Listen up Houston, when the weather gets cold outside you can bet insects are cold too. Just because Houston doesn’t get down to freezing temps often, doesn’t mean it’s not cold to insects and pests, especially a cockroach. When the weather turns cold like this and you see fewer mosquitos, most assume all insects are out for the winter. That’s why it can come as such a surprise to Houstonians to see a cockroach scurrying on the counter in December.
In fact, generally speaking, most insects prefer the warm spring and summer seasons in Texas. With Houston humidity at a constant high level, they thrive in these seasons. However, when winter comes around the air gets a bit drier, and the temps outside fall. What does this mean to you and the infamous cockroach? It means they will seek warmth, food, and water by any means necessary—including penetrating your home.
A COCKROACH CAN GET COLD?
We’ve covered cockroaches plenty on this blog and even shown how they can make you sick. But did you know that roaches can survive just fine through winter? In fact, most insects can survive, they just adapt or hibernate. Even during the coldest winter snap bugs such as spiders, stink bugs, box elder bugs and more can get in your home. After all, why wouldn’t they want to? It’s probably warm and cozy with plenty of food.
HOW DO THEY SURVIVE WINTER?
It’s kind of weird to think about cockroaches getting cold. The insects that are rumored to be able to survive even a nuclear fallout aren’t even warm-blooded at all. However, when it does get cold in Houston, the cockroach would rather find warmth and food.
Your home is the ideal vacation spot for them to get out of the arid, cold winter. You have heat, you have running water, and you have food and tons of it. Let’s face it during the winter it’s cookies, cakes, pies, and lots of other holiday indulgences—cockroach heaven! They don’t have to travel far, don’t have to brave the elements and food is abundant.
This is why, as the mercury tumbles, you will see more and more roaches crawling underneath through baseboards or pipes. Coming in through window screens, under doors, or through dryer vents—they do whatever necessary to get in. They set up their nests, usually within your walls or wherever they feel hidden and safe— yes, they are little introverts.
A Cockroach Needs Food
Typically, you’re going to find a cockroach in the kitchen or pantry more often than any other room in the house. The reasoning is as obvious as it sounds, there’s food there and water—everything they need to survive. Roaches are opportunistic and eat anything and we mean ANYTHING.
That being said they prefer foods that are high in proteins and nutrients that will give the most energy. They use that energy to breed and make more roaches; which, if in your house, means an infestation. Sounds fun right? It’s not, because roaches breed at a breakneck pace and the breed a lot at once.
Oh, and good luck finding them when you want to. They are the ninjas of the insect world, having a keen sense of instinct and human patterns. They know you go to sleep at 12 am, they know you keep those M&M’s on your nightstand. They know when you go to work—they are a lot smarter than they look. They will run right behind you grab two crumbs and be back to their hole without you suspecting a thing.
A Warm House Is The Hilton Hotel To A Roach
Even if you consider your house to be a work in progress or a shack, if you have heat—it’s like a luxury hotel to roaches. They stroll in, bypass the front desk and go right into taking over the place. Once that heat kicks on when it’s 44° outside—they’re antennas perk up. They can sense it, literally; roaches can sense heat sources from quite a distance. Yes, that’s right your house is like turning the HOT light on at Krispy Kreme—it draws a crowd.
I mean think about it, it makes sense. If you’re a roach, you can hibernate outside and possibly become fertilizer or find a cozy house where you’re sheltered. So, the decision is not that hard—a cozy house with complimentary meals and heat or the leaf pile.
So when you think about it, yes; you turning on the heat is what draws the roaches out of hibernation and into your home. However, that doesn’t mean you have to accept the status quo—you can fight winter roach invasions.
COCKROACH PREVENTION IS ESSENTIAL
If you want to avoid unwanted guests over the holidays—and no, we don’t mean your in-laws; prevention is key. Knowing what you’re doing that draws roaches to your home and enables them to penetrate it is the best prevention.
Basically, you want to make your home as unattractive and sealed off as possible to a cockroach. Your home should not even come up on their radar if you practice the following habits:
Don’t Make Food Accessible
- Seal up all food – Never leave open containers of food out or folded up bags of cereal for example. Use tight sealing plastic containers and Ziploc baggies instead of bag clips. This goes for pet food too.
- Put food in the fridge – If perishable, don’t leave leftovers out, put them in the fridge and make sure the fridge is shut. Even though roaches prefer the warmth, if there’s a piece of pecan pie in a blizzard they’ll go for it. Above all, NEVER leave uncovered or unsealed food on the counters.
A Clean Home Is A Turnoff…For Roaches
- Clean dishes and put them away – Roaches are slobs and aren’t ashamed in the least bit. Don’t stack dirty dishes in the sink or on the counter. Just a few crumbs or scraps left on plates are like catnip for roaches. Besides, didn’t your mother raise you better? Clean up after yourself!
- Disinfect your counters– Wipe down the counters even if you cleared them off, roaches smell and see even the things humans can’t. Disinfect your counters with cleaners such as Lysol or Clorox Kitchen Surfaces cleaner. This will ensure not only a fresh-smelling kitchen but one that roaches won’t even give a second look.
- Wash the floors – Whether you have vinyl, wood laminate, or tiled kitchen floors make it a habit to mop daily. They get dirty daily when you cook or prepare food—a little maintenance goes a long way. Again, this will also keep your kitchen looking and smelling fresh in addition to avoiding roaches.
- Take out the trash – Listen, a cockroach will eat anything, even dog poop. So, if you think they are going to be too good to eat your trash—think again. Take the trash out nightly. What’s the point of cleaning the floors and counters when you have the motherlode in the trash can?
- Got carpet? Vacuum it– You’d be surprised how much nastiness is lurking at the bottom of your carpet fibers. Old food crumbs, dirt, dead skin cells—all things that attract roaches; hey, we told you they were disgusting! Vacuum once daily and keep that carpet as clean as possible; try deep cleaning once a month with an extractor.
- De-Clutter your home– Roaches love to hide in clutter such as empty boxes, piles of paper and other random junk. Keeping an organized home will also make you feel better
Lock Them out
- Seal up the exterior – Don’t even give roaches an entry to your home. Seal up all possible points of entry. Cracks in the foundation, worn weather stripping, spaces beneath doors and similar gaps are a roach’s favorite. They always take the path of least resistance so don’t make it easy for them.
- Plug up the drains – roaches are also known to get creative and come through the drains. Even though they have seemingly hard exoskeletons, they are very flexible. They can squeeze through the smallest gap and flatten their bodies. Use drain plugs to nip that in the bud quickly.
THE BEST SOLUTION IS CHAMPIONS PEST CONTROL
If you really want to get ahead of a potential cockroach infestation and other pests, Champions Pest Control is the answer. Our Guardian scheduled pest control service will keep your home protected year-round. Contact us today to keep your home free of pests!