12 Tips For Winter Cockroach Control – A Homeowners Guide

Winter is many things to many people. For some, it translates into more outerwear, like gloves, sweaters and overcoats; for others, it means more time for outdoor fun on snowy ski slopes and sipping a favored latte in front of a warm and cozy fireplace. 

The advent of frigid temperatures for Pittsburgh home-owners concerns that which might not be ordinarily expected; namely, an invasion of cockroaches seeking shelter from the freezing cold. Pest-control and pest-management services are needed as much at this time of year as they are after the spring thaw.

Roaches, particularly German cockroaches, can live and reproduce during the entire winter within the rafters, sheet rock and interior walls of private residences and apartment buildings, where the temperatures are usually warmer than 50 degrees. (This presents the most disturbing thought  that while we humans may think we are  setting out thermostats for our own comfort, we are also setting  them for roaches as well.) 

In the wild, caves, logs and other natural locations serve to shield from freezing winds. In an urban setting and/or private residence, their dependence on water to survive drives them to seek refuge in sewers, floor drains, crawl spaces, and basements.

Winter Cockroach Control Tips

When temperatures dip, many cockroaches enter a hibernation-like state of dormancy called diapause in which their growth stops and their metabolic rate slows down. In spite of this, roaches can remain active all winter long, reproducing and eating, provided they have found a warm home with plenty of food and water. 

Once inside a home, German cockroaches are difficult to eliminate without the professional guidance of pest-control and pest-management professionals — (412) 252-5200. They are usually found in kitchens and bathrooms and most often gain ingress via grocery bags and used appliances. (Remember this and look before you buy that bargain toaster at the thrift store.) 

How Cold Weather Affects Different Types of Cockroaches

Roaches are extremely resilient creatures, and they have been on earth for more than three million years. According to research conducted at the University of Massachusetts, in the Unites States, there are four types of cockroaches that survive year-round and some that even rely on the winter period for development. 

The American Cockroach; the German Cockroach; the Oriental Cockroach and Brown-Banded Cockroach are the more common species that our pest control team members encounter when the weather turns cold.

The American Cockroach

Although this variety prefers to live outdoors during the winter and can survive in decaying trees or woodpiles, they will seek shelter indoors to avoid extreme cold. According to Virginia Tech entomology professor, Dini M. Miller, they cannot survive when temperatures are below 15 degrees Fahrenheit. 

The German Cockroach

This type of roach can be highly problematic, and they are found in vast numbers throughout the United States. They easily infiltrate private residences during the colder months of the year. and once inside, become very difficult to eliminate. As long as they have a source of food and shelter, they will survive the winter.

German Cockroach Impossible To Kill

The Oriental Cockroach 

Although this species generally lives indoors, it does sometimes venture outside in search of food and is known to tolerate lower temperatures better than most others of its ilk. In the late summer, most adults die and the ones remaining are from the previous fall generation. They take refuge from the winter inside basements, crawlspaces, and floor drains because they must have water in order to survive. The Oriental cockroach reproduces only one per year during the winter months.

The Brown-Banded Cockroach

Heated offices, apartment buildings and any housing appliances that generate work, such as electric motors, are vulnerable to an indoor winter invasion of this variety of roach. It is found all across the United States, although it is not quite as prevalent as the German cockroach. They are particularly fond of kitchens and well trained, knowledgeable Pestco technicians often discover infestations in cabinets high off the ground. As long as they can live indoors, this type of roach can easily survive the winter cold.

Roaches And Human Health 

Although roaches present potential health hazards wherever they may appear, according to The National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH), when found in the home they are definite causes for concern. They pose grave risks to asthma sufferers, especially among vulnerable children and elderly populations. Due to their diet of garbage and waste, they are vectors of toxic pathogens such as E.coli and Salmonella, which they then transfer from contaminated areas onto the clean surfaces upon which they crawl.

One Very Relevant Study On Cockroaches

Researchers at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, conducted a recent study funded by the United States Housing Department whose findings were published online in the June, 2019 journal, Scientific Reports. Results indicated that the German cockroach has become impervious to multiple types of insecticides and as such, is becoming harder and harder to eliminate. 

According to Michael Scharf, the study’s lead author: “This is a previously unrealized challenge in cockroaches. Developing resistance to multiple classes of insecticides at once will make controlling these pests almost impossible with chemicals alone. Ridding urban homes of these pests will require strategies more complex than just chemical treatments.”

Cockroaches Spread Disease

12 Tips To Protect Your Home From Cockroach Infestations

Roaches make people feel uncomfortable and embarrassed to invite guests over for fear they will be thought of as poor house-keepers and unclean. However, if certain precautions are taken, Pittsburgh homeowners can rest easy and prevent both a winter roach infestation and a subsequent visit from the pest-control and pest-management specialists at Pestco Professional Services! 

The following simple steps will help to keep roaches away.

    1. Seal all cracks, crevices and other entry points with caulk.
    2. Seal up windows and door frames.
    3. Avoid leaving dirty dishes and food scraps in the kitchen sink overnight.
    4. Empty garbage cans and waste baskets every day.
    5. Take garbage outside the home and place it in sealed receptacle.
    6. Don’t leave pet food out overnight. Many people don’t think that pet food will attract roaches and insects, but they will smell it just like as they do any type of food.
    7. Store all foods (pantry goods) that come in paper, cardboard or thin plastic in thick, well-sealed containers.
    8. Place dishes in soapy water after eating, rather than in a stack next to the sink.
    9. Clean floors, counters, and rugs frequently because this will help prevent cockroaches from finding ready sources of food and water.
    10. Store fruit in the fridge rather than the kitchen counter or dining room table.
    11. Don’t let any spills or food sit for long periods.
    12. Throw out uneaten food as soon as possible, and remember that even tiny bits of a meal will attract roaches quickly.

Recommended Approach For Winter Roach Infestations

Research indicates that the most effective method to reduce roach populations is an “integrated pest management” approach, which involves combining chemical treatments with traps, improved sanitation and bug vacuums. 

The problem with most insecticides is that even when they are directly applied to a surface area, they do not have the capacity to penetrate the egg case of the German cockroach. These are known to hatch days after treatment, and this is why follow-up applications with pest-management and pest-control experts so important — (412) 252-5200.

There is a proliferation of over-the-counter, pest-control products in today’s marketplace and they all tout their ability to eradicate roaches. The problem is that they usually fall very short of their promises and the purchase of that product is almost always a waste of money. This is because cockroaches are built for survival and  are able to build a resistance to most chemicals. Their habits and physical composition must be thoroughly understood before they can be eliminated. 

Pittsburgh Cockroach Control Solutions

We are one of the longest-running and most effective integrated pest control and pest management companies for residences in the Greater Pittsburgh region and for businesses throughout all of Western Pennsylvania. 

We are a family-owned and operated five-star organization that has been in continuous operation since 1948, and our staff of entomologists, researchers and technicians are backed with hands-on experience and the most sophisticated arsenal of tools available to prevent and exterminate cockroaches.


Pittsburgh Winter Pest Control Near Me


Each infestation is unique and Pestco Professional Services is all about versatility. Our technicians are all licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and obligated to attend monthly workshops so that they are always a few steps ahead of the pests they encounter on a daily basis. They are always aware of the latest innovations in both products and methods to combat pest infestations of all kinds.

Our residential pest control program is headed by Bob Wiemer, and our pro-active strategy of pest exclusion entails an extensive and thorough examination of the affected residence and the sealing up of any cracks and crevices that might permit cockroach ingress. Our main selling point concerning this approach is the fact that it’s much easier and safer for the environment to keep pests out of a residence than it is to eradicate an infestation once it takes hold.

Pest exclusion sealants

Long before sustainability became a socially prominent issue, the environment and our ‘green’ future has always been of primary concern us, and we provide a holistic approach to pest-management. Our Green Shield Certified X-Termi Green initiative provides effective pest-control without the unnecessary employment of pesticides. Our ultimate goal is always to offer eco-sensitive options and solutions to permanently eliminate residential pest populations.

In conclusion

If you live in the Pittsburgh area and environs and have cockroaches in your home during the colder months of the year, or you would like ongoing pest management services to better prevent infestations, contact our experts at Pestco Professional Services today — (412) 252-5200. We’re here to help!

Final thought about cockroaches: I’m convinced my cockroaches have military training, I set off a roach bomb and they diffused it.~ Jay London


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