Dead cockroach on floor

How long a cockroach lives will depend on a bunch of different factors, such as the type of cockroach, where the cockroach lives, and if there is food and water around for them.

Cockroaches will experience a shorter life if it suffers dehydration, starvation, or become food for other creatures.

Getting to know these factors not only provides a better understanding of their life cycle but also helps in controlling infestations within your own home. We will learn below how long do roaches live.

Cockroaches Lifespan

How Long Do Roaches Live by Species

A cockroach’s lifespan depends on species and environmental factors. Here’s a quick breakdown of the average lifespan for some common cockroach species:

  • German Cockroach: These cockroaches typically live for 100-200 days.
  • American Cockroach: With a longer lifespan, American cockroaches can live for about one year.
  • Oriental Cockroach: These roaches have an average lifespan of 2-6 months.
  • Brown-banded Cockroach: This species can live anywhere from 4-12 months. The average is roughly 200 days or 7 months.

Keep in mind that these lifespans represent the average and can vary based on multiple factors.

Factors Affecting Lifespan

Several factors can affect the lifespan of a cockroach:

  1. Food and Water Availability: A cockroach’s lifespan heavily depends on the availability of food and water. Dehydration and starvation are common causes of death for cockroaches.
  2. Climate and Habitat: As cold-blooded creatures, cockroaches are sensitive to changes in temperature. Extreme cold can shorten their lifespan.
  3. Predators: Roaches often fall prey to larger predators, which can considerably reduce their life expectancy.

Cockroaches and the Ecosystem

Predators and Natural Enemies

Cockroaches play an essential role in the ecosystem as a food source for many animals. Some of their predators include wasps, which may lay their eggs in cockroach eggs or nymphs, eventually killing them.

Reptiles, amphibians, spiders, and mammals love to eat cockroaches. Additionally, roaches can even benefit humans by breaking down and consuming waste materials, as they serve as scavengers in the environment.

A jumping spider (Phidippus regius) eating its prey cockroach on a green leaf. Macro, big eyes, sharp details. Beautiful big eyes and big green fangs.

Adaptability and Survival

Cockroaches can survive in almost any condition. People are always joking if there was a nuclear war cockroaches would be the only thing left alive on earth.

They have a wide range of food options and are often found near humans, as they can thrive on the food waste that we produce. Cockroaches can also adapt well to different temperatures and climates, which enables them to survive in many regions of the world.

Here are some factors that contribute to their adaptability and survival:

  • Aging: Cockroaches have a relatively long lifespan, ranging from 7 months to almost 3 years, depending on the species. This enables them ample time to reproduce and continue their lineage.
  • Circulatory system: Their open circulatory system helps distribute nutrients and oxygen throughout their body, aiding in their endurance and ability to survive injuries or trauma.
  • Wings and flight: While not all cockroaches can fly, wings can help some species, such as the American, Asian, smoky brown, and wood cockroaches, to escape from predators or seek new shelter and hiding spots.
  • Shelter and hiding: Cockroaches prefer to live in dark, damp, and warm environments, such as cracks, crevices, and underneath debris. This allows them to avoid their predators and thrive without disturbance.

There are so many different types of cockroaches found around the world, and each kind has its own survival skills:

  1. Oriental cockroaches are giant, dark brown roaches that prefer damp and dark environments.
  2. American cockroaches: Known for their reddish-brown color, these roaches are commonly found in warmer climates and are notorious for their ability to fly.
  3. German cockroaches: Smaller than the American and Oriental varieties, these roaches are light brown and often found near human environments. These roaches love to live in homes and buildings.
  4. Brown-banded cockroaches: This species prefers drier environments and can be identified by the distinctive brown bands across their wings.
group German Cockroaches

In conclusion, cockroaches are highly adaptable creatures that can survive in various conditions. Although they may be unwelcome guests in your home, they serve an essential role in the ecosystem and contribute to the natural balance of their surroundings.

Cockroach Life Cycle

I. Cockroach Eggs and Ootheca

Cockroaches begin their life cycle when a female lays eggs in a protective case called an ootheca. This egg case can contain anywhere from 14 to 40 eggs, depending on the species of the cockroach.

The ootheca is deposited in a safe, hidden place by the female, where it awaits the emergence of the next developmental stage – nymphs.

Cockroaches_Life cycle

II. Nymphs and Instars

Once the eggs hatch, nymphs emerge to start the next cycle and wave. During this stage, nymphs will go through multiple phases called instars.

At each instar, the nymph will molt, shedding its exoskeleton to allow for growth. The number of instars varies by species, with some cockroaches going through seven to 10 instars before reaching sexual maturity.

The lifecycle process (from egg to adulthood) can be a few months to over a year, it depends on different external factors.

III. Adult Stage

As the nymphs molt, they gradually take on the appearance of adult cockroaches. They now have the characteristic brown color, three pairs of legs, two pairs of wings (in some species), and a set of long antennae on their heads.

Adult cockroaches will mate and produce oothecae, starting the life cycle all over again.

Adult cockroaches typically live for several months or even years. However, many cockroaches will die prematurely due to environmental factors, predation, or other causes.

Reproduction and Offspring

Mating and Egg Laying

Cockroach reproduction starts with the mating process, involving female and male cockroaches. Once they mate, the female cockroach lays eggs within an egg casing called an ootheca. Different species of cockroaches produce varying numbers of egg casings in their lifetime, where an American roach, for example, can lay around six to 14 oothecae during her lifespan, with an average incubation period of 44 days.

Female and Male Cockroaches

Female cockroaches generally produce a high number of offspring, which varies between species. A German cockroach and her young can produce 300,000 roaches in one year, while an American cockroach and her young can result in around 800 new roaches per year.

The number of eggs per ootheca also differs across species.

As a nymph, a baby cockroach is usually white after hatching but soon turns brown, leading it to resemble a smaller version of an adult roach. It is in this stage that cockroach infestations may arise if you don’t start treatment plans to eradicate cockroaches.

In their life cycle, cockroaches undergo three stages: egg, nymph, and adult. All cockroach nymphs are oviparous, meaning they develop inside the egg casings before hatching.

In summary, understanding the cockroach reproductive process, including mating, egg-laying, and the growth of nymphs to adults, is crucial in preventing and managing cockroach infestations.


From the information gathered, it is clear that the average cockroach lifespan usually lasts between 1.5 years or 7 – 15 months, depending on variables such as species, habitat, and available resources.

However, these figures can change depending on factors like food and water availability, climate, and predation. There are three main stages—egg, nymph, and adult—during which the insect undergoes various transformations.

On average, they spend six to eight weeks as eggs, followed by six months to a year as nymphs, before attaining maturity. Adult roaches can typically live for a year or more.

To sum it up, understanding the lifespan and lifecycle of cockroaches is vital in dealing with these pests effectively. So, apply this knowledge to maintain a clean and healthy environment, safeguarding your space from these unwelcome, persistent insects.

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