If your home has roach infestation, then roaches can be active all year round. But some people notice both an increase and decrease in roach activities during the winters.
What’s the truth? Do roaches like the cold winter season? Or do they hate it?
Does a downfall in roach activity in the winter means roaches have left your cold house?
Let’s find it out.
Do Roaches Like The Cold? Or Do Roaches Like The Heat?
No, roaches don’t like the cold. Roaches, like many bugs, don’t like extreme heat or cold.
So, in a cold house roach activities and sightings decrease during the winter. But that doesn’t mean roaches have left your home.
Where do roaches go in the winters in a cold home? Roaches will go deeper into your house and hide.
Roaches will move to the warm places in your home, and they remain dormant. This state of dormancy is known as diapause.
The diapause state is like the state of hibernation that bigger animals go into.
However, the difference between diapause and hibernation is that in the diapause state, bugs can look for food. And the growth of the bugs stops too.
The places where roaches will hide in the house in the cold depends on the species.
German roaches, which are tan and small, will hide in dark and dry places. They gather in one place, sometimes one over the other too, in the winter months.
So, places like dry wall voids, floor cracks, crawl spaces, underneath electrical appliances, and attics are the preferred places for German roaches to hide.
In contrast, American roaches will choose their usual places to hide. These places are your kitchen, bathroom, and basement where there’s also a bit of dampness.
American roaches are big, growing up to 2 inches in length, and are reddish-brown. These are the most common roaches that infest homes in the US.
Another common home roach, which is as big as the American roaches are the Oriental roaches.
Oriental roaches are dark reddish-brown and have no markings on their bodies like the American roaches have. Some oriental roaches can be reddish-black too.
They always prefer the damp and moist places underneath sinks, bathrooms, and near drains. It’s because of this habit they’re also known as water bugs in certain states.
Therefore, roaches will not leave a cold house during the winter. They’ll go dormant and restart their activities when the normal temperatures are back.
But if your home has heating, and it’s nice and warm, then you won’t notice any change in activities during the winter months.
At What Temperatures Roaches Are Active?
Cockroaches are most active between 77°F and 98.6°F (25°C to 37°C). It’s the ideal temperature range for the roaches to both breed and for the baby roaches to develop fast into adulthood.
Roaches cannot breed and remain active at temperatures below 40°F (4.4°C). And between 15°F(-9.4°C) and 0°F (-17.8°F) roaches will die.
Many people ask, can roaches survive in the refrigerator. The answer is NO. If you put roaches in the freezer at temperatures below 15°F roaches will freeze to death.
When it comes to heat, roaches cannot survive temperatures more than 120° F (48.8°C).
That’s why heat is one of the most critical tools to get rid of roaches in commercial establishments like restaurants.
Owners remove the heat sensitive equipment in the restaurant and raise the temperature inside the restaurant to 140° F – 150° F to kill the roaches.
So, here’s the range of temperatures that cockroaches hate and can’t survive –
- Temperatures below 40°F
- Temperatures above 120° F
Do Cockroaches Like Air Conditioning?
During the summer months, many homeowners notice that cockroaches at the vents of the air conditioner.
The truth is the roaches like the air conditioning machines. Why?
There are three reasons roaches like air conditioning –
- Place to hide
- Ideal temperature
Your AC always has water in it. How? It’s because the way AC systems work.
The AC systems works on the principle of condensation. The evaporator coil sucks in the moisture in the air.
And the moisture then transforms into water, the water goes to the drip pan via the condensate line behind the AC.
That makes AC damp. Plus, the AC is dark from the inside which the roaches prefer. That’s why the AC becomes an ideal place for roaches to hide.
Most of the time, the temperature range of the AC system during the summer is between 77° F to 86° F. It’s perfect for the roaches.
However, if the temperature’s rise and drop in the AC, and if there’s a decline in humidity in the AC, roaches will move onto other places.
A noisy AC system is also not ideal for roaches to hide. So, if your AC is making a noise then roaches will also ditch it to hide in other places.
How To Prevent Roaches In Your Home During The Winter And Year Round?
Stopping roaches from entering your home is the key to prevent roach infestation during winter months and all year round.
Here are the steps that work without fail to stop roaches from invading your home –
Step#1 – Seal Cracks And Gaps On Your Home’s Walls And Windows
Cracks and gaps on the walls are the points of entry for roaches inside your home. Many other bugs like infest homes also enter through these places.
So, seal those crevices on the home’s walls, windows, doors, and crawl spaces.
Use a silicone-based sealant to caulk the cracks. Silicone-based sealants are robust. They last for a decade.
The best part is roaches can’t chew through the caulk made from silicone-based sealants.
Step#2 – Reduce Dampness Inside Your Home By Repairing Leakages
Roaches love dampness. Along with food, moisture is a critical life source of roaches.
And if your home is highly damp, thanks to leaking pipes, then your home will attract roaches and many other bugs.
So, look out for damages in the plumbing area of your kitchen, bathroom, basement, and laundry room.
If you find any leaking pipes, then seal them with a silicone-based sealant.
Also, check out for worn out areas in the walls and the floors. Excessive moisture inside homes can damage floors and walls.
Voids develop in the damaged floors and walls, which becomes a nesting place for roaches and for many other bugs like centipedes and ants.
So, if you notice any such damages, repair them.
Step#3 – Clean Your Home And Yard To Deny Food To The Roaches
Roaches feed on human wastes of all sorts. Food wastes in the kitchen, junk in trash bins, and even decaying matter in your yard is food for roaches.
So, do a through cleaning of your home and your yard. A species of roach known as the wood roach infest yards and gardens.
And when their numbers increase, they can sneak into your home.
Make sure you leave no stones unturned while cleaning your kitchen, laundry room, basement, and bathroom. It’s because on top of being damp, these places also have ample waste that roaches eat.
For example, in your bathroom roaches will feed on broken hair and nails and even on the junk in the toilet trash bin.
Do not let food wastes accumulate in the trash bins of your kitchen for days.
Also, don’t leave plates with food stains in the kitchen sink overnight.
These things attract roaches, ants, and flies to your kitchen sink and home.
Step#4 – Remove Clutter From Your Home
Cluttered places is a prime real estate for roaches to hide. Even spiders hide in clutter.
So, remove the clutter from your home, especially from places like attic and storage rooms.
Do not choke the area underneath beds and tables with stuff like cardboard boxes, paper piles, clothes, and other things.
Roaches will hide in these places.
Use zipper bags or airtight storage bins to store your things in places like attic and storage rooms is a smarter choice than using cardboard boxes.
Cardboard boxes are a big problem in homes, especially when they lie around in dark places. Bugs like roaches, kissing bugs, spiders, and even rats can hide in them.
If there’s a bookshelf in your home, then ensure that you keep the bookshelf clean and dry.
Excessive dampness in books and bookshelf attract roaches. And roaches is one of the bugs that can damage your books.
Step#5 – Spray Essential Oils To Keep Roaches Away
There are some essential oils that roaches hate. Peppermint is one of them.
Peppermint spray works best when it comes to keeping bugs away from your home.
Use the peppermint spray in the corners of your kitchen, bathroom, basement, and laundry room.
You can also use them in the attic too.
Roaches come from outdoors. So, on top of cleaning your yard, use the peppermint spray in your yard especially around the foundation of your home.
Peppermint have insecticidal properties which roaches hate. It repels them.
Other options are eucalyptus and lavender essential oils. The smell from these essential oils repels roaches.
Step#6 – Keep Roach Traps
Roaches are sneaky creatures. They can get inside your home despite your best efforts in keeping them away.
To counteract this, use roach traps or baits.
Keep the roach traps where roaches can hide. So, places like kitchen, underneath sinks, besides plumbing areas, and keeping them near damp places will catch the most roaches.
You can also use hacks and tricks to draw out hidden roaches. You can read our guide on luring a cockroach out of hiding to know more.
When Should You Call A Pest Controller?
Roaches are tough pests to eliminate. And their numbers can shoot up even in winters if your home is warm.
To get rid of roaches, you’ll need to destroy their nests and kill the baby roaches too.
That will need experienced hands and eyes. So, if you’ve heavy roach infestation inside your home then hiring a pest control professional for help is the best option.
No, roaches don’t like the cold. That’s why in winters their activity decreases.
But that doesn’t mean that roaches have quit your cold home. It means that roaches are now hiding inside your home in the state of diapause.
In this guide, you’ve also found out at what temperatures roaches are most active. There’s also a six-step guide that keeps roaches out not just in winters, but all through the year.
Nang Chen is an Entomologist and Arachnologist who is associated with Vienna’s museum of natural history. He’s also a consultant with real estate groups, insecticide conglomerates and law enforcement groups as a forensic entomologist. Nang Chen holds an M.S. from South China University and he’s a regular contributor to our site.