Use the right tool for cockroach jobs


May 2, 2017

  • The advantages of cockroach baiting are heavily weighted toward curative efforts.

  • Prevent cockroaches with vigilance and time-tested methods.

Photo: Mark Sheperdigian, BCE

Regardless of where they are in their development cycle, German cockroaches can be a challenge to control.
Photo: Mark Sheperdigian, BCE

German cockroaches (Blattella germanica) continue to amaze us with their resilience and ability to survive. Throughout the years, there have been several changes to what we know as regular cockroach services. Thanks to the advent of baits, we can make short work of an infestation, with relatively little disruption to a client’s routine. The more cooperation we get, the faster it all goes.

Yet, as much as the German cockroach’s food-finding behavior is part of its makeup, so is adapting to its environment. It’s no surprise, then, that cockroaches are adapting to us through genetic resistance and bait aversion.

With the number of cockroach infestations increasing and becoming more severe in recent years, the natural instinct is to apply bait regularly, to be waiting for cockroaches when they arrive. When solving problems, we apply bait as close to the active harborage as we can in a targeted application. But when used as prevention, there’s no targeted application. Bait is applied to all the primary harborages — or at least to those most likely. Once applied, the bait is left to wait for a cockroach to find it.

From my experience, I’ve learned two things are certain: Gel bait is never more effective than the day it was applied, and it loses effectiveness day after day until it’s no more than debris. Eventually, it needs to be scraped off and replaced. Bait stations or arenas may stay fresher longer, but they’re larger and more limited in regard to where they can be placed. They also cost more per placement.

When it comes to long-lasting efficacy in cracks, crevices and voids, we have to remember the phrase “dust is a must.” Dusting voids always has been a fundamental aspect of cockroach control. Just as we did in the old days, dusting cracks and voids allows us to prevent cockroaches — as well as a number of other pests that might appear.

Additionally, insect monitors continue to be the eyes of the technician. They’re the first to indicate activity; and once the pests are trapped, the public won’t see them. A proper array of monitors can achieve:

  • Early detection when cockroaches arrive.
  • Focused inspections for elimination.
  • Indications of when an infestation has been eliminated.
  • Documentation of ongoing cockroach-free conditions.

The best advice when using tools is to use them where they’re best suited. Apply dusts to crevices and voids, place monitors to watch for activity and use baits to eliminate cockroaches when they appear.

Contributor Mark Sheperdigian, BCE, can be reached at

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