What is the lifespan of a cockroach?

Cockroach lifespan

Cockroaches are one of the most common pests found across the globe. With thousands of different species, some predating the dinosaurs, cockroaches have evolved to survive in extreme environments, including the freezing Arctic, various tropical climates, and sweltering deserts. So when it comes to places to live, cockroaches are well equipped to thrive in your home or business, no problem.

Different species of cockroaches have different lifespans depending on the environment they are living in. Access to food and water, the type of food available, temperatures, humidity and moisture, amount of light present, and ability to remain out of sight contribute to a cockroach’s lifespan. As would, of course, the efforts of your pest control company. With that said, all cockroaches have the same life cycle and tend to live between 6 months to 2 years, depending on the species and environment. 

The Life Cycle of a Cockroach


After mating, it only takes 3 to 7 days for a cockroach to lay their eggs. The most common species you will find in homes and businesses are the German cockroach, American cockroach, Oriental cockroach, and brown-banded cockroach. These species tend to lay their eggs in dark, damp, and humid, secluded areas out of human sight. This means you might find cockroach eggs in cabinets, under counters or sinks, in pantries, under stoves and appliances, behind baseboards, in bathrooms, basements, and garages as well as wood piles you may have outside. Cockroaches lay egg sacks called ootheca. Each ootheca can contain 10 to 50 eggs, depending on the species of cockroach. Some species produce 4 to 8 ootheca in their lifetime, some 8 to 14, and some can make up to 90 oothecae in their lifetime. That multiplies fast! Some species, like the American cockroach and Oriental cockroach, deposit their ootheca somewhere safe within a few hours or a few days of producing it, while other species, like the German cockroach, carry the ootheca on their body up until the eggs are about to hatch. At that point, they find a safe place to deposit the ootheca. It takes anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months for the eggs to hatch, again, depending on the species. 


Once the eggs hatch, the cockroach is at its “nymph” stage. These new nymphs are tiny, white, and soft at first. However, during this stage, the cockroaches molt, shedding their outer layer and growing bigger and darker each time. A nymph may do this up to 13 times before ending up with its final exterior. Finding these shedded exoskeletons are a tell-tale sign of cockroaches living and reproducing in your home or business. Late in the maturing process, nymphs start to develop their wings. However, only completely mature adult cockroaches have fully formed wings, and some species of cockroach do not ever form wings. 

Fully Matured Adult

After a nymph’s final molt, it becomes an official adult cockroach. At this stage, the adult cockroach has wings and antennae and is able to mate and reproduce. Then the whole cycle starts again!

Knowing the life cycle of a cockroach can help you get a sense of the population on your property and can prove beneficial for addressing a cockroach problem before it grows into an infestation. Knowing these life stages can also allow you to determine how many generations of cockroaches are in your home or business. For example, if you were to see an egg case or tiny white nymph and a cockroach with wings and maybe one without wings, you would likely be dealing with three generations of cockroaches, which helps decide how to go about removing them. If you were to see many egg sacks around your property, you would know there are multiple mothers and you are dealing with an infestation.    

Luckily for you, if you believe you have a cockroach problem, you do not have to deal with it on your own; TermiGuard is here to help! Contact us with your questions and we will figure out what the best plan is for you!