Added Value: Leave the Bait Gun, Take the Cannoli


June 16, 2015

Cockroach Cannoli

Your use of bait will go farther with this tip because there’s a good chance you’ve been overapplying them. Photo: Ray Johnson

Conventional wisdom says we’re never too old to learn new tricks of the trade. Well, this past January at the Smoky Mountain Conference in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., I learned a few new tricks from a great lineup of talented speakers.

One of them was my friend Dr. Dini Miller from Virginia Tech. Dini had attended the conference many times before and always presented cutting-edge research and useful tips about controlling cockroaches, bed bugs and other pesky critters. Her team of research assistants study these pests and work hard to control them in government housing units and other locations that involve real-life, down-and-dirty experiences. If you haven’t heard her speak at PestWorld or other conferences, you’ve missed out on one of the best our industry offers.

Let me introduce you to the Cockroach Cannoli, which came from Dini’s practical knowledge gleaned from many years of experience fighting cockroaches. This tip is the best I can share
with you about the service aspect of our industry this year.

How many times have you seen a crack or crevice filled with insect bait like caulking? The bait was most likely applied years ago — hopefully, not by your company —but it will be there indefinitely. Even with our best training, technicians sometimes think more equals better.

So, here’s the tip: Take a sheet of wax paper and cut it into several 3-in. squares. Apply your bait in a straight line diagonally across, and fold it up like a cannoli (or taco, if you’re not into pastries). Place it where the pests will have access to eat all they want. You are actually doing them a favor by giving them a much cleaner environment in which to dine.

No caulk, just cannoli
I have instructed all my technicians to cease and desist making bait applications by injecting bait into cracks and crevices. I suggest they use this technique instead. Think about all the clutter and filth you often see with severe cockroach infestations. To me, it makes sense to use the cannoli method. Your bait placements will likely be more effective, which will result
in happy customers.

Your usage will go farther too because there’s a good chance you’ve been overapplying baits by trying to fill every nook and cranny. This is also a good way to curb bait waste. Additionally, the cannoli can be removed and relocated easily as needed. Bait will also stay fresher for a longer period of time.

Thanks to Dr. Dini Miller and her hardworking research team, this tip should make your bait placements more economical and effective.

You can reach Ray Johnson, a past president of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), president of Sevierville, Tenn.-based Johnson Pest Control, and founder of ACES for Business, at

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