Tech Guide

Cockroaches are invading game consoles -- here’s how to keep yours bug-free

Key Points
  • Cockroaches are often found inside game consoles
  • Bugs like the warm environment your Xbox One and PS4 can provide and damage the systems
  • We spoke to iFixit, which suggests keeping your system off the ground if possible, and cleaning it with compressed air if not
Frank Greenaway | Getty Images

A gross report published Monday revealed that game consoles and other entertainment devices are perfect breeding grounds for all sorts of bugs, including cockroaches.

Kotaku told a horror story of Sony PS4 units that were chock full of the little buggers, which were often blamed for causing system failures. Curious to learn more, we hopped on the horn with iFixit account manager Matt Zieminski to understand what's exactly going on.

iFixit, in case you're not familiar, is best known for its teardowns of recent gadgets, but also for providing more than 15,000 partner repair shops with parts and instructions for repairing those devices. They know the guts of gadgets better than anyone else out there.

So what's the deal with these buggy gadgets?

Zieminski explained to CNBC that part of the problem is that the Sony PS4, Xbox One and even desktop computers in places like schools, are often stored in enclosed spaces – maybe under a desk, in a TV entertainment stand or down on the floor. It's this location, paired with the warm heat being output by the systems and lack of solid airflow, that attracts bugs.

It's gross, and it's particularly scary if you're moving a console from one place to another, like an apartment that might be infested with cockroaches to one that isn't… yet. Your PS4 may be the one bringing these bugs from living space to living space.

The good news is there are ways to prevent your PS4 from becoming a harbinger of unwanted guests.

Zieminski said engineers designed these devices with curves and colors and attractive industrial designs to be on display, so you should do exactly that: prop them up and put them where you can see them, high off the ground.

"The best thing would be to keep it on display on the top of a console where there's more airflow, or on a coffee table," he said. "Sometimes it's unavoidable, sometimes you can't avoid keeping a console in an enclosed area."

In that case, Zieminski says that you should perform regular maintenance on your console, blasting away dust (and maybe dead bugs!) with a canister of compressed air. Or take it in for regular cleanings and maintenance at a repair store.

"A repair shop disassembles the console and cleans it and sees if there's a repair needed," Zieminski explained. "You might need micro-soldering. Some insects build nests inside consoles and inside computers."

Lesson learned. Keep those gadgets off the ground, and don't be afraid to blast them with some air every once in a while. Otherwise you might have a few unwanted guests in the house.