Cockroaches are hard to exterminate and will hide incredibly well when they infest your home. While roaches are the toughest bugs, they are vulnerable to extreme temperatures. What temperature kills roaches? What temperature kills cockroach eggs? Read on and find out!
Roaches die at temperatures above 120°F (49°C) and below 15°F (-9°C). Cockroach eggs die at temperatures above 150°F (65°C) and below 0°F (-18°C). Cold kills cockroaches more slowly than hot temperatures. And there is some variance between cockroach species, but these numbers remain generally true for all roaches.
This article is part of our huge set of information about cockroaches.
What Temperature Kills Roaches?
One of the best methods of killing cockroaches is through extreme heat or cold.
Why Use Heat or Cold?
While there are various ways to exterminate cockroaches, many are expensive and risk poisonous residue.
For example, the most popular method to kill roaches is with chemicals. But a recent study suggests that roaches have become immune to pesticides and insecticides. And in some cases, the cockroach population increases when exposed to insecticides.
Using extreme temperature is a much better option to get rid of roaches.
What amount of heat or cold is needed to kill cockroaches and their eggs?
1. Heat That Kills Roaches
Temperature above 120°F (49°C) will kill cockroaches in a few hours. The German Cockroach has the most vital survival skills and can live up to four days at that extreme temperature.
But in one to two weeks, the German Cockroach will eventually die. The higher the temperature, the less time it’ll take to kill all roaches.
As cold-blooded insects, roaches don’t regulate their body temperature and will draw heat from the environment. They can survive better in high temperatures than humans. Cockroaches are tropical creatures and will thrive in high temperatures, even at 110°F (43°C).
Their exoskeleton (hard exterior shell) protects them from fluctuating temperatures. During summer, cockroaches will adapt to high temperatures and reproduce. Their metabolism will work perfectly at an optimum temperature, allowing them to forage and reproduce. They also have an open circulatory system for respiration through openings on their exoskeleton.
Roaches use the hard exterior shell to absorb air moisture and breathe. When exposed to high temperatures, they can hold their breath for some time to prevent heat from drying their organs. However, extreme temperatures above 120°F (49°C) will eventually cause their metabolism to fail, dry their organs and die.
2. Cold That Kills Roaches
Cockroaches will die when the temperature drops to 15°F (-9°C) and below. So, does that mean roaches start to die when winter comes?
When the temperature drops below 40°F (4°C), roaches reduce activities such as reproduction and growth. They acclimatize to the falling temperature or find ideal hiding places to ensure survival. The best places to hide during winter are inside homes where they stay in cracks, holes, boxes, basement, kitchen cabinets, subflooring, and plumbing.
In homes, cockroaches will not only find warm places to hide but also access to food. Heat and food allow them to be active, grow and reproduce. You might be surprised to find a full infestation when spring comes.
Frigid temperatures kill cockroaches if there’s no time to acclimate. Between zero and 15 degrees, roaches can’t maintain the body temperature needed for respiration and metabolism. Their respiratory openings freeze and they cease breathing, resulting in death.
What Temperature Kills Cockroach Eggs?
Heat: You should subject cockroach eggs to a much higher or lower temperature to kill them. Unlike roaches, cockroach eggs won’t die at 120 degrees Fahrenheit. To destroy roach eggs, you should expose them to at least 150°F (65°C).
Since you can’t set your house on fire to kill all roaches and eggs, wash all places and items where you suspect cockroaches are hiding their eggs. Confirm all those places/objects can tolerate heat above 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
Alternatively, you can put items with eggs inside a dryer capable of attaining over 150 °F. The dryer will kill both eggs and roaches within minutes.
Cold: You can also kill cockroach eggs by freezing them at temperatures below 0°F (-18°C). However, don’t expect the eggs to die instantly. Leave them exposed to extremely low temperatures for at least three days.
Cold can also be used to kill cockroaches, but it takes a prolonged exposure to low temperatures to kill egg cases. Appliances or furniture can be left in a garage when temperatures are below 0° F for several days. If moving, leaving possessions in a truck or van will do the same thing.Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
The best way to kill cockroach eggs is by removing all items suspected to house eggs and putting them in a freezer.
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What Temperature is Ideal for Roaches
Different Cockroach species have different ideal temperatures where they thrive well.
Below are four household species of cockroaches and their preferred temperature ranges.
- German Cockroach: 59 to 95 °F
- American Cockroach: 68 to 84 °F
- Oriental Cockroach: 68 to 86 °F
- Brown-banded Cockroach: 77 to 91 °F
Cockroaches will still survive if the temperature goes below or above these preferred ranges. However, these temperatures must not go extremely low or high to survive.
At their preferred temperatures, roaches will grow and reproduce more rapidly. No wonder homeowners notice full infestation during the spring and summer months.
Not everything that looks like a roach is actually a roach. Here are bugs that look like cockroaches, but aren’t.
More reading: How long do cockroaches live?
Cockroaches and their eggs have impressive survival skills which rely on optimum temperatures. To eliminate roaches and their eggs in your house, you should subject them to extreme temperatures.
Temperatures above 120°F (49°C) will kill all roaches in hours or days. Cockroaches will also die at temperatures between 0°F to 15°F (-18°C to -9°C). To kill cockroach eggs, subject them to temperatures above 150°F (65°C) or below 15°F (-9°C).
If things are getting out of hand, here are eight ways to get rid of roaches.
- About the Author
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Bryan Haines is a co-founder and writer at The Buginator. And is working to make it the best resource for taking back the outdoors from biting, stinging pests.
He also blogs about travel at Storyteller.Travel and photography at GudPixel. Bryan is a partner at Storyteller Media, a publishing company he runs with his wife, Dena.