If you find a baby cockroach in your home, a warning bell should sound because where there is one baby cockroach, chances are good there are many, many more in hiding. Roaches undergo what is called incomplete metamorphosis. This means that they generally look very similar to adults of the species, but have underdeveloped wings and are sexually immature. Being able to identify them can help you get an early jump on the problem. Here is what you need to know about baby cockroaches.
Cockroach Egg Cases
The cockroach life cycle starts with the female laying an egg case called an ootheca. These cases are oval-shaped, range from about 6-10 mm in length, and are usually dark brown in appearance. The female roach may deposit the egg case right away, carry it with her until she finds a safe place, or carry it until the babies hatch. One female roach can lay many egg cases in her lifetime, leading to several hundred offspring.
Baby cockroaches are called nymphs. When they first hatch, nymphs start out soft and white, but within a few hours, they will harden and start to turn brown. The nymphs have similar features to adult cockroaches, but they are much smaller and lack wings. As the nymphs grow, they will develop wings and molt several times. The process of going from nymph to mature adult usually takes 2-3 months, depending on the species and the environment.
General Cockroach Characteristics
Since nymphs have the same basic features as adults, it is important to know how to identify cockroaches. While each species has features that are unique, there are some general characteristics that all cockroaches share.
- Flat, oval shaped body
- Small head with downward facing mouth
- 6 spiny legs with small “claws” at the end
- Some species have wings (as adults)
- Large compound eyes
- Range from ¼ – 3 inches long
- Range from tan to dark brown or black in color
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