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Can You Kill Cockroaches With Fire?

People have a visceral reaction to many insects, but cockroaches invoke an incredibly terrifying emotion in many. 

When faced with extreme disgust, the phrase “kill it with fire” is a popular expression, but will fire actually kill cockroaches?

Cockroaches can be killed by fire if it cracks their exoskeleton, burns them to a crisp, or heats their body to a point they can’t survive. So while it may work, using fire as a pest control method is unnecessary and can be incredibly dangerous.

Can Fire Kill Cockroaches?

Close-up photo of a fire in a fireplace.

Fire can kill almost everything, but many animals have adaptations that allow them to survive or escape fires. So could it kill cockroaches?

Cockroaches have a strong reputation for being incredibly hard to kill, surviving almost any disaster, and healing from grievous injuries. 

Whether or not a fire will kill a roach depends on how long and how directly they are exposed to the fire. For example, a temperature between 140-150 degrees can be fatal for cockroaches if exposed to it for a few hours.

It can survive if a roach isn’t in contact with the hottest parts of a flame or only in contact with the flame for a brief time. However, cockroaches will usually die when exposed directly to an open flame. 

The heat can damage their outer shell, causing it to crack and expose their insides. The roach can’t heal or molt if this happens and will die. 

Roaches, even big ones, are also very light. As a result, their bodies heat up quickly when in contact with the cooler parts of a fire. As a result, damage to a cockroach’s internal organs takes seconds, and cooking them to a crisp happens very quickly. 

In both cases, the cockroach will die and can’t survive. Sometimes, a cockroach may survive being exposed to fire and escape but die later. 

Can a Cockroach Survive a Fire?

Cockroaches are some of the toughest creatures on the planet and have been known to survive injuries and trauma that you would expect to kill them. 

A roach can survive being burned or getting set on fire, assuming they aren’t exposed for too long. 

Just burning a roach isn’t going to be enough to kill it. Burns on the shell that don’t create internal injuries aren’t a big deal for them. If a cockroach gets burned but doesn’t die, it can simply molt the damaged shell and grow a new one. 

Their shell is thick and can temporarily repel heat, giving them time to escape a fire before significant damage is done to their bodies. So dropping a roach into a fire probably won’t kill them if they can escape. 

Better Ways To Kill Cockroaches

While burning a cockroach to a crisp will make sure the insect is dead, setting them on fire is not a safe way for you to get rid of them.

You can always contact a professional exterminator to assist with getting rid of a roach infestation, but there are also safe options for you to try out before you make the call. 

The first thing to do if you want to get rid of or prevent a cockroach infestation at home is to get rid of reasons for roaches to be there. 

Keep your floors and counters clean. Any food crumbs need to be vacuumed, as they can attract roaches into the home. 

Water leaks and pools of water are places you’ll usually find roaches assembling as well. Be sure to fix leaks under the sink or plug holes in the basement walls. 

Try to avoid stacking items up like cardboard boxes since they give roaches a great hiding spot, and try to close up any points of entry into the home. Points of entry could be gaps under doors, cracks in windows, or small holes leading into the walls. 

Once cockroaches have set up shop inside, it’s time to try removal methods. 

Glue strips attract and trap roaches and are a safe and effective method for small infestations. However, if you’re constantly finding a lot of cockroaches in the traps, it’s a sign that you have a significant infestation. 

Baking soda and boric acid are the best options for baiting roaches with human-safe poisons. Baking soda expands in a roach’s gut when it drinks water, killing them. Boric acid is also toxic for cockroaches, and unlike other toxins, they don’t have a resistance to it. 

You can mix both poisons or use them separately. Generally, a sugar, water, and poison mixture work well for baiting cockroaches. 

If all else fails, cockroach traps and poisons are very common at a pest or hardware store. However, remember that traps and poison take time to work, so don’t expect immediate results. 

Make sure to place traps and bait in areas with high roach traffic. Darker areas of the home like your basement or attic, around hiding places like furniture, or entry points of the house are all great options. 

Kill any roaches you see by stepping on or smashing them. Be sure to clean and disinfect the area where you killed them to avoid attracting more roaches or spreading bacteria. 

If the infestation isn’t getting better, call a professional for help dealing with the cockroaches. 


Cockroaches will die if exposed to fire for long enough, though they can survive having their outer shells burned in many cases. 

Using fire to burn and kill cockroaches is not a safe way to get rid of them or any other kind of insects in your home. Instead, try safer, more effective methods and contact a professional if you need help getting rid of roaches.