Cockroach (Roach) Eggs? Here’s What You Should Do

Cockroaches are a rapidly reproducing type of bug, as a single female cockroach can lay approximately 30,000 cockroach eggs in a year. This is one of the reasons it is important to act quickly if you spot cockroach eggs in your house, as it can soon be overrun with cockroaches.

If you encounter cockroach eggs, you should take quick action to reduce their numbers or contact a qualified pest removal service as soon as possible. Below are some general facts about cockroaches, cockroach eggs, and control methods.

Infestation Sites And Breeding Patterns

Cockroaches usually make their homes within tiny crevices located in damp, dark areas. This makes the roaches difficult to spot and difficult to control. Attempts to locate cockroaches should begin by searching warm, humid areas of the home. These usually include bathrooms and kitchens, though they can also include basement and attics. The eggs/egg capsules are usually tiny, about a quarter inch long. When searching for eggs, look in small cracks and crevices in warm or wet areas of the home. Especially target places like drawers, pantries, countertops, sinks, baseboards, drains, water heaters closets, cabinets, trash cans, recycling bins, laundry rooms, etc.

The females of a cockroach species produce egg cases dubbed ootheca, which contain a large number of eggs and are protected by a protein that over time hardens into a durable and protective case. Some species of cockroach will drop the egg case, while others will carry it with them until the case is ready to hatch. The eggs will hatch within approximately 24 to 38 days, releasing the immature cockroaches.

This process is always ongoing, and female cockroaches can produce a new egg capsule every few weeks if the conditions are favorable to them. This ongoing, rapid process is the reason that a few cockroaches can quickly turn into a swarm that can overtake a house. For instance, the German cockroach is capable of producing two additional generations in its 30-week long lifespan, and even if all the eggs don’t hatch or even if the female doesn’t lay all the eggs possible, this still means that a female German cockroach can breed at least 10,000 roaches in a year. As another example, the American cockroach’s ootheca contains around 15 embryos. The eggs of cockroaches will look slightly different depending on the species of the roach, yet in general, they are a reddish-brown color and under 10 millimeters in length.

The eggs of the brown-banded roach are reddish-brown and around 5 mm in length, and each case has around 10 to 18 embryos within it. The egg sacks of the German roach are brown and are between 6 to 9 mm in length, and can contain up to 50 embryos. The German roach usually carries the ootheca around until it is ready to hatch. Oriental cockroaches leave behind egg sacks that are between 8 to 10 mm in length and can contain around 16 embryos.

The ootheca of a cockroach. Photo: Fonkê Leif Selber und Carsten Selber via Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA 3.0

The best defense against cockroaches is preventative maintenance. Good, frequent sanitation and the reduction of clutter/sealing of cracks and crevices can help prevent cockroaches from infesting a home.

Preventative Control Methods For Cockroaches

  • Don’t leave food or drink laying out, try to wipe up crumbs and spilled drinks as soon as the spill occurs.
  • Wash dirty/greasy/oily cooking utensils and dishes as soon as possible. Frequently empty the trash in kitchen and bathrooms and seal the bags before they are placed outside.
  • Try to seal any crevices or cracks in the home that roaches could enter through or hide eggs in.
  • Get rid of clutter like newspapers, cardboard boxes, bags, etc. as doing this will help eliminate hiding places for roaches.
  • If any eggs are found, vacuum up the eggs and young cockroaches when possible.
  • Vacuum cleaners that have High-Efficiency Particulate Air filters can help reduce debris that cockroaches leave behind them, and this is important to get rid of as the dirt and dust they leave can exacerbate asthma symptoms.
  • HEPA filters are also good choices for home ventilation systems, and a thorough inspection may target the ventilation system in addition to other areas of the home.

Elimination Methods For Cockroaches

If an infestation has progressed far enough, further action may be needed. Roach glue strips can be applied to different areas of the home to locate sites of large infestation. Glue strips placed in the most active areas will catch the most roaches, and these areas are the places that will need the most treatment. There are also different varieties of poison and traps you can use to reduce roach populations. Gel bait stations are baits which come in a tube and are intended to be applied near cracks/crevices. Placing these baits in areas where roaches are likely to make their home can be very effective, though an unappealing side effect is a large amount of dead roaches around the home.

Bait stations (frequently called “roach motels”) are another popular method of pest control. They work primarily by attracting a roach to the station with bait, and the roach then either is poisoned or trapped by glue within the station. An alternative form of roach bait station is a station that lets the roach out after it collects the poison so it can carry it back to the site of the infestation, where it will kill other roaches.

One of the best roach killers is a common household chemical known as boric acid, which is frequently found in clothing detergent. Boric acid is made through the combination of boron and water, and while it is usually safe for pets and people it is toxic to roaches. Note that the boric acid must be properly applied at the site of infestations to be effective as if misapplied it will not only be ineffective but can become airborne and pets or children may come into contact with it. While boric acid is generally low in toxicity in high amounts it could be harmful. Boric acid is not usually recommended as the main method of roach pest control, only a supplementary method.

If none of the above methods have worked or aren’t working to the extent you would like, hiring a pest removal/termination specialist is a good idea. A qualified exterminator will be able to target the infestation effectively, reducing the need for traps located around the home, and make sure that your family is protected from the harmful side-effects of the poisons used.