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Cockroach Eggs: Homeowner Guide (16 Things: Size, Appearance, Hatch)

So you found what looks like cockroach eggs? In this post, you’ll learn what roach eggs look like, including size, color, location, and volume. And how to get rid of them. Everything homeowners need to remain roach free.

Cockroach eggs mean you have cockroaches living and reproducing in your home. You will need to identify the type of cockroach eggs and figure out the best way to get rid of them.

cockroach eggs

This article is part of our huge set of information about cockroaches.

What Do Roach Eggs Look Like?

You will often see American, brown-banded, German, oriental, and smoky brown cockroaches. The female cockroach produces eggs in a sac called an ootheca.

Here’s what the roach ootheca looks like:

cockroach oothecae
Cockroach eggs are called oothecae

And while they will vary in size and color among the 4,600 types of roaches, the general appearance is the same.

Some are almost a perfect oval, while others are slightly purse-shaped, with a slight pucker on one edge.

The following cockroach egg guide will help you identify the type of cockroach from the ootheca.

Appearance: Different Types of Cockroach Eggs

  • American cockroach: The egg case is brown but turns black. These egg cases are 8mm long and 5mm high.
  • Brown-banded cockroach: The brown-banded cockroach eggs are rust-colored and shaped like a small purse. These egg cases are ¼ inch long.
  • German cockroach: Female german cockroaches carry their ¼ egg cases with them until a few days before they are ready to hatch. 
  • Oriental cockroach: The oriental cockroaches’ oothecae is rust-colored and slightly plumper than other cockroaches. These oothecae can be up to 10mm in length.
  • Smoky brown cockroach: The smoky brown cockroach ootheca can be up to 11mm long. It is typically dark brown or even black.

Pregnant Cockroaches

An adult female cockroach produces one egg sac at a time called an ootheca, and these oothecae can hold as many as forty-eight eggs. When you see a cockroach with a capsule extending from its back end, you have found a pregnant cockroach.

The females will carry these oothecae close to their bodies until they are almost ready to hatch. She will then find a safe place to deposit them.

Ootheca or Oothecae?

An ootheca is a singular term for an insect egg mass. If you are referring to more than one, you’ll use the term oothecae.

roaches laying eggs
Female roach laying her ootheca, the egg sac full of cockroach eggs

How Many Cockroaches Are in One Egg?

Cockroaches lay one egg case (oothecae) at a time. Often about one ootheca per month, but this varies by species.

The egg case actually contains many eggs. Here is the egg count per oothecae by species.

  • American cockroaches: 16 eggs per oothecae
  • Brown-banded cockroaches: 17 eggs per oothecae
  • German cockroaches: 48 eggs per oothecae
  • Oriental cockroaches: 16 eggs per oothecae
  • Smoky brown cockroaches: 45 eggs per oothecae

How Many Eggs Does a Cockroach Lay?

A cockroach ootheca can contain up to 48 eggs. The specific number will depend on the type of cockroach. 

  • American cockroaches will produce 1 egg case monthly for 10 months. Their oothecae typically contain 16 eggs.
  • Brown-banded cockroaches will produce about 14 oothecae throughout their lifecycle. Each of these oothecae typically contains about 17 eggs.
  • German cockroaches can produce up to 8 oothecae throughout their life, and each one can contain up to 48 eggs.
  • Oriental cockroaches will produce up to 8 egg sacs in their lifetime. Each egg sac will contain up to 16 eggs.
  • Smoky brown cockroaches will produce 6 egg cases throughout their lifecycle. Each ootheca can contain up to 45 eggs.

How Many Cockroaches Can One Roach Make?

Here is the impact that an individual roach can have on the roach population.

With ideal circumstances, every female roach can hypothetically produce this many young in her lifespan.

  • American cockroaches: 160 eggs over 10 months
  • Brown-banded cockroaches: 238 eggs over 7 months
  • German cockroaches: 384 eggs over 7 months
  • Oriental cockroaches: 128 eggs over 8 months or less
  • Smoky brown cockroaches: 270 eggs over 7 months

How Long Does It Take for a Cockroach Egg to Hatch?

The time it takes for the eggs to hatch will depend on the type of cockroach.

  • American cockroach eggs will hatch in approximately 56 days.
  • Brown-banded cockroach eggs sometimes take more than three months to hatch.
  • German cockroach eggs will become nymphs in about 30 days.
  • Oriental cockroach eggs will develop into nymphs in 43 to 86 days, depending on the temperature.
  • Smoky-brown cockroach eggs will develop in about 45 days.

Do Female Cockroaches Care For Their Young?

Cockroach mothers do not care for their young.

After the female cockroach has deposited their oothecae in a safe place, its job is done. They leave the eggs to hatch and the nymphs to fend for themselves.

Where Can You Find Cockroach Eggs?

Female cockroaches look for two criteria when laying their eggs.

  1. They will deposit their eggs in a safe place that is hidden from view. The mother cockroaches want to protect their offspring from danger.
  2. Female cockroaches will search for warm and moist areas to leave their oothecae.

If you are searching for cockroach oothecae, check the bottoms of your baseboards. Look for any cracks or holes that insects might be traveling through. 

Search your walls for any openings, cracks, or crevices that a cockroach might be able to crawl through.

Another cockroach hiding place is behind and under your refrigerator and oven. It is best to move your appliances so you can search thoroughly underneath them. 

Check any pipes that could have small openings.

Female cockroaches will be attracted to areas with little or no activity. If you have a storage room, you might want to go in and move some boxes around to ensure that cockroaches have not made a new home.

Some cockroaches will deposit their oothecae near a food source. You can sometimes find cockroach eggs near your compost pile. 

You will often find cockroach oothecae in garages and attics.

cockroach egg size

Will Cockroaches Lay Eggs in Clothes?

Cockroaches look for quiet and dark spaces. They might not necessarily nest in your clothing but at the back of a dresser drawer, you rarely open.

Boxes of unused clothing would be another ideal spot for depositing cockroach eggs. The thought of having these unwanted visitors might be the motivation you need to take your clothing to the goodwill store. It would be wise to clean out any storage areas that you might have to deter the roach visitors.

Cockroach Life Cycle

A cockroach can frequently reproduce, so trying to control an infestation can become a nightmare. You should remember that cockroaches are typically active at night when it’s dark, so you don’t often see them. Consulting a pest control company is often the best way to deal with a cockroach problem.

If you have found a cockroach ootheca, there are more hidden throughout your home. Once the eggs have hatched, the baby cockroaches are called nymphs. This stage can last from a few months to a year. Once they have reached their adult stage, they are ready to start reproducing, and the process begins again.

Cockroaches can live up to three years to produce hundreds of offspring.

Finding cockroach oothecae should be a red flag. It’s time to start getting rid of your roaches or even call in some professional help.

what do roach eggs look like

While we do full battle with cockroaches, it’s worth considering why roaches exist and what purpose they serve.

Do Insecticides Work on Roach Eggs?

Unfortunately, most insecticides will not work on roach eggs. The oothecae have a hard protective shell that stops the insecticide from reaching the eggs.

This applies to powders (like baited borax) that must be consumed to kill the roaches. It won’t work on roach eggs.

You can use a residual pesticide that will penetrate the egg sac and kill the embryos. Or you can use an Insect Growth Regulator (IGR) which can both kill the embryo and cause developmental problems. The IGR often prevents the successful reproduction of roaches treated with this in the ootheca.

If you don’t want to use a chemical pesticide, there is nothing you can do to the eggs, but you can deal with the nymphs. You can use a product that will kill them as soon as they are hatched or stops them from growing.

If you sprinkle boric acid on the oothecae, it will kill the nymphs as soon as they are hatched. Using a product that stops their growth will prevent them from developing into an adult, and they will not be able to reproduce.

There are other insecticides and baits that you can use to target the nymphs and adult cockroaches. Insecticides come in several forms, such as dust, sprays, and gels. You must know the right place and chemicals to use for the best results. For most people, contacting a pest control professional is the best way to get rid of their cockroaches.

Can Roach Eggs Be Killed?

You can seal cockroach eggs in a plastic bag and place them in the freezer. In wintertime, you can set the bag outside in the snow, and the cold will kill the eggs and the developing nymphs.

You can also stomp on the oothecae and destroy them or crush them in your hand. Either way, it is best to ensure that you destroy the oothecae, seal them in a bag and dispose of them immediately.

What Should You Do if You Find Roach Eggs?

It would be best to consider contacting a professional pest control company at the first sign of cockroach eggs. Where there are cockroach eggs, there are cockroaches that are in the process of reproducing. Cockroach infestations are hard to detect because they tend to stay hidden.

While waiting for professional help, you can vacuum up the cockroach eggs and any cockroaches you might see. Empty the vacuum cleaner immediately.

It is best to dispose of the cockroaches correctly because you don’t want them crawling back into your home. Seal them in a bag and use boric acid to kill the adult cockroaches.

7 Ways to Prevent Cockroaches From Laying Eggs

You can stop cockroaches from getting comfortable in your home by doing the following:

  1. Fill any cracks in your walls where a cockroach might deposit their eggs.
  2. Never leave food on plates or cookware. Wipe any crumbs from counters or tables.
  3. Eliminate clutter that you may have, such as boxes or bags.
  4. Keep kitchen and dining areas clean.
  5. Store food in sealed containers.
  6. Outdoor areas such as porches, decks, and screen rooms should be clean and free of food. Avoid storing your garbage in these areas.
  7. Avoid leaving dirty dishes or glasses around the house.
roach eggs

Unsure where you got cockroaches from? Here are 8 ways that roaches enter your home.

Your Turn

Cockroach eggs are a sign that you have adult cockroaches breeding in your home. It is best to call a professional pest control company to identify and deal with the infestation.

A relatively small infestation can become quite big very quickly because of the speed of the cockroach’s reproductive cycle.

Have you discovered cockroach eggs in your home? How are you dealing with them?