How to Help Keep Cockroaches Out of Your Home This Winter
If the world came to an end, the only survivors would be cockroaches.” This oft-repeated statement is a myth, according to Alvaro Romero, a Professor of Urban Entomology at New Mexico State University. However, Dr. Romero also states that cockroaches can withstand 10 times more radiation than human beings in the event of a nuclear attack.
To keep cockroaches out of your house in winter (not to mention all year-round), take a few simple preventive measures.
Seal all cracks, crevices and other cockroach entry points with caulk. You should also practice good sanitation at home. Doing so helps ensure that cockroaches will not find ready sources of food and water inside it. You should:
- Avoid leaving dirty dishes and food scraps in the kitchen sink overnight
- Be sure to store all your pantry goods in sealed containers
- Empty your garbage cans and wastebaskets daily - take the garbage outside and place it in a sealed receptacle
- If possible, don’t leave pet food out overnight, as that's when roaches are most active
Do Cockroaches Like the Cold?
Generally, cockroaches don’t like the cold one bit. They are cold-blooded arthropods that don’t survive very well in either extremely cold or hot circumstances. They’re always at whatever temperature their environment is and generally slow down with cooler temperatures. For example, when it’s cold, German cockroaches may group together or be found in hot places to stay warm.
With that said, cockroaches are comfortable and thrive at the temperatures that human beings find comfortable. They’re good at finding the area that has the temperature they can survive in. We may think we're setting our thermostats for ourselves, but we're also potentially setting them for these pests.
Do Cockroaches Die In Winter?
In the winter, when temperature drops to a certain degree, many cockroaches enter a hibernation-like state of dormancy called diapause. In this inactive state, their metabolic rate slows and growth stops. When cockroaches enter warm buildings, or homes, with plenty of food and water, they can remain active in the winter. That also means they continue reproducing and eating. Because houses typically provide an ideal environment, complete with warmth, food and water, roaches are more likely to enjoy your home in the winter.
Which Cockroaches Can Be Winter Pests?
American cockroaches – can grow up to 2 inches in length and is reddish-brown in color. It's considered the largest house-infesting cockroach in the United States. American cockroaches may feed on anything from human food to feces. Since these roaches prefer areas where food and water is plentiful, they are most often found outdoors. However, they can invade homes as well, especially during extreme weather, like some winters.
German cockroaches – can grow to be a little over half of an inch in length and is light brown in color. German cockroaches are also fast. Unlike the American cockroach, the German cockroach is typically found breeding indoors and likes to hide out in wall cracks and voids.
Oriental cockroaches – ranges from 1 to 2 inches in length and is typically dark-brown to reddish-brown in color. Unlike the American and German cockroaches, the oriental cockroach has no markings on its body, which can help in identification. Oriental cockroaches tend to prefer very damp areas, which is why people often mistakenly refer to them as "water bugs." They can be found indoors in basements or around water collection systems.
Contact a Pest Control Professional for Help
Controlling cockroaches can be tricky. If you wind up with a cockroach infestation this winter, and despite your best preventive efforts, contact Terminix®. Our pest control professionals can identify the type of cockroach invading your home, determine where they are nesting and — most importantly — present you with a plan for evicting these nuisance insects.