Do Cockroaches Die in the Winter?

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Cockroaches are resilient creatures, surviving on earth for more than 300 million years and will likely continue that survival long after humans have disappeared. In the Unites States there are four types of cockroaches that survive year-round if they have access to the right environment during winter. Some even rely on the winter period for development, according to research conducted at the University of Massachusetts. Winters pose risks to cockroaches, which are naturally tropical creatures; they will often die when exposed to temperatures less than 15 degrees Fahrenheit. However, cockroaches can find plenty of ways to avoid that exposure and survive the cold months.

American Cockroach

The American cockroach generally lives outdoors, but during winter will move indoors and seek refuge from the cold. They simply cannot survive when temperatures are below 15 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Virginia Tech entomology professor Dini M. Miller. Outdoors, they will winter in decaying trees and woodpiles to survive the season, according to Michigan State University.

German Cockroach

German cockroaches are a severe pest problem in the United States and are found everywhere through the country in large numbers. They easily infiltrate human structures and make their homes there quite readily; once inside, they are hard to eradicate. As long as the German cockroach can find food and a humid environment, it will survive the winter. This usually means infesting human habitats, something they are experts at doing.

Oriental Cockroach

Oriental cockroaches are an indoor species, but will often venture outdoors in search of food. In the late summer most adults die and the only ones remaining are from the previous generation by the fall. They must have water to survive and will usually take refuge from the winter inside basements, crawlspaces, and floor drains. The oriental cockroach relies on the winter to reproduce and only do so once per year. Oriental cockroaches can tolerate lower temperatures than most other species of cockroaches and will often winter in rock walls and sites that offer protection and warmth.

Brown-Banded Cockroach

The brown-banded cockroach is found all across the United States, although not quite as prevalent as the German cockroach. They are attracted to heated office buildings, apartment buildings and appliance that generate work such as electric motors. In the home they often prefer high cabinets and build up infestations in the kitchen. As long as the brown-banded cockroaches can make their homes indoor, they have no problem surviving the winter.

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Kenneth W. Michael Wills is a writer on culture, society and business. With more than 15 years of experience in sales, public relations and written communications, Wills' passion is delighting audiences with invigorating perspectives and refreshing ideas. He has ghostwritten articles on a diverse range of topics for corporate websites and composed proposals for organizations seeking growth opportunities.

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