Dos & Don’ts: American Cockroaches


September 17, 2014

  • American cockroaches

    Male (left), ootheca (middle) and female American cockroaches. Photo courtesy of, and copyrighted by, Gene White,

    Don’t let American cockroaches, Periplaneta americana, invade and contaminate structures and threaten public health. Control cockroaches by counting on integrated pest management (IPM).

  • Do correctly identify the cockroach species because every other step after a misidentification will be ineffective.
  • Don’t fail to understand and practice IPM consistently, which entails inspection and investigation, identification, establishing threshold levels, implementing two or more control measures (cultural, physical, mechanical or professional product application) and evaluating effectiveness.
  • Do professionally perform the primary four steps to cockroach elimination:
  1. Prevention. Implement an inspection-based program that’s systematic and actionable to eliminate pest ingress through structural defects and pest immigration on incoming shipments.
  2. Sanitation. Deny pests heat, available water, nutrition and refuge.
  3. Trapping or vacuuming. Use professional-grade monitoring traps or systems with pheromone or food attractant integrations, as well as vacuums with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters.
  4. Professional product applications. Employ environmentally appropriate product formulations per the manufacturers’ directional labels.

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.

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