A lot of people believe cockroaches are nearly invincible. For one thing, they can supposedly survive a nuclear apocalypse. (Not true, according to this article.) They can also survive for weeks without a head. (Unfortunately, this one is true.)

What about Ontario winters, however? Can cockroaches survive in the cold? 

At Action Pest, we’re often asked by homeowners whether roaches can survive the freezing temps that are typical of most Ontario cold seasons. The short answer is no. However, it depends on the cold and, of more immediate concern, whether there’s a warm home nearby where they can take shelter. This blog provides a detailed overview of how long cockroaches can hold out against snowy weather.

What Kind of Cockroaches Are in Ontario?

In Ontario, the most common types of cockroaches are the German cockroach (Blattella germanica), the American cockroach (Periplaneta americana), and the oriental cockroach (Blatta orientalis). All three of these species are found in urban and suburban environments, particularly in buildings such as apartments, restaurants, and hospitals. 

German cockroaches are smaller, usually about 1/2 to 5/8” long, light brown in colour with two black stripes on their pronotum, and have a high reproductive rate. American cockroaches, on the other hand, are larger, usually about 1 to 1 1/2” long, reddish-brown in colour, and prefer damp environments such as basements, sewers, and drains. Oriental cockroaches are typically larger, with a shiny black or dark brown exoskeleton. They prefer cool, damp environments and are often found in basements, crawl spaces, and other areas with high humidity.

How Long Can a Roach Survive in the Cold?

Cockroaches are not well-suited to surviving in cold temperatures. While different species may have varying tolerances for cold temperatures, most will not survive for very long in cold environments.

For example, the German cockroach can survive at temperatures as low as 50°F (10°C) for a short period of time, but it will not survive for long at temperatures below that. In general, temperatures below 45°F (7°C) will be fatal to most cockroaches.

However, it’s worth noting that some species, such as the oriental cockroach, are more tolerant of cold temperatures and may be able to survive for longer periods of time in cold environments. Additionally, if a cockroach is able to find a warm spot to hide in, such as a heated building or a warm appliance, it may be able to survive for much longer in cold weather.

Can Cockroach Eggs Survive Cold?

Cockroach eggs can be more resilient to cold temperatures than adult cockroaches, but their ability to survive in the cold depends on several factors, including the species of cockroach, the duration of exposure, and the temperature.

Generally, most cockroach eggs are not able to survive in extremely cold temperatures. Temperatures below 50°F (10°C) can be fatal to most eggs, and extended exposure to temperatures below 60°F (15°C) can also cause high mortality rates. However, some cockroach species have been known to survive at temperatures as low as 32°F (0°C) for short periods of time.

It is important to note that some cockroach eggs may be able to survive and hatch once the temperature warms up. Since these eggs can be carried inside on infested items, it’s important to take measures to prevent cockroach infestations even if you live in a colder climate. Regular cleaning and sanitation, as well as sealing up any entry points, can help to reduce the likelihood of an infestation.

Can Cockroaches Survive in the Refrigerator?

Most cockroaches will die if trapped in a refrigerator or freezer for an extended period of time. However, the exact length of time that it would take for the cold to become fatal would depend on a number of factors, including the species of cockroach and the temperature of the refrigerator or freezer. For example, the oriental cockroach has been known to survive in cool environments for longer periods of time than other species. However, it would eventually succumb to the cold in this instance.

Cockroaches are attracted to sources of food, so if you find cockroaches in your refrigerator or kitchen, it’s important to take measures to clean and sanitize the area to prevent infestations. Additionally, sealing up any cracks or openings in your home this winter can help to prevent cockroaches from entering in the first place.

What Should You Do If You Find Cockroaches in Your Home This Winter?

If you find cockroaches in your home, there are several steps you can take to get rid of them and prevent further infestations:

  • Determine the type of cockroach: The type of cockroach can impact the treatment methods, so it’s helpful to know which species you’re dealing with.
  • Keep your home clean and sanitized: Cockroaches are attracted to food and moisture, so it’s essential to clean and sanitize your home thoroughly. This includes wiping down counters, sweeping floors, and washing dishes regularly. Don’t forget to clean behind appliances and in cabinets and drawers.
  • Eliminate sources of moisture: Cockroaches need water to survive, so eliminating sources of moisture can help to make your home less attractive to them. 
  • Seal up entry points: Cockroaches can enter your home through small cracks and openings, so it’s important to seal up any potential entry points. Use caulk or weatherstripping to seal gaps around windows, doors, and pipes.
  • Use cockroach baits and traps: Baits and traps can effectively reduce the roach population in your home. Follow the instructions carefully and place them in areas where cockroaches are likely to be found.
  • Contact a pest control professional: If the infestation is severe or you are unable to get rid of the cockroaches on your own, it may be necessary to contact a pest control professional for assistance.

At Action Pest, we have been helping Ontario home, and business owners tackle their cockroach problem for over 40 years. We will inspect your property, apply appropriate treatments, and recommend ways that you can prevent the infestation from recurring this winter. For more information or to receive a no-obligation quote, please contact us anytime for a no-obligation quote. We offer effective cockroach extermination services in and around Hamilton, Burlington, and Oakville.