Fresh traps give fresh information


February 4, 2020

  • Insect monitors are the foundation of cockroach control.
  • Change monitors regularly to get accurate information.
What you capture on an insect monitor can provide plenty of information. PHOTO: MARK SHEPERDIGIAN, BCE

What you capture on an insect monitor can provide plenty of information. PHOTO: MARK SHEPERDIGIAN, BCE

Effective control of the German cockroach (Blattella germanica) starts with accurate information about the cockroach population. Insect monitors — oh heck, let’s just call them sticky traps — tell us what we really need to know. Old sticky traps tell only lies.

Inspection is the first step of cockroach control, but sticky traps give us monitoring. We get information from sticky traps in four phases of treatment:

  1. The heaviest areas of infestation. A broad array of well-placed sticky traps helps us focus our inspections as well as our treatments. You need to know where to look and where to treat.
  2. The effectiveness of our control program. When the population decreases, we know we are doing something right. When the trap catch shifts to mostly nymphs,
    we know we are getting close.
  3. The point at which we achieve elimination. Long after the customer stops seeing cockroaches, fresh sticky traps continue to pick them up. When the traps stop catching cockroaches, that’s when elimination has been achieved.
  4. The status of being cockroach-free. During regular service, as long as we have a sufficient number of fresh traps, zero cockroaches trapped is evidence of cockroach-free conditions.



Once we pull the release paper off a sticky trap, it is at maximum effectiveness. Dust and oils from the air slowly reduce its ability to catch cockroaches. Many technicians use a finger to gauge the tackiness of an insect monitor, but long after a trap no longer catches cockroaches, it still feels sticky to the touch.

You may be able to tell when the traps are no longer tacky, but you cannot tell when they no longer catch cockroaches. Old sticky traps may give you a false impression of the size or location of the population you are trying to control. When cockroaches get started in a facility, old monitors may remain empty, giving you a false negative.

If you date the sticky traps when you place them, you will be able to replace them on time. In most working environments, sticky traps should be replaced monthly. Some environments are cleaner than others and a sticky trap may be able to last two months, but you will have to make those judgments yourself.

It does require you to have a ready supply of monitors. But in the long run, monitors are cheap — and ineffective control programs and callbacks are expensive.

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

Leave A Comment

  1. Great article a lot of PCO’s miss this part of the Puzzle .
    The Sticky traps allow you to catch and monitor 24/7 ..
    More the better in my opinion .
    I used to put a little bait dots on the edges behind re-fridge and stove and under the sinks..
    Have a great day , Brian