Cockroaches are insects of the order Blattodea, which also includes termites. About 30 cockroach species out of 4,600 are associated with human habitats. About four species are well known as pests. Cockroaches are one of the many pests invading our homes.
As much as their presence is scary, their numbers surpasses the scariness. However, this will only prove to be problematic if let to live thus they reproduce among themselves.
Cockroaches are known to reproduce at a high rate since the females lay eggs over short periods of time which keeps their numbers at an alarming level.
This can be heightened when the factors supporting their reproduction and survival are favorable hence regular reproduction in a year. As much as there are hundreds of cockroach species, their life cycle is the same for all. They undergo through incomplete metamorphosis.
That is their life cycle is divided into three stages:
- Egg stage
The female cockroach lays eggs in a shell-like casing, known as the oothecae. The oothecae holds quite a number of the eggs, roughly 15-20 eggs, which is dependent on the roach species. In the case of a German cockroach, the numbers of the eggs can be as high as 40 of them. To ensure the safety of the eggs, the female roach lays the eggs in a well-protected area where it remains until the eggs hatch. As for other species, they carry around the oothecae on their backs while others will carry it on their abdomen. In a lifetime, the female roach can lay up to 150 eggs.
- Nymph stage
Nymphs will come to be once the eggs have hatched. This roughly takes about 14-60 days depending on the type of cockroach and the environment conditions. Nonetheless, the eggs will hatch into the nymph stage by freeing themselves from the oothecae, where they have been enclosed.
The nymphs are a perfect replica of adult roaches only smaller and that they lack wings. Under this stage, cockroaches will experience most of the changes in their life as they develop from young lings to adults. This happens during the molting process, where the cockroaches shed out their exoskeleton. In result, they increase in size. Looking at a cockroaches that has molted a while ago, it can easily be mistaken for an albino. After each molt, the cockroach has a pale appearance but regains it dark color shortly thereafter.
- Adult stage
The entire life cycle of a cockroach from the egg to the adult stage can last up to 600 days. After each molt, the nymph gets closer and closer to the adult stage. In the final nymph stage, the roaches for one will have wings which were absent there before, or rather hidden. The average lifespan of a cockroach depends on the species as well as the factors favoring its living such as temperature and climatic conditions and the nature of the environment they currently are in. The size and length of an adult cockroach will vary in size depending with the species with most of them ranging in between an inch longer, shorter or there about. Once the cockroaches are adults, they can reproduce new offspring, repeating the life cycle all over again.
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