Albino Roaches: Facts About White Cockroaches

Ever about or seen albino roaches? This topic is quite debatable as roaches may sometimes appear out-of-color (white). This has resulted in such cockroaches called albinos, but is that really the case?

Are there really albino roaches?

If you’re here to seek answers, we’ll provide you with information on all there is to know.

Are White Roaches Albinos?

It isn’t uncommon to come across a white roach. This different appearance happens to every roach at different points during its developmental process.

As roaches shed their old exoskeleton or molt, the new exoskeleton that appears is usually white.

However, this white color doesn’t remain so. It eventually changes to its usual brown hue. In other words, a white cockroach isn’t an albino, but simply the normal roach you know whose white appearance is only temporary.

Therefore, the common term albino roach doesn’t really refer to any roaches having albinism. Albinism is a lot different than just appearance.

To have a better understanding of what albinism means, it will be necessary to provide a description given by the National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation.

The National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation describes albinism as a genetic condition that interferes with the production of sufficient pigment melanin.

The pigment melanin is the material that gives coloration to eyes, skin, and hair.

Although its impact varies from person to person, vision is always affected. In other words, not all persons experience non-pigmentation of hair and skin. However, vision is always affected by non-pigmentation.

  • How Does this Relate to Roaches?

The above explanation has been necessary to clearly describe what albinism is.

There’s no documented case of roach albinism. So, the white cockroaches you see around your home aren’t albino roaches but simply those which have recently molted and will be restored to their normal coloration.

How Long Does It Take for White Roaches to Turn Brown

Having explained the phenomenon of roaches appearing white, it’s necessary to state how long such conditions remain. It doesn’t take long for white roaches (albino roaches) to regain their brown coloration or hue. Pigmentation is fully restored within a few hours.

The short timeframe within which albino roaches regain their usual pigmentation is the reason why white roaches aren’t too common.

White Roaches Aren’t a Daily Occurrence

You may have come across white roaches more than once or twice. While this is highly likely, you won’t see these white roaches every time. These are usually quite rare due to the explanations given earlier.

These arthropods possess exoskeletons that support their body structure and movements. However, as they grow, such exoskeletons won’t grow along but are rigid. Roaches will have to outgrow such an outer skeletal structure. This process is called molting.

To keep moving freely, they’ll need to shed the old and grow a new one. A new exoskeleton is grown under the new one and eventually breaks open or shed the old. This appears white which creates the impression that there are albino roaches.

As we’ve discussed earlier, the white appearance only lasts a few hours. Roaches won’t stay white for long. The normal pigmentation is restored within a short period of time.

This time, the exoskeleton is more spacious than the previous, thus allowing for further growth.

When they appear white, roaches are most vulnerable as the newly grown outer skeleton is still soft and hinders quick movement. They’re unable to move or escape fast enough from prey.

How Pigment is Restored

As stated earlier, white roaches are only white for a short period of time.

Full pigmentation is restored within a few minutes or hours. Hardening of the exoskeleton happens concurrently.

The whole process is naturally driven and is necessary for full development.

How Many Times Do Roaches Have to Molt or Turn White?

Metamorphosis in roaches happens several times until they become adults.

For a single roach, this might happen as much as 10 to 13 times until adulthood. When adulthood is attained, this process stops. Speaking about roaches appearing white, this will happen as much as 10 to 13 times for a single roach.

This gives you a better understanding of what goes on during their development. You also get to understand why cockroaches appear white.

Roach Life Cycle

To better appreciate the molt phases of a roach, it’s necessary to understand its life cycle.

There are three main stages when it comes to roach development. They include the egg stage, nymph, as well as adult stages.

  • Egg Stage

When cockroaches mate, the females produce egg cases known as oothecae. This happens within 3 to 7 days after the mating process. Now, each egg case holds around 15 embryos.

This egg case is borne at the tip of the abdomen until an ideal location is found for it.

  • Nymph Stage

Nymphs emerge from the egg cases after a period of 24 to 38 days.

Now, such nymphs need to develop into adulthood. This process involves a lot of molting with a white appearance seen at every stage. This is the stage where roaches are assumed to be albinos.

  • Adult Stage

In the period leading to adulthood, roach nymphs molted about 10 to 13 times. At this stage, they’re fully developed and begin the process of reproduction through mating.

Roaches Stay Out of Sight until they fully molt

The growth or development stage of roaches is quite interesting because they know when it’s coming.

When they do, they keep out of danger because they’re at their most vulnerable state.  Roaches will keep to deep harborage areas until their new exoskeletons develop.

So, if they keep out of sight during this time, why am I seeing them? It’s possible to spot or stumble upon white roaches. When you do, such a situation may due to a disturbance of their harborage area.

White Roaches Maybe Common during Extermination

When you call a pest management service for roach control, these technicians know just where to look at. Their expertise and experience enable them to locate deep harborage areas used as roach hideouts during molting.

A few will try to escape during treatment. This disturbance makes them seek escape routes.

Now you know that the white roaches you see aren’t albinos but only appearing temporarily white. The reasons for such appearance have been provided as well as their life cycle.

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