Dos & Don’ts: Blatella Germanica


June 12, 2014

  • Photo: ©

    Photo: ©

    Do the applied biology, and don’t let German cockroaches, Blatella germanica, spread pathogens and allergens that cause environmental exposure and illness. Instead, eliminate cockroaches though an environmentally benign process of integrated pest management (IPM).

  • Do understand German cockroach resiliency results from several factors, including: a lack of natural predators within structures;en masse nymph populations via oothecae; rapid sexual maturity; and thigmotactic (movement of an organism toward an object that provides a mechanical stimulus) behavior that evades humans and eradication efforts.
  • Don’t exempt exclusion from treatment protocols: Seal structural cracks, crevices and utilities with elastomeric, cleanable caulk.
  • Do use active (with pheromone and/or food attractants) and passive monitoring devices to read and interpret the severity of infestation to the point of elimination.
  • Don’t undertreat German cockroach populations. Methods must kill at least 95 percent of the structural population to approach elimination effectively.
  • Do use an ergonomically appropriate high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuum to immediately reduce German cockroach populations and associated allergens.
  • Don’t overlook low-light areas within structural zones adjacent to supportive microclimates because German cockroaches are nocturnal.
  • Do inspect all incoming food supplies and materials to prevent German cockroach importation.
  • Don’t proceed outside the IPM process, which includes inspection and investigation, identification down to species, establishing threshold levels, implementing two or more control measures (cultural, physical, mechanical and professional product applications), and evaluation of effectiveness.

[ RELATED LINK: Most Wanted: German Cockroach ]

Dr. Mitchell, D.O., Ph.D., M.P.H., B.C.E., a board-certified physician and entomologist, is principal technical specialist for PestWest Environmental, as well as PMP’s Technical Editor. He can be reached at or 515-333-8923.

About the Author

MITCHELL, D.O., DVM, PsyD, BCE, is technical director of PestWest, and a frequent contributor to PMP.

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