What Does A Baby Cockroach Look Like? – Nymph Identification

what does a baby cockroach look like

Cockroaches are one of America’s most pesky unwanted houseguests – and that includes their offspring.

Baby cockroaches, otherwise known as cockroach nymphs, can vary in size, shape, and look, depending on its particular species (fun fact: there are roughly 4500 species of cockroach, worldwide), and keeping an eye out for baby cockroaches is a good way to keep your home infestation-free. In this guide, we’ll be covering what does a baby cockroach look like!

What Does A Baby Cockroach Look Like?

Here is how to identify cockroach nymphs or young cockroaches based on individual cockroach species:

American Cockroach Nymphs (Baby)

Baby American cockroaches tend not to have a specific color, as they change in color as they grow and begin to shed their exoskeleton. This process is referred to as ‘molting’. They start out as a dark brown color, and then evolve into a reddish brown color. They tend to be around one-quarter of an inch long.

German Cockroach Nymphs (Baby)

Baby German cockroaches are fairly easy to identify, as they are a very dark brown. Almost black. They are around one-eighth of an inch long. As they grow, they begin to develop black lines behind their heads, before turning into a brown / tan color, which adult German cockroaches are.

Brown Banded Cockroach Nymphs (Baby)

As babies, brown banded cockroaches look similar in nymph stage as to adulthood. They are brown and have their trademark light-brown bands behind their heads. Size-wise, they are about one-eighth of an inch in length.

Oriental Cockroach Nymphs (Baby)

Oriental baby cockroaches are reddish brown and are around one quarter inch long. They get darker the older they get, and by adulthood are almost black in color.

Smoky Brown Cockroach Nymphs (Baby)

These babies are easy to identify due to their mahogany color and white markings. In terms of length, smoky brown nymphs are usually around three-eighths of an inch long.

Cockroach Reproduction

Female cockroaches lay their eggs in cases, which contain multiple eggs (the number varies from species to species). These cases are sturdy and encompass a protein sac, which protects the eggs from damage or being eaten by predators.

Cockroaches like to lay and store their egg cases in hidden and secluded indoor areas, such as inside wall or wood crevices, behind furniture, and in amongst debris and storage. Female German cockroaches carry their egg sac around attached to them until it’s near the time for them to hatch.

A fun (or un-fun) fact about cockroaches is that roaches can actually lay eggs after they’re killed if the egg case isn’t fully destroyed.

Cockroach Egg Cases

The two key cockroach culprits that you may find in your home are the American cockroach and the German cockroach.

  • American cockroaches

Female American cockroaches lay somewhere between 14 – 16 eggs per case

  • German Cockroaches

Female German cockroaches lay anywhere between 30 – 40 eggs per case, making them a bigger pest than other species of cockroach in the United States.

How Long Does it Take for an Egg Case to Hatch?

Once a female cockroach lays her egg sac, the nymphs will hatch after 20 – 40 days. Once hatched, baby cockroaches go through several growth stages (molting) before reaching adulthood. This involves shedding their shell to make room for one underneath that is more evolved. Depending on the individual species, nymphs can molt as many as ten times before they are fully-grown.

Once a Nymph is Hatched

Like their older counterparts, cockroach nymphs are robust, clever, and sneaky creatures. For example, baby cockroaches can live up to a week without their heads. Some species are able to regenerate detached limbs too. They are also incredibly quick, alert, and able to fit their bodies into even the tiniest of crevices.

Cockroaches are thought to be one of the oldest remaining species, said to date as far back as the Carboniferous Era (circa 300 million years). They are known for their survival and evolution skills. For example, a cockroach nymph can survive in water for up to thirty minutes. The reason for this is the same as how they can survive for a week without a head: they have breathing holes in their body allowing them to take oxygen that way.

How to Identify Cockroach Eggs

It’s highly unlikely you’ll see individual cockroach eggs in your home, as female cockroaches lay eggs in cases – these are called ootheca. An ootheca is the earth-colored egg case which protects the individual eggs. These cases are sometimes spherical or sometimes oblong, or ‘purse-shaped’. The cases are often indented, making them chrysalis-like and easy to identify as cockroach eggs. They are usually around 10 mm in length.

Cockroach eggs can also be identified by the smell. When roaches are reproducing cockroaches have a distinct smell.

What to Do if You Have Cockroaches in Your Home

Whether adult cockroaches or baby cockroaches – most homeowners do not relish roaches as houseguests. They are filthy, disease-carrying insects and if you’re not careful, what may be one or two roaches may turn into a full-blown cockroach infestation.

First, you need to identify whether the pest presence in your home is indeed cockroaches.

How to Tell if You Have a Cockroach Presence

Spotting a rogue roach may not necessarily mean you have an infestation. However, roaches are notorious for multiplying very quickly, so if you do spot one skittering around, keep an eye out for tell-tale signs of a cockroach infestation.

Shells

Once the cockroach babies hatch from the ootheca, you may be left with the brown shell encasements. These will look like broken chrysalis’ (which is effectively what they are).

Droppings

Another tell-tale sign of roaches in your home is their poop. They will look like black pepper or dark dirt particles.

Smells

Adult cockroaches secrete a pheromone that has a smell, which most experts describe as ‘oily and musty’, so if you can smell this odd combination and there’s no other plausible explanation, you may have roaches.

sounds

Despite being on the smaller end of the bug scale, roaches actually have a sound they make at night, which is a light chirping. You may also hear them skittering or rustling around if they are in your house en masse.

Getting Rid of Roaches in Your Home

Your best bet is to call a professional pest control service, as they will come equipped with the right knowledge and products to eradicate adult cockroaches, cockroach nymphs, and cockroach egg cases. Here’s our guide on natural DIY methods to get rid of roaches.

You can also try to treat the problem yourself with pesticides, bug bombs, sticky traps, or roach motels.

Baby Cockroaches: FAQs

What bugs look like baby cockroaches but aren’t?

  • Ground beetles
  • Crickets
  • June bugs
  • Bed bugs
  • Termites
  • Wood-boring beetles

How many species of cockroach are there in America?

At present, there are 55 identified species of cockroach living in the United States. Not all cockroaches are considered pests, however, as some are beneficial to the ecosystem.

Are baby roaches dangerous?

A baby cockroach can be bad news to have around, as, like their elders, they are unsanitary creatures. Because roaches (both adult and baby) spend their time crawling around filthy, unhygienic locations, they pick up multiple types of bacteria, fungi, and parasites, meaning when they are in our home environment, they pose a health risk to us.

Do baby roaches bite?

Baby roaches, like adult cockroaches, are very unlikely to bite human. Most insects are frightened of humans, and prefer to avoid us. A baby cockroach will feed the same as its mother cockroach, which is usually on food and garbage they can find.

Resources:

https://www.epa.gov/ipm/cockroaches-and-schools

About The Author:

David Floyd has 20 years of experience working as a pest control technician as well as running his own pest control company. His main goal is to provide accurate and helpful DIY tips to keep your home pest-free and how to identify different types of household pests!