Cockroach Life Cycle


Cockroach falls under the category of menace causing insects, and we all have experienced our fair share of household infestation with cockroaches. Cockroaches or roaches fall under the suborder Blattodea which is under the super order Dictyoptera. Insects under Dictyoptera are cockroaches and mantids; both characterized for having oval shaped flat bodies, leathery wings and long antennae. To better understand these insects knowing the history is very important. Cockroaches are one of the oldest insects whose fossils are 320 million years old.

Even though they spent so much time on earth, they are despised everywhere they go. Cockroaches are known for leaving behind stinky smell, attacking household food items and are considered carriers of diseases. Now let’s look at the life cycle of a cockroach for better understanding.

Life Cycle of a Cockroach:

The Eggs (Ootheca) – Stage 1 –

Ootheca is known as the egg shell covering located at the abdomen of female cockroaches. The fertilized female cockroach produces around 50 eggs in a ootheca sack. The cockroaches carry the eggs in ootheca in order to protect them, till it enters the nymph stage. Amount of eggs an ootheca can carry varies from one species to the other. These eggs hatch into nymphs depending on environmental conditions they live in.

The Nymph – Stage 2 –

The cockroach enters the second stage as a tiny nymph. The nymph cockroach undergoes several stages of molting and shedding of skin. It transforms into a white colored body and with each molting. Gradually the nymph becomes larger in size and their exoskeleton becomes more rigid and darker in color. The time period for nymph stage varies from one species to another. It also depends on the environmental factors and presence of predators. The nymph stage lasts for a span of 11 to 14 months. Once the nymph finishes multiple stages of molting and develops parts like wings, it enters the adult stage.

The Adult – Stage 3 –

One way to differentiate the nymph cockroach from that of an adult cockroach is their pair of wings. The lifespan of an adult cockroach varies from species to species. While some species live for two months, some other species survive for almost two years. Cockroaches are omnivorous in nature as they feed on anything – from stripes of paper to your last night’s leftover food. An adult female cockroach is capable of producing 300 to 400 offspring in her lifetime.


Cockroaches usually prefer a warm, dark-dingy and humid climate to survive. Cockroaches and termites are similar but termites feed on wood unlike the omnivorous cockroaches.

To explore more information about cockroaches, register by BYJU’S Biology.

Frequently Asked Questions on Cockroach Life Cycle

Where to look for cockroaches in households?

The nooks and cracked floors of bathroom, kitchen, basements, garages are the highly likely areas around your house where you will find cockroaches.

Are cockroaches able to fly?

It is not true as the ability for cockroaches to fly depends on the species. Not all species of cockroaches can fly. The American cockroach can glide short distances and the Australian cockroach can fly.

Can cockroaches bite human beings?

Due to omnivorous nature, it feeds on anything and everything. Thus a cockroach can bite human beings. This is another reason cockroach infestation should be eradicated as soon as possible.

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