Pest Resources

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

White cockroach

You might have spotted a white cockroach every now and then because they are very common to find. Although there are many myths and stories about a white cockroach, a white cockroach is only a cockroach that has just hatched out of the egg or has shed its old exoskeleton. Want to know more about a white cockroach? Keep reading below, as we discuss everything that you need to know about a white cockroach and what to do if you spot one. 

How Do Cockroaches Turn White?

Want to know how a cockroach turns white? Most cockroaches turn white due to a process known as molting. Molting is a very common process that takes place in all arthropods. Arthropods are invertebrate animals that mainly consist of crustaceans and insects. While an endoskeleton is formed in humans and other vertebrates, an exoskeleton is formed on insects and crustaceans during the process of molting. Every time a cockroach bursts out of its exoskeleton during molting, it turns into a white color.

Closeup of a Cockroach


What Is Molting?

Molting is a process in which animals, especially insects and other crustaceans, cast off a part of their body. This process takes place at a specific time in the life of the insect. It can either happen at a specific time of the year or at a specific point in the lifecycle of that insect. During molting, an exoskeleton is created on the insects and the crustaceans.

The exoskeleton that is formed on the insects during molting is made from chitin. This exoskeleton is extremely hard. Although chitin is soft and white when it is first formed, it becomes hard when it is exposed to the open air. This is why the exoskeleton of the insect is extremely hard and dry. The exoskeleton also changes its color during the process of molting. It can turn either white or yellow. But, the color doesn’t remain the same throughout. This is why if a cockroach turns white during molting, it does not remain white for a longer period.

Once the insect starts growing, it fills up the extra space in the exoskeleton. When there is no extra space left in the exoskeleton and it can no longer grow inside, the insect breaks the exoskeleton and bursts out of it. This process is known as molting.

The Molting Process In The Cockroaches

Just like every other insect, cockroaches have to go through molting many times in their lives. Every time the cockroach emerges out of its exoskeleton, the cockroach will be a bright white color. But, this bright white color doesn’t remain white for a longer period. The cockroach will turn back to its old color once the soft chitin turns harder again. Once the chitin hardens again, the cockroach will gain its old color back.

A cockroach remains white soon after ecdysis.

What Are The White Cockroaches Called?

In many places, these white cockroaches are known as albino cockroaches, which couldn’t have been more wrong. 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 cockroach by a lot of people. Even when they are quite old, they will go through the molting process 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 a cockroach 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. Infestation means the presence of many insects or animals in one place. As a cockroach does not molt in the broad daylight, they are always on the lookout for the places where they can molt in peace. They do not molt in the open because they are more exposed to predators when they are molting in the open space. This is why they are always on the lookout for a harborage. The harborage is a space where many cockroaches gather before their molting process takes place. Thus, 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 that comes to the mind of many people is whether all cockroaches turn white during molting or not. While the majority of the species of cockroaches turn white or yellow during the process of molting, some species of cockroaches will turn into a different shade when they molt. Once the molting is completed, 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 is a cockroach infestation at your home, which is not healthy. This is why 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 the gaps or cracks in the wall or the kitchen cabinet. Kitchen cabinets are one of the most common places that you will find the harborage of cockroaches. It is also advisable that you should conduct a full inspection of your house if you spot even one cockroach.

The Bottom Line

As white cockroaches are very common to find, you might spot one at your home too. It is very rare for them to bite, meaning the issues of having them remain the same. Spotting a white cockroach at your home means that there is a cockroach infestation present in your home. This can be harmful for you and your family. This is why you should have it treated as soon as possible.

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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