Will Cockroaches Freeze to Death in Cold Temperatures?

Cockroaches inside the home are a fear for many homeowners. These insects can quickly infest a home and can be difficult to get rid of once they’ve moved in. They can also spread disease and cause other issues inside the home once they’ve started infesting a home. When the temperatures drop, however, is it possible the cockroaches will freeze to death?

Cockroaches are cold-blooded, so they cannot handle extremely high or low temperatures. This means they can freeze to death if the temperatures drop too low and without time for adjustment.

What Temperatures Do Cockroaches Prefer?

Cockroaches prefer temperatures between 77 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit (25 – 30 degrees Celsius). They can live in temperatures well above or below these temperatures but between these temperatures is when they tend to be the most active. They also reproduce more rapidly at these temperatures, which is why infestations tend to be more likely to occur during the spring and summer. The spring and summer months where the temperature stays between or close to these temperatures are when homeowners are more likely to discover infestations inside their home because there are more roaches inside the home, not necessarily because the roaches are just moving into the home.

At What Temperature Will Cockroaches Die?

While cockroaches can handle temperatures well below and above their preferred temperature range, they do need time to acclimate to the new temperature. Despite this, most types of cockroaches cannot survive if the temperatures reach below 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-17 degrees Celsius). When the temperature dips this low, they will die off. They may also die at higher temperatures that are still below their preferred range if they do not have the time to acclimate to the new temperature. If you put cockroaches in a sealed container and then into a freezer, the cockroaches will not be able to acclimate fast enough to the colder temperature and will die.

Will Cockroaches Survive the Winter?

Since cockroaches can survive low temperatures with enough time to acclimate to the temperature, they will not necessarily die just because it’s winter. Instead, they will acclimate as the temperatures change and adjust where they live to try to stay as warm as possible. This means homeowners may start to see roaches getting into their home when it starts to cool down outside. Cockroaches are nocturnal and can be hard to detect until there’s a larger infestation, which is why many homeowners won’t actually realize they’re inside the home until the temperatures get warmer. The cockroaches that enter a home will look for warmer spots inside the home, with a preference for warmer spots that have easy access to food and moisture.

How Long Can Cockroaches Survive in Low Temperatures?

Cockroaches can hibernate to help them survive the lower temperatures. However, they can still die if the temperatures are low enough. If they have time to acclimate to the lowering temperatures, they can survive longer. However, there is a much lower chance of them being able to survive the low temperatures the longer they’re stuck in them. If cockroaches are stuck in a place that’s around 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius), the chances of them dying increases drastically after 10 hours. While it’s possible for them to survive longer than that, it isn’t as likely. The lower the temperature drops, the faster the cockroaches will die and the lower their chances of survival. In temperatures of 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-17 degrees Celsius), most cockroaches will die within half an hour.

What Do Cockroaches Do During the Winter?

During the winter months, cockroaches look for somewhere warmer where they can hide. This often means they will enter homes being attracted to the heat. If it isn’t warm enough for the cockroaches inside the home, they may go into hibernation to have a better chance at surviving through the colder temperatures. They will come out of hibernation when the weather starts to warm up again, which means they’ll start to be more active in a home and are more likely to be spotted once the weather begins to get warmer. If they can find warm enough spaces inside the home, they can simply start living in the home and looking for food and water sources.

Can a Cockroach Infestation Happen During the Winter?

Cockroach infestations can still happen during the winter time. Cockroaches will look for any warm spots inside the home to hide in while they wait for the weather to get warmer. Homeowners are likely going to use their heater during the winter months, which means their home is going to be much warmer than the outside weather. Many homeowners will keep the temperature in their home below the preferred temperature of cockroaches, but it will be high enough that the cockroaches have time to acclimate to the change and will be likely to survive in the home. This means that it’s more likely cockroaches will get into the home looking for food and shelter and more likely to survive.

An infestation could begin inside a home because of this, even if the homeowner doesn’t see signs of cockroaches in the home quite yet. Instead, they might not notice the signs until it gets warmer outside and they don’t have to use the heater to keep their home warm. When they’re not heating the home, it’ll likely be a little bit warmer than it would be during the winter months, making it the perfect temperature for cockroaches. As it warms up, the cockroaches will become more active and will reproduce faster, meaning it’s more likely the homeowner will spot them inside the home.

Can You Freeze Cockroaches to Kill Them?

Cockroach Staying Warm In The Winter

Freezing cockroaches can be an effective method of killing them, but it depends on how bad the infestation is. The entire house cannot be frozen, so this will not kill all of the roaches hiding inside the home. If there are cockroaches infesting a small appliance or another item, it can be put into a sealed bag and then placed inside the freezer. It should be left inside the freezer for at least a few hours to ensure all of the roaches are dead. Then, it can be taken outside and washed thoroughly to ensure the dead roaches and any signs of the roaches are removed. This can help prevent an infestation inside a home if it is caught before they have spread throughout the home.

How Can a Cockroach Infestation be Dealt With?

There are many other ways to deal with a cockroach infestation, whether it’s the middle of winter or the weather is starting to warm up. It’s best to deal with the infestation during the winter as there should be fewer roaches inside the home. Some of the methods that can be used include the following.

    • Freezing: Freezing, as mentioned, is an effective way of dealing with small amounts of cockroaches that have gotten into the home. This method is effective, though its effects are limited to small objects that can be sealed in a bag and placed in the freezer.
    • Vacuuming: It is possible to vacuum roaches and then clean the area they were inhabiting thoroughly. This can remove all traces of the roaches from that area, though it does take a while to get through the whole home. When a vacuum is used, it needs to be emptied immediately into a container the roaches cannot escape from. Bagless backpack vacuums are the most efficient for vacuuming pests.
    • Bait and Traps: Traps are effective at eliminating many roaches in the home, but it depends on the likelihood of roaches entering the traps. The traps should be placed close to the places where roaches have been seen and replaced frequently. To make them more effective, use a trap that includes pheromones as a base. The pheromones attract more roaches, enabling the traps to catch as many roaches as possible.
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  • Poisons: There are some products that are safe to use inside a home but are poisonous or otherwise deadly for roaches. Diatomaceous earth is safe so long as you don’t breathe in the powder when placing it around the home. It is highly effective when it is placed in areas the roaches frequent. Boric acid is another option one that is safe to use in a home as long as it’s out of reach for pets and children. It can be dangerous if it’s ingested.
  • Professional Assistance: Professional assistance is the best way to handle roaches inside a home. Whether there’s just one here and there or there’s a full infestation, the professionals can eliminate the roaches from the home completely, no matter what the temperatures are.

Our recommended resources page takes a closer look at our favorite pest control tools and the best places to find them.

Roaches will not freeze to death until the temperatures get low enough for a long enough period of time, meaning there’s still a chance of roaches getting into your home through the winter months. If you’ve noticed roaches or any signs of roaches inside your home, speak with a pest control professional immediately to get fast help to eliminate them from your home.

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