There’s nothing cute about a baby cockroach. And no time to mess around. If you’ve found a baby roach, you’ll need to take action. Why?
Because the discovery of just a single baby roach can be a sign of a hidden infestation that needs to be dealt with quickly and decisively before the problem spreads. By identifying the issue right away and taking immediate steps to resolve it, you’ll be able to keep your family safe and keep your home a place worth living in.
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!
Step One: Understand What’s at Stake
Baby Roaches are Dangerous
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… pooping. Pooping everywhere. On your shelves, on the walls, and in the food itself.
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 oothecae, 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.
In fact, cockroaches are so good at reproducing, that 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, cockroaches are so good at reproducing that 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.
Step Three: Get Rid of Your Baby Roaches and Make Sure They Don’t Come Back
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.
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.
Step 1: Extermination
Okay. None of us like playing hardball where we have to eat, and sleep, and live.
But let’s be honest here. As much as you love your home, roaches love it even more. It’s warm, there’s plenty of water, and the food… well, the food is just delicious! If you were a baby cockroach (or the nasty adult it will soon become), would you ever leave it willingly?
Would herbal oils, sachets, or sonic bug-repelling waves persuade you that it’s actually time to go? They wouldn’t. After 300 million years, nature made even tiny roaches much too tough for that.
To make them go, you have to kill them. Or take away their ability to reproduce. And to do that you need to quickly (before the problem gets much worse) source one of two things: Products in the form of insecticides and baits. Or a professional exterminator with experience and skills in using them.
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.
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.
- Active ingredients to look for are abamectin, acephate, chlorpyrifos, cyfluthrin, cypermethrin, deltamethrin, dinotefuron, disunion, 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.
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.
Step 2: Sanitation and Exclusion
After you’ve gotten rid of all the big, middling, and tiny roaches that used to call your space home, you’ll need to take steps to keep them from coming back again. Don’t neglect this step or you may soon be facing the same baby cockroach problem all over 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.
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
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.
Cockroaches can produce a lot of young. American cockroaches for example, may lay 2 egg sacs 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 400.
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.
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.
No. Many species of baby roach can move quickly, but their legs are not made for jumping.
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.
Sometimes. When newly hatched, a baby cockroach is briefly white, then briefly white again each time it molts.
Baby roaches from the time they hatch to their final stage of growth are known as cockroach nymphs.