Cockroaches have a complex life cycle and understanding how they appear at different stages can help you quickly identify and tackle an infestation. Here’s what cockroaches look like during various life phases and where you should be searching for them.
- Eggs. Cockroaches lay egg cases, which are small, purse-shaped oblong capsules that contain numerous embryos. They’re typically reddish-brown or tan and are around 6.5 to 9 millimetres long. Depending on the species, they can look like a dried kidney bean or dark brown grain of rice. They’re often difficult to spot, as female cockroaches deposit the egg cases in hidden and protected areas such as behind kitchen appliances, wall voids, and under furniture.
- Nymphs. After 24 to 38 days, depending on temperature, the eggs hatch and tiny cockroach nymphs emerge. Nymphs resemble miniature versions of adult cockroaches, but they don’t have wings. German cockroach nymphs are almost uniformly dark except for a light tan area on the back of the second and third segments. As they develop, the light tan area becomes larger until they have two parallel black bars separated by a light tan area. German cockroaches can take almost 100 days from egg to adult. American cockroach nymphs are mostly reddish-brown and can take 600 days from egg to adult.
- Adults. Nymphs of German cockroaches moult 6 to 7 and American cockroaches approximately 6 to 14 times before reaching adulthood, shedding their exoskeleton as they get larger. Adult cockroaches possess a flattened, oval-shaped body, typically measuring between 24 to 40 millimetres long. They have long antennae and two pairs of wings that overlap. The colouration and markings of adult cockroaches depend on the species, but common varieties include German cockroaches (light brown with two dark stripes) and American cockroaches (reddish-brown with a yellowish figure-eight pattern on the back of the head). Adults are highly adaptable and can be found in kitchens, bathrooms, basements, and crawl spaces.
Where to look for cockroaches in your home
Cockroaches are generally nocturnal, remaining hidden during the day and actively searching for food and water at night. Their small size and ability to squeeze into narrow spaces make them elusive. They often dwell in areas close to food and water sources, such as kitchens, pantries, and bathrooms.
To control cockroaches, you must know where to look for them. They like dark, warm, and moist areas including:
- Cracks and crevices in walls and floors including around pipes, behind electrical outlets, and baseboards
- Underneath sinks and cabinets, and behind mirrors
- Behind and inside electronics and appliances such as computers, coffee-makers, microwaves, refrigerators, stoves, and dishwashers
- Storage areas, garbage cans, recycling bins, cardboard boxes, cluttered spaces, and piles of paper
Cockroaches reproduce quickly and can carry diseases that make you and your family sick. At the first sign of a cockroach infestation, it’s crucial to contact a pest control professional.
Cockroach control in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba
At Poulin’s Pest Control, our professionals understand cockroach behaviour and habits, allowing them to develop targeted treatment plans to effectively eliminate cockroach infestations. Contact us today to speak with a pest control expert for advice.