Cockroach Eggs 101: What They Look Like & How to Get Rid of Them

Cockroaches are possibly the most common indoor pests. The worst thing is that they are very hard to kill completely. This is partly because these pests preserve their eggs well. Even with insecticides, the cockroach eggs can easily survive.

In the USA, people are most familiar with the German cockroach as it is quite common. This particular species is attracted to environments that are warm and humid, and they will also reproduce quickly if they can access food. You should note that these insects are not just a nuisance in living spaces. They also spread several bacteria, meaning you might end up contracting some diseases if you don’t kill the pests.

roach laying eggs

I’m an entomologist, so people often ask me about how to get rid of cockroaches. It is crucial to note that any extermination effort must target the eggs, in addition to the live cockroaches. In case you are unable to eliminate them, the oothecae are going to restart the roach problem. This short guide will help you understand how to get rid of these annoying insects and how to kill cockroaches’ eggs. Also, I will give you a comprehensive answer to the question: What do cockroaches eggs look like?

Do Cockroaches Lay Eggs?

german roach laying an egg

Yes, they do. The egg marks the first stage in their lifecycle, after which they will go through the nymph stage, then mature into adults. They don’t go through a roach larvae stage. The eggs are carried in capsules that get harder as they age. The hardened shell helps to protect the roach from predators and other elements.

How many babies do roaches have?

Cockroaches never lay single eggs. In a single setting, a female cockroach can lay 10 to 60 eggs, and these will be subjected to an incubation period of between 24 and 215 days. German cockroaches typically lay 30 to 40 eggs in single settings.

So, how many roaches in an egg? A roach egg will only contain a single cockroach, but this does not do much to ease the already dire situation. Even with a single cockroach egg sack, you can potentially have 60 new roaches to deal with. On average, males have shorter lifespans compared to female ones. Females can live for two years. If you locate the oothecae within your living space, you are likely to have a serious roach problem.

What Do Cockroaches Eggs Look Like?

There is a popular misconception that cockroach eggs cannot be seen with the naked eye. It cannot be further from the truth. Others have the wrong idea about the appearance of these sacks, and that can affect the efficiency of their extermination strategy.

different roach eggs

The cockroach eggs size ranges from 5 to 13 mm, and they have a brown to dark color. German cockroach eggs are easy to differentiate from American cockroach eggs. The German ones are small, narrow, and less dark. American cockroach eggs are almost black. These characteristics refer to the cockroach egg case.

Oriental cockroach eggs have a red to brown color, and the oothecae look more inflated than those of other species. An ootheca of an oriental cockroach will usually carry about 16 eggs, and these are lined up vertically in the sack. The best way to learn the differences between these oothecae is by taking a look at some pictures of cockroach eggs.

With an average infestation, you will not be able to see the eggs since they are stored in corners and other locations of the house. If you spot a cockroach egg in an open area, you can be certain that you have a serious infestation.

How Long Does it Take for Roach Eggs to Hatch?

A female cockroach will typically lay a new set of eggs every six weeks. These eggs take about four weeks to hatch into baby cockroaches. I should mention that eggs of German roaches hatch faster than American and Oriental cockroach eggs. American eggs can take 8 weeks to hatch. A female American roach will lay more eggs in their lifetime, and they also tend to live longer than German roaches. In optimal conditions, an American cockroach can live for three to four years.

Where Do Cockroaches Lay Eggs?

You may spot a cockroach now and then in your house, but locating the eggs is usually difficult. That’s because they are deposited in dark and concealed spots like cracks and the back of pictures. Some common areas you should check include under the sink, near pipes, and underdrawers. The oothecae are usually camouflaged, so you have to look thoroughly. The eggs are attached to the surfaces they are deposited on. This is done with some sticky substance, and that means you cannot remove the eggs by just scratching the surface.

Female cockroaches also like to deposit their eggs near pieces of food since the baby cockroaches have to find their food when they hatch. You should also note that many roaches carry the oothecae till they hatch. Sometimes, the eggs will even hatch while being carried by the female roaches.

There are a few signs that can help you determine how close a deposit of cockroach eggs is. These include:

  • Shed skin. If you notice that a particular spot in your house has many shed skins, you can almost be sure that a cockroach egg is close by. It can also indicate where the roaches like to hide and will make it easier for you to exterminate them.
  • Roach feces. Droppings of roaches look like small black spots. If you notice that there is a concentration of roach droppings in a particular part of the house, you should scan the surroundings thoroughly. This is because the eggs may be close by.
  • A strong and musty smell. It is a well-known fact that cockroaches smell. Their eggs emit a musty smell, so you can look out for that as well.

Which is the Best Way to Kill Roaches and Eggs?

Cockroaches reproduce fast, and a few can easily create a big population with quick reproduction. A single ootheca that is ignored during the extermination process may hatch into 50 roaches, and that is more than enough to restart the problem. You need to get rid of every single roach and all the eggs in the house otherwise, your efforts will not have lasting results.

Fortunately, there are some ways of killing cockroaches along with their eggs. Make sure you apply these methods correctly as you don’t want to spend time and still end up where you started.

Many of the usual methods used to kill roaches do not affect the eggs. If a female roach dies while carrying the ootheca, the eggs can still hatch. It mostly happens if the eggs were close to hatching when the female roach died. The eggs will also survive if they are not crushed when the mother is killed.

1. I can recommend using roach baits. These are poisons developed to attract roaches. They kill them over time. The baits are carried to the hiding spots of the roaches and are shared with other members of the population. This way, every roach in the population will get poisoned and will die over time. If there are eggs in the place, the first meal the baby roaches will eat will be poison, so they won’t be much of a problem.

2. If you can locate them, you can crush the eggs with a shoe. It should be done with a lot of strength since there is a chance that the eggs can hatch outside the ootheca. This should also be the case when crushing pregnant cockroaches. Also, you should dispose of the crushed eggs and roaches properly. In case they still manage to hatch, they should be as far away from your house as possible. The one downside of this strategy is that it is hard to find a cockroach egg in the house.

3. Another effective method is using insect growth regulators. These are chemicals that cause the roaches to become sterile, and that can put an end to the cycle of reproduction. Insect growth regulators can be quite effective at killing roach eggs. With these chemicals, the only way roaches can grow their population in your home would be by inviting new roaches. If you make your house less conducive to roaches, the entire population will die out over time. For a better effect, you can also combine insect growth regulators with other methods that kill the roaches directly.

insect growth regulators

4. Sprays are highly inefficient when dealing with insect eggs. They are meant to kill roaches on contact, but they can only destroy one roach at a time. In many cases, a pregnant roach will still leave healthy offspring after they are killed by this method.


Cockroaches lay many eggs in a single setting, and they also lay eggs frequently. It means it can be a challenge to control their fast-growing populations. To ensure you get rid of all the roaches in your house or workplace, you will need to target the eggs, as well as the roaches already living in your space. Effective methods to achieve this include using insect growth regulators and baits.

To determine how serious your infestation is, you will need to identify roach eggs. Looking at some roach eggs images may help, but you should remember that the eggs of different types of cockroaches look different.

Do you have any experience dealing with roach eggs? Are there any mistakes you have made when exterminating roaches from your space? Let us know in the comments below.

Also read:


  • Cockroaches (University of Minnesota Extension):


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Nicholas Martin

Nicholas Martin

I am Nicholas Martin, and I am an entomologist. I combine the insect survey work with the consultation for private pest control agencies. My narrow specializations are both urban pests and agricultural pests. I studied their control over the previous 25 years. More about Nick

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