Cockroaches are a common pest in America and getting rid of a cockroach infestation can be a challenge. The trick is to know what to look for to prevent cockroaches from entering your home and laying eggs.
What Do Cockroach Eggs Look Like?
Cockroach eggs are small and oval-shaped that range in color from black, brown, or tan, depending on the species. At first glance, they can look like spilt coffee granules. Depending on the species, they can range in size but are generally around 1cm in length.
Getting rid of cockroach eggs can usually be achieved by maintaining a good level of cleanliness, but dealing with cockroaches themselves may take a little more effort.
Where Do Cockroaches Lay Eggs?
Although there are many species of cockroaches across the world, they generally all have one thing in common: they like warm, damp environments. Bonus points if there is access to food (even if it’s rotting) nearby. This is why they can often be found lurking in your kitchen cupboards.
A female roach will want to keep her babies safe, so she will lay her eggs in a hidden, sheltered environment. Common household areas where you might find cockroach eggs include:
- Your sinks
- Floor and tub drains
- Plumbing cabinets
- Water heater closets
- Any room that is regularly damp such as your basement or laundry room.
What Is A Cockroach Egg Ootheca?
A Cockroach ootheca is an egg case or shell casing that contains up to 50 individual cockroach eggs. A female cockroach will produce a ootheca to house her babies. Here is an example of what cockroach oothecas look like:
How Many Eggs Does A Cockroach Lay?
Depending on what species of cockroach, female cockroaches will lay between 20 and 50 eggs at a time.
How Many Cockroaches In One Egg?
Each cockroach egg within an ootheca contains only a single developing cockroach. But a cockroach ootheca is an egg case that can contain up to 50 individual cockroach eggs inside of it.
What If I Find An Empty Cockroach Egg Case?
If you are looking around your home and you find an empty cockroach egg case, unfortunately that means the cockroach has already been born and it is now around your home. If you are finding many empty egg cases, this is a good indicator of a much larger infestation.
How to Get Rid of Cockroach Eggs
Tackling a cockroach infestation often means taking on the source: the eggs. This can be tricky because often cockroaches lay eggs in areas that are hard to reach or see. The good news is, with a little brawn and brain, you can get rid of cockroach eggs and prevent an unpleasant swarm of unwanted houseguests.
A female roach will lay her eggs in a case known as oothecae, which protects the unborn infant with a robust layer of protein that can be tough to destroy. So, here’s what you need to do if you find cockroach eggs in your home:
- Crush any ootheca you come across with your foot and then use a vacuum cleaner to clean up the debris. Vacuuming alone will not destroy the cockroach eggs, so be sure to use a bit of brute force with your foot!
- Spray all areas where you notice cockroach eggs with pesticide purchased from a reputable company. Be sure to aim for hard to reach areas too, such as cracks, nooks and crannies in your building.
- Boric acid. Whether used in gel, powder or dust form, boric acid will help eradicate cockroach eggs. Please note: while this is an effective method of killing cockroach eggs, it is not immediate, so if your cockroach infestation is quite severe and you need to act quickly, it’s worth looking into other methods.
- Insect Growth Regulator (IGR). Spraying cockroach eggs with IRG will prevent them from fully developing. Again, this process is not immediate, so keep this in mind if you have a severe infestation in your home.
- View our guide on foolproof ways of getting rid of cockroaches.
How to Prevent Cockroaches
Exterminating present cockroach eggs in your home is only half of the battle. You will need to take steps to prevent cockroaches from setting up house again. Here are the best ways to keep cockroaches out of your property and keep cockroaches out of your car:
- Cut off their food supply
Cockroaches are textbook scavengers and their whole existence centers around cockroaches seeking food sources. So, if you notice cockroach eggs or cockroaches in your home, chances are it’s the presence of food that may have drawn them in. Keep your kitchen clean, and make sure no food is left lying around – including crumbs after food preparation. Keep all opened room-temp food (such as chips and cereals) in airtight containers or fully resealed. Ziploc bags will prevent any nasty surprises. Check out our guide on what roaches eat!
Also, be mindful of your trash cans. If there’s one thing cockroaches love more than food – it’s rotting food! Keep your trash cans clean and covered to prevent attracting cockroaches (or any other critter).
If you recycle items such as soda bottles, beer cans, food packaging, etc., make sure they are thoroughly cleaned and dried before doing so.
- Don’t leave stagnant water lying around
This can be mop buckets, kids’ pools, dishwater in the sink, and so on. Roaches love water – especially if it’s stagnant and/or dirty. And although, cockroaches can survive up to two weeks without water, they are always seeking sources of H20, so don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink – even if it’s filled with water, and empty and rinse out cleaning buckets, etc., to lessen the risk of cockroaches making an appearance in search of water.
- Keep your home clean
The dirtier the environment, the more cockroaches will love it. So, clean your home regularly. This includes not leaving dirty dishes lying around, properly covering and storing leftover cooking, regular vacuuming, changing your trash bag daily (especially during hot weather), keeping sinks clean and disinfected (keeping them plugged up can also help), clean up drink spillages, remove pet food bowls and litter boxes at night, etc. The more hygienic your space is, the less it holds appeal for insects.
- Declutter your space
Roaches like to lay eggs in all kinds of places, and heavily cluttered environments (such as garages, basements, and attics) are prime spots for cockroach eggs.
Also, did you know that cockroaches release a pheromone via their droppings that lets other roaches know that they’ve found a great place to set up shop and have their babies? Disturbing and gross – and true!
If your home is cluttered with furniture, cardboard boxes, newspapers, and more, chances are at some point you may discover roach eggs. Cockroaches are also one of the least fussy eaters in the animal kingdom – they will eat anything, including household items like cardboard and wood. So, don’t give the little critters any ammo to invade!
- Keep up with household maintenance
As mentioned earlier, roaches love areas of the home like wall cracks and crevices. This includes skirting boards, electrical sockets, and plumbing piping too. So, if there’s anywhere in your home where cracks have begun to form, get them filled in as soon as possible. This is especially applicable to areas under sinks and other warm, damp areas.
Common Cockroach Species in America
There are many different types of roaches in the United States, and all are slightly different.
American Cockroaches (Periplaneta americana)
Sometimes known as palmetto bugs, American cockroaches are typically around 35 – 40 mm in length (as fully-grown adult cockroaches) and are a shiny chocolate-brown color. These guys love dark, humid and warm areas, such as sewers and drains. Their life-cycle averages from between 100 days to three years.
Brown Banded Cockroaches (Supella longipalpa)
A good way to identify the brown banded cockroach is by their long antenna. They are usually around 10 – 14 mm in length and are brown with tan markings and legs. Like their American cousins, they love warm, moist areas, such as drains and sewers. They typically live anywhere between 90 – 115 days.
Oriental Cockroach (Blatta orientalis)
These guys also have a long antennae, but are typically dark brown and shiny, with no other color markings. They also have wings and can fly, but prefer using their legs as their chosen mode of transport.
Adult roaches can grow up to 32 mm in length, and aren’t fussy as to their environment, as they can withstand many climates. They tend to live up to 180 days.
German Cockroach (Blatella germanica)
The German cockroach is usually around 15 mm when fully-grown and is dark brown with tan stripes and legs and a short antennae.
German cockroaches like dark, secluded areas like cupboards, under sink areas, and behind refrigerators. Their life cycle is usually around 100 days (minimum).
Smoky Brown Cockroach (Periplaneta fuliginosa)
As the name suggests, these guys are mahogany-colored and shiny, and tend to grow up to around an inch in length. In their looks, they are quite similar to American cockroaches.
They need constant moisture to prevent their bodies from drying out, so you will find them lurking near water-based areas. The average lifespan for this species is 215 days.
The Best Pest Control Methods
- Call a professional exterminator. They have the products, knowledge and experience to fully and safely eradicate an infestation. This includes destroying cockroach egg cases and making sure no babies (nymphs) are born.
- Sticky traps. These tend not to be the most effective choice for a full-blown infestation; however, they may provide insight as to whether or not there are roaches present in your home and to what scale.
- Black Flag Roach Motel. These will kill cockroaches in a method similar to glue traps. They are sheltered, however, so you cannot see the caught pests.
- Roach cookies. These can be homemade cookies made with your own sugary dough and filled with boric acid, or another pesticide of choice. Just make sure they aren’t left around for a family member to confuse with regular cookies! Borax is also effective against cockroaches!