What Do Baby Cockroaches Look Like?

You’re getting a glass of water at night when, out of the corner of your eye, you suddenly spot a tiny shadow zig-zagging across your kitchen counter. Upon closer inspection, it appears to be a small, black, oval-shaped insect.

The first thought that might come to your mind is: are you looking at a baby cockroach?

While they don’t seem as dangerous as adult cockroaches, baby cockroaches (also known as cockroach “nymphs”) are not to be ignored. Spotting a baby roach is often a warning sign of a larger infestation hiding somewhere in your home.
In this article, we’ll help explain what baby cockroaches look like and how to identify them — so that you can protect your home and your sanity from these pests.

So What Do Baby Cockroaches Look Like?

In general, baby roaches look like miniaturized versions of adult roaches. However, their exact appearance can vary depending on their stage of growth, as well as the species of cockroach you’re dealing with.
The average baby cockroach nymph measures between 1/8 to 1/4 inches in length, and their color ranges from light brown to dark brown. Newly-hatched baby roaches tend to be white or light grey, but they quickly darken in color after a few hours.
Like their adult forms, baby roaches have flat, hard-shelled bodies. They molt and grow new exoskeletons as they progress through different stages of development known as instars.
The exact number of instar stages varies depending on the species and environmental conditions — for example, the average American cockroach goes through 10 to 13 instar stages before reaching maturity.
Most baby roaches are wingless. Instars of certain cockroach species may have underdeveloped wings visible on their back, while others don’t have wings at all. The ones that have wings aren’t able to use them, though — cockroaches don’t have functional wings until they’re fully grown, and some species of cockroaches, such as German cockroaches, have wings but are unable to fly even as adults.

Species of Baby Cockroaches

The exact appearance of baby roaches varies between different species. If you’re trying to identify what species of cockroach nymphs you’re dealing with, keep an eye out for these characteristics.

Baby Cockroaches vs. Bed Bugs

Due to their size and shape, baby roaches and young cockroach nymphs are often confused for other pests — particularly bed bugs. At 24x7pms, we provide free pest identification services, and we receive a ton of pictures from people thinking they found a bed bug when, in fact, it’s a baby cockroach.
If you’re not sure if you have bed bugs or baby cockroaches, here are some key differences to help you tell these two pests apart.


If you look closely, bed bugs have short, oval bodies that resemble a flaxseed or a small apple seed. They’re also much flatter than baby roaches. On the other hand, baby cockroaches have cylindrical or oblong-shaped bodies resembling a pellet or a grain of rice.


You can also differentiate between baby cockroaches and bed bugs by looking at their antennae. Baby cockroaches have much longer antennae than bed bugs — almost as long as their body — that stick out in front of them. By comparison, bed bugs have short antennae that stick out to the side.

How Do You Get Rid of Baby Cockroaches?

Discovering a baby cockroach in your home is usually a bad sign that you may have a cockroach infestation on your hands. The most important thing to do is to eliminate the conditions that allow cockroaches to thrive:
The use of insect growth regulators, also known as IGRs, may help inhibit the growth of cockroach nymphs to prevent them from maturing to adulthood and reproducing. You can use general cockroach control products like boric acid or diatomaceous earth to help control the infestation.
For severe cockroach infestations, consider contacting your local pest control professional.