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Why Do I Find Roaches in my Refrigerator?

Roaches In Your Refrigerator
Cockroach Sitting on Top of a Refrigerator

Ever wondered why cockroaches are present in your refrigerator? It can be frustrating as those bugs look filthy, and you might worry that they could contaminate your food, making you seriously ill. Find out why they invade your refrigerator in this article.

  • Roaches storm your refrigerator in search of food, moisture, and shelter.
  • They gain access through damaged seals on the door of your refrigerator.
  • They contaminate your food and cause illness.
  • You can prevent infestations and get rid of them.

Do you care to know what attracts roaches to your refrigerator, how they survive, the potential risks to your health, and how to prevent them? Continue reading to get these interesting details.

Why Do Roaches Stay in Refrigerators?

They go there in search of food. Cockroaches have keen senses of smell and sensory receptors that enable them to locate a refrigerator full of food by picking up even the smallest amounts of odors from a distance.

They are not picky with food. Hence they can consume just about anything edible in your refrigerator.

They also get into the refrigerator to seek moisture for survival. Roaches can stay for several weeks without food, but they can only survive for 7 days without water. This explains why they love a humid environment.

Roaches are nocturnal and strongly prefer dark crevices and corners; they live in the dark to avoid predators. Because the light bulb in your refrigerator turns off as soon as you close the door, it is often dark, and these bugs are drawn to such dark places.

How Do They Get In?

They can access your refrigerator’s door through a faulty seal (gasket). The seal is made of molded rubber which helps to prevent cold air from escaping and atmospheric air from entering the inner chambers of a closed refrigerator.

The most common type of damage is a thinned or cracked seal, which allows these bugs to enter your refrigerator.

They can also enter the refrigerator through damaged parts such as the icemaker, refrigerator plate, fans, or coils. Any damage or leakage in these parts would allow them access to your refrigerator’s inner chambers.

Can Roaches Survive in the Refrigerator?

Yes, they can. Generally, insects can adapt to harsh and unfavorable weather conditions. Roaches are no exception to this.

Roaches thrive at temperatures ranging from 77°F to 86°F, but they can survive at lower or higher temperatures provided the temperature change is gradual.

After entering your refrigerator, they spend about 20 hours acclimating to their new environment. Conversely, they would die if placed in air-tight containers and the freezer compartment.

If the temperature drops below 17° F, they will reduce their metabolic activity and hibernate. They come out of hibernation as soon as the temperature gets favorable again.

In most cases, roaches may not need to hibernate because the refrigerator’s internal temperature is between 35°F and 38°F. They can still feed and breed at that temperature range.

Can Roaches Contaminate Food Stores in the Refrigerator?

They certainly can. As previously stated, one of the main reasons they invade your refrigerator is to get food; they crawl over and chew on your stored food.

They cannot, however, contaminate air-tight containers, so; food stored in air-tight containers is safe to consume.

In the event of cockroach invasion in your refrigerator, discard any exposed food items or those not properly covered. They could be contaminated and cause serious food poisoning or other illness.

These illnesses can be fatal if not properly treated. Hence, it is best to avoid cockroach-contaminated food items.

Illnesses Caused by Cockroach-Contaminated Food
  • Salmonellosis
  • Campylobacteriosis
  • Leprosy
  • Bubonic plague
  • Poliomyelitis
  • Viral hepatitis

Why Is It Difficult To Get Rid of Roaches?

One of the reasons is their high reproduction rate. One adult female cockroach can lay about 40 eggs in an egg case, known as ootheca.

Each of these eggs contains one developing cockroach, so even though the adult has a relatively short life span, they leave behind many offspring.

Under certain stressful conditions, the adult female cockroach can lay and hatch unfertilized eggs to produce offspring independent of a male. This process is known as parthenogenesis.

They quickly develop insecticide resistance and pass the genetic material to their offspring. They can equally develop multiple resistance to various insecticides, making it difficult or impossible to eliminate them.

Check this article if you want to know more about their ability to develop resistance to insecticides.

How Can You Keep Roaches Away From Your Refrigerator?
  • Check your refrigerator for damaged seals and replace/repair it promptly.
  • Inspect other refrigerator components at the rear and underside, and repair/replace any leakages or worn-out parts.
  • Discard and thrash leftovers. Please do not keep them exposed through the night.
  • Always keep your home clean.

Learn more about keeping roaches away from your home here.


You might see roaches in your refrigerator because of bad/worn-out part(s) or unclean surroundings.

Do not consume exposed food items in your refrigerator if you notice a cockroach infestation, as it may cause serious food-borne illness.

You should keep roaches away from your refrigerator by promptly fixing any damage and keeping your home always clean.

It is possible to successfully keep roaches away from your refrigerator and home if you apply the suggestions in this article.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Get Rid of Roaches in My Refrigerator?

First, you need to access their route of entry and block it. You can do this by carefully examining the refrigerator for damaged seals and leakages around it, then contact your technician for repair.

Then, you can apply insecticides to kill the bugs. Ensure you empty the refrigerator of food items before applying any insecticide.

Why Do Refrigerators Attract Roaches?

Roaches infest refrigerators because they contain food items and moisture. It is also a source of shelter for them. They have a great sense of smell and can locate food items quickly.

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