Fundamentals of cockroach control is key to success


June 29, 2018

Flashlight inspection

Your flashlight is a must-have on every pest inspection, but it’s especially useful when seeking cockroach harborage. PHOTO: Mark Sheperdigian, BCE

We typically rely on “the good stuff” to do the heavy lifting.

Instead of waiting for a product that “works better,” sharpen the skills that make all products work better.

“I’d rather be lucky than good.” Have you ever heard that? It’s a commonly uttered phrase when a team loses by a single point scored on a single play through an unlikely event that is ultimately chalked up to plain ol’ good luck. 

How can this be applied to German cockroach control, you ask? Well, relying on a “silver bullet” approach is amazingly similar to relying on luck to eliminate cockroaches. Of course it works, for now, but over time the results can take a turn. If you’re finding your results have become lackluster, you might be relying on luck.

Effective cockroach control works best when we use all the tools and spread the weight of control over all the sound fundamentals we have been taught. Regardless of our product list, we have to start with a comprehensive inspection to understand the nature of the population. How far has it spread? Where is it centered? These questions are key — and getting answers is best done with a careful inspection using good gear, a solid grounding in cockroach behavior, and a well-placed array of insect monitors.

A bright flashlight with back-up batteries will guarantee enough light to see what you’re looking for when you actually look at it. You will also need to carry a putty knife or a spatula religiously, as well as some simple hand tools. How sad would it be to stand within inches of an active harborage, but you never see them because you can’t get access? Don’t forget the kneepads and gloves. If you cannot comfortably get close to your quarry, you are far less likely to find them.

To get your inspections to yield answers consistently, add the most expensive ingredient: time. Begin your inspection well before the facility begins work or after work has ended. Rushing through an inspection may be the most common error we commit. Move methodically through the environment. Bouncing around from area to area often causes a blind spot. Time is expensive, but if it’s used properly, it can work miracles.

Finally, be sure to bring a clear head and an active imagination. We waste a lot of time trying to get all the answers when we should be working to get all the questions. Sometimes you have to stop and stare. Change your perspective. Change your altitude; both the floor and the ceiling look different once you’re there.

Quality products and sound techniques are instrumental in producing consistent successful results, but fundamental skills can make everything work consistently. Relying solely on a single solution is a formula for increasingly disappointing outcomes. Keeping the focus of cockroach control on fundamentals is the key to consistent performance.

You can reach Mark Sheperdigian, BCE, vice president of technical services, Rose Pest Solutions, Troy, Mich., at

Leave A Comment

Comments are closed.