Written by

David Floyd

David Floyd

Reviewed by

Brett Ehlert

Brett Ehlert

Pregnant Cockroaches – What To Do If You Encounter A Pregnant Cockroach

It is possible for a cockroach infestation to occur in any household, and there is a chance that one of the cockroaches may be pregnant. How can you determine if one of the cockroaches you’ve come across is pregnant?

This guide will go over how to deal with them accordingly. We’ll also go into detail about the life cycle of cockroaches. This will give you an understanding of how fast they can reproduce and live (whether they are inside your home or any place else).

With my twenty years of pest control experience, it can be quite important to ensure that your current cockroach infestation does not reproduce and create an even bigger infestation that’s more difficult to get rid of. Let’s jump right into identifying pregnant roaches and how to treat for them!

Pregnant Cockroach and Her Eggs:

As soon as a cockroach reaches adulthood, females can begin to reproduce. Cockroaches are oviparous which means they produce their offspring using eggs outside of their body, rather than live birth like mammals. Cockroaches lay eggs using an egg sac called an ootheca. Learn more about cockroach eggs here!

pregnant cockroach

The egg sack of oothecae is a bean shaped capsule that holds all the cockroach eggs. The oothecae generally will contain anywhere from 25-50 eggs!

Female cockroaches can only produce one oothecae at a time, but throughout their lifetime they will have 10+ oothecae.

How To Identify A Pregnant Roach With A Oothecae:

Pregnant roaches are usually pretty easily to identify when they have a oothecae. If you see a roach that has a pill-shaped object sticking out of their backend, this is a pregnant roach that’s carrying an oothecae!

pregnant roach

That being said, pregnant roaches don’t carry their oothecae the entire time, they will occasionally deposit the oothecae in a safe spot and then go about without it as the scavenge for food

What is the life cycle of a cockroach?

The life cycle of a cockroach will vary from one species to another. German cockroaches are the most common species. Their life cycle comprises of the following three stages:

  • Egg
  • Nymph
  • Adult

On average, a roach can go through these stages in approximately 100 days if there are favorable conditions. To begin, a female cockroach will be able to reproduce once they are in the adult stage.

Unlike most creatures where offspring is carried inside of them, a pregnant cockroach will carry theres on the outside of their bodies. That’s because roaches are oviparous. The eggs of the cockroach will be developed in an ootheca or egg sack.

This sack is shaped like a bean. On average, it can fit up to 50 eggs. However, the larger the sack is, the more eggs it will carry.

Cockroach giving birth

Female roaches can only produce one egg sac, but can produce up to ten in her entire life. How will you know if you see a pregnant cockroach? You will notice a protrusion that is the shape of a pill.

It may appear like a tail that is thick and ribbed. The larger it is, the more eggs the female cockroach is carrying. She will carry this case for at least a month until the eggs inside will hatch.

She may hide them in an undisclosed location. Inside a home, they can be stored away inside the crevices of walls. They may also be found in heavy appliances or even cardboard boxes.

The eggs must be moist and hidden in a safe location. Within the next 24 to 48 hours, the eggs will hatch. Soon, the nymphs are born.

Nymphs will soon grow. Since they have an exoskeleton, they won’t be able to change in size. They will inhale to the point where they escape their old exoskeleton and molt into a new one. At this point, these nymphs will sport a white color until their new covering is completely formed.

The time period for roaches to go from nymph to adults will be two months. When adulthood is reached, a roach will have “wings”. Of all the nymphs born, as many as 85 percent will reach adulthood.

Within three days, they will begin mating. And thus, the cycle continues. The average lifespan of a German cockroach will be around six months.

During this time, a female cockroach will give birth to as many as 1000 cockroaches, but no less than 400. The number alone is daunting enough. Especially when you are doing your best to keep roaches outside of your house.

How Fast Do Cockroaches Reproduce?

How fast do cockroaches reproduce? A female can carry one ootheca per month over the course of ten months. That’s how fast an infestation can grow.

No matter how many there are, the population can grow at an alarming rate. The sooner you get rid of cockroaches, the better. If you have no existing infestation and see a pregnant cockroach, you need to get rid of it fast.

Because it’s an infestation that’s about to happen if nothing is done. One cockroach can become 40 and it can become hundreds or even thousands. The more you have, the more difficult it will be to get rid of them.

Think about it – this can happen in a span of six months. Now that you know about the lifespan and the potential disaster you might face, let’s take a look now at how you can spot a growing roach population.

Roach population growth: What to look for?

If you are looking for signs of roach population growth, then you need to look for the following:

  • Droppings: This is one of the first signs you’ll see in a potential roach infestation. They will appear as small black specks that can pop up once a week.
  • Living or dead roaches: You might spot a roach that is out and about. Otherwise, you may find one dead. Regardless, it is a sign that an infestation has started. At some point, you’ll begin to encounter them more often. At some point, they are in the process of traveling to other areas of your home. They may take up shelter in your closets, drains, appliances, walls, and floors among others.
  • Egg sacs: These can be discovered in wall crevices and cardboard boxes. This is where things can become an even bigger problem.
  • Musty, stale odor: If you smell something that is stale or musty, that’s when you know there’s a large number of cockroaches in your home. And now, you need to get rid of them once and for all. There are plenty of options where you can get rid of them without harming your pets or children.

How to Kill Pregnant Roaches

Killing a pregnant roach will be no different than killing a normal one. For this reason, you’re going to consider the idea of using one of many effective solutions. Let’s take a look now at some of the effective roach killers for apartments you can put to good use:

Using Baking Soda and Sugar

One of the most popular solutions will be using baking soda and sugar. Cockroaches love sugar and will eat it no matter what. They will eat the baking soda along with it.

Since cockroaches carry water, this can cause a chemical reaction. Specifically, this will create a gas where the pressure can build up rapidly. It will get to the point where it will crush the internal organs and crack the exoskeleton.

This will paralyze the cockroach, but won’t instantly kill them. Depending on how much moisture they have, a cockroach will die in about 12 to 36 hours after consuming the baking soda. If a cockroach stops moving, you can dispose of it properly.

One of the best ways to dispose of an immoble cockroach is throwing it outside. There are all kinds of predators outdoors that will feed on roaches. Keep in mind that you will need to kill them while they still have the egg sac intact.

Otherwise, you may be dealing with as many as 40 to 50 cockroaches at a time. And you will soon need to repeat the entire process. The sooner you kill a pregnant cockroach, the better.

Can You Squish Pregnant Cockroaches?

The good news is once killed, a cockroach will not be able to lay their eggs. So what can you do with the egg sac? Before you consider destroying the sack, not so fast.

The cockroach eggs will usually die along with the pregnant cockroach itself. If you try to squish them, the egg sacs may break because they are less durable than a cockroach’s exoskeleton. It may take a bit more force to kill the cockroach itself.

So now that you know the answer to this question, we can now continue with more ideas to kill roaches. Let’s just say these ones will be easier (and less messy).

Raid Ant and Roach Killer

This contains several essential oil ingredients that will be enough to kill roaches (especially pregnant ones). However, the key here will be to spray it directly on them. This should not be used to deter any infestations.

It will take minutes for roaches to die after this solution is sprayed directly on them. Dispose of the roaches properly including relocating them outside. They can be fed on by predators (no worries, the ingredients in the roach killer won’t harm the environment). Take a look at our guide of the #1 pet safe roach killers!

Sticky traps

Sticky traps are made from cardboard with glue embedded inside. Since pregnant roaches tend to hide their eggs in cardboard boxes, it’s the perfect solution. When they enter these traps, they won’t get out.

They will die within hours, if not days. They may not be able to give birth to their nymphs since they will be in the process of dying. Once again, after the adult roach dies, so do the eggs.

Keep the traps in place if you have more cockroaches to get rid of. When finished, you can dispose of the traps properly.

Boric acid

Before we continue, it’s important that you refrain from using this if you have no pets or young children. That’s because it contains ingredients that can be harmful to them. Apply boric acid in areas where cockroaches are known to travel in.

Because of its ingredients, they can kill roaches much faster than some of the solutions we’ve provided. However, if you are adamant to use safer methods, keep reading.

You can mix boric acid with sugar. Once again, cockroaches can’t get enough sugar. So make sure you don’t leave it out.

Diatomaceous Earth Powder

This powder has an abrasive texture that will cut the exoskeleton. When damaged, it will cause the cockroaches to be immobile. Before you ask, will the powder cut open the egg sac?

Even if it does, it will damage the eggs anyways. So you won’t deliberately infest your home with more cockroaches. Don’t overthink using this solution, just sprinkle it on areas where roaches will normally travel.

Alternatively, you can sprinkle it on them directly. And it can be effective in minutes. Death will occur within hours, but you can feed them to predators by moving them outside.

Cockroach Infestation Prevention Measures

Once you get rid of cockroaches, it’s important to consider implementing prevention measures. This is as easy as keeping your home clean. Make sure you clean any used dishes.

Clean up any crumbs or food particles after you are done eating. Secure any full trash bags and store them properly until the day the trash needs to be picked up. Also, it may be wise to seal off any entry points that will be easily accessible by cockroaches.

You can also create barriers that use natural ingredients such as essential oils. Lavender and peppermint oil can repel roaches because of its pleasant smell.

Should You Hire a Pest Control Professional?

If you have the money, you can hire a pest control professional to get rid of cockroaches. Most professionals can use materials that will not harm your pets or children. However, it will cost you more upfront compared to any of the DIY solutions we have provided above.

A pest control professional will be able to sketch out a plan to kill current cockroach infestations. Meanwhile, they will also put together a plan that will prevent any future infestations. You may not get rid of cockroaches permanently as they may try to gain entry into your home once again.

However, taking preventative measures will be better than nothing. Don’t take your chances. Do whatever it takes to avoid any cockroach infestations that can happen in your home as soon as possible.

Final Thoughts On Pregnant Cockroaches

You may not encounter a pregnant roach as often as regular ones. Yet, you now know how you can be able to spot one thanks to this guide. When you do this, make sure you kill them as if they were regular roaches.

When they die, you won’t have to worry about their eggs hatching. So you’re killing two things at once. A pregnant cockroach can make infestations worse.

So the sooner you catch them, the better. It will also make getting rid of cockroaches a lot easier. Especially when you know you have the situation under control.   

Resources:

https://extension.umd.edu/resource/cockroaches

David Floyd:

David Floyd has 20 years of experience working as a pest control technician as well as running his own pest control company. David is Quality Pro certified and is a certified Structural Pest Control Operator in the state of North Carolina, and the owner of NCPestControlExperts pest control company.

Leave a Comment