Cockroach Lifecycle: How Long Do Cockroaches Live?

an American cockroach

Depending on the species, adult cockroaches can live between seven months to a few years. However, the full lifecycle of a cockroach can take up to three to four years to complete. This blog goes over the lifecycle of some common cockroaches you may potentially encounter and how long they live.

Cockroaches are one of the most common infestations in homes. Their life cycle can help you determine the extent of an infestation. One female cockroach can produce up to 350 eggs in her lifetime alone. Therefore, having even just one cockroach in your home may produce an entire swarm.

Lifecycle Of A Cockroach

Although roaches are stereotypically thought to be the only things that can survive the apocalypse, they’re not entirely indestructible. In order for a cockroach to survive and reproduce, they need ideal living situations. To do this, they need a safe place to hide and reproduce that’s close to food. 

To get rid of cockroaches quickly, you need to ensure they don’t have an ideal space to reproduce.

Also Read: Signs of a Cockroach Infestation


Unlike most things that produce eggs, cockroaches lay eggs in capsules known as ootheca. These capsules look like kidney beans or another type of legume depending on the species. Female cockroaches use saliva to join multiple eggs into one capsule. Up to a dozen eggs can be held in one capsule at a time. 

You’ll likely find cockroach egg capsules under sinks and deep in cupboards. Capsules are incredibly small and well-hidden, often making them hard to spot. Eggs stay in this stage between one to two months. 


Nymphs or larvae are young cockroaches. After a month or two in the egg stage, cockroaches turn into nymphs. You may have accidentally mistaken a nymph for another type of insect. Nymphs look like tiny versions of adult cockroaches and are 1/4 inch long. 

Nymphs go through several molts before they become adult cockroaches. When looking for signs of a cockroach infestation, look for nymph molts in common places cockroaches hide. Cockroaches stay in the nymph stage anywhere between 3 months to two years! 


The easiest way to distinguish adults cockroaches is their wings and antennae. Most cockroach species in North America look relatively similar but will have different lifespans. On average, adult cockroaches live between two months to two years.

Common Cockroach Species and Their Lifecycles

German cockroaches, the most common species of cockroaches in North America, have some of the highest reproduction rates. This species of cockroach can produce up to 350 eggs in her lifetime! It’s vital to get rid of cockroaches as soon as you notice the signs of infestation. Here are some common species you may spot in North America.  

  • German cockroach life cycle. German cockroaches have some of the highest reproduction rates, producing between 20 to 40 egg capsules in their lifetime. These cockroaches spend about 28 days as eggs, three months as nymphs, and around six and a half months as adults. 
  • American cockroach life cycle. As you may suspect, these are the most common cockroaches in America. American cockroaches 14 egg capsules in a lifetime. American cockroach spend about 40 days as eggs and almost two years as nymphs. Adult male cockroaches only live up to year, by adult females live for over two and a half years.
  • Oriental cockroach life cycle. Oriental cockroaches are very particular about their climate, preferring a very mild climate between 68 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit. This species cannot produce eggs under 59 degrees and only produce about eight egg capsules in their lifetime. Oriental cockroaches spend two months as eggs, around a year and a half as nymphs, and between five to seven months as adults. 

Also Read: How To Get Rid of Cockroaches

Pest Brigade can connect you to the closest exterminator when you call. We work with top-rated pest control companies across the country who can help get rid of your cockroach problem. Call today to speak with an exterminator.