German cockroaches: How to successfully bait

By |  December 26, 2016
  • Like us, cockroaches prefer delivery to carryout.

  • It’s bait, not Kryptonite — bring enough for everybody.

German cockroaches take convenience over quality for their meals. Photo: ©

German cockroaches take convenience over quality for their meals.
Photo: ©

German cockroaches (Blattella germanica) are well adapted for both finding food and hiding from danger. Their finely tuned skills help them both find the bait we leave for them and get to safe harborage to avoid insecticide applications.

Once we had effective baits on the market, it didn’t take long to convert technician training from “spray where they stay during the day” to “make your bait first on their plate.” The ability to find food became the German cockroach’s undoing, and eliminating this pest became the easy part of the job.

Baits are still quite effective, but if we get too casual in our baiting practices, we will see diminishing results. The most common errors in bait applications seem to be making placements too small and too far from ground zero. Cockroaches take advantage of every opportunity; they will rarely travel several feet for food if they have other food only inches away. If they are harboring deep behind cabinets and equipment, the bait should be applied deep behind cabinets and equipment. This may take some effort, but applying the bait only as far you can easily reach may not be close enough to get their attention.

It is also important to note that most bait labels require applications in food-handling areas to be made in cracks and crevices, not out in the open. In facilities where there is a lot of food choice, cockroaches will choose the food that is closest and has the nutrients they need (which most of today’s baits supply). With that in mind, removing alternative suitable food sources — also known as sanitation — can only increase the likelihood your bait is their first choice. With few other choices and appealing food delivered to their door, cockroaches will always take the bait.

Don’t be stingy

When you encounter a large population, which seems to be happening industry-wide with increasing frequency, be sure to leave enough bait to solve the problem. Baits can kill cockroaches in relatively small quantities, but like us, the cockroaches feed as if their food won’t kill them. The larger the population, the more bait you need — and the larger the individual placements have to be.

Also, when bait placements are too small, most bait will dry out more quickly and lose a lot of its initial palatability. Ideally, you will have applied more bait than the cockroaches can eat and there should be some left when you return. If you return and find no bait remaining and many cockroaches still active, you didn’t apply enough bait.

When there are more cockroaches than you can count, consider taking in a vacuum to physically remove as many as possible before applying bait. This will help ensure you have enough bait for those that remain.

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About the Author:

Joelle Harms is the digital media manager for PMP magazine and its parent company, North Coast Media. Harms can be reached at or 216-706-3780.

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