Most babies in the animal kingdom are adorable, but baby cockroaches? Far from it. It’s not necessarily their appearance that’s alarming – although they can be creepy, too. What’s most concerning is the fact that baby roaches usually mean you have a nest somewhere in the house.
You’re not dealing with an isolated visit from Bob and Nancy Roach. No, the entire family has taken up shop in your home – somewhere you can’t see.
If you’ve never dealt with a cockroach invasion before, you may be wondering what a baby, or nymph, roach looks like and how to get rid of them for good.
Table of Contents
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- What Do Baby Roaches Look Like?
- Identifying Cockroach Eggs
- How Long Do Baby Roaches Stay Babies?
- The Risks of Having Baby Roaches in the House
- Understanding Roach Behavior
- How to Get Rid of Roaches for Good
- 10 Facts About Roaches You Didn’t Know
What Do Baby Roaches Look Like?
Like other animals, baby cockroaches are just miniature versions of adult cockroaches. The primary difference between the two (aside from size) is that babies lack the wings their adult counterparts have.
Babies may also be lighter in color than adults. The baby German cockroach, however, is usually darker than adults.
Baby Roach Pictures
These photos will give you a better idea of what baby roaches look like:
What Does a Cockroach Look Like?
An adult cockroach has an oval-shaped, flat body that’s oily to the touch. These critters have small heads and are covered by a pronotum. Their mouths are backwards and directed down.
Roaches have six legs that are long and spiny, so they can quickly skitter across surfaces. They also have special little pads at their tarsi that let them walk across ceilings and up walls.
Some roach species have wings that lay flat against their backs, but not all of them use their wings for flight.
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Female roaches are usually bigger than males. In some species, the females don’t have wings, but the males do.
To help you get a better idea of what adult roaches look like, here are a few descriptions of the most common species:
- American cockroaches: Reddish-brown in color and around 40mm in length on average.
- German cockroaches: Dark brown in color and 13-16mm in length on average.
- Oriental cockroaches: Black in color and larger than German cockroaches.
- Pennsylvania wood roaches: Tan in color and about 20mm in length on average.
Identifying Cockroach Eggs
If you’re seeing tiny roaches in your home, there’s a good chance there’s a nest in the walls or near your home. Knowing what cockroach eggs look like can help you identify a nest if you’re trying to tackle the problem at its root.
A female cockroach produces an egg case known as an oothecae. A single oothecae can have a large number of eggs, and each is enveloped in a protein substance. That substance eventually hardens to create a protective casing. Some females will drop the egg case, while others will carry it with them until the eggs are just about ready to hatch.
American Cockroach Eggs
Female American roaches will leave dark brown oothecae that are about 8mm long. A single female can make between six and 90 of these cases in her lifetime, and they carry the case with them for anywhere between a few hours and a few days. When she’s ready, the case will be deposited in a hidden location.
Each oothecae contains about 15 embryos. Babies will emerge from the oothecae in 24-38 days.
Oriental Roach Eggs
The oriental cockroach produces a dark reddish-brown egg case that measures 8-10mm in length. These oothecae have a slightly swollen appearance and contain about 16 eggs.
Females will produce anywhere between one and 18 oothecae in their lifetimes.
Oriental roach nymphs take about 600 days to reach full maturity, but the length of their development is largely dependent on their environment.
Brown-Banded Roach Eggs
The brown-banded roach species creates a light reddish-brown egg case that’s about 5mm long. Females can make up to 20 oothecae in their lifetimes, and each one contains between 10 and 18 embryos.
Nymphs are easily identifiable because they have a signature yellow band across their upper abdomen.
It takes three to six months for brown-banded nymphs to grow into full adults.
German Cockroach Eggs
Female German roaches produces an oothecae that’s brown in color and between 6 and 9 mm long. These females will actually carry the eggs inside until they’re ready to hatch.
Each oothecae can contain up to 50 eggs. It takes about 103 days for a German roach to go from egg to adulthood.
With so many eggs in one oothecae, German roach populations can grow very quickly. Because these are the most common species to invade homes, it’s important to tackle the problem early on before the infestation becomes a serious one.
How Long Do Baby Roaches Stay Babies?
Roaches are just like other insects in that they reach adulthood by going through several molting processes at different stages in their lives. Nymphs hatch from their eggs after 20-60 days.
Eventually, babies will develop wings and complete a series of molts to grow into adults. There’s a transitional phase in between each molt known as an instar. Usually, a baby will go through six to seven instars before becoming a full-grown adult. This process takes between 40 and 160 days, depending on the species of the roach and the temperature of the environment.
The Risks of Having Baby Roaches in the House
No one likes having roaches in their home, but can they be a risk to your health? What about baby roaches? Can they cause damage, too?
Yes, yes and yes.
Baby and adult roaches can both carry disease, which can spread quickly throughout your home if you don’t act swiftly.
And if you fail to take care of your baby roach problem, you’re going to wind up with a serious infestation in the very near future. If you’re seeing small cockroaches, it means the adults are reproducing and there’s a nest nearby. They certainly won’t stop reproducing because you ask them to. You’ll need to take care of the problem – sooner rather than later.
You know that German roaches can lay up to 50 eggs at a time. Imagine having 50 new baby roaches suddenly emerge in your home – not a pretty picture. And females will produce several egg cases throughout her lifetime.
The bottom line? Don’t wait around to see if these risks emerge. Get rid of the roaches as soon as you see them to prevent a serious infestation.
Understanding Roach Behavior
Now that you understand the risks of letting roaches hang around, it’s time to start taking steps to get rid of them. Having a good understanding of how roaches behave and operate will help you find the best strategy to chase them out of your home for good.
Roaches Live in Groups, but Aren’t Social
Cockroaches aren’t particularly social creatures, but they do prefer to live in groups. Interestingly, roaches make the decision of where to live as a group. In one study from Free University of Brussels, researchers found that when a space was large enough, the entire group stayed there. When a space was not large enough, the larger group split up into two smaller groups to fit into the enclosures comfortably.
Roaches May Have Collective Intelligence
Other studies suggest that roaches may actually have collective intelligence that’s based on the decisions of individual roaches.
A group of researchers in Europe created a roach robot that mimicked their behavior. Pheromones were applied to the robot, so the other roaches would accept it as one of their own.
The researchers found that that act of the robot roach influenced the behavior of the group overall. For instance, the robot roach convinced the group to move from darker areas to lighter areas.
Researchers say they may be able to use this to their advantage to control roach populations.
How to Get Rid of Roaches for Good
Want to learn how to get rid of baby roaches in the house? The process is no different than what you’d do for adult roaches, and every method will work just as well no matter whether the roaches are in the kitchen, bathroom or bedroom.
Use the methods below to effectively kill and get rid of the roaches in your home.
1. Seal Up Holes and Cracks
Caulk and foam will keep new roaches from getting into your home. And if they haven’t set up a nest inside your home yet, caulking may be the only thing you need to do to get rid of them.
The first thing you need to do is locate any potential entry points for the roaches. These are areas that may have cracks or gaps that these critters can crawl through, including:
- Baseboards and molding
- Interior pipes
- Walls and floors
- Decks, porches and steps
- The roof
- Exterior pipes
- The home’s foundation
Go through each of these areas with a fine tooth comb to look for cracks or holes, and mark off which areas need to be treated.
The next step is to fill in the gap with either caulk or foam. Which one should you choose?
- Use caulk for gaps that are smaller than 1/2”, areas that require a flexible seal (such as joints), areas that are easily visible and require detailed work.
- Use foam for larger gaps that are bigger than 1/2”, cavities that are hard to reach, dry areas with little-to-no moisture, or instances where insulation is needed.
How to Use Caulk to Seal Cracks and Gaps
- Clean the surface area. Remove any old caulk from the area and clean off dirt or loose debris with a caulk-removing tool or cloth.
- Apply masking tape on each side of the crack to create a straight edge.
- Prepare the caulk tube. Start by cutting the nozzle to the appropriate length and piercing the inner seal with a knife or stiff object. Place the tube in the caulking gun.
- Squeeze the gun with consistent pressure for even application of the caulk.
- Use your finger or a smoothing tool to smooth out the caulk.
- Remove the masking tape.
How to Use Foam to Seal Cracks and Gaps
- Put on the appropriate safety gear, including gloves, goggles, protective clothing and respiratory protection.
- Shake the foam can vigorously for about a minute.
- Screw the dispenser onto the can valve, taking care not to activate the valve.
- Invert the can and depress the trigger to apply the foam to openings.
- Release the trigger about five seconds before you reach the end point, making sure you keep the straw moving all the way to the end.
- If the crack or gap is deep, allow the foam to cure completely before applying a new layer. Leave uncured foam untouched.
- Trim excess cured foam as needed.
- If the foam is exposed to sunlight, it must be stained or painted.
2. Clean Your Home
Once you’ve sealed up all the cracks and gaps in your home, it’s time to tidy up the place. Keeping your home clean is the first (technically, second) step to getting rid of cockroaches.
Roaches are only in your home for three reasons: food, water and shelter. You have plenty of each. If you eliminate food, they have little reason to stick around. And if you can also keep them from getting to any water sources, they’ll be out even quicker (or they’ll be dead).
- Don’t leave food out in the open – ever. Keep all opened bags or boxes of food in sealed, airtight containers or Ziploc bags.
- Wash dirty dishes immediately. Do not leave any leftover food on your plate – scrape your plates into the garbage.
- Take out the trash regularly. Garbage will keep the roaches around, so make sure you take out the trash on a regular basis.
- Clean thoroughly underneath and behind appliances, like the oven and refrigerator. Food crumbs have a way of sneaking into these areas, and roaches love to frequent these spots because they’re so dark.
- Wipe down your counters at least once a day, but particularly after eating or preparing food.
- Sweep and clean the floor after cooking to remove any leftover food particles.
3. Use Roach Traps
Experts suggest using traps before you run around spraying roaches with bug spray or laying down powders. Why?
Traps will let you see if you’ve caught any roaches, and how many you may be dealing with. If you haven’t caught any of these critters, you can move the trap to a new location to find out where they’re coming from.
Once you’ve figured out where the cockroaches are coming from, you can use powders or sprays if you like.
4. Use a Natural Roach Repellent
If you’re not keen on the idea of spraying poison or laying down powder throughout your home, there are natural roach repellents you can use. Research has shown that the following repellents are actually effective:
- Eucalyptol, or ceneole, which is found in bay leaves. Leave dried bay leaves in areas where the roaches are frequenting to keep them away.
- Nepetalactone, which is found in catnip. Leave catnip where the roaches are hanging around, or place it inside cracks or gaps to keep them out of the home.
- Osage orange oil. Scientists still aren’t sure which active ingredient in this oil repels roaches, but they do know that it works very well for this purpose.
Natural repellents are great for keeping roaches out of your home, but do be advised that this is not the best route to take if you’re dealing with an infestation.
Borax is another simple solution that can get rid of roaches relatively quickly. This simple powder, which is typically used as a household cleaner and laundry booster, dries out the roach’s exoskeleton, so they dehydrate and die.
Borax isn’t an instant killer, but they will drag the powder back to their nest where they may infect other roaches.
Sprinkle borax where roaches tend to frequent – behind or underneath appliances, kitchen counters, etc.
While borax is mostly non-toxic, you should not leave it out where kids and pets can reach it.
6. Soap and Water
If you’re dealing with just a few roaches, you can use a simple soap and water spray to kill them. Yes, roaches can survive in water, but it’s not the water that’s supposed to kill them.
The soap clogs their pores, which causes them to suffocate and die.
7. Boric Acid and Sugar
Boric acid is another excellent roach killer, and it works in a similar way that borax works. But boric acid is more toxic than borax, so keep that in mind and do remember to keep it out of reach of kids and pets.
The boric acid will kill the roach, but the sugar is what will attract him to the area.
Once the acid comes in contact with the roach, it will dry out its exoskeleton, causing it to dehydrate and die.
The only downside to using this method is that you’ll have to clean up a lot of dead roaches in the morning.
Tip: Please do take the time to clean up the dead bodies. Other living roaches have no problem eating their dead, so you’re leaving behind a food source for nest mates to come feast on. Also, dead roaches can produce a stench that no one wants to deal with.
8. Get Rid of All Standing Water
If the roaches aren’t after food, they’re definitely after water. If you have standing water anywhere in your home, you’re basically inviting roaches to come inside and stay awhile.
Something as simple as soaking water in the sink or forgetting to let the water out of the bathtub can attract roaches. And if you have leaky pipes, you’re just asking for an invasion.
Fix any leaks and stop leaving standing water in your home to deny roaches the water they desperately need to live.
You can also go the extra mile by using a dehumidifier in your home to get rid of any moisture in the air that may be attracting these pests.
9. Hire an Exterminator
Sometimes, the DIY approach does not get rid of the problem – especially if you have a serious infestation. In this case, you’ll need to hire a professional exterminator to get rid of your roach problem once and for all.
And if you live in an apartment building, an exterminator may be your only real option.
A professional will have the tools, skill and knowledge to know where to find the nest and the best possible strategy to eliminate roaches from your home.
Please note that exterminators will use chemical sprays, or poison, to get rid of the roaches. Let them know if you have pets or children, so you know how to proceed without putting anyone at risk.
Some exterminators may offer alternative solutions, but most will go with the tried-and-true chemical spray to get rid of the roaches.
10 Facts About Roaches You Didn’t Know
- A newly-hatched cockroach, which is about the size of a grain of sand, can run almost as fast as an adult roach.
- Roaches can live for up to a week without their heads. They have an open circulatory system, so they don’t need their mouths or heads to breathe. The only reason they die is because they can’t drink or eat without a head.
- It’s estimated that cockroaches are 280 million years old and originated in the Carboniferous era.
- Roaches can hold their breath for up to 40 minutes at a time, and can survive underwater for up to 30 minutes.
- How fast can roaches run? Up to three miles an hour. These quick critters can spread bacteria and germs quickly with speeds that fast.
- The largest cockroach is six inches in length and has a one-foot wingspan.
- There are over 4,000 different cockroach species across the globe.
- Roaches can also live without food for a month because they’re cold-blooded. But they can only survive one week without water.
- The American cockroach is particularly attracted to beer and other alcoholic beverages.
- The average roach lives up to one year.