That moment when you’re playing your favorite video game, about to conquer every other gamer on earth, and then —pop— the console makes the noise of death and it’s game over.

Obviously, there are many reasons your Xbox or other electronics could be spontaneously dying on you, but do a quick internet search and you’ll discover that a frequent culprit is simply an infestation of roaches. If you see the little buggers crawling out of your console vents, rest assured that at least you’re in good company.

Insects, and in particular cockroaches, are attracted to the tiny, warm, safe spaces inside of game consoles. Does that mean you need to get to work scrubbing every inch of your living space? Not necessarily. Roaches often will take up residence in even the cleanest of environs, and they frequently do so when they’re in search of water or even if the climate where you live is just right for cockroach habitation.

Facts About Roaches and How They Affect Gaming Electronics

  • Roaches start out as white or transparent bugs about the size of an ant. This means that they can get pretty much anywhere easily, but even when fully-grown, they can scurry into the slots and vents that measure just a couple of millimeters.
  • Once the roaches or other insects get inside your electronics, they can survive by eating dust (because dust contains skin particles — ewwww), the plastic from equipment components, or each other.

Facts About Roach Removal and Game Consoles

  • The warranty on your Xbox and other devices most assuredly does not cover anything that gets into the console from the outside, including substances, vermin, and any type of insect.
  • Most companies that specialize in repair won’t handle any gaming console that has any trace of insect infestation.

How to Get Rid of Roaches in Your Electronics

Disclaimer: Keeping in mind that anything you do as you attempt to rid your equipment of pesky insects will most likely void the warranty, here are some things you can try:

  • If you see roaches or other live insects in your console, by all means take it outside!
  • Grab a shop vac and a hair dryer. On one end of the vent, blow that hair dryer through on high speed and blow the critters out. On the other side, suck them right up with the shop vac.
  • Roaches likely won’t stay around where there isn’t an ample food supply, but remember that where dust congregates, ample roach food exists. Dust and vacuum your electronics often.
  • Put your console inside a box and set off an insecticide fogger (outside, of course!) Let the fogger spray settle completely and then put your console inside the box. Wrap the box in a plastic garbage bag and tape it securely. Suffocation works wonders.
  • Obtain food-grade diatomaceous earth and sprinkle a light dusting around your console. The fossilized diatoms will cut up and fatally harm insects. Wipe it off and reapply often, being very careful not to breathe it in. Diatomaceous earth is not harmful but can trigger asthma.
  • Never put your Xbox console in the freezer, as is a frequent message board recommendation for fixing the problem. Microsoft terms and conditions specifically state that you are voiding their warranty if you do so.
  • If you suspect bed bugs instead of roaches, get that console out of your house and call an exterminator immediately.
  • Call an exterminator; they’ve dealt with infested consoles and know how to go about getting the bugs out.

In the end, you may find your console is so badly infested, you’ll have to toss it out and replace it. That’s disappointing, to be sure, but now you are a better-informed gamer who knows how to prevent and remedy a roach infestation.

Follow my favorite gamer dads at NerdDads.tv!