Pest Resources

What is a White Cockroach?– What You Need To Know

White cockroach

Have you spotted a white cockroach? Because white roaches are rare to find. Although there are many myths and stories about a white cockroach, a white cockroach is only a roach that has just hatched out of an egg or has shed its old exoskeleton.

There are many other species of roach in the world. In the United States, the most common are the German roach and the American roach.

Want to know more about a white cockroach? Keep reading our article below as we discuss everything you need to know about a white cockroach and what to do if you spot a white roach. 

What are white cockroaches?

White roaches are not a separate species, and they are not albino cockroaches. White roaches are in transition, a process in which they molt as they grow bigger to reveal a new exoskeleton underneath.

What Is Molting?

Most cockroach species turn white due to a process called a molt. Molting is a very common process that cockroaches spend a few hours several times a year doing.

Like other insects, roaches do not have any bones to support their body. Roaches rely on a hard outer shell called the exoskeleton to keep their body parts together; it also helps them to retain moisture. Their hard outer bodies cannot grow in the same way bones do. Maturing roaches eventually outgrow their exoskeleton, so they need to shed their exoskeleton.

When this happens, roaches grow a new exoskeleton underneath the old one. Every time cockroaches emerge out of their exoskeleton, they spend a few hours as a white cockroach.

Roaches during the molting phase will go through up to fourteen molts while maturing into adult roaches. Roaches split their old skin and crawl out of it. Roaches grow larger and more destructive and, each time, are a step closer to mating capabilities.

Closeup of a Cockroach


Why have I not seen more whites roaches?

Cockroaches behave differently when they molt. A ‘white or albino cockroach’ has its muscles attached temporarily to a soft exoskeleton. It will not have much movement at this stage, making it difficult to run and hide. An ‘albino cockroach’ cannot move very fast until it has a new outer shell. During this time, an ‘albino roach’ can become easy prey to predators.

Because an ‘albino roach’ is so vulnerable, it makes it extra cautious. This is why you will not see them very often. When ‘albino roaches molt, they will look for shelter to avoid predators and injury.

An ‘albino cockroach will find a hiding place for a few minutes or a few hours while their new skin or exoskeleton will harden and darken. After the molting cockroach will emerge with a new shell. After several hours it will look like a regular roach again with pigmentation. Then you will see the roach scuttling across the kitchen floor with a new suit of armor to find food and water.

The old exoskeleton left behind is a sure sign of roach infestations as it will look roach shaped.

Are white roaches dangerous?

Albino roaches may look more sinister than other roaches, but they are no more dangerous than other roaches. Like other cockroaches, they do not bite and do not have any stingers.

However, it is a fact that roaches spread diseases like typhoid, and bacteria like Salmonella and their shed exoskeletons, feces, and egg cases worsen both asthma and allergies, leading to allergic reactions. A white roach may have been on your food, depositing bacteria, viruses, molds, and parasites, causing food poisoning, which can make you very sick.

Are baby white German cockroaches white?

When a newly hatched cockroach emerges, its new exoskeleton is soft and white until it hardens and darkens. Because they will molt at least fourteen times before becoming an adult, a baby cockroach nymph or cockroach nymph will be white a few more times before it becomes an adult. Most of the time, it will be brown or black, like adult roaches.

Are White Cockroaches Albino cockroaches?

In many places, these white cockroaches are known as albino cockroaches. Albino is a name given to animals that have a genetic disposition and cannot produce the pigment molecules that are needed to form color in their exoskeleton or skin.

Although white cockroaches do not have any genetic alteration, and they turn white many times in their lifetime, they are still called albino cockroaches by a lot of people. Even when they are pretty old, they will molt and shed out of their exoskeleton when it becomes too small for them.

What Does It Mean When You Spot A White Cockroach?

If you spot roaches anywhere, no matter whether it is white or not, it generally indicates that there is more than one cockroach hiding somewhere. This is known as a cockroach infestation.

As a cockroach does not molt in broad daylight, they are always on the lookout for places where they can molt undisturbed.

They do not molt in the open because they are more exposed to predators when they molt in the open. This is why they are always on the lookout for a harborage.

When you spot a white cockroach anywhere, it usually means that there is more than one cockroach that is hiding somewhere and going through the molting process.

Do All Cockroaches Turn White During Molting?

A common question of many people is whether all cockroaches turn white when they molt or not. While the majority of the species of cockroaches turn white or yellow during the process due to a chemical reaction, some species of cockroaches will turn into a different shade when they molt.

Once these insects have molted, the color of the cockroach will transform from pure white to its normal color in a few hours.

What To Do If You Spot An Albino Cockroach?

If you spot an albino cockroach anywhere near your home, it means that there are more roaches, and you have a cockroach infestation, which poses a health problem. You should immediately look out for more cockroaches.

Most cockroaches do not travel far from the location of their harborage. So, search for the area nearby. Look for gaps or cracks in the wall, floors, crawl spaces, basements, floor drains, or the kitchen hiding in kitchen cabinets or under the stove.

Kitchen cabinets are one of the most common places where you will find cockroaches hiding. It is also advisable that you should conduct a full inspection of your house if you spot even one roach.

How can I get rid of a roach infestation?

There are ways to manage pests, like a white roach on your own. From natural home remedies that are non-toxic, like essential oils, to sprays and poisons.

Boric acid and diatomaceous earth are both very effective bug killers. Boric acid can be mixed with sugar and placed in infested areas of the home. Diatomaceous earth can be sprinkled in infested areas. When the insects walk through it, DE sticks to their legs, and as they groom themselves, it is ingested, killing them.

Citrus is effective for repelling roaches. The lemon scent will deter bugs in your home. Add some lemon oil to the water when you clean floors. The fresh smell will repel a white cockroach. Citrus is an inexpensive and effective method way to repel all bugs.

If you have a true infestation, in other words, large numbers of roaches, you should call a professional exterminator to get rid of them. They are trained to find exactly where the roach infestation and other pests are in your home and how to treat the problem.

And finally,

A white roach is no more dangerous than any other roach. As white cockroaches are very rare to find, you might spot one in your home. It is very rare for them to bite, but they do spread disease, food poisoning, and bacteria; they can also worsen asthma and cause allergies.

Spotting a white cockroach at your home means that there is a cockroach infestation present. This can be harmful to you and your family. Have the roach infestation treated as soon as possible with a cockroach control method, preferably by an experienced roach exterminator from a well-established professional pest control service company.

We discussed this in our article ‘What is a white cockroach?’ We hope it has been helpful.

Good luck!

Ronald has 25 years of pest control experience under his belt. He scrutinizes each pest control method, product and process. Each pest resource we list on our website goes through an in-depth fact checking process.

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