Cockroach life cycle

Cockroaches, like most insects, go through several instars or life stages. In each case, the roaches look a little different and the process moves very fast.

By understanding the life cycle of cockroaches you are able to quickly take immediate action to prevent them from spreading and multiplying, as well as minimizing the health problems posed by this unhygienic insect.

In this page you are able to understand:

  • Cockroach metamorphosis
  • How long do cockroaches take to grow
  • How long can cockroaches live

Cockroach metamorphosis

Cockroach Life Cycle

Cockroaches develop by gradual metamorphosis. However, all cockroaches develop by completing a life cycle consisting of three distinct stages:

  • Eggs (ootheca)
  • Nymphs
  • Adults


A female cockroach produces their eggs in an egg capsule known as ootheca. Cockroach ootheca is distinct for each cockroach species, and are often used in species identification. The amount of eggs each ootheca holds depends on the species of cockroach.


Once development inside the egg is complete, the nymphs will work together to break out of the ootheca.

The young cockroaches will go through several more stages, moulting (shedding their skin) and growing larger and larger until they start to look like adult cockroach, yet they are not sexually mature and do not have fully formed wings. If wings are present in that species, cockroach nymphs will develop wing pads in later instars.

Nymphs moulting

Cockroach nymphs will moult several times, and the number of moults required to reach the adult stage will vary. Newly moulted cockroaches will appear white in colour, but will darken within a few hours. The white colour of newly moulted cockroaches often causes people to mistake them for albino cockroaches.

Cockroach adults

Once the cockroach reaches adulthood, it will have fully-developed wings and antennae. It will also be ready to mate and reproduce.

How long do cockroaches take to grow?

While cockroaches all complete the same three phases of development, yet the developmental time for a cockroach is strongly influenced by several factors, including:

  • Temperature and humidity - primarily high temperature and high relative humidity will shorten the developmental time.
  • The quantity and quality of available food and water.

Additionally, the time it takes for a cockroach to grow from an egg to an adult will vary between cockroach species - ranging from a little over a month to almost 2 years.

How long does it take for a German cockroach to mature?

Cockroach development

At room temperature German cockroaches develop from egg to adult in 40-125 days.

How long does it take for a American cockroach to mature?

Cockroach development

At room temperature, American cockroaches develop from egg to adult in 400-600 days.

How long does it take for a Australian cockroach to mature?

Cockroach development

At room temperature, American cockroaches develop from egg to adult in 150 days.

How long can cockroaches live?

In warm, humid places with access to food and moisture, on average cockroach will live about a year. However, there are a few factors that affect cockroach lifespan, including:

  • Breed - each species of cockroach has its own estimated lifespans.
  • Diet - what cockroaches feed upon can determine the lifespan of the average cockroach.
  • Environment - cockroaches require a favourable environment to reproduce and a suitable temperature. This includes the right temperatures and sufficient availability of water and food.

Best way to get rid of cockroaches

If you think you have a cockroach problem in your property, then call Rentokil at 0-8001-333-777 or use our online contact form.

Rentokil cockroach control and roach removal experts know how to find where the pests are getting into your home.

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