What Is a White Roach?

The sight of a white roach in your home might lead you to wonder if it is a different species, or poisonous or harmful to your health in other ways.  Finding white cockroaches could be a sign of a serious problem in your home. Here’s what you need to know.

picture of white roach shedding exoskeleton
White cockroach emerging from shed exoskeleton

What Kind of Roach Is a White Roach?

A white roach or albino roach is not a different species that has turned up in your home.  Cockroaches shed their exoskeleton as they grow, so for several hours after each molt, all cockroaches are white because of a lack of pigmentation in the body. The new exoskeleton is soft but the body begins to brown and harden a few hours after ecdysis (molting), and the characteristic pattern of the species appears.  

White cockroach and german roach egg case
White cockroach – late-stage german roach nymph and roach egg case

Are Newly Hatched Roaches White?

At birth, cockroach nymphs are usually creamy white but their exoskeletons develop into the species’ regular color a short while after.   The nymph goes through several molting stages before reaching adulthood, each time looking like a white roach before its exoskeleton hardens.

What Happens When a Roach Molts?

As the cockroach grows larger it beings to outgrow its exoskeleton so it has to molt and shed it to make way for a new one. Depending on the species, cockroaches go from nymph to adult in about six to eight molts until it reaches maturity.

As the cockroach sheds its exoskeleton (exuviae) after every molt, its body looks white due to pigment loss, which is gradually restored over several hours, as mentioned above.

During these hours, the roach tends to stay hidden as its cuticle isn’t yet hard enough to protect it from predators, making it vulnerable to attack. 

Close up of white cockroach on its back
Close up of white roach on its back with both eyes and six spiny legs visible. Egg case in background

Do Albino Cockroaches Exist?

Yes, there are albino roaches but they are not a different species of cockroach. Albino cockroaches are the result of genetic mutations occasionally observed among roach populations in labs. It is highly unlikely you will find an albino roach in your home and there hasn’t been any evidence of finding them outside of a laboratory setting.  

Are White Roaches Dangerous?

White roaches can be dangerous to humans because they carry harmful bacteria which pose health risks, and they produce droppings that can cause allergies and other illnesses.

Their shed exoskeletons are also a concern since they produce allergens that can cause allergies and asthma attacks. 

White roach next to roach ootheca
Albino roach or white cockroach on its back and next to German roach egg case.

What Does It Mean When You See a White Cockroach? 

In simple terms, it means you’ve got a growing infestation. If you see a white roach then it means it has shed its skin, which also indicates that there are adults reproducing.  This is a problem that needs dealing with immediately. 

What To Do When You See White Roaches Inside Your Home?

A large roach infestation can be hard to treat and get rid of especially if you have German cockroaches infesting your home as they are prolific breeders.  

Contact a pest control company to take care of the infestation for you.  Ask family and friends for recommendations, or look at the reviews online before choosing a reputable one

In the meantime keep your home clean and as clutter-free as possible.  Wipe up spills, vacuum regularly, and don’t leave food or pet food out on countertops overnight.  Cockroaches need water or moisture to survive, so no leaving dishes in the sink overnight. 

I highly recommend you use a pest control company, but if this is not within your budget, then read how to get rid of cockroaches without an exterminator. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a white roach?

Despite their appearance, white cockroaches do not belong to a different species of roach.  The roach may be any species (German roaches are the most common type found in homes) and it is simply the result of the roach having shed its skin, revealing a newly formed soft white exoskeleton that darkens and hardens over several hours.  

How rare is a white cockroach?

White cockroaches are not rare at all.  In fact, they usually stay in their harborage areas until their exoskeleton has hardened so they are not so vulnerable to prey.  If you are seeing them scurrying around your kitchen, then this is an indication of a growing infestation and could be running out of room in their usual harborage areas.

Are white cockroaches poisonous?

Poisonous, no!  Harmful, yes!  While white roaches of any species infesting homes are not poisonous, they are certainly harmful to your health.  These insects thrive in filthy environments, picking up harmful bacteria on their feet and bodies that contaminate your kitchen countertops when they crawl across them.  In addition, they produce allergens that can trigger allergic reactions or asthma attacks.  

Is a white cockroach lucky?

There’s nothing lucky about seeing a white cockroach in your home. It’s an indication that you have a growing roach infestation that should be dealt with immediately.

I’ve been in the pest control industry helping people get rid of their unwanted pests for over 20 years, both in the UK and Canada.

As a licensed pest management professional, I’ve seen and treated just about every common household pest, insect, or rodent, you can think of. I’ve seen the damage caused when an infestation has been left too long and has become hard to get rid of.

For this reason, peststopsolutions.com was created. By having honest advice and the right guidance to hand, along with scientific evidence to back up claims, you are given information on the best eradication methods, as well as how to get rid of most pests yourself.