The Cockroach Life Cycle

Cockroach, life cycle of cockroach, pest infestation

The Cockroach Life Cycle

Cockroaches are filthy creatures. They eat everything and don’t seem to mind their dirty selves. But before you call the exterminator to spray your home, there is a lot to know about cockroaches that can help you mitigate the issue.

The cockroach life cycle has four stages, and after you read this post, you will be able to target each stage and get rid of cockroaches in your home.

Stage 1: The Roach Egg

The first stage of the cockroach life cycle is the egg. Also called an ootheca, the egg is typically deposited in corners and dark areas. The female cockroach carries the ootheca around until she finds a good spot to lay it.

When she finds an ideal place, she will deposit her egg and climb up to get out of the way. Many different types of insects can lay eggs, but only a few species do so indoors. Cockroaches are among these few species that lay eggs indoors.

Stage 2: The Cockroach Nymph

The nymph is the stage between egg and adult cockroach and consists of four instars. During the first three instars, the cockroach will grow up to about a half-inch long. The first instar is very small, only growing to a length of about 1/16 of an inch long. The second instar is slightly larger, growing to about 1/8 of an inch.

The third instar is larger than the previous two and grows up to 3/16 inches long.

During the fourth and final instar, the cockroach grows to almost 1/4 inch across and can be as large as an adult roach. This period is also when they reach adulthood and begin their lives as adults.

Nymphs complete their development in the first three weeks of their lives when they start to eat solid food. After that, you’ll find them feeding on a variety of materials, including paper, cereal, and sugar.

Stage 3: The Adult Cockroach

The adult cockroach is the most familiar and visible part of their life cycle because it is the only active part at night. In addition, the adults are winged and can fly when disturbed. These insects are some of the largest around, with a body length ranging from 0.5 to 3 inches (1 to 7 centimeters).

The adult female cockroach lays approximately 400 eggs over her lifetime. The female will mate with multiple males and then die shortly after mating. However, the male will continue to seek out females until he has fertilized them all.

Cockroaches will molt (shed their exoskeleton) before molting again into another stage of adulthood. Each molt lasts about two weeks, with each molt occurring about once every five days during warmer months and once every two weeks during cooler months.

How Long Do Cockroaches Live?

Cockroaches are very resilient creatures. They can survive for months without food or water and even in freezing temperatures for days. The lifespan of a cockroach depends on the species, but it can be as short as two weeks or as long as two years.

Most roaches die from dehydration or starvation during their sojourn through the house. Most roaches will live between 20 to 30 weeks. However, there are some species that can live for more extended periods than others. For example, American female cockroaches have been known to live up to two years!


Hopefully, this will help you to understand cockroach behavior better and deal with infestations appropriately. Remember that there are ways to prevent an infestation, so don’t delay if you find these insects in your home.