Experts share tips for challenging cockroach jobs


September 12, 2019

Mediterranean Cockroach. (Photo courtesy of, and copyrighted by, Gene White,

Mediterranean cockroach. (Photo courtesy of, and copyrighted by, Gene White,

We asked Pest Management Professional’s (PMP’s) columnists and editorial board members to share their best tips for dealing with challenging cockroach jobs. Here are some of their responses — including a few extra that didn’t make it into our September print edition.

PMP’s Regular Contributors

Paul Hardy: Cockroach problems don’t just happen; they have been around for a while. Start the inspection on the phone when the problem call comes in. Inspect with a flashlight and an open mind. Ask questions and take notes. Identify the pest and think sanitation. Perform the application only after making clear to the customer that expectations must be agreed upon and treatment is a partnership.

Frank Meek, BCE: The best least-used tool is the vacuum; it is used more than bait and sprays for initial cockroach services. The second most-unused tool is an insect growth regulator (IGR); when combined with proper baiting applications, they accelerate control. Also, never forget the 5 Ps: Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance. Don’t go in without a definite plan of attack.

Kurt Scherzinger: When battling cockroaches, you need to find ways to create what they already are feeding on into the bait.

Pete Schopen: Inspect, inspect, inspect!

Mark Sheperdigian, BCE: Start with an intensive treatment, performed at night so you aren’t rushed. Don’t leave until you know you’re done.

PMP’s Editorial Advisory Board

Judy Black: For a heavy German cockroach infestation, use a vacuum. No German cockroach has developed resistance to a vacuum cleaner. And, the quantity of pesticide and the time it takes to eliminate the problem is much less when you dramatically reduce the population with a vacuum first. For light, but nagging German cockroach situations, if you aren’t solving the issue, conduct an inspection at the time of day the customer has sightings. Also, this is when insect growth regulators (IGRs) can be very helpful; just make sure you are applying the right amount at the right frequency.

Michael Broder: When handling a difficult cockroach treatment, be prepared with proper products and equipment. A high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuum is an excellent tool to instantly remove a majority of the population.

Doug Foster: Don’t rely on one tactic (baiting) to eliminate the problem. Use every tool in your toolbox — vacuum, baits, dusts, liquid, aerosols — and don’t forget glueboard monitors to measure your success.

Dr. Faith Oi: Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter. You immediately knock down the cockroach population.

Dan Baldwin, BCE : First, look at the big picture. Where is the infestation you can see, and where is it in context to the rest of the facility? It is best to go to the outside edge of the problem, explore — and if necessary, expand — the boundary and establish the full extent of the infestation. Once you have the edge defined, seal off and/or treat the non-impacted area to contain the cockroaches. Then, work your way inward, vacuuming, treating and excluding as you go. Dig deep into the very small cracks and crevices wherein cockroaches can hide and food can collect. Move things around and open up equipment whenever it is safe to do so. Do whatever it takes to make sure you’re looking at each little place within the boundaries of the infestation. Any pest issue is like exploratory surgery: You have to use your intellectual curiosity to keep inspecting, reporting and treating, as necessary.

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  1. It’s interesting that almost all experts in unison recommend using a HEPA vacuum for brilliant results with cockroaches. A tool that I find often overlooked as with the vacuum are cockroach glue traps. This is seen as a monitoring device but can give good control as well.

    Of course Hygiene and Proofing are keys to success in any control program. It is really important to do a Root Cause Analysis and a Pest Risk Assessment before deciding on control measures.

    No doubt the treatment must be continuously monitored and adapted based on findings and results. Strategic placement to maximise impact on pests while ensuring the minimum impact on non targets and the environment will be the objective of a Pest Management Professional who is on the way to become a Professional Risk Manager who manages the risks from pests than managing just the pest.