General Information

Cockroaches will feed on almost anything, including refuse, faecal matter and food for consumption. They also require access to water, and will be generally found in inaccessible harbourages, close to water and food. Cockroaches can survive for several months without food, but will not live for more than a few days without water. Female cockroaches lay their eggs within egg capsules known as oothecae, which resemble small brown purses.

Average Lifecycle

Cockroaches have incomplete metamorphosis, meaning that the nymphs are generally similar to the adults, except for undeveloped wings and reproductive organs. Development is generally slow, and may take a few months to over a year. The adults are also long-lived, and have survived for as much as four years in the laboratory. Cockroaches live up to a year, and the female may produce up to eight egg cases in a lifetime; in favourable conditions, she can produce 300 to 400 offspring. Female cockroaches are sometimes seen carrying egg cases on the end of their abdomens; the German cockroach holds about 30 to 40 long, thin eggs in a case called an ootheca. Other species of cockroaches, however, can produce far more eggs; in some cases a female needs to be impregnated only once to be able to lay eggs for the rest of her life.

Quick Facts

Type: Insect
Diet: sweets, meats and starches, hair, books and decaying matter. Anything and everything
Lifespan: German Cockroaches native to the UK 100 to 200 days.
Size: 3mm-80mm depending on species.
Weight: 0.1 and 0.12 g (German Cockroach)
Habitat: temperate, tropical, terrestrial
Range: Northern Hemisphere, native to Europe, Northern Africa, and temperate Asia.
Scientific name: Blattella germanica (German Cockroach)

There are three main species of cockroaches in the UK:

German Cockroaches

The female German cockroach can produce four to eight capsules at monthly intervals. The 6mm long egg capsules are smaller than the Oriental cockroach, but contain up to thirty eggs. The eggs hatch into nymphs, which look similar to adults but are far smaller. They grow into adults via several moults. This usually occurs 5-10 times during its development. The development from egg to adult can take between 6 to 18 months depending mainly on temperature. The adult has a life expectancy of around 26 weeks. German cockroaches are easily identifiable by 2 dark stripes across their thorax. Most commonly found indoors, German cockroaches prefer wet, humid conditions and are typically found within the home in areas such as kitchens and bathrooms. German cockroaches need warmth and humidity to survive, so are likely to be found in and around bathrooms, laundry rooms and kitchen areas. They are also good climbers, scaling smooth surfaces like glass and polished metal with ease. This is due to sticky pads on their feet.

American Cockroaches

American cockroaches often enter structures through drains and pipes. They are more active when the temperature is 70 degrees or higher, but they can survive lower temperatures with the right conditions. Although American cockroaches can be found in homes, they are also common in larger commercial buildings such grocery stores, food processing plants and hospitals. They are Reddish-brown, with a yellowish figure 8 pattern on the back of the head with adults 2 inches long.

Oriental Cockroaches

The female Oriental cockroach can produce up to five egg capsules. The capsules are 12mm in length and each contain up to sixteen eggs, which will hatch between six and twelve weeks later. Oriental cockroaches – can cope with cooler, damp conditions and are more common scuttling about in basements or drains. If conditions are tolerable they can survive outside in areas such as rubbish tips. They are not as agile as German cockroaches, but can climb a surface such as rough brickwork. Adult Oriental cockroaches are dark brown or black in colour. Highly adapted for surviving in the natural environment, Oriental cockroaches thrive in cool, damp areas such as basements, drains and openings beneath porches. Known for their preference for feeding on garbage and decay, these insects can most commonly be found in rubbish tips and leaf litters.


• Cockroaches are older than the dinosaurs and have walked the Earth for hundreds of millions of years.
• Cockroaches can survive for weeks without their head.


An insecticide is used that the cockroaches will consume and later die, hopefully in the nest. Cockroaches are carnivores and will eat their own dead, this in turn will give secondary poisoning to their once friends eating them. Before long the whole colony is gauging on each other which eradicates the infestation.
This approach is called the cascade effect.

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