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Cockroach Biology


Six American cockroaches (Periplaneta americanus) in a plastic container with two pieces of what appears to be dry pet food or small meatballs

In an increasingly polarized and divided world, it's of some comfort to know that there's one thing that nearly everyone in the world agrees upon: All throughout the world, on every continent where they can be found, in every nation, state, city, town, and village, people everywhere detest cockroaches.

This universal loathing of cockroaches is no accident, either. Consider the following:

There are thousands of species of cockroaches, but only four species are common household pests in the United States. Cockroach behavior varies by specie, but the following characteristics are generally true for all common cockroaches:

Reproductive Potential of Cockroaches

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Cockroaches are among the most prolific insects in the world. Their rapid reproduction is one of the reasons why a single pregnant cockroach carried home in a grocery bag really can explode into a major infestation in almost no time at all.

A German cockroach in an average environment, with sufficient food, warmth, moisture, and harborage, lives for about three or four months, on average. During this time, a female will produce 4 to 6 oothecae, or egg sacs, with each ootheca containing between 30 and 40 eggs. This makes for an average reproductive potential of between 120 - 240 live offspring during her lifetime.

German cockroach nymphs reach sexual maturity in about 8 to 12 weeks under favorable conditions. So factoring in the reproductive potential of her offspring, a single female German cockroach (or even a single ootheca) brought into a home can swell to an infestation of hundreds or thousands of roaches in the course of a year.


Related Pages:

Common Cockroach Species
Cockroach Control


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