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Do Roaches Shed?

a roach on a neutral background

Cockroaches are excellent at adapting to their environment, making them difficult to control. Most homeowners have had a run-in with cockroaches at some point, but it can be frustrating when you notice more and more of them making your house their home.

Learn how roaches infiltrate a household, how to identify the breed and what you should do to control them.

Do Roaches Shed?

Many homeowners are surprised to learn that roaches do shed. They shed their skin multiple times throughout their life to accommodate their body’s growth. You may find cockroach exoskeletons in their nests, beneath electrical equipment, furniture, closets, drawers and corners of rooms.

The exoskeleton is a solid outer coat that protects roaches. Roaches cannot grow over the limitations of their hard shell, so they have to molt to become larger. Cockroaches will molt anywhere from 6 to 14 times in their lives, depending on the species.

Cockroaches lose their old skin after molting, and they discard it. If you find what looks like a light-colored cockroach, it is a cockroach that has recently molted.

If you ever find a random piece of cockroach exoskeleton in your home, know that a roach passed through at some point. Contact a reputable pest control company if you notice roaches in your home.

Reasons For Shedding

Cockroaches are invertebrates, meaning they have no backbone or spine. Instead, their skeletal structure is visible on the outside as an exoskeleton. They have to continuously shed their exoskeleton in order to continue growing.

Roach Shell Functions 

A cockroach’s shell provides many functions to protect them, including the following:

  • It provides roaches with structure. Their shell keeps cockroaches together, which works as a framework to keep the body in place. The cockroach can stretch its muscles and control each segmented section completely.
  • It protects them from harm. Cockroach exoskeletons can protect them from being trampled on or hit with a book. On the other hand, roaches must shed their skins to develop due to the stiffness of their outer shell.
  • It allows roaches to grow. The skin of a newborn cockroach is delicate and white. The exoskeleton will stiffen and darken after a few hours. Cockroaches must complete a molting cycle to mature and grow into full-grown adults. They shed their exoskeleton and harden their new skin as it grows.

a small black roach

How Small Black Roaches Get Into Your Home

If you are finding small black roaches in your home, you are likely dealing with either nymph Oriental cockroaches or German roaches. German roaches are technically brown to dark brown in color, but they can be mistaken for black roaches if a homeowner catches a glimpse of them in the dark while they scurry away. No matter what species you’re dealing with, roaches are extremely resourceful insects that have the ability to infiltrate your house through a variety of entry points, including the following:

  • Squeezing through gaps in your home
  • Slipping into purses, backpacks, luggage and other containers
  • Entering through gaps close to doors and windows
  • Going from one place to another by using pipes or other openings in the walls of shared buildings

How to Monitor and Prevent a Roach Infestation

Prevention and monitoring are important steps to take when trying to avoid a cockroach infestation.

These are things you can do around the house to reduce the amount of cockroach activity and help prevent further infestations:

  • Clean any food debris and grease from the stove, counters and floors
  • Repair plumbing leaks
  • Close any spaces or cracks around the home’s entrances and exits, including windows and doors
  • Keep an eye out for eggs, droppings, roaches and shedded skin that cockroaches leave behind

How to Manage a Roach Infestation

Roaches multiply fast, so the best way to prevent them from making themselves at home is by making your home less hospitable. Start by regularly cleaning food crumbs, spills and grease and paying special attention to the kitchen. Storing food in airtight containers and disposing of trash in sealed bins is also key. Since roaches are looking for food and water to survive, fixing leaky pipes is important. Also, empty pet food and water bowls at night.

Finally, look around your house for entry spots where roaches could be coming in. Seal any cracks and crevices in walls, floors and windows to keep roaches out.

When dealing with cockroaches, it’s always best to contact a pest control professional and have them come to assess the severity of the problem. Cockroaches are fantastic at staying undetected; therefore, a professional roach exterminator is the best route.

a cockroach on its back

How Fast Do Cockroaches Multiply?

It’s amazing how fast cockroaches multiply. They create offspring rapidly, which means that you might be in trouble if you see a few of them in your home.

Depending on the type of cockroach, an egg case contains between 16 to 50 eggs. Adult female German cockroaches, one of the most common types of cockroaches homeowners deal with, will produce six to eight egg cases in their life. So, if you see just a few cockroaches around your home, they can quickly turn into a big problem.

If you find roaches infesting your home, the best option is to contact a pest control company and have them get the problem under control.

Where To Find Cockroaches

It’s difficult to spot the signs of a roach infestation as they can conceal themselves in various locations around the home. Knowing the ideal environment and feeding habits of cockroaches can help you find areas in your home where these pests choose to gather.

Cracks and crevices are the ideal hiding places for cockroaches because of their thin profile. It’s also helpful to look in the spaces behind the refrigerators, under the sinks, and in any dark drawers or cabinets for these pests.

The Different Species of Cockroaches

To control an infestation, the first thing you need to do is identify the species of cockroaches that are currently residing in your house. Through proper cockroach identification, you will be able to learn about how to control them better.

German Cockroach

One of the other most prevalent species is the German cockroach. German cockroaches are also small and can be a dark brown color at times in their lives. As a result, they are commonly perceived as black, especially at night. Characteristics of this species are:

  • Two dark-brown stripes behind the head
  • A lifespan of up to a year
  • German cockroaches lay more eggs than other species
  • They are typically about a half of an inch in length

American Cockroach

The American cockroach is often the biggest in houses and can even fly. American roaches are darker in color as babies but turn lighter as they grow larger. Other characteristics include:

  • Their hue ranges from reddish brown to brown, with light yellow bands encircling the shield behind the head
  • This species’ males and females have wings, so they can both fly small journeys
  • Typically live outside, but occasionally make their way inside
  • They typically measure about an inch and a half in length

Oriental Cockroach

These glossy, dark brown or black cockroaches are very distinctive. Other characteristics they exhibit are:

  • Male and female oriental cockroaches are both incapable of flying
  • They have a six-month lifespan
  • Oriental cockroaches mostly eat decomposing organic substances
  • They are about an inch in length

ABC Can Treat the Roaches on Your Property

Roaches are extremely resilient creatures and can multiply fast. Instead of trying your hand at DIY solutions, contact ABC Home & Commercial Services. Our pest control professionals use a multi-tiered approach to reducing cockroach populations.

Holt Myers

Holt joined ABC in 2021 as the Electrical & Appliance Operations Manager before transitioning to Division Manager for Pest Control. Before ABC, Holt worked as a Project Manager and Superintendent in Construction. Holt also served in the US Marine Corps from 2003 to 2007. Holt is a member of NPMA’s PestVets, Stewards of the Wild and Texas Wildlife Association. Holt is an avid outdoorsman, who loves to travel and spend time with his wife and daughter.

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