Your refrigerator keeps your food cold but there is a caveat to this convenience. It’s also an excellent hiding place for roaches! The smells of food may attract them, simply by leaving the door open too long, and before you know it roaches may end up nestled inside the warm components accessible from the back or worse… maybe even INSIDE your fridge!
In this article, we’re going to talk about roaches and your refrigerator. We’ll discuss how they get in there, what makes them able to survive in the cold, and we’ll give you some solid tips on how to get these pests out before things get worse!
How do cockroaches get in your refrigerator?
Roaches always know where the food is… despite not actually having a nose. Using their antennae, roaches can basically get a chemical readout of the area that leads them right to the food, wherever it might be hiding. This means that leaving the fridge door open long enough can conceivably attract roaches.
More often, however, the rubber lining in your fridge, called the gasket, can become cracked and let out scents and they may even be attracted by the moisture. In some scenarios, a drain in your refrigerator used for defrosting may give them a combination of both if it is clogged up with food particles.
Roaches smell the food and detect the moisture and before you know it, they’ve found spots to nestle in behind your fridge. On really rare occasions, they might even find their way INSIDE!
How can they live in the refrigerator, isn’t it too cold?
As we all know, roaches are notoriously hard to kill, and while the cold in the freezer compartment can certainly do it, the main compartment of your refrigerator is not cold enough for the task. The inside of the main compartment is typically 40 degrees or a little below.
While roaches will stop breeding at about 40 degrees, the temperature certainly won’t kill them, as they aren’t really at risk until temperatures drop to 15 and below. That said, it’s very rare that they will go into the actual compartments.
Most commonly, especially with older fridges, they will find places where plates are loose in the back or simply hide underneath the fridge. Once they have settled in, the back of the fridge is warm enough for breeding and it’s not uncommon for them to even lay eggs there… yikes!
So, what can you do? Thankfully, there are a lot of strategies to deal with a refrigerator infestation. Let’s take a look at some of the most effective ways to get them out.
How can I get them out of my refrigerator?
The first step in getting roaches out of your fridge is to find out where they are nesting. Unplugging your fridge and gaining access to the back is the first step. Sometimes you can actually smell the nests, as cockroaches emit a nasty, somewhat oily smell but that won’t always be present.
Try following all of the steps below to give your fridge a more thorough examination and to make it less inhabitable for these sneaky pests.
Check for cracks in your gasket
The rubber seal around your refrigerator door is called the ‘gasket’ and it may become cracked or otherwise damaged over time. Check this first to see if there is any noticeable damage that might be letting out air and the scents of the food inside.
If you find them, see if it’s something that you can seal and if not, you may want to speak with a repair tech about replacing or professionally repairing the gasket.
Look for leaks in your refrigerator
Look for any water leaks that might be coming from your refrigerator. Moisture is a big draw for roaches and sometimes you might have a leak in the fridge that won’t be apparent until you move it away from the wall.
If you find a leak, it will need to be repaired, but if you aren’t the DIY type then a technician can quickly get it fixed for you.
Check the openings behind your refrigerator
Refrigerators are hardy appliances, lasting for years and years. As a result, they aren’t something that we replace often, and older refrigerators are very common. While they still do the job nicely, older refrigerators have components in the back that are more exposed than you’ll see in more modern refrigerators.
Check the following areas from the back to see if you see any egg sacs or other signs of roaches:
- Condensation drip-pan
- Refrigerator fans
If you find any roach egg sacs during this inspection, you’ll want to scrape these off and dispose of them properly, outside of the house (you don’t want to risk them hatching inside a kitchen trash can!).
You can stick roach traps on the back of the refrigerator
While you don’t want to put pesticides inside your refrigerator, the outside area behind your fridge can still be ‘booby trapped’ to catch these pests. Try setting up glue traps on the areas behind your refrigerator.
Get a wide area of coverage, including corners and especially underneath your fridge, and keep an eye on the traps. If they catch some roaches and the numbers start noticeably dwindling then the traps may well be doing their job!
Chemical and natural repellants
Boric acid granules are quite effective at eliminating roaches, so place some underneath the fridge and this should have a significant impact on their population. While toxic, boric acid is much safer than other insecticides when it comes to your family members and pets and as long as you keep the amounts small and sweep out the dead roaches daily then this should be an effective management strategy.
If you prefer to utilize natural repellants, the following oils may help to keep the roaches away from your refrigerator:
Be sure to dab the oils underneath the fridge around, but not inside components as you don’t want any scented oils seeping inside and potentially damaging your refrigerator.
Thoroughly clean your refrigerator and keep it spotless
Finally, one of the best ways to get rid of roaches and to keep them away is to keep your refrigerator spotless. A thorough, weekly cleaning doesn’t take long and can go a long way in keeping roaches out. Pay close attention to ensure that you are cleaning places like the coils, compression pan, and around the fans.
You can also clean the gasket with a little baking soda, water, and a toothbrush to help minimize food smells from leaking out. Clean your refrigerator once a week and this will definitely help to ensure that any roaches you have removed won’t simply move back in.
Some closing words on roaches in your refrigerator
Today we’ve talked about how to get rid of roaches in refrigerator compartments and crevices. As you can see, these wily little pests are attracted to the food smells as well as the moisture that sometimes leaks out of your refrigeration.
By keeping your fridge clean and using tactics like glue traps, boric acid, or even natural oils, you should be able to get the roaches out of your refrigeration and to keep them at bay for the foreseeable future. So, hang on to these tips, and you’ll always know exactly how to get rid of cockroaches in refrigerator cracks and crevices.
It’s all about keeping your fridge clean and knowing where to look!