Cockroach eggs are the scum of the earth. But they say everything on earth exists for a reason. Every creature fills some ecological niche.
That’s not hard to believe when you hear it in the dulcet tones of an aristocratic British narrator on one of those high-end nature documentaries.
It becomes a little harder to accept when it comes to disgusting creatures like the cockroach.
Sure, it’s human sensibilities that make us find these creatures so gross. But when you’re talking about an insect that lives in filth and will happily eat both the droppings and the dead bodies of other cockroaches, it’s hard to feel anything but revulsion for this particular species.
The way cockroaches reproduce is no less sickening than anything else about them. But if you’re going to control a cockroach infestation, you need to know how to deal with the eggs.
So regrettably, it’s time for a deep and dirty dive into the world of cockroach eggs.
Cockroach Eggs 101
German cockroaches are the species that most readily infest human homes. They are also the species of cockroach with the fastest reproductive rate.
A single female cockroach can have as many as 400 offspring throughout her life, and she may only live for nine months or so. Cockroaches are babymaking machines.
It’s no wonder that in a healthy cockroach population, 75% of the cockroaches will be juveniles. Rapid reproduction is a large part of the biological success of the cockroach.
How Roaches Lay Eggs
Cockroaches are a little unusual among insects in that they lay their eggs inside egg cases, or ootheca if you want to get all fancy. In the case of the German cockroach, these egg cases can contain around 35 to 40 eggs.
The purpose of the egg case is to protect the eggs from predation by other insects, including other cockroaches. For this reason, the German cockroach carries her egg case on her back like a disgusting oversized purse for longer than any other cockroach species.
German cockroach mothers typically drop the egg case only 24 hours before the eggs are ready to hatch. Sometimes, the eggs start to hatch even before the adult cockroach has released the case, which can make it look as though cockroaches give live birth, although they don’t.
Other species of cockroach, including the American cockroach, deposit the egg cases in tucked-away corners and glue them into place with their saliva. German cockroaches are more careless.
After all the trouble the females go to to carry the egg case around with them, once the eggs are ready to hatch, they’re on their own. The female cockroach will leave the egg case more or less anywhere slightly hidden and move on with her life.
German cockroach egg cases are cylindrical and light brown in color, and they are roughly 1/4 of an inch long. Want to see what they look like?
All in all, the eggs inside the case will take around 20 to 30 days to hatch, depending on temperature. The warmer it is, the quicker they hatch.
As mentioned earlier, the adult cockroach carries the egg case with her for almost all of that time, releasing it only when the eggs are ready to hatch. And when they do, that’s around 40 new cockroaches to add to the population in your home.
Why Cockroach Eggs Matter
Cockroach eggs present a significant problem in the home. The tough, leathery egg cases help to protect the eggs inside from pesticides.
And because the mothers carry the eggs for so long, the eggs stay hidden until they are ready to hatch. Also, many of the pesticides that kill adult cockroaches don’t work on eggs.
It’s possible to kill an adult cockroach with a spray only to have the egg case she was carrying hatch out a few days later. So you’ve killed one cockroach, only to have it replaced by 40 new ones. It’s not hard to see why this would be a problem.
You’re never going to solve a cockroach problem unless you find a way to kill the eggs. So how do you do that? Luckily, there are a few options available to you to kill cockroach eggs.
How to Kill Cockroach Eggs
It’s hard to overemphasize the fact that getting rid of a roach infestation completely comes down to making sure you kill roach eggs.
And because this is oh, so very important – you want to make sure you do it right. So when it comes to killing cockroach eggs, you want to use a multi-pronged solution.
That means this list is not to be picked from – it’s to be used in its entirety as part of your battle plan against cockroach eggs. Now go and kill some eggs – here’s how to do it!
Sometimes, the simplest solutions are the best. You probably already have a vacuum in your home, and they make for great cockroach killers. Although cockroaches are highly mobile insects, they tend to hang out together in what’s called aggregations.
You’ll know when you’ve found one of these cockroach hiding places. Check behind the fridge and under the stove, and also at the back of kitchen cabinets, around the water pipes under kitchen and bathroom sinks, around heat pipes and other cracks and crevices.
Adult roaches, droppings, juveniles, and egg cases will all be there.
The easiest way to make sure you get inside all the nooks and crannies is to get yourself a flat vacuum attachment so you can reach under appliances and furniture to remove roach eggs wherever they may be lurking.
Vacuuming up the roaches and the eggs makes for a very effective way to reduce the population quickly. And best of all, it doesn’t involve using any pesticides in your home.
Just be aware, though, that vacuuming them up isn’t the end of the story. While being sucked up into a vacuum cleaner will almost certainly kill the adult roaches, the eggs, protected by that cozy egg case, may survive.
Be sure to empty the vacuum into an outside bin immediately after use. The further away the bin is from your home, the better.
Insect growth regulators
Vacuuming is a wonderful tool to use to kill cockroach eggs, but it’s not enough by itself. That’s when it may be time to consider a chemical solution.
Insect growth regulators are a great choice. These pesticides don’t kill cockroaches, but instead mess with the balance of hormones in their bodies.
Treating your home with an insect growth regulator will ensure that, while cockroach eggs can still hatch, the baby cockroaches will never develop into reproductive adults. No adults means no new eggs being laid. Think of it as birth control for cockroaches.
Best of all, these pesticides are extremely target specific. They won’t harm you, your kids, or your pets – unless you are a cockroach yourself. In which case, congratulations on learning to read.
Insect growth regulators intended for cockroaches, such as hydroprene, don’t even kill other insects. They only work on cockroaches, which makes them an extremely safe choice to use in the home.
Note: Because roaches tend to develop immunity to pesticides, the smartest thing to do is to use two types of IGRs to ensure effectiveness. We recommend you go for Martin’s I.G. Regulator as well as Gentrol Point Source IGR.
The only downside to Insect Growth Regulators is that, because IGRs don’t actually kill the cockroaches that contact it but instead sterilize them, you will still be living with cockroaches for weeks while you wait for the population to die from some other cause.
This is why insect growth regulators are often mixed with a contact pesticide for a quicker kill.
If you’re having flashbacks to high school science class, don’t worry. It’s boric acid, not boring acid. Boric acid is a naturally occurring substance that has been used for centuries to kill pests.
It acts as a stomach poison, which means the cockroaches will need to eat it.
A popular way to ensure this happens is by mixing the boric acid with a food substance such as sugar, so the cockroaches are drawn to it. However, this may not be necessary.
Despite their filthy reputation, cockroaches are actually quite fastidious about keeping themselves clean. They are compulsive groomers, continually running their antenna and their legs through their jaws to keep them clean.
So if roaches come into contact with boric acid, it’s more or less inevitable that they will consume it when they clean themselves.
Apply a light dusting of boric acid anywhere that the roaches could be hiding. This way, you can be sure both adults and eggs will come into contact with the poison.
Boric acid is relatively harmless to mammals, including your kids, cats, and dogs, but you should still take care to put it in inaccessible places. Luckily, cockroaches like to hide in inaccessible places anyway.
Don’t make the common mistake of thinking that more poison means a more effective treatment. Cockroaches won’t walk through thick piles of dust. Keep it light so that they wander through without even realizing it. It’s better to apply a light dusting at regular intervals than to do one heavy coat all at once.
Often, when baby cockroaches first hatch out, they will partially consume the egg case that held them. If that case has been dusted with boric acid, those babies will never grow into adults. Which makes boric acid one of the best, natural pesticides against cockroach eggs.
Killing cockroach eggs is essential to solving a cockroach problem. And it’s not easy. The cockroaches themselves go out of their way to make it difficult for you.
But with a little preparation and the right tools, you can kill those cockroach eggs and solve your cockroach problem for good.