How to Kill Cockroach Eggs

Finding cockroach eggs can be just as bad as finding adult cockroaches. The eggs may indicate the presence of adult roaches, or it can mean that there are cockroach egg sacks hidden in your home. These egg sacs can hatch and you can find yourself with a real pest problem. Roach eggs don’t need the adults in order to hatch, they just need a warm, dark place where they won’t be bothered. There they can develop and hatch.

It is also worth noting that baby roaches can run almost as fast as adult roaches from the moment they hatch. Adult roaches can run as fast as 3 miles per hour. This means they can cover a lot of ground in your home, spreading disease and evading your efforts to kill them. So how do you kill cockroach eggs? There are a few things you need to know and we’ll cover it here.

Cockroach Eggs are Part of the Cockroach Lifecycle

Cockroaches have been around longer than many other insects and are also some of the hardiest and most adaptable. Scientists have even theorized that cockroach eggs could survive radiation poisoning and a roach can live without its head for a week. The only reason it dies then is because it is unable to get water and dies of dehydration. An adult roach can also be submerged in water 30, even 40 minutes and still live.

It’s no wonder that getting rid of cockroach eggs is a priority for pest control professionals – and homeowners could take a lesson. Even after an entire adult cockroach population has been killed, the cockroach eggs can still hatch as little as 36 days later and the homeowner’s nightmare is far from over [1]. So, how do you identify cockroach eggs and how do you find them? What do cockroach eggs mean when you find them in your home? And most importantly, how do you kill cockroach eggs?

What does the Presence of Cockroach Eggs Mean?

The presence of cockroach eggs is usually the sign of a bigger problem. Cockroach eggs can be an indication of a roach infestation. The female cockroach will often lay her eggs in secluded areas such as in cracks and crevices, or even inside a wall. They can crawl into the spaces around pipes like the area under a kitchen sink or in the bathroom. Roaches can fit in impossible small areas because they have the ability to flatten out almost completely so they can access tiny cracks [2].

What makes cockroaches so difficult to kill is the fact that these eggs are hidden away so when they can hatch sometime later and you have a whole new generation of roaches. Often this new generation is immune to the pest control products that were used to kill their parents. The presence of cockroach eggs means that there is a whole new infestation that will be emerging soon, within a month, even if you have killed all the adult roaches. When you find a roach egg you can be assured that there are others in areas you haven’t seen, or can’t even access. It means that your roach troubles are not over.

What do Cockroach Eggs Look Like?

The adult female cockroach produces an ootheca, or egg sac. The ootheca is a protein layer that becomes a hard, protective case holding several roach eggs. The number of eggs within the sac depends on the species of cockroach [3].

  • American cockroach – Approximately 16 eggs in one egg sac
  • German cockroach – Approximately 50 eggs in one egg sac
  • Oriental cockroach – Approximately 16 eggs in one egg sac
  • Brown-banded cockroach – Approximately 10 to 18 eggs in one egg sac

Throughout a female roach’s life, she can produce anywhere from 6 to 90 egg sacs. This means that:

  • A female American cockroach can lay as many as 1,400 eggs or more in her life.
  • A female German cockroach can lay as many as 4,500 eggs or more in her life.
  • A female Oriental cockroach can lay as many as 1,400 eggs or more in her life.
  • A female Brown-banded cockroach can lay as many as 1,600 eggs or more in her life.

Identifying the cockroach eggs will help you determine what type of roaches you are dealing with in your home. All roach egg sacs are basically the same shape: elongated, resembling a pill. The differences are in the color and size depending on the roach species.

  • American cockroach – Approximately 8 mm long. Dark brown.
  • German cockroach – Approximately 6 to 9 mm. Usually shades of brown.
  • Oriental cockroach – Approximately 8 to 10 mm. Medium to dark reddish brown.
  • Brown-banded cockroach – Approximately 5 mm. Light brown with some red.

The problem isn’t with the roach eggs that you can see; it is with the ones that you can’t see. The ones that are hidden in walls, cracks, and crevices are where the real problem lies. Those are the eggs that must be treated. If you keep killing roaches in your home and they keep coming back, this could be the problem.

How to Find Cockroach Eggs

Finding cockroach eggs is not always easy. While you may happen upon one or several, they don’t move around or come out at night like adult roaches do. You can’t predict behaviors and you can’t kill them unless you do so directly or treat the area where the cases are so the young roaches that emerge are either killed or rendered sterile. However, the length of time and distance that the female roach carries the egg sac can mean that they do travel somewhat. Some roaches will carry the egg sac until it is ready to hatch while others only carry theirs for a few hours or days until they can hide it in a secure, safe area. The species of cockroach determines how the egg sacs are carried and treated [4].

  • A female American cockroach will carry her egg sac for a short time then find a safe area to deposit it and hide it.
  • A female German cockroach will carry her egg sac until it is just ready to hatch (within hours) then find a safe area to deposit it and hide it.
  • A female Oriental cockroach, like the American roach, will carry her egg sac for a short time then find a safe area to deposit it and hide it.
  • A female Brown-banded cockroach will carry her egg sac for several days then find a safe area to deposit it and hide it.

The “safe areas” that roaches choose to deposit their eggs are fairly similar across all roach species. There are some standard locations where you can find roach eggs in your home. If you have a roach problem and have had it treated, there can still be roach eggs in areas that have these common characteristics:

  • Secluded
  • Dark
  • Quiet
  • High moisture environment
  • Safe from most predators including humans and pets

These characteristics of roach egg hiding places do narrow down your search somewhat. It can still be difficult though. You have to do a thorough search to find cockroach eggs in your home. Some of the most common places to find them include:

  • in cracks and crevices
  • in the opening around pipes
  • in walls
  • in cabinets
  • behind appliances
  • under baseboards
  • in electronics
  • in furniture
  • in bathrooms
  • in appliances
  • in paper (newspapers, books, magazines)
  • in cupboards
  • in garbage
  • in ceilings
  • in bathrooms

If you happen to see a female carrying her egg sac, killing her may end her contribution to the roach population – as long as you clean up her carcass and throw it away. If you leave it other roaches will eat it, both encouraging the infestation and aiding in the growth of the population. Leaving the body on the floor or counter is the worst thing you can do. You might as well hang a diner sign saying roaches welcome over your door.

How to Manage an Infestation

You can kill the adult cockroaches but if you don’t kill the roach eggs your infestation will come back. It can even be worse because the young that emerge from the eggs will often be immune to your pest control products [5]. The best way to manage an infestation is to treat both adults and eggs. That way you can get rid of adult roaches and keep the young roaches from invading your home.

This is usually done in several steps. First you should treat the adult population with a product that kills them slowly. This way they will walk through it and ingest, but many won’t die until they reach their nests. As the product takes hold and they die, the eggs will hatch and the young will eat the deceased adults. This will transfer the product to the baby roaches. Product like Gentrol will render the baby roaches sterile so they can no longer reproduce. That is what your ultimate goal should be. You want to stop the roaches from being able to reproduce because that is the only way to truly stop the infestation.

You can also use roach traps and glue boards to trap the adult roaches and catch some of the eggs in the process. This will allow you to definitively identify the species of roach you are dealing with and you can devise a plan to get rid of them. Getting rid of roaches and roach eggs is not easy. In fact, they are some of the most difficult infestations to exterminate [6]. However, if you apply the pest control product according to the roaches’ life cycle you stand a better chance of eliminating them and killing the eggs and young.

How to Kill Cockroach Eggs

Killing cockroach eggs isn’t easy. They aren’t like adult roaches that are unprotected and can be affected by pest control products. They aren’t mobile like adult roaches (except when the female is carrying them) so you can’t anticipate their behavior and activity such as waiting until night when they come out to feed. Cockroach egg sacs are made of a thick, hard protein that forms a sort of shell that is virtually impenetrable. Many pest control products are not able to effectively penetrate the shell. You usually have to wait until they hatch then kill the baby roaches [7].

Killing cockroach eggs is a three-step process.

1. Kill the adults. If you get rid of the eggs but fail to get rid of the adult roaches, they will only continue to reproduce. You will never control your infestation that way. You need to spray in areas where roaches hide, such as cabinets, behind appliances, around pipes under the sink and in the bathroom, in the walls, behind baseboards, and in electronics and appliances. Apply your pest control product and let it work to kill the adult roaches. Then you can move on to the next step.

2. Kill the cockroach eggs. This can be done at the same time you do step 3, but you may want to do them separately. Look for cockroach eggs in areas where they are likely to hide. Apply a residual product or a gel that will either kill the baby roaches or make them sterile. When you find egg sacs, vacuum them or collect them.

Once you have vacuumed them all, take the vacuum outside and empty the canister over a garbage can. The idea is to make sure they are as far away from your house as possible. If you don’t and they happen to hatch, they could find their way back into your home. It is best to empty your vacuum, then use one of the methods here to kill the eggs:

  • Squash them. This definitely needs to be done outside and away from your home because some baby roaches could survive or their bodies could be left behind and that new food supply would attract more roaches. However, squashing can be somewhat satisfying if you have been battling a roach population for some time and are frustrated. It is pretty effective too.
  • Burn them (but please do it outside and away from your home)
  • Spray them with a pesticide
  • Douse them with boric acid
  • Cover them with a mixture of sugar and baking soda
  • Cover then with an “insect growth regulator” which will cause the eggs to hatch early (abort). It comes in liquid form and can be applied in crevices, cracks, and behind baseboards.

3. Prevent access and remove attractants. You won’t get roach eggs if you don’t have adult roaches, so you need to take steps to keep roaches out of your home in the first place [8]. Some things you can do to prevent roaches and roach eggs include:

  • Seal all cracks and crevices, especially around doors, windows, and around baseboards.
  • Make sure you have a good seal under your exterior doors.
  • Make sure that the areas around pipes are sealed.
  • Do not leave food out overnight.
  • Wipe down counters after use to remove all food residue.
  • Sweep and mop floors regularly.
  • If you drop food somewhere, clean it up.
  • Don’t leave stacks of paper or magazines lying around.
  • Avoid clutter in your home.
  • Do not leave water standing in your sink overnight – or in pet bowls.
  • Fix any leaks that can cause moisture.

Roaches do travel, so if you live in an apartment, duplex, or condo and see roaches in your home despite your best efforts, your neighbors may be to blame. If the roaches are coming from their home into yours this indicates that they have a pretty serious infestation, meaning that you will have a very difficult time getting rid of the roaches in your home. It may be necessary to call an exterminator or pest control professional. If you are in a complex where all the units are governed or owned by a central company, you may need to contact management and alert them so they can approach your neighbors and take care of matters.

Getting rid of roach eggs is not easy but by doing so you can cut the lifecycle of the roach short and end the infestation.

 

Sources:

1. “10 Fascinating Cockroach Facts,: Pest World (2016), Retrieved on December 10, 2016 from http://www.pestworld.org/news-hub/pest-articles/fascinating-cockroach-facts/

2. “Cockroaches,” University of Minnesota – Extension (ND), Retrieved on December 10, 2016 from http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/insects/find/cockroaches/

3. “Insect Advice from Extension: German Cockroaches,” Penn State: College of Agricultural Sciences – Department of Entomology (January 2013). Retrieved on December 10, 2016 from http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/german-cockroaches

4. “Finding and Killing Cockroach Eggs,” DoItYourself.com, (ND), Retrieved on December 10, 2016 from http://www.doityourself.com/stry/finding-and-killing-cockroach-eggs

5. “BI Answers: What’s the worst way to kill a cockroach?” Business Insider, (March 28, 2014), Retrieved on December 10, 2016 from http://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-get-rid-of-cockroachs-2014-3

6. “Finding and Killing Cockroach Eggs,” Do it Yourself Pest Control, (ND) Retrieved on December 10, 2016 from http://www.doityourself.com/stry/finding-and-killing-cockroach-eggs

7. “Prevention & Control: Cockroaches,” Illinois Department of Public Health, (ND). Retrieved on December 10, 2016 from http://www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/pcsaferoach.htm

8. “Cockroach Control Manual,” University of Nebraska – Lincoln: Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, (ND). Retrieved on December 10, 2016 from http://lancaster.unl.edu/pest/roach/roach6eng.pdf

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