Cockroach Lifespan and Breeding Facts
While some animals are threatened with extinction, the world never seems to be at risk of running out of cockroaches. The critters, which once walked the world with Tyrannosaurs Rex, are masters at survival and reproduction.
Female roaches only have to mate once and they remain pregnant for life. Cockroaches are oviparous, which means their young grow in eggs outside the mother’s body. When a female produces an egg case, it protrudes from the tip of her abdomen. Each casing is about a third of an inch long and the female carries the egg cases around in a sac attached to rear end for a few days. The eggs are then left in a safe location, say, inside your furniture, walls, boxes, suitcases, or even the shoes in your closet.
Ladies of the American cockroach variety can produce 3 to 5 generations annually. These roaches reproduce themselves resulting in around 800 offspring within a year. As unsettling as this sound, it pales when compared to German cockroaches where a single female and her offspring produce around 300,000 babies.
Newly hatched cockroaches are called nymphs and they look like small adults. Within weeks, the babies molt as they take on adult characteristics. Once they are fully grown, cockroaches might live a few months to a few years depending on the species. American cockroaches take 6 to 12 months to mature and live an additional year after reaching adulthood.
If you hate cockroaches, you might enjoy the fact that some species of wasp use cockroaches as incubators. A female wasp stings the roach or removes its antennae, which disables it. The wasp lays her eggs INSIDE the roach and they grow until they hatch. In a scene reminiscent of a sci-fi/horror movie, the baby wasps burst out of the roach when they are ready to fly. Think of that next time you see a cockroach scurrying across your kitchen floor.