How to properly use insect monitors for German cockroach control


May 4, 2016

  • Monitors focus your control efforts and indicate when cockroaches are gone.
  • Use a sufficient number of monitors if you want a sufficient amount of information.
Photo: Mark Sheperdigian

Photo: Mark Sheperdigian

When working to eliminate German cockroaches (Blattella germanica), insect monitors are among the most valuable components of the program. Whether you call them insect monitors or sticky traps, they are the pest management professional’s (PMP’s) closest allies. When properly used, they’re all-knowing and all-seeing.

Insect monitors perform four valuable functions:

  1. They remove cockroaches from the environment. This will reduce sightings by the client and the public and increase the number you will see.
  2. They can point the way to the source of the cockroaches. This will help you to focus your control strategies for maximum effect.
  3. They will indicate when the cockroaches have been eliminated. Without them, this is only a guess for even the most experienced PMPs.
  4. By recording trap catch over time, you can document cockroach-free conditions. A record of the presence, location and relative numbers of cockroaches can be invaluable.

Location, location, location

Insect monitors lose their value if they’re not properly placed. They should be placed in corners and along natural lines. Be sure to use enough to let you judge both the size and scope of the population. The most common error is using too few monitors and missing out on the valuable information they will provide.

While you can’t know exactly how many cockroaches remain, you can get a sense of the relative size of the problem. You should also be able to determine where the cockroaches are, where they are not, and where an infestation is the heaviest.

It’s also important to place insect monitors so that they are discreetly out of sight and unseen by the public. Cockroaches are cryptic by nature and avoid well-lighted areas. They can be taken more easily in dark and shadowy areas. And as valuable as insect monitors are to us, they are not generally appreciated by the public.

Much more could be said about insect monitors and their use, but these are the most important principles to consider. Documentation is the most valuable function provided by insect monitors. Long after the clients no longer see cockroaches, the monitors will continue to signal their presence — and then their absence. An ongoing record of cockroach-free conditions is the best proof of your value. Use insect monitors for maximum advantage by deploying enough of them to give you a clear picture of a cockroach population.

You can reach Contributor Mark Sheperdigian, BCE, at

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