What Do Cockroach Eggs Look Like?

What Do Cockroach Eggs Look Like?

Cockroaches are some of the most prolific pests in the United States and around the world, and one reason for this is because of how well they protect their eggs. Cockroaches lay eggs within a protective barrier and often carry them around until they’re ready to hatch. Because cockroaches reproduce so rapidly, it’s important to learn what roach eggs look like, where to find them, and how to get rid of them so you can avoid an infestation. 


Depending on the cockroach species in your home, identifying roach eggs can be tricky. While American cockroaches are more likely to deposit their eggs around the house, German roaches typically carry their eggs around until they are ready to hatch—so you may never even spot stand-alone roach eggs in your home with this species. 


People often confuse roach droppings (also known as frass) for roach eggs because they show up in large numbers near groups of cockroaches. Cockroach droppings look like pieces of ground pepper or coffee grounds and often smear on surfaces. Cockroach eggs, on the other hand, are contained within an egg case that’s more similar to the size of a whole coffee bean. 


Unlike other insects (which lay singular eggs on a surface), cockroaches lay their eggs in an egg case called the ootheca. For the American cockroach (Periplaneta americana), the ootheca is dark brown, purse-shaped, and is sealed at the top with a ridged edge. The German roach’s (Blattella germanica) ootheca is light brown, ribbed, and more transparent. Both the American and German roach ootheca measure about 8 mm in length. If you saw several of these cases in your home, you might think you’re looking at individual eggs, but they’re actually full of several eggs each.


The number of eggs in one egg case depends on the species of cockroach. The most common domestic cockroaches are the American cockroach and the German cockroach. Both of these roach species lay multiple eggs inside each ootheca. 


American cockroaches lay 16 eggs in each ootheca, and one female produces around 150 offspring in her lifetime. The life cycle of an American cockroach also takes a bit longer than other species—about 600 days from egg to adult. 


Each German cockroach ootheca contains 30–40 eggs, and a female will produce six to eight oothecae in her life. These egg cases protrude from the back end of the female just under the wings. She will carry this egg case with her until the eggs are ready to hatch. 


American roach eggs are often spotted indoors because females tend to deposit their oothecae near food sources and out of harm’s way. Sometimes females also glue ootheca to the walls or floors with a sticky substance from their mouth, giving them a greater chance of not being disturbed. 

The most common domestic roach species—the German cockroach—lays its eggs in an egg case that remains attached to its body. This means if you’re dealing with these pests indoors, you aren’t likely to spot any eggs around your home, but you may spot a female carrying her offspring. 


Cockroaches are social insects in some aspects but not in others. For example, they follow cues and gather in groups, but there is no hierarchy or queen as with true social insects (honeybees, ants, etc.). 

Because of this semi-social structure, cockroaches don’t build nests and don’t lay eggs in a nest. Instead, roach eggs are protected, carried around, and sometimes deposited in a favorable spot. Cockroaches do tend to gather in common harborage areas for shelter, and these areas are sometimes referred to as roach nests. In these areas—under sinks, in cupboards, under piles of cardboard, etc.—you’ll find roach frass (droppings), shed skin, nymphs, adults, and possibly a few egg cases.


Another common breeding ground for cockroaches is in vehicles. In warm, humid areas like Florida, Hawaii, Texas, southern California, and other states with lush vegetation, roaches flock to cars for refuge—especially if you park outside instead of in a protected garage. You might find roach eggs, nymphs, and adults under seats, in the trunk, and even under the hood.


Each cockroach species’ life cycle varies in length, but all roaches begin to reproduce as soon as they reach adulthood. 


Roach eggs remain protected in egg cases until they hatch. The ootheca contains enough moisture to nourish these eggs as they grow. German roach eggs take about 18 days to hatch, while American roach eggs can take up to two months to hatch. 


As soon as roach eggs hatch, nymphs scramble out of the ootheca and begin foraging for the same food adults eat (food waste, garbage, sweets, fats, pet food, etc.). The cockroach nymph is clear in color and has a softer body at first. It will molt several times before reaching adulthood, gaining a thicker armor and becoming darker in color each time. 


Once nymphs reach adulthood, they begin reproducing to restart the reproduction cycle. An adult American roach can live for over a year, while a German roach lives for five to seven months. 


If you’ve spotted roach eggs, nymphs, or adult cockroaches in your home, the first thing you should do is contact your pest control provider right away. Cockroaches spread disease, cause allergies, soil their environment, and create overall unsanitary living conditions. 

There are also a few things you can do to prepare your home for pest control services before help arrives:

  • Remove all garbage from the home.
  • Properly dispose of (or store) all unsealed food.
  • Secure pet food in an airtight container.
  • Empty all cupboards. 
  • Sweep and mop floors.

By getting the house ready, you can set your pest control provider up for success and speed up the eradication process.

Cockroaches can be difficult pests to evict, so it’s best to leave roach removal up to the professionals. At Joshua’s Pest Control, our field experts are trained to use professional-grade products to get rid of cockroaches and roach eggs for good. Contact us today for a free quote! 



Courtney Enzor has worked in the pest control industry for about a decade. From helping you build a fly trap to giving you the best tips for identifying various bugs, she loves answering all your pest-related questions and sharing her pest-related expertise through writing. At the end of the day, she hopes her content will help people avoid mishaps and keep families happy and healthy!