If you’re searching for tips on how to get rid of baby roaches, you’re on the right track. Because you really, really want to get these pesky pests while they’re still young.
Usually, baby animals are cute. If your social media feeds look anything like mine, a quick scroll is a daily reminder of the adorableness of the young. However, you have to be a very special kind of person to find baby cockroaches cute.
And when it comes to solving a cockroach problem, it’s no time to be compassionate. The young must die.
Why? Because the ugly fact of the matter is that a healthy population of cockroaches is approximately 75% juveniles, which means you can kill all the adults you want and never solve the issue.
So let’s take a closer look at these profoundly uncute creatures and see what can be done about baby cockroaches.
What Does a Baby Cockroach Look Like?
There are a couple of different ways that bugs grow and mature. Cockroaches undergo what is known as incomplete metamorphosis. This is a fancy way of saying that the babies look much like smaller versions of the adults.
Unlike a lot of other bugs, cockroaches don’t start their life as a wormlike larva or maggot. Baby cockroaches look like – well, like baby cockroaches.
German cockroaches are the species most likely to be found in your home, no matter where in the world you live. These bugs aren’t actually German, although they wouldn’t pass up a plate of sausages and some beer if you offered it to them.
German cockroaches start their life as an egg inside an egg capsule laid by their mother, along with around 15 to 20 siblings. When the eggs hatch, the young cockroaches emerge and chew their way out of the egg case, then find a dark crevice to hide in.
These babies, or nymphs, if you want to be technical about it, start out very small, close in size to the period at the end of this sentence. They are the same dark brown color as their parents, although they are lighter toward the middle of their bodies and darker at the edges.
After the first couple of molts, they develop the characteristic twin dark vertical stripes along the back that the adults have. Unlike the adults, the nymphs don’t have wings.
Also, the babies start out with a fairly round body shape, and only as they grow take on the more cylindrical shape of the adults.
American cockroaches are much bigger than the German variety (USA! USA!), and so their babies are bigger too. American cockroaches start their life around one-quarter of an inch long.
They start quite dark, almost black in color. Only as they grew older do they begin to get the lighter reddish color of their parents.
What are These White Roaches I’ve Seen?
Traditionally, the person who discovers a new species gets to name it. So if you see a white cockroach in among its brown or black relatives, you may have already started coming up with names.
But your dreams of one day reading a Wikipedia entry on Blatella kardashii or Periplaneta patriotssucki are about to be dashed.
White cockroaches aren’t some rare species. Nor are they albinos. They’re actually very common, and at multiple points during their lifetime, all cockroaches will be white.
In common with many insects, cockroaches have a hard exoskeleton that supports their body weight. As a design for small creatures, this has many benefits, but one drawback is that it doesn’t allow them to grow. To get bigger, cockroaches need to shed their skin via a process called molting.
Once the roach is too big for its skin, it cracks its exoskeleton like a shell and climbs out, leaving the old skin behind. When a cockroach does this, it is a bright white color. They are also very soft and vulnerable.
As a result, these white roaches usually try and hide for a few hours while a new exoskeleton forms around them. Over the course of this process, the roach will become progressively darker until it is once again the same dirty brown as all the other cockroaches.
What Does it Mean if I See Baby Roaches?
Nothing good. Seeing baby roaches in your home or place of work means that they had to come from somewhere. It means a female roach has laid eggs for these babies to emerge. And that means that you have an infestation on your hands.
Cockroaches, especially the German variety, breed extremely fast. They can reach adulthood in under two months in the right conditions, and then those baby roaches will start having babies of their own.
In a shockingly short space of time, you could find yourself overrun with these disgusting creatures.
Because cockroaches breed so quickly, time is of the essence. If you find a baby cockroach on your property, it’s not enough to kill it on sight. You need to go looking to see if there’s more of them. And if there’s one thing we know about roach infestations – there will be more of them.
Only by killing each and every one of them can you be sure that you no longer have a cockroach problem.
How to Get Rid of Baby Roaches
Killing a cockroach isn’t as difficult as you may have heard. Especially the babies. Sure, they move fast. But if you’re quick, you can squash a cockroach like any other insect.
But actually getting rid of an infestation can be very difficult. Getting rid of baby roaches means understanding where they are hiding and what they are feeding on.
Luckily, there are few products you can use to help you wipe them out without having to spend your weekends searching your house for every last baby roach.
Insect Growth Regulator (IGR)
Cockroaches multiply fast, but they are not particularly smart. We humans, on the other hand, can be pretty clever – although it doesn’t always seem that way during a fistfight with a retired schoolteacher over a discount TV on Black Friday.
Some very smart scientists have synthesized chemicals that can mess with the cockroach’s lifecycle. This has given us the class of chemicals known as insect growth regulators, or IGRs.
IGRs work by interfering with the hormonal balance of a cockroach. In the case of adults, IGRs stop the cockroaches from being able to reproduce. In the case of the juveniles, it prevents them from reaching maturity. Pretty soon, you’ll have an entire generation of cockroaches living in their parent’s basement, refusing to get a job and playing video games all day. Oh, and also they’ll all die. Without ever having had any roach babies.
IGRs don’t kill insects by themselves. But they do stop them from reproducing. So as a long-term control method, they are excellent. Using an IGR means that no new eggs can be laid, and no more baby roaches will be born. Eventually, the population will collapse.
IGRs are a fantastic product to use against cockroaches. But the best way to use them is to combine them with something that will also kill cockroaches quicker than old age. For this, your best bet is good old fashioned roach bait.
Cockroaches are highly mobile and fast-moving bugs. Spraying them with roach spray will certainly kill some of them, but others will run from the treatment and set up a home elsewhere.
In this way, spraying for cockroaches can actually make the problem worse. This is especially true if you live in an apartment or townhouse where you share walls with your neighbors. You may end up simply spreading cockroaches to each other without ever solving the problem.
Cockroach bait gets around this issue by making the cockroaches do all the work. A stomach poison is mixed with an attractant that the roaches will want to eat. The poison is designed to work slowly. This gives it time to move through the whole population.
At the risk of telling you more than you want to know, baby cockroaches spend the first few days and weeks of their lives eating the feces of the adults. Any poison an adult eats can easily spread to the juveniles in this way. Pretty soon, the whole population will be feeling under the weather.
Best of all, the roaches will never know what’s happening to them. They won’t scatter, and they won’t spread. They’ll just die.
Clean and Clean Again
On the subject of parents and children, it turns out your mom was right. You really should tidy your room.
Cockroaches will eat just about anything. Any food in your home is cockroach food. That also includes things that you hopefully would never eat, such as pet food, garbage, toothpaste, soap, other insects, and even – yes, here it is again – poop.
The best way to prevent this is to keep your home clean. I mean, really clean. The smallest spill or dropped item of food can provide assistance for many cockroaches. Clean your house thoroughly, paying particular attention to the kitchen or anywhere else the disgusting scavengers might be able to find food.
Pull out kitchen appliances and vacuum behind them, because it’s very easy for food to fall down the back of the stove and provide a banquet for roaches. Keeping clean is cockroach prevention 101.
Seal Up Gaps and Cracks
Roaches like to hide. This is true of all stages of the cockroach lifecycle but is especially true of baby roaches. They know they’re vulnerable, and they know they need to stay hidden if they want to survive and grow up to have gross babies of their own.
For this reason, cockroaches like to hide in dark, undisturbed places. Cracks and crevices in kitchen cabinets are a favorite place, along with baseboards, plug sockets, and behind kitchen appliances. The back of the fridge is especially attractive to these bugs.
By reducing these hiding places, called harborages, you make your house much less hospitable to cockroaches. Use some silicone caulk to seal up any gaps and cracks in your cabinets and work surfaces. This is especially important in the kitchen and bathroom.
Also, don’t forget about holes in the wall where water pipes enter the building. These tiny areas help cockroaches stay hidden and are essential to the growth of the population. Close them off, and you’ll have a lot fewer roaches to deal with.
Cockroach control isn’t rocket science. But it does require some hard work and knowledge of the lifecycle of these unappealing creatures. The only way to solve a cockroach infestation is to address the baby roaches.
Otherwise, you’ll be dealing with these nasty bugs forever. And like ingrate children everywhere, they won’t even pay rent.