poison spray and sprayed all over my door, as well as the front steps at my entrance. My landlady also advised me to turn the lights off when it gets dark out, since they are attracted to the light and want to come inside when they see the light. I also got a few of the baits and placed them around outside, but I don’t think that has been working since I keep seeing them outside. My landlady is really unconcerned by their presence and has brushed it off, but I would really like to avoid having them come into my house again. They creep me out to no end and I even have a hard time falling asleep imagining that they are crawling around in my room (I don’t think that’s possible, as my room is extremely clean and I have minimal furniture so there’s really nowhere for them to hide… but still).

  2. I think I might have cockroaches in my house. The insects I have been seeing are extremely small, not bigger than 1mm (o,o3 inch). They seems to hide in the darker places in my house, not a certitude though. I have a picture. would you mind having a look at it.

    Much Appreciated,
    David

    1. I do not mind at all David, send it in to me and I’ll take a look at the photos of the insect. I hope I can help. Keep in mind, there are quite a few different types of insects that people commoonly confuse with cockroaches. I have an article covering most of them here.

  3. David,

    Thanks for writing this article. I found a few baby cockroaches over the past couple of weeks. Two times I found the nymphs in my kitchen and one time in my bath room. Do you think these are Sewer Roaches, Water Bugs, or more of a plain type of cockroach? I’m glad I found NeverPest because I first thought that because they were only babies that I wasn’t dealing with a huge cockroach problem. Now I can see that I may be dealing with at least a minor infestation. If there are babies, there are adult laying eggs. What do you think are the chances that I’m dealing with a serious roach infestation?

  4. We live in a townhouse and have been seeing baby roaches for the last two months. Come to find out, a neighbor is infested, so they are spreading out. We have used two different pest control companies, and have put down bait and Gentrol, all to no avail. We keep the place clean, but these things are still showing up. Now, I am finding cockroach feces in our bathtub each morning. We are at our wits end. Any thoughts?

    1. Amy, thanks for sharing your situation with the rest of us. You bring up a good point, pests in a neighbor’s home can really increase your chances of a migration of that type of pest into your home. Termites and roaches are notorious for this.

      The first thing that may be helpful is to contact your neighbor (if you are on good terms with them) and ask them what type of cockroach they are dealing with and what they have attempted to do to control the infestation. I realize that may not be possible because your neighbor may not want to talk about it.

      The other thing you need to do is to attempt to identify exactly what species of cockroach you are dealing with. If you can find one and catch it, try to catch it place it in a jar. Even if you kill it in the process (as long as it is not completely squished) save it in a jar or bag. Now take this and do some research online to find out exactly what type of cockroach is in your home. We have an article here about sewer cockroaches which I would recommend checking out. It has a whole list of actions you can take to help control sewer roaches. The fact that you are finding cockroach feces in your bathtub makes me think there’s a good chance you are dealing with sewer cockroaches. Make sure your drain is clean especially in your bathtub. Put some drain cleaner in your bathtub drain.

      Do you find the baby roaches anywhere else? Roaches can be very very difficult to get rid of because they can hide in tiny cracks and tend to hide until it’s dark and primarily come out to feed when the lights are out and your home is quiet. Fumigation is the best option to get rid of cockroaches, but I would not go that route until you exhaust all other options.

      Try to figure out how they got into your home, seal off all those entry places first, then tackle the roaches in your home. You are doing great by keeping the home clean because by doing so you are helping to cut off their food source. The other thing you will want to attempt is to find out where they may be hiding. The other thing roaches need besides food to survive in your home is clutter or crevices to hide in. They love boxes and paper that’s lying around. Additionally, they need moisture, which may be why you are finding signs of them in your bathroom. But another place people often forget to look is gutters, roaches are attracted to unclean gutter on the outside of your home. Also, check around any stacked up firewood. Do not keep it too close to your home and check the firewood before you bring it into your home.

      Next, if you have a third pest company come out, find one that specializes in Cockroach control. This is typically better than finding a pest company that claims they can control any type of pest. Do your research first, Angie’s List has good reviews for most companies and Yelp is starting to get valuable reviews for different pest control companies too. It doesn’t hurt to find friends and family for recommendations as well.

      1. Thank you for your thoughts. Unfortunately, the neighbor in question is out of the country, and has not responded to any attempts to contact. The house has been without inhabitants all summer, and I fear this has allowed the problem to go unchecked. We are taking steps through our HOA to allow access to the house for inspection, but that will take some time. The roaches are so small it has made it difficult to tell what type they are, but yes, we have found them throughout the house, in pretty much every room at some point or another. I have done a LOT of research for pest companies, but I cannot find one that specializes in roach control.

        1. Amy, if you cannot get a hold of the neighbor, I would attempt to catch one of these bugs or have someone else catch one or keep the body of one for analysis by a professional.

          Which state do you live in? One of the best sources I have found when I’m researching various pests to provide information for visitors of NeverPest are State Universities’ Entomology Departments. The reason for this is they have specific information that pertains to specific insects in their state which I have found more useful for pest identification than more generic articles that talk about cockroaches in general. Let me know what State you are from and I will direct you a more in-depth State specific resource.

          Also, not to insult your intelligence, but please check this article out to make sure you are dealing with cockroaches and not some other type of insect.

          Finally, if you cannot find a company that specializes in cockroach control, please attempt to hire a company that comes with a guarantee. Some local companies will have a guarantee to retreat if the roaches return within a certain timeframe. Most of the national brands like Terminix or Orkin have these as well. Although they may cost more than a company that does not include such a guarantee, I believe it is worth it because it is in these companies best interest to treat your home effectively the first time. Otherwise, they will have to pay their professionals to return to your home and treat it again, which costs them more money but not you.

          Again, let me know which state you are from and hopefully I can point you in the right direction. Hopefully, you can get these critters out of there soon, and also keep pressing your HOA to perform an inspection on your neighbors home. They may be the primary source of your infestation. Also, please do not feel bad about having a hard time getting rid of roaches. MANY MANY other people on this planet experience the same difficulties you are having… Cockroaches have been observed to survive nuclear blasts! It is not easy, but you will get rid of them!

          1. Well, here is where it gets really strange. We caught a baby and had it sent to an entomologist who confirmed they are the dreaded German roach. We were able to gain access to the vacant unit next door and there is nothing over there. It’s clean as a whistle. We have used dust and bait in outlets and switch covers, we’ve used IGRs and Phantom along with an adulticide. We’ve yet to see an adult, they are all very small nymphs. There is no evidence of an infestation in any of the outlets, cabinets or drawers. They just sort of show up randomly. We’re really at a loss as to what to do next.

          2. Amy, thanks a lot for updating us on your situation. So, you now have completed one of the most important elements of pest control, you have properly identified the species you are dealing with. Now we can get to developing a strategy to identify the German Roach harborage. This is the name for the place where the German Roaches are hiding out in or outside your home.

            It is good that you eliminated your neighbors vacant unit as a source of the infestation. So, if it is not your neighbors it could be another location outside your home or they may have established residence inside your home.

            It may seem strange that you are only finding very small cockroach nymphs, but you are certainly not the only one to experience this with German Cockroaches. The problem with German Cockroaches, or Blattella Germanica, is that they are one of the most difficult roach species to control and they are one of the most common types of roaches to infest peoples homes. The adults are typically only 1/2 inch or and use their phermones to signal their presence to eachother. Typically the adult German Cockroaches gather together in an area with humidity or a food source, their gathering place called a harborage. When these harborages become too crowded some of the roaches are forced to leave the safehaven and roam for new shelter and food. This is when people usually find them in their home.

            One important thing to note here, is that German Roaches will typically deposit eggs within their harborage unless it is too crowded. If it is too crowded they will deposit the eggs away from their harborage, which seems like what is happening in your home. Females who have eggs attached to them often hide in secluded areas and often survive pesticides not applied expertly. The males are not so lucky and this is why many people experience only seeing the nymphs and no adults after having their home treated. The females are better at hiding away in areas where they often are not affected by pesticides and continue laying eggs, which creates the nymphs that you keep seeing.

            Common places for German Roaches to create harborages are under sinks, water boilers or heaters, kitchens, under or in fridges, in food cabinets, bathrooms, drain traps, toilet bowls, standing water, wet sponges, wash cloths, etc. The common element is moisture and access too food. Another, not so common harborage source, is from outside a home. Sometimes a nearby dumpster or trash cans can serve as a harborage and from that harborage roaches can find their way into your home.

            The best type of treatment that will probably help you is expertly applied crack and crevice pesticides by a professional who will take the time to first identify the roach harborages with flashlight, hand mirrors, magnifying glass, amongst other pest technician tools. German Cockroach control is very difficult without first identifying were the harborage is. I hope that helps Amy. Try to think of area of your home that have moisture or food (food is almost always present in the kitchen in the form of crumbs). Make sure you give this information to a pest control professional if you have another one come take a look. Maybe try calling around to some pest professionals in your area that you have not tried yet and see if they have experience identifying German Cockroach harborages. This is a specific question that can help you guage wether they will likely be worth your time or not. You could also write the entomologist whom you sent the sample to for some additional advice, they are usually the experts! Best of luck and let us know what you find out. Thanks a lot for coming back and sharing with everyone what steps you have taken and what you have learned while dealing with these elusive baby roaches. I’m sure you have helped some other people out and we all appreciate that.

  5. I’m not 100% sure they I have roaches. These insects have wings that are a small and brownish-reddish in colour with a crunchy exoskeleton. They seem to be active at night, any clue what else they could be?

    1. Matt, take a look at some pictures of cockroaches that live in your area. Keep in mind, that there are many different species of roaches, even living within one area.

      Other possible culprits could be sewer roaches, water bugs, or June bugs. o they have a flat body or is it somewhat rounded?

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