What Are White Roaches?

Contrary to popular belief, there are no white or albino cockroaches. The white color is actually caused by the splitting and shedding of the cockroach's cuticle, which is its exterior casing. The cockroach sheds this cuticle during molting from a nymph into an adult.

There are three stages in the development of the cockroach as it moves from egg to nymph to adult. Cockroach eggs are unique in that they are encased in a larger structure that holds from six to 40 young, and these cases can be placed by the cockroach in a safe place or carried internally until the eggs inside hatch.

Once the young cockroaches break free from the case, they are nymphs. The roaches molt, shedding their skins and leaving their white bodies exposed until they darken and harden. Depending on the type of cockroach and other factors, the process of going from nymph to adult can happen within 6 weeks or it can take a few years.

Depending on the species, cockroaches can molt several times during the course of their lifecycles, and with each successive molt, roaches look more like full-grown adults. Nymphs only remain pale in color for a brief period. Once cockroaches reach adulthood, they do not molt. Adults and nymphs look a lot alike with the exception that the adult cockroach may have wings.