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Cockroach Egg Cases Are Hidden

By Chris Williams on December 11, 2013.

Can cockroaches lay eggsQuestion

Do cockroaches lay eggs? Last week I saw what I think was a cockroach and today I found some tiny, round white things on my kitchen counter. I’m worried that those are cockroach eggs and that there might be more eggs in my cabinets.

Answer

I’m not sure what you saw on your kitchen counter, but I can assure you that they were not cockroach eggs. Cockroaches do lay eggs but the eggs are enclosed in a larger protective capsule that we call an egg case. Even if the eggs were somehow separated from their egg case, they are not round, but are oblong in shape.

German Cockroach

Some female cockroaches glue or attach their egg case in a hidden place where it hatches days or weeks later.

The German cockroach, which is our most common indoor roach, carries her egg case protruding from the tip of her abdomen. She’s a very good mom and carries and protects the case for about 28 days until just before it is ready to hatch.

A German cockroach egg case is light brown, somewhat oval and flattened, about ¼ inch long. If you split it open lengthwise, you would see that it has a row of developing eggs on each side, for a total of 30-40 little cockroaches. When the cockroach nymphs inside are fully developed, they split the egg case open and emerge into the real world, looking like miniature, wingless versions of mom.

In a low-level cockroach infestation, it’s not easy to find hidden cockroach egg cases. In larger infestations, egg cases become more obvious as there are more of them and female roaches run out of places to hide them. In homes with poor sanitation, where cockroach infestations have been going on for some time, cockroach egg cases (both hatched and unhatched) are seen everywhere, along with roach feces, shed skins, and dead cockroaches.

It’s likely that what you saw on your counter were not insect eggs at all. Most insects hide their eggs in cracks and crevices rather than laying them out in the open. We’ve had people send in insect “eggs” that turned out to be things like grains of salt or seeds. If you need further reassurance–that might not have been a cockroach that you saw either.If you want to be sure, give Colonial a call. We’ll have one of our technicians conduct a thorough inspection of your home for any kind of pests.

Photo by Insect Images

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