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There’s nothing cute about a baby cockroach. And no time to mess around. If you’ve discovered one, you’ll need to take action. Why?

Because even a single baby roach can signal a much bigger problem. One you’ll want to solve before the problem spreads. By taking certain steps now, you’ll protect not just your home, but possibly your family’s health.

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Let’s look at what finding a baby cockroach means, where it came from, and if it might actually be some other kind of bug. If it is a cockroach and there are more tiny roaches about, we’ll look at how to deal with them, too. Ready? Let’s tackle this not-so-tiny problem head-on!

Remember, when using insecticides, the label is the law—read and follow the instructions carefully, not only for your own safety, but to make sure each treatment is as effective as possible.

This is the first of three resources to help you identify and deal with baby roaches. For more, also see “What Do Baby Roaches Look Like?” here. And “Baby Roach Pictures: An Easy Visual Guide,” here.

Step One: Understand What’s at Stake

Lots of cockroaches, adults and babies

Baby Roaches Can Be Harmful

Big or small, roaches are not creatures you want living in your house. Cockroaches are pretty disgusting bugs. And the babies carry the same risks as their adult counterparts. They spend their time crawling around revoltingly dirty places and eating rotten and awful things. As a result, they pick up all sorts of bacteria, viruses, mold, fungi, and worms, which they then deposit elsewhere.

If you guessed that cockroaches put your family at risk for food poisoning, you’d be right.

As the baby cockroach you spotted scuttles across your kitchen counter at night, it leaves behind a wealth of disease-causing bacteria. And when it breaks into your pantry to eat your food, it’s also… defecating. Defecating everywhere. On your shelves, on the walls, and in the food itself.

Adult and baby cockroaches feeding on a piece of bread

If you guessed that puts your family at risk for food poisoning, you’d be right. And frighteningly, there’s more. Its droppings and shed skin can become airborne, triggering asthma attacks and allergies. It may even cause asthma in your children.

That’s why you don’t want even a single baby cockroach in your home. But on that front there’s even more bad news. Because there’s never, ever just one baby cockroach. There are likely to be hundreds of them, along with lots of cockroach adults, hiding unseen.

And to understand why, and successfully combat them, you need to first know a little about adult cockroaches, their impressive reproductive capabilities, and how the baby roach you spotted (along with its horde of brothers and sisters) came to be.

There are Probably More Baby Roaches Than You Think

Like other insects, cockroaches are egg-laying creatures. The females lay their eggs in an egg sac called an ootheca, which contain multiple cockroach eggs – between 14 and 48, depending on the species. While some of the eggs don’t hatch, each egg produces a single baby cockroach (known as a cockroach nymph), creating a lot of tiny roaches each time the female lays.

Cockroach infestation with adults and cockroach nymphs

In fact, some cockroaches are so good at reproducing, females don’t even need a mate. 

In total, she produces between 6 and 30 egg cases over a life cycle that usually lasts less than a year, and that can mean hundreds of baby roaches from just a single female. But there’s seldom just one female. There are many. All reproducing at the same remarkable rate.

That’s what makes a cockroach infestation happen so quickly. In fact, some cockroaches are so good at reproducing, females don’t even need a mate. How do cockroaches spread? They do it fast.

Step Two: Identify the Bugs

You see a bug scamper across the counter.

Though roach-like in the way it looks and moves, it’s wingless and smaller than other cockroaches you’ve seen in the past. It might also be a different color. Perhaps even a slightly different shape. Is it a baby cockroach? A beetle? Or could it be something else?

To find out, put on a pair of gloves and try to catch or kill one if you can. Examine it closely, comparing it to the common cockroach nymphs below.

For more help with roach identification, along with a special collection of baby roach pictures, see What Do Baby Roaches Look Like? and Baby Roach Pictures: An Easy Visual Guide.

Step Three: Get Rid of Your Baby Roaches and Make Sure They Don’t Come Back

Bottom of a man's boot, about to squash a cockroach

Once you’ve determined that you actually do have a baby cockroach problem, you’re going to want to get rid of them quickly. Then take precautions to keep them from coming back.

Common Myths

Let’s begin by dispelling some common cockroach myths.

Myth #1: Size Matters

Some people mistakenly think that the larger the roach, the larger the problem. This is simply not true. Even the smallest baby cockroach can carry disease and shed allergens, and do it as well as the largest cockroach.

Myth #2: A Clean House Ensures That You Won’t Get Roaches

You’re also not necessarily safe just by keeping a clean home. While roaches prefer dirty homes because it’s easier to access food and hiding places, if they can get in and find food, water, and shelter, they’ll happily invade a clean home.

Myth #3: Roaches Are Invincible

No. Cockroaches aren’t invincible.

They can be killed and then controlled. They even have natural enemies like centipedes and wasps that may already be helping to keep their numbers down. And don’t believe anyone who tells you that roaches can live for decades. Even the longest-lived roaches barely reach two years.

The bottom line? You can be roach-free forever if you understand what you’re up against and take smart action now.

Action Step 1: Sanitation and Exclusion

Vacuum cleaner cleaning carpet
Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

You’ll want to begin your action plan by making your home less attractive and hospitable to roaches, including the adults. Fewer bugs will enter, fewer will survive and breed, and some that do enter may simply leave. Don’t neglect this step or you may find yourself facing the same baby cockroach problem time and time again:

  • Thoroughly clean your home. Don’t leave food lying out. Clean up your kitchen every night after dinner. If your pet doesn’t finish their food, put it away somewhere instead of leaving it out. Clean up spills and crumbs. While you’re cleaning, you can even vacuum up some cockroaches and oothecae (the egg sacs female cockroaches lay) and seal them in your outdoor trash bin.
  • The same applies to water (which cockroaches need to drink). Empty standing water at night. Don’t let water pool in your sinks or on your counter tops. Fix leaky plumbing, and hunt out sources of condensation, which can otherwise provide plenty of water for cockroaches to drink.
  • Don’t give them places to hide: pick up any clutter both in and outside the house. If they’re living inside your small appliances (e.g., a toaster), bag them up and put them in the freezer for five days, then bring them back inside and clean them. Cockroaches can’t withstand extreme cold.
  • Don’t let them in. Seal holes or cracks where they could be getting in. Check baseboards, pipes, doors, and windows.
  • And though you may have used baits in the extermination process, don’t forget to keep some around, and check them periodically to be sure they’re still fully working.

Action Step 2: Extermination

Hand of a pest control technician spraying for cockroaches

Having laid the groundwork with sanitation and exclusion work, it’s time to hit the intruders hard.

You’ll do that in one, or possibly two ways: By killing them (absolutely), and by taking away their ability to reproduce (possibly). In both cases, you’ll want to act quickly, before the problem gets worse. And you’ll want to use roach control products in the form of insecticides and baits.

Optionally, you could also hire a professional cockroach exterminator with experience and skills in using those products.

If You’re Going to DIY

If you’re going to DIY, you’ll need to honestly assess how bad your roach problem is, then educate yourself in some chemicals and their use. We’ll give you some of the basics here, then go into greater details on other pages.

Disclaimer: This page is strictly for informational use. When using insecticides, keep in mind—the label is the law. Insecticides should be applied correctly and safely when needed, and according to the laws of your state or country.

So. Two general types of insecticides are considered best for cockroach infestations, and should be employed together:

  • For the nymphs, use insect growth regulators, known as IGRs. They inhibit insect growth, so if a baby cockroach eats some IGR, it won’t grow up.
  • For adults, use an insecticide formulated for cockroaches, or a natural product like boric acid or diatomaceous earth. Keep in mind that even natural cockroach treatments carry risks and you should educate yourself to every product before use.
  • Active ingredients to look for are abamectin, cyfluthrin, cypermethrin, deltamethrin, dinotefuran, fipronil, hydramethylnon, imidacloprid, indoxycarb, and permethrin. They come in dusts, liquids, and gels and can be applied directly to surfaces (not counter tops, walls, or open floors) or placed in bait stations set along the baseboards or in cabinets or corners.

Suggested Products If You Have a Roach Problem

To Find Cockroach Hiding Spots and Kill Them Quickly When You Have Just a Few

Recommended for all cockroaches

Exterminator’s Choice Sticky Glue Traps

Used to measure and monitor a cockroach infestation and provide some supplemental control.

BASF PT P.I. Contact Insecticide

P.I. is a pyrethrin-based spray insecticide that kills roaches fast. Best when used as a supplement to other treatments, it’s not inexpensive, but far more effective than off-the-shelf sprays.

To Kill Cockroaches Inside Your Home When You Have a Serious Problem

Recommended for German cockroaches and Brown banded cockroaches, as well as American cockroaches (Palmetto bugs, Water bugs, Tree roaches, Sewer roaches), and Oriental cockroaches when they enter in large numbers.

Rockwell Labs CimeXa Dust Insecticide

CimeXa is an effective indoor crack and crevice treatment. For best results, use alongside Advion Gel Bait and Gentrol IGR.

HARRIS Diatomaceous Earth Powder Duster

Insecticidal dusts like CimeXa work best when applied with a duster tool. This inexpensive diatomaceous earth duster works fine with CimeXa, Delta Dust, and other recommended dusts.

Syngenta Advion Cockroach Gel Bait

Advion first poisons the roaches that eat it, then others in a secondary kill. For the most effective indoor treatment, combine with CimeXa insecticidal dust and Gentrol IGR.

Gentrol Point Source IGR

Gentrol is an insect growth regulator (IGR) that interferes with roach reproduction. It’s most effective used alongside Advion Gel Bait and CimeXa insecticidal dust.

To Kill Cockroaches Outdoors Before They Have a Chance to Get Inside

Recommended for American cockroaches (Palmetto bugs, Water bugs, Tree roaches, Sewer roaches), Oriental cockroaches, and Smokybrown cockroaches.

Bayer Polyzone Suspend Insecticide

When used on exterior foundations, entries, and walls, Suspend insecticidal liquid stops outdoor roaches before they get in. It requires a separate sprayer (see below), and works best alongside a granular outdoor bait like Intice and an outdoor crack and crevice treatment like Delta Dust.

Chapin 1 Gallon Multi-Purpose Sprayer

Liquid pesticides require a separate sprayer. This inexpensive pump sprayer works fine for smaller jobs.

InTice Perimeter Insect Control Bait Granules

InTice is a granular bait that kills roaches outdoors and in spaces like your garage or attic. Used alongside a spray treatment like Bayer Suspend and a crack and crevice treatment like Delta Dust, it can protect the entire perimeter of your home.

Delta Dust Insecticide Dust

Waterproof and long-lasting, Delta Dust is a crack and crevice treatment effective in high-moisture areas such as attics, exterior walls, and plumbing lines. Delta Dust is regulated and unavailable in some areas.

If You’re Going to Call a Pro

If you have a severe roach infestation, or think that you might have one, we recommend that you call a pest control company. Professionals come armed with special knowledge and equipment as well as years of experience. Even if you think you might want to do it yourself, a pro can do an inspection for you and let you know what you’re really dealing with.

It’s Time to Take Action!

Now you’re armed with enough knowledge to identify that tiny bug scuttling through your home. If it turns out to be a baby cockroach, you’ll know what’s at stake and what you’ll need to do. Good luck, happy bug hunting, and enjoy your pest-free home!

Frequently Asked Questions

How many babies do roaches have at one time?

Cockroaches vary considerably in the number of eggs (and future hatchlings) a female can produce each time she lays an egg sac. For Brown-Banded roaches, it’s around 18. For Oriental and American cockroaches, around 16. For Pennsylvania Wood Roaches it can be as many as 32. And for German roaches as many as 50.
See the complete baby cockroach guide for more.

How many babies can a cockroach have over a lifetime?

Cockroaches can produce a lot of young. American cockroaches for example, may lay 1 egg sac on average per month, each holding 16 eggs. German roaches may lay a single egg sac per month, each holding up to 50 eggs. Over a lifetime, a single American cockroach female typically produces 150 cockroach babies, while a single German cockroach female can produce as many as 350.

How many baby roaches can one have in a home?

So long as they have access to food and water and their numbers aren’t controlled by you or natural predators, there’s no limit to the number of baby or adult roaches that can infest a home.

Can baby cockroaches fly?

No. Baby roaches are born without wings. And while some species are able to fly when they reach adulthood, as nymphs their wings are either nonexistent or too underdeveloped to make flying possible.

Do baby cockroaches jump?

No. Many species of baby roach can move quickly, but their legs are not made for jumping.

Do baby roaches bite?

They could bite you, but roaches for the most part try to avoid such close and dangerous contact with humans. Baby roach bites do happen, but not very often.

Are baby roaches white?

Sometimes. When newly hatched, a baby cockroach is briefly white, then briefly white again each time it molts.

What are baby roaches called?

Baby roaches from the time they hatch to their final stage of growth are known as cockroach nymphs.

Written by Andrew Martin. Reviewed by James Miksanek, PhD.

Disclaimer: This page is strictly for informational use. When using insecticides, keep in mind—the label is the law. Insecticides should be applied correctly and safely when needed, and according to the laws of your state or country.

Andrew Martin

Andrew Martin


Andrew writes for, and along with his daughter, publishes Cockroach Facts. You can read more about him here.

James Miksanek, PhD

James Miksanek, PhD.

Science Editor

James is an entomologist and adjunct professor of biology. His background is in biological control, and he has a passion for ecology and environmental science. His research has addressed a variety of topics including pest control and the management of invasive species. You can learn more about our contributors here.


  1. Can i put a small microwave in a bag in deepfreeze i sprayed it with doom insecticide killed lots of babies but next thing yiu know there are more looks like she layed the egg sack somewhere in side and can the doom damage the microwave i put it outside

    • Andrew

      Hi Jackie, you can kill adults, babies, and everything living in the egg sacks without insecticide so long as you can leave the microwave in a freezer for a long enough time. Overnight should be enough.

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