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Along with flies and ants, cockroaches are the most common household insect pests in the northeast, and they can remain problematic for homeowners in the region well into the winter season. The most commonly encountered cockroach pest species in northeastern homes include German, American, and Oriental cockroaches. The brown-banded cockroach can also be found in the northeast, but this species is more common in the southern states where they prefer relatively dry and hot conditions exceeding 80 degrees. Therefore, this species is not much of a concern in northeastern homes during the winter, but the same cannot be said about German and American cockroaches.

It is well known that cockroaches are capable of withstanding extreme environmental conditions that would kill most other insect pest species. However, during winters in the northeast, cockroaches escape the cold by securing warm shelter within homes, buildings, sewers and a variety of other man made environments, particularly environments where decaying organic matter is abundant. While all three of the common cockroach pest species in the northeast may be found in sewer systems, the American and Oriental cockroach species have a particular affinity for septic environments. With the exception of brown-banded cockroaches, German cockroaches are the only roach pests in the country that dwell primarily within human habitats. Because of this, German cockroaches can continue to reproduce during the winter season within northeastern homes.

American and Oriental cockroach reproduction rates come to a halt during the winter season, but their numbers remain high within city sewer systems, especially in bigger cities like Boston. Although rare, it is still not necessarily uncommon for American cockroaches to travel into homes during the winter via sewer pipes, but this behavior is believed to be less common when it comes to sewer-dwelling Oriental cockroaches. While German cockroach pest issues can arise during the winter months in the northeast, both American and Oriental cockroaches can maintain a stubborn indoor presence into the season as well. That being said, major American or Oriental cockroach infestations are rarely initiated during the winter in the northeast.

Have you ever found foraging cockroaches in your home during the winter season?