Cockroach Eggs | Unnoticed Indicators And Egg-Laying Habits

Written by George Climer

Spotting a cockroach running around your place can certainly be a terrifying experience that will urge many to find out everything there is about cockroaches. Now, we will specifically talk about their eggs.

Do cockroaches lay eggs? Cockroaches lay eggs, and the worst thing is that they multiply really fast. The female produces an egg casing called an ootheca, and depending on the cockroach species, the casing contains a different number of eggs. Some cockroach species will carry the ootheca on their body, while others will attach the ootheca in a hard-to-reach place, making it difficult to locate.

In the following sections, we will show you how to identify cockroach eggs, and where these insects like to lay their cases. Additionally, we have also prepared some interesting facts about their eggs. Let’s begin!

How Do Cockroaches Lay Eggs?

How Many Eggs Does a Cockroach Lay?

The egg cases can contain between 14 to 50 eggs. The number depends on the type of cockroach. In most cases, a female will lay around 14 to 16 eggs. However, a German cockroach can produce up to 50 (and that’s, unfortunately, the most common species in the world).

Throughout their lives, female cockroaches can lay around 5 to 20 egg sacks. Unfortunately, there are exceptions. The Australian cockroach, for example, can produce up to 30 cases.

How Long Does It Take for Cockroach Eggs to Hatch?

Some types of cockroaches carry the cases around until the eggs are ready to hatch, while others deposit the ootheca in a safe place. A female German cockroach will drop the sack only about 24 hours before the eggs are ready to hatch. All-in-all, it will take the nymphs anywhere between 24 and 38 days to emerge from an ootheca.

How Often Do Cockroaches Lay Eggs?

Once again, the exact numbers would depend on the type of cockroach. An American cockroach will produce a case about one week after mating. On average, an adult female will be producing one sack every month for around 10 months.

How Many Cockroaches Are There in One Egg?

How Do Cockroaches Lay Eggs

One egg has one future cockroach in it. However, females lay special cases that can contain anywhere between 14 to 50 eggs. The ootheca of an American cockroach usually contains around 15 eggs, in the case of a brown-banded roach 10 to 18 eggs, oriental around 16, and in a German cockroach up to 50 eggs.

Do Cockroaches Die After Laying Eggs?

Female cockroaches do not die after depositing the egg cases. Moreover, some species are able to repeat the whole process dozens of times.

When Do Cockroaches Lay Eggs?

Only adult females can lay eggs. Once an immature nymph emerges from the sack, it will feed and go through various series of moltings. In around a year, the cockroach will turn into an adult, when it’s ready for reproduction.
By the way, the weather does not stop cockroaches from breeding. So the females can deposit their sacks not only during the warmer months but also in winter.

Can Cockroach Eggs Hatch Without Mother?

Some types of cockroaches carry the ootheca until a day or two before it hatches. But the eggs can certainly hatch, in case they were detached from the female earlier. Moreover, some species simply leave the egg case in a safe place several days before the nymphs appear. So, there is no need to have a female close to the case, when the time comes.

How Long Can Cockroach Eggs Lay Dormant?

The egg case that has been deposited by the female can’t really stay functional for too long. In case the eggs don’t hatch in a few days, the nymphs might not appear at all. If the female drops the ootheca too early, it can simply dry out and the embryos won’t have the opportunity to fully develop.

Do Cockroaches Carry Eggs on Their Backs?

A female German cockroach, for example, carries the egg sack for a few weeks attached to the back end of its body.

What Do Cockroach Eggs Look Like?

What Do Cockroach Eggs Look Like

Can You See Cockroach Eggs?

You can’t really see the actual eggs of cockroaches. But you will be able to spot the ootheca. These brown or black capsules are shaped like a purse or a pill.

How Big is a Cockroach Egg Casing?

The length of the egg case depends on the type of cockroach that laid them. The oothecae of American and German cockroaches are approximately a third of an inch long (8 mm). Oriental and smoky brown roaches lay casings that are slightly longer – about half of an inch (12 mm). The sack of a brown-banded roach is tougher to spot as it’s only a fourth of an inch long (5 mm).

Where to Find Cockroach Eggs?

Cockroaches usually hide their eggs near the things that they like, next to food and water sources, for example, cardboard. The American cockroach will, most likely, stick the casing near food sources.

Oriental cockroaches prefer warm, covered areas (again, with plenty of food). A smoky brown female will choose to hide the ootheca in a humid crevice, while brand-banded roaches can easily stick the casing to cardboard or even on sand.

A German cockroach will release the casing only about 24 hours before it hatches. That can be anywhere the insect likes to run around. By the way, sometimes the eggs hatch while still being attached to the cockroach’s body.

How to Identify Cockroach Eggs?

You can’t see individual eggs but the small brown or black “purse” is certainly visible. You can even spot a ridge that runs down the length of the sack – that’s the exact place from which the nymphs emerge.

Once the babies are ready to leave the ootheca, they will start swallowing air. The case expands and breaks open. However, even when the capsule is empty it still looks the same as the ridge closes as soon as the nymphs are gone.

Where Do Cockroaches Lay Eggs?


A dog would not be a preferable place for the cockroach to lay its eggs as it’s constantly moving and can harm the capsule. However, if the animal is dead, these insects might use their body to deposit the eggs.


Can Cockroaches Lay Eggs in Mattresses

It is uncommon for cockroaches to stay inside mattresses. But they can harbor within the seams, as well as the crack and crevices of the headboard. So, it is possible to find egg cases around the mattress.


Cockroaches can lay eggs in clothes. Especially, if you have a box full of old clothes, for example. These insects wouldn’t necessarily choose to deposit the eggs in a drawer that you tend to use as the eggs can be disturbed. But the female cockroach might stick the sack to the back of the drawer.

Kitchen Appliances

Unfortunately, cockroaches can leave their egg capsules on or even inside kitchen appliances. They tend to hide in appliances as they provide warmth (like the backs of freezers, fridges, and cookers). These insects can harbor inside toasters, blenders, microwaves, and coffee makers as well.

Cardboard Boxes

A cardboard box, especially one that is not often touched, is a great place not only for eggs but also for adult cockroaches. They can easily feed on cardboard. 


Do Cockroaches Lay Eggs in Carpet

A female brown-banded cockroach can end up gluing the eggs on the carpet. Pay extra attention to the rugs that are located in dark rooms.

Cat Feces

It might happen, but if the cockroach has a choice, it won’t lay its eggs in cat feces.


Cockroaches can certainly deposit their egg cases in corners. This does not only apply to the corners of the room, but they would also surely prefer to lay their eggs in cupboards or anywhere the food is stored. When you are checking the corners of your cabinet, make sure to take the higher ones into consideration as well.

Envelope Glue

An urban legend states that you can get a cockroach egg in your mouth if you lick an envelope. That is not true. Single eggs cannot survive and an egg capsule is just too big for you not to notice. Moreover, the chances are extremely low that these insects would choose to lay their eggs in envelope glue.


Cockroaches certainly do lay eggs next to their food sources and some capsules might end up in the actual food.


These insects can lay their eggs not only inside furniture but also on tables and chairs.


Even though cockroaches can feed on hair, they won’t really lay their eggs in your hair. It’s not a safe place for the capsule (egg casing). However, if they find balls of hair in the house, cockroaches might deposit their eggs there.


Sometimes cockroaches can hide in your luggage, even more in bags that are not used a lot. Those places are safe and warm, so the insects may even end up laying their eggs in the luggage.

Paper Bags

Cockroaches can definitely use paper bags for depositing their eggs. This may happen either in your house or in the grocery store. Especially, if the bags are stacked in the basement, for example.


Some cockroach species love living outside in the garden. And practically any cockroach can feed on decaying organic matter. So, cockroaches can surely be found around plants, and sometimes they might choose to lay their eggs there.


The soil is usually full of food and water and is relatively safe. That means that some of the cockroach species can end up depositing their egg capsules there.


Even though roaches need water to survive, they can also drown. Cockroaches are not aquatic insects and laying eggs in water would simply kill their babies.


Roaches love staying in places where wood is stored and they can certainly leave their egg sacks there.


Some roaches use their saliva to stick the egg capsule to various surfaces. You might even find some sacks that have been deposited on the ceiling.

Cockroaches’ Eggs and Human Body

Cockroaches' Eggs and Human Body

Can Cockroaches Lay Eggs in Your Skin?

There are some insects that can burrow into the human’s skin and lay their eggs there. Thankfully, cockroaches don’t do that.

Do We Ingest Cockroach Eggs?

As the eggs are contained in a special case, it is practically impossible for someone to ingest a single egg.

What Happens if You Eat Cockroach Eggs?

You can be sure that you won’t eat a cockroach egg during your lifetime. However, in theory, even if it does happen, the egg won’t be able to survive. The environment in the stomach is just too harsh.

Can Cockroaches Lay Eggs in Your Ear?

There have been cases where cockroaches were able to crawl into a human’s ear. That may happen while the person is asleep as these insects are not interested in humans when they are awake.

However, it is unlikely for a cockroach to lay eggs in your ear. The ones that can get inside are usually not fully developed nymphs and are not able to lay eggs.

Can Cockroaches Lay Eggs in Your Hair?

Cockroaches can feed on the hairs of sleeping people and they can totally eat the fallen hair. But these insects won’t be laying their eggs in your hair. Botflies and chiggers, for example, can cause some damage as these creatures can lay eggs in your hair and in any region of the body that contains hair.

Can a Cockroach Lay Eggs in Your Mouth?

In theory, a cockroach can accidentally crawl into your mouth when you are asleep, but it won’t be able to survive there and it certainly won’t be laying its eggs there.

Do All Cockroaches Lay Eggs?

Do All Cockroaches Lay Eggs

Can Male Cockroaches Lay Eggs?

No, only female cockroaches can lay eggs.

How Many Eggs Does a Female Cockroach Lay?

The females lay an ootheca that can contain anywhere between 14 and 50 eggs. The number depends mainly on the type of cockroach.

Can Baby Cockroaches Lay Eggs?

Only adult female cockroaches can lay eggs.

How Often Do German Cockroaches Lay Eggs?

Unfortunately, these cockroaches have the highest reproductive rate as the oothecae of this type can contain up to 50 eggs. The average incubation rate of the eggs is around 28 days. In her lifespan, the female will usually produce 4 to 5 capsules full of babies.

Where Do American Cockroaches Lay Their Eggs?

The American cockroach prefers to lay its eggs next to food sources. Kitchens, for example, are definitely a favorite. Moreover, these insects can use their saliva to stick the capsule to different surfaces.

Do Hissing Cockroaches Lay Eggs?

Female Madagascar hissing cockroaches create an egg case that looks like a cocoon and carry it inside their bodies. After some time, they produce a few dozen nymphs.

Where Do Wood Cockroaches Lay Their Eggs?

Females of wood cockroaches usually choose to deposit their eggs under loose bark (on dead trees and logs). Their eggs will hatch within 30 days, but that can happen earlier if the weather is humid.

More Information about Cockroaches

Can Cockroach Eggs Stick to Your Shoes?

It is highly unlikely that an egg capsule will stick to your shoes, if you step on it, as it hardens into a strong protective casing. The female might choose to stick the capsule to the shoes that you rarely use, but that is more of an exception.

Can Cockroach Eggs Live in Vacuum Sealed Bags?

In theory, an egg sack can survive inside a vacuum cleaner. The capsule might be able to protect the babies and once the eggs hatch inside the vacuum, the nymphs will be able to find some food sources.

Can Cockroach Eggs Survive a Wash?

Can Cockroach Eggs Survive a Wash

The chances are extremely high that the ootheca won’t survive a wash. Especially, if the water is very hot and soapy.

Can Cockroach Eggs Survive in Water?

Even though cockroaches can survive underwater for about 30 minutes, it is highly unlikely that the eggs will still be able to hatch if they are placed in water.

List of Sources

Cockroaches, County of San Diego Department of Environmental Health

 A Cockroach Egg Parasitoid, University of Florida