Finding roaches in the fridge can make you want to close the door and burn your house down.
However, there are more practical solutions to deal with this fairly common pest problem. Cockroaches anywhere in the home can be incredibly irritating and give you the heebie-jeebies, but even more so when they are in the appliance that stores your food.
While you should be able to handle this problem yourself, however, you may need to call in a pest control professional in some cases.
In this article, I will go over everything you need to know regarding roaches in a fridge, including how they got there, how to get rid of them, and how to prevent this from happening again.
Are Cockroaches in the Fridge a Cause for Concern?
While roaches are not harmful to touch and rarely bite, they can spread various diseases due to their unsanitary nature, and the health risks they pose can be dangerous.
They live and breed in dirty environments and can track bacteria around your house, especially if they are able to find their way into your fridge.
Cockroaches can carry pathogens such as staphylococcus, salmonella, and E.coli, as well as bacteria that can cause all sorts of stomach issues, including food poisoning.
In one study that was conducted to measure the bacteria on roaches, they found up to 14 million microbes on the exterior of a cockroach’s body and 7 million in their fecal droppings.
If they are in areas where you store or prepare food, this heightens your risk of disease, allergies, and illness. Their fecal matter, shedding of skin, and saliva can also trigger asthma attacks in at-risk individuals.
Beyond the psychical health risks, the psychological impact that comes with having an infestation of any pest can also cause long-term distress in individuals.
Especially in cases of severe or lengthy infestations, the constant worry about food safety and potential illness can take a severe toll on your well-being.
Why Are There Roaches in My Refrigerator?
Cockroaches are drawn to areas where there are accessible food sources. For example, if your fridge has cracks in the seal or outer shell, cockroaches can use these as entry points to get inside.
Cockroaches can also gain access to the interior through openings underneath or through vents on the back of your fridge.
As mentioned, roaches are attracted to food sources, and your refrigerator can be an excellent food source. They are drawn to spilled liquids, crumbs, and leftovers.
You wanna minimize this attraction by:
- Regularly wiping down shelves and bins and keeping your refrigerator clean
- Storing your food in sealed containers
- Removing spoiled or outdated items as quickly as possible
Related >> 5 Reasons Why Your Refrigerator Smells Bad
Can Roaches Live in a Refrigerator?
Since cockroaches are resilient creatures, they can survive fridge temperatures, and if the conditions are right, their egg sacs can also.
However, fridges are not ideal conditions for cockroaches since they are cold-blooded creatures and do not typically like cold environments.
Therefore, they will tend to gravitate towards moist, warm temperatures and avoid living in cold temperatures, such as a fridge, if they can.
Since they do prefer warmer environments, it is more likely that roaches will live anywhere around the fridge that emits heat. This could include the back of the fridge, the coils, or wherever the warm motor is located.
If your interior fridge temperature is on the warmer side and there are plenty of food sources, it is possible that a cockroach infestation can occur.
How to Get Rid of Roaches in a Refrigerator
As soon as you see a roach in your fridge or freezer, dead or alive – it is best to assume the worst and take steps to eradicate the problem immediately.
The steps you can take if you have seen roaches in the fridge are to:
- Clean out the entire refrigerator and freezer, and pull the fridge away from the walls
- Inspect to see where the cockroaches may be nesting – inside the refrigerator, around the back, or underneath
- Clean your fridge inside and out with a disinfectant solution of hot water, dish soap, and vinegar. Don’t forget to do the water tray underneath the refrigerator if your model has one
- Wipe the surrounding floors and walls to ensure you clean up and remove any egg sacs that may be around the outside
- Disinfect all food containers in your fridge
- Throw out any foods that are improperly sealed and disinfect all items before restocking them by wiping them with a new cloth and a fresh disinfectant solution
How to Get Rid of Cockroaches Behind the Fridge
Since cockroaches are persistent little buggers, you must be persistent in your fight against them.
If you have noticed an infestation behind the fridge or where the motor is located, you should deal with it immediately so they don’t find their way inside your refrigerator.
Cockroaches are not limited to one space and can cover a lot of ground, so if you have seen them, it’s best to tackle your entire kitchen to ensure you remove them from the entire area.
You can do this by:
- Cleaning and disinfecting the entire kitchen, including all cupboards, countertops, pantries, floors, and appliances weekly
- Wash dirty dishes as soon as you can, do not let them sit in the sink
- Fix any leaks or moist areas in the home, including underneath the sink and the water tray under the fridge. Dry out the kitchen sink after every use
- Clean the outside of the fridge thoroughly and ensure you wipe every square inch of the coils with a disinfecting solution
- Spray the back areas with a cockroach killer or natural peppermint oil solution, depending on your preference and the severity of the infestation
- Set up natural cockroach deterrents behind the fridge and sticky cockroach traps
Steps to Prevent Cockroaches From Infesting Your Refrigerator
After you have taken the initial steps to clean out any roaches from the fridge, you should then ensure you have a plan to prevent them from returning.
Dealing with pests, especially cockroaches, is not a one-time fix. Instead, you must take preventative measures and keep an eye on other areas of your home, especially your kitchen.
To prevent the cockroaches from returning to your fridge, you should:
- Fix and seal shut any cracks or openings on the refrigerator exterior with caulk. If the gasket is old and has gaps in it, replace it with a new one
- Keep the fridge tidy of crumbs, spills, and easily accessible food sources
- Store foods in containers with a tight seal or use saran wrap
- Only leave pet food out while your pet is eating, and when they are done, clean up any crumbs and ensure their food is stored in an airtight container
- Ensure you clean your kitchen regularly by sweeping, vacuuming, and wiping all areas
- Pour an ammonia or bleach solution down your sink weekly to keep your drains free of any materials that may attract roaches
- Cockroaches can live anywhere, so declutter your home to give them fewer places to hide. Throw away or donate any items you no longer need or use, including books, newspapers, and trinkets
- Set up cockroach traps and bait around the fridge and also inside the refrigerator if you wish and use a cockroach insect spray around the outside of the fridge
Do not spray strong chemicals or poison inside your fridge, as it could make you very sick if it comes in contact with your food.
Home Remedies for Cockroaches in Fridge
Chemical sprays and cockroach traps are not the only proven method for getting rid of and killing cockroaches. There are many home remedies you can try, including:
1. Boric Acid – Boric acid is one of the best home remedies to eliminate cockroaches. You can combine it with equal parts powdered sugar and sprinkle it around the outside and underneath the fridge.
Do not use this mixture inside your fridge, as the fine dust can easily get inside your food.
If this powder dust is too messy, you can make dough balls by adding some water and rolling them into balls 1 inch wide.
Then, place the balls in areas where you’ve seen cockroaches for them to feed on. The boric acid in the balls will dehydrate and kill them quickly.
2. Duct Tape – An oldie but an easy way to remove cockroaches from your home is to use upsidedown duct tape.
You can put a strip upside down with a piece of food on it. The food will act as bait to attract the cockroaches onto the tape.
This method is great for seeing areas of your home that have the highest concentration of roaches.
3. Borax – The laundry powder known as Borax is another effective roach killer you may already have at home. Borax acts similarly to boric acid by dehydrating the roaches and killing them.
4. Essential Oils – Native American tribes discovered that certain plants and mixtures naturally repel bugs.
Some of the ones that are best for cockroaches are:
- Peppermint oil
- Cedar oil
- Eucalyptus oil
- Rosemary oil
- Lemongrass oil
- Tea tree oil
- Lavender oil
- Citrus oil
Peppermint is the number one natural go-to for not only repelling cockroaches but killing them as well.
5. Cayenne, Garlic & Onion Powder – Cockroaches and other bugs are naturally deterred by these three spices and will avoid areas where they are spread.
While this method does not kill the roaches, it can be helpful to keep them out of areas you don’t want them in.
6. Bay Leaves – Another remedy that will clear out cockroaches but not kill them is bay leaves. These leaves are available at any grocery store, and you can place them in areas where you have seen cockroaches.
You could also grind them up and sprinkle the powder around instead of the whole leaves. Either method will repel and deter cockroaches.
7. Neem – Neem is from a tropical tree, and its extract comes in leaves, oil, or powder form. It is a long-used insect repellant that is extremely effective in killing cockroaches.
You can spray the oil in areas where cockroaches are prevalent or sprinkle the powder or leaves around any potential hiding spots.
Can Roaches Damage Your Refrigerator?
While it is uncommon for roaches to damage a refrigerator, in severe infestations, it is possible. They can chew through electrical wires and cause short circuits and even fires in rare cases.
Indirect damage to your appliance is more common when these pests are found. This means they will cause secondary problems, such as contaminating the food inside and leaving droppings, saliva, and bacteria which can result in illness.
Cockroaches also have a strong odor that can permeate the fridge and require deep cleaning.
How Long Can a Cockroach Live in the Fridge and Freezer?
Roaches in the fridge can survive for up to a few days. It all depends on the species of cockroach though. Some are able to withstand the cold better than others.
Cold temperatures will cause the cockroach to go into hibernation mode, from which they will not wake up if they remain in the cold.
Most species of cockroaches will not be able to survive temperatures of -0 Fahrenheit (-17 degrees Celcius) for prolonged periods of time.
Types of Roaches
There are several types of roaches that can find in your home, including:
- German cockroaches: These are the most common type of roaches found in homes. They are small, light brown in color, and have two dark stripes on their backs
- American cockroaches: These are larger than German cockroaches and are reddish-brown in color
- Oriental cockroaches: These are also known as water bugs and are shiny black in color
- Brown-banded cockroaches: These are smaller than German cockroaches and have distinctive brown bands across their wings
- Smokybrown cockroaches: These are similar in appearance to American cockroaches but are darker in color