Learn powerful up to date methods from the experts that will stop Roaches in their tracks and get rid of them for good.
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With 69 different species of cockroaches in the United States, preventing, identifying, and controlling cockroaches can be a challenge for the homeowner. Cockroaches are among the most common pest species in homes and businesses. Different species of cockroaches are treated in different ways. Roaches are important in the ecosystem as they break down organic matter, they are an important food source for many animals, and their waste improves soil by adding nutrients. Roaches are only considered a pest when they invade our homes, business, cars, and recreational vehicles. Cockroaches travel easily between unsanitary trash and sewers to counter tops and clean plates in the cabinets.
From both minor and severe infestations, cockroaches are known to spread diseases such as salmonella, dysentery, typhoid fever, and cholera. When exposed to cockroaches for an extended periods of time, people can develop an allergy to roaches. Enzymes found in cockroach fecal matter and saliva spreads through the home and can trigger allergic reactions and asthma. An area with a severe roach infestation has a very distinctive odor and is easily recognizable to the trained Pest Management Professional. It is thought that cockroach infestations are the major cause of asthma in inner city children.
Whether it is due to health and safety concerns or the roach fear factor, getting roaches out of your home or business is a top priority. Roaches are preeminent survivalists; they can live without food for a month and can even survive for weeks without their head. Roaches handle radiation far better than humans and can even take up residence inside of your microwave. Thankfully, scientific innovation has allowed for the development of highly effective tools in the fight against roaches. With scientists’ understanding of cockroach biology and the manner in which different chemicals affect them, roach control has never been safer or more effective.
Roaches and Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is the gold standard of modern pest control. Pest Management Professionals who practice IPM are both conscious of human’s role in the environment and driven to ensure the target pests are controlled. The IPM Institute of North America defines Integrated Pest Management as, “a sustainable, science-based, decision-making process that combines biological, cultural, physical and chemical tools to identify, manage and reduce risk from pests and pest management tools and strategies in a way that minimizes overall economic, health and environmental risks.”
The tenants of IPM include the following:
Establishment of Threshold Levels
Evaluation of Control Measures
Integrated Pest Management principles do not forbid the use of chemical sprays and baits, however alternative forms of control are incorporated into a comprehensive plan. IPM requires a Pest Management Professional to understand the biology and behaviors of the target pest and actively problem solve. For example, for cockroach control, sanitation is paramount. Do not allow the environment to be comfortable for roaches, clean up food leftovers and crumbs immediately, repair leaky faucets, and eliminate harborages like cardboard. Physical cockroach control includes installing door sweeps and sealing or caulking cracks so that outdoor roaches do not come inside. In a severe indoor roach infestation, rather than relying on sprays or baits, use a HEPA vacuum to physically remove the majority of the roaches. This simple control measure provides immediate cockroach relief and allows less chemical to be used to solve the problem.
When pesticides are necessary to eliminate a roach infestation, Integrated Pest Management Practices prefer baits as opposed to sprays for indoor roach control. Baits are lower risk to people and pets than sprays and are highly effective against roaches. After baits are placed, roach populations should be monitored using sticky traps. These glue traps will help you evaluate areas that should be retreated and will tell you when the roach infestation has been eliminated.
IPM is highly effective against roaches and safer for humans. Any pest control company you allow into your home should be well versed in its application and nuances. The key factor in the success of a Roach IPM program is assessment or evaluation of control measures. A Pest Management Professional (PMP) has many tools in his or her toolbelt. If the infestation is not controlled, he must reassess the situation and use a different or additional control measure. IPM requires excellent communication between PMP and customer. IPM has proven successful for roach control and should be the backbone of any roach control program.
Roach Control for Your Business or Restaurant
Controlling cockroaches in your restaurant is vital to the success of your eating establishment. A pest invasion puts your customers at risk of disease and bacteria, your reputation in jeopardy, and places your business at risk of violating stringent sanitation requirements. Customer’s today demand a clean environment and are likely to spread poor reports quickly via social media. Your restaurant’s health department inspection records and citations are easily available online. If a live roach is seen scurrying through the women’s bathroom, you will be roasted on yelp.com in an instant. Your restaurant should have a comprehensive pest control program which includes roaches, rodents, flies, ants, and drain treatments. The thorough eyes of your Pest Management Professional can see sanitation issues that may otherwise be overlooked by kitchen staff and managers, thus help you to prevent roaches, rats, and flies.
Commercial kitchens are a hotbed of activity and can easily become breeding grounds for German cockroaches, rats, mice, and phorid and drain flies. With the sensitive nature of food preparation spaces, proper use of Integrated Pest Management protocols is vital to success. Education, training, and follow through with all personnel is required to ensure a pest free commercial kitchen. In addition to sanitation measures, employees must be trained to report any pest sightings to management so that information is conveyed to the Pest Management Professional. Prevention and catching a roach infestation at its infantile stage is much preferred to battling a full-blown severe infestation.
Common sanitation tips to avoid roaches and other pests:
Dumpsters should be as far away as possible from the building and regularly cleaned. Dumpster lids should close tightly and they should not be filled to overflow.
Entrances and exits should remain closed when possible. To block flying insects, doors that may be open for extended periods of time, such as receiving doors, should have an air curtain installed. Door sweeps should be placed on the bottom of doors to seal up gaps by which roaches and rodents can sneak inside.
Food storage areas should be maintained according to your local health department’s regulations. This generally includes dry food to be stored in air tight containers placed at least 6” off the ground and 12” from the wall. Cardboard is a known cockroach harborage. If possible, do not store food in cardboard boxes.
Trash can liners should be used on all trash cans. The trash bins themselves should be cleaned regularly of all food and debris that may have slipped through a punctured bag.
Sink and floor drains are often a source of insect invasions, even drains that are not being actively used. All drains should be cleaned with enzyme based cleaners regularly and treated upon the first sign of insects.
Cockroaches in a commercial kitchen should be handled with a comprehensive program that addresses sanitation and pests of all kids. Pest control for restaurants is not a situation where you call when you have a problem. Your expertise is providing excellent food and an experience that your customers will want to come back for again and again. Between rats, roaches, flies, and drains, pest control in a commercial kitchen requires safely treating and preventing pests while regularly monitoring the results of the treatments and making calculated adjustments as necessary.
When you stumble through the night and see a roach running from the light and escape into the bathroom cabinet, the last thing your brain can grapple is the details required to make a proper identification. However, properly identifying the species of roach is a necessary component to creating a plan that will eliminate the roaches from your home or business.
Roaches are generally divided into two categories, roaches that live and breed indoors, and roaches that prefer to live outdoors but sometimes sneak inside. Between these two cockroach categories, the approach to the roach treatment and elimination is dramatically different. Despite there being almost 4,000 species of roaches in the world, there are less than ten species of pest roaches we see in the United States, with 4-5 of these being pretty rare indeed.
The most common species of roaches you will likely encounter are:
Florida Woods Roach
All cockroaches, and insects, have similar characteristics, but there are distinguishing features between the species which will be discussed below. All cockroaches have six legs, two antennae, and an oval-shaped body. Most roaches are reddish-brown in color, but they may appear lighter just after molting. Most common adult cockroaches are between ¾” to 1.5” in length, although some species can grow to 3” in length. Cockroaches move surprisingly fast and fit their flattened bodies into cracks and crevices making them difficult to extract, identify, and kill individually.
Small Domestic Roach Identification
The most logical place to start with a roach identification to gauge the size of the roach that you are trying to identify. It is important to note that when we use the term small roach, the roach is small as an adult. To complicate matters, nymphs of larger species of roaches will be small, but proper identification can be made by looking at the totality of the circumstances (behavior and habitat). The three most common small roaches that you may encounter are German Roaches, Brown Banded Roaches, and Asian Roaches. German and Brown-Banded Roaches are often referred to as Domestic Cockroaches because they can live their entire life inside of homes and buildings.
German Roach Identification Characteristics
German Roaches are the most common small roach that will be found indoors. German Roaches are the roaches people are the most familiar with. They rapidly breed, especially in kitchens, and prefer to come out at night. When you turn on a light at night you may see dozens of German roaches scurrying to hide in a dark place. German roaches are closely associated with allergies and the spread of bacteria and disease.
Adult German Cockroaches, Blattella germanica, are approximately ½” in length and are light brown in color with two dark stripes running parallel down its back. Adult German Roaches have wings but prefer to scurry and run rather than fly. Juvenile German Cockroaches, or nymphs, are smaller, darker, and do not have wings.
To positively identify German Roaches, closely observe their characteristics and habitat. German Roaches will most often be found in areas with water, kitchens and bathrooms. German Roaches prefer areas that are dark, moist, warm, and available food. Inspect cracks and crevices of cabinets, underneath sinks, behind, underneath, or inside appliances like a stove or refrigerator. German Roaches love clutter of any kind, but especially thrive in the tight crevices provided by cardboard boxes. German Roaches aggregate and live together in large groups. In areas where German Roaches are aggregating, not only will you find the roaches themselves, but you will also find fecal matter, dead German Roaches, juvenile German Roaches, and ootheca or roach egg casings. Knowing that German roaches are the most common cockroach that can live and breed indoors, you can identify this species by its small size, the markings on its thorax, and by its location and behavior.
Brown Banded Roach Identification Characteristics
Brown Banded Roaches, Supella longipalpa, are the only other species of roach in the United States that can live and breed indoors. Brown-Banded Roaches are not common at all. Because they are relatively rare, many people, professionals included, misidentify the Brown Banded Cockroach as a German Roach.
Adult Brown-Banded Cockroaches are usually ½” in length but may grow to 5/8” long. Adult male Brown Banded Roaches are a golden-tan color while the females are darker brown. Brown Banded Roaches have two whiteish/yellowish stripes on their back that are perpendicular to their body. On adults, these may be harder to see through their wings, but the stripes are still there.
The characteristic that triggers the thought of a Brown-Banded Roach is the location. While German Roaches must have access to water, kitchens and bathrooms, Brown Banded Roaches have much lower moisture requirements. Brown-banded Roaches are typically NOT in kitchens or bathrooms. They do very well in closets, garages, mini-storage units and anywhere else items are stored. They are often found in higher locations than German Roaches, such as in crown molding or on a high up in a bookcase or media cabinet. In fact, Brown-banded Roaches can get everything they need to survive from the starches and moisture that is in cardboard and the glue used to make cardboard boxes! Especially in places that are not air conditioned like garages or certain regions of the country that don’t use air-conditioning, Brown-banded roaches can do very well.
Asian Roach Identification Characteristics
The Asian Cockroach, Blattella asahinai, is the third of the smaller species of cockroaches. Asian cockroaches can not live and reproduce inside therefore it is a less common pest species. While German roaches live exclusively indoors (they prefer kitchen areas), Asian Roaches live outdoors in mulch, leaf-litter, trees, and shrubs. Also, Asian roaches aren’t repelled by light and are actually attracted to light. For this reason, Asian Roaches are often attracted to windows and doors at night and sometimes sneak inside. Unlike their “twin” roach the German Roach, Asian Cockroaches are strong fliers.
Asian Roaches range from 1/8 inch (first stage nymphs) up to 5/8 inch (adults). Asian Roaches are very closely related species to German Roaches. Visually, they are very difficult to tell apart, however, their behaviors are very different. With their strong attraction to light, and their ability to fly up to 120 feet at a time, they most often invade homes by flying to a television set, porch light, or a lamp on a side table. However, they rarely invade in large numbers and once inside they do not survive well or procreate.
Between the 3 species of small roaches the easiest way to identify your species is to look at its behavior. German Roaches will most likely be in kitchens and bathrooms, Brown Banded Roaches will be in warm, high, dry areas, and Asian Roaches will most likely by flying in towards a light source from outdoors. Once you know the species, you can quickly and develop a plan to get rid of your roaches.
Large Peridomestic Roach Identification
With regards to the larger species of roaches, I have great news! They do not breed indoors. However, when you stumble upon a large flying roach in the middle of the night, that is no immediate consolation. Large roaches are referred to by Entomologists as Peridomestic Cockroaches. This means that they mainly live outdoors, but occasionally make their way indoors. Roaches are often called by colloquial names such as palmetto bug, water bug, shad roaches, or the croton bug, but utilizing these generalized terms can lead to poor outcomes in pest management. Proper identification of species of roach is important to obtain fast and lasting pest control. The species of large roaches we are most likely to see in the United States are the American Cockroach, Australian Cockroach, Oriental Roach, Smokey-Brown Cockroach, and the Florida Woods Cockroach. By far, the most common of these is the American Cockroach.
American Roach Identification Characteristics
The American Cockroach, Periplaneta americana, is the largest and the most common of the larger roaches. The adult American Cockroach is approximately 1.5” in length. Both its wings and body are reddish-brown in color and they have a tan/yellow ring around the plate that covers the back of their neck which is called the pronotum. American Cockroaches are commonly found in sewers, steam tunnels, drainage systems, and in basements, but in the southern United States they can be found living and reproducing in landscapes and leaf litter. In these warm areas after a prolonged rain, American Roaches may find their way indoors by sneaking under an unsealed door or window. In an especially terrifying feat, in warm climates American Roaches can fly. Due to their proclivity for living in sewers and other filth, they are known to carry and spread diseases.
Australian Roach Identification Characteristics
Australian Roaches, Periplaneta australasiae, look very similar in size and shape to the American Roach, but the Australian Cockroach has yellow stripes on outer edge of his wings on the upper end near his head. Although difficult to differentiate when he is darting past you in the night, the Australian Cockroach has the dark spots on the pronotum that are often said to resemble a “Batman” symbol. The typical adult Australian Cockroach is approximately 1.5” in length.
Rather than dwelling in sewers like American Roaches, Australian Roaches love living around buildings in mulch, plants, and trees. Cold weather often drives them to seek warmth indoors. Many people find Australian Cockroaches sneaking inside after the first few cold fronts each fall. Although the Australian Cockroach is mainly found outdoors in leaf litter, firewood piles, and other places with plenty of moisture, when temperatures drop, they can be found indoors. Australian roaches may inhabit greenhouses and dark, warm, moist areas of your home such as under the bathroom or kitchen sink.
Oriental Roach Identification Characteristics
Adult Oriental Cockroachess, Blatta orientalis, are approximately 1” in length, making them slightly smaller than American and Australian roaches but noticeably larger than the small German roach. Oriental Cockroaches are dark glossy blackish in color and they have visible hairs on their legs. The male Oriental Roaches have wings that cover about 75% of his body, but the female’s wings are so small she appears wingless. Neither male nor female Oriental Roaches can fly.
Oriental Roaches are more cold hardy than other outdoor roaches, therefore they can be found further north than other outdoor roach species. They are often found in very moist or damp areas and for this reason are often called water bugs. Oriental Roaches prefer damp, cool areas (68-84 degrees F) —basements, crawls spaces, wall and porch voids, sewers, drains, underneath sidewalks, around pipes, under stones and in leaf litter. As with other Peridomestic Cockroaches, Oriental Roaches mostly live and breed outdoors, but will occasionally invade your home or business if the conditions are right.
Smokey-Brown Cockroaches, Periplaneta fuliginosa, look very similar to the American Cockroach, but they have a uniform mahogany color. Smokeybrown Roaches do not have the yellow accents that characterize the American Cockroach. Both male and female Smokey Brown Cockroaches can fly. Smokey-Brown Cockroaches prefer to be outdoors in leaf litter, firewood piles, and mulched areas but they are highly attracted to light. They enter your home by squeezing through gaps under doors or windows or they’ll fly right in. However, they have a high moisture requirement. The Smokey Brown Roach will dehydrate and die quickly if he does not have access to moisture.
The Florida Woods Cockroach, Eurycotis floridana, is native to the South Eastern United States, but is predominately found in Florida and south Georgia. The Florida Woods Roach is less likely than other Peridomestic cockroach species to be found indoors, but it bears mention here because of it’s distinctive shape and abundance in the southern landscape.
An adult Florida Woods Cockroach can grow to be over an inch and a half in length. Rather than the elongated slender shape of most outdoor roaches, the Florida Woods Cockroach is much more oval shaped. An adult Florida Woods Cockroach is nearly 1” in width making it almost as wide as it is long! Florida Woods Roaches do not have fully formed wings, rather a small vestigial wing formation that does not allow them to fly.
Compared to other outdoor cockroaches, the Florida Woods Roach is relatively slow-moving. He is less inclined to run away from a disturbance than other roaches, but he has a defensive feature that other roaches do not. When disturbed or threatened he has the ability to emit a chemical secretion. The foul-smelling secretion both repels and physically irritates other species of insects and small predators, but it is also used to send alarm bells amongst the Florida Woods Cockroach community that danger may be present. Only adult stage Florida Woods Cockroaches can secrete this defensive chemical.
Preventing Roach Infestations Inside
Bill Gates is credited with saying, “Treatment without prevention is never sustainable.” I’m sure Bill Gates wasn’t thinking about German roaches, when he said this, but it absolutely applies to pest control. As Pest Management Professionals we are often called into situations that could have been prevented. Of course, our treatment methods will take care of the problem, but perhaps the problem did not have to exist in the first place. At Nextgen Pest Solutions our goal is for your home to be a place of solace and peace. We aim to educate our clients on the prevention of pests so that major infestations of ants, roaches, or rats do not disrupt your life.
If you are dealing with a roach infestation, many of these “prevention tips” should be done before any treatment. However, once you do the hard work, commit to keeping up with the changes to prevent future roach infestations. Small daily steps in the right direction can prevent a host of issues, notably roaches.
Sanitation is the number one key for preventing German roaches.
This is much more than washing the dishes and sweeping the floor. Roaches can survive, even thrive, from grease splatter left on the back splash, or crumbs that have fallen in the crack between the countertop and the stove. By methodically sanitizing all of the food areas in your home, you can prevent pests and live a happier healthier life.
Eliminate food sources within your home
Clean dishes and disinfect sinks and counters Every. Single. Night.
Clean under and behind appliances such as the stove, refrigerator, microwave, and toaster – these crumbs can feed roaches for months
Empty cabinets and wipe them down to remove food debris
Vacuum kitchen and dining room floor nightly before bed
Take the trash out nightly and keep the trash can clean and free of food slime and grease
Clean up food and drink spills immediately
Limit food consumption to one room
Clean the drains with enzyme based cleaner
Store food in tightly sealed containers, even the macaroni for art projects
Eliminate water sources within your home
Fix leaky faucets immediately – inspect refrigerator/freezer lines, ice makers, the washing machine, and hot water heater
Dry the sink before bed
Kitchen sponges and dish rags should be placed in the washer
Remove pets water bowl to be refilled in the morning
Eliminate roach harborage areas
Get rid of cardboard! Anything stored for long term should be stored in plastic bins.
Seal off cracks and crevices with caulk
Getting Rid of Indoor Roaches
German cockroaches are by far the most common of the indoor pest cockroaches. German roaches are great hitch-hikers are may have been brought into your home in a grocery bag, carboard box, luggage from a visitor. German roaches are especially problematic in apartment and other multi-family housing circumstances where walls are shared. The possibilities of how they arrived are endless, the important thing now is how to I get rid of them? Whether the infestation of German roaches is minor or severe, now is the time to deal with them. In addition to spreading bacteria and disease, roaches are a known allergen and exacerbate asthma.
By properly using the principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) we are confident that German roaches can be eliminated from your home or business. Whether you are a medical office in a shopping center sharing a wall with a restaurant, or an apartment surrounded by neighbors you can not control, with today’s application of knowledge and techniques, your German roach issue can be solved.
Inspecting Your Home for German Roaches
A thorough inspection of your home or business is the first step in getting rid of these small invaders. German roaches tend to congregate in kitchens and bathrooms where they have access to moisture and food. They congregate in tights crevices where it is dark and warm. German roaches are typically active at night. If you are seeing them in the daylight, that indicates a severe infestation.
With a flashlight check the following areas:
In the upper corners in cabinets and underneath the counters
Behind and large appliances such as the stove and the refrigerator
Inside and under small appliances such as the coffee maker, microwave, toaster, blender, and stand mixer
Switchboxes and electrical outlets
Joints of Drawers in Kitchens and Bathrooms
Stored cardboard and plastic or paper bags
Hiding in other clutter
Cracks and Crevices of any area with favorable conditions
As you carefully inspect these areas, keep your eye out for live roaches of all life stages, fecal matter, and egg cases, or ootheca. German roaches congregate in large numbers in cramped tight harborage areas. These areas will often reveal roach droppings, which look like spilled ground pepper or coffee grounds. The roach fecal matter may present as a smear or a dark stain in the kitchen drawer or cabinet. The harborage areas may also contain dead German roaches or shed exoskeletons of German roaches still living, growing, and reproducing. A heavy roach infestation has a unique and characteristic odor. If your nose pulls you towards a musty, oily smell, follow it; it may lead you to cockroach harborage.
Although we strongly recommend keeping all food out of bedrooms, we know that this does not always happen. If you have teenagers that feast on bags of chips and other snacks in their bedrooms, make sure these areas are carefully inspected as well. In a light to moderate infestation German Roaches are generally confined to tight corners and crevices in kitchens and bathrooms. However, if the German Roach population is allowed to continually increase, roaches may get pushed out and have to find harborage in less desirable locations, ie places with out easy access to food and water. Bedrooms and living room furniture with abundance of food crumbs are an acceptable alternative for roach harborages when space becomes cramped.
After your inspection, you should know exactly where the roaches are hiding, therefore you can target the treatment and make it more effective. The goal of the treatment is to apply the product as close to the harborage areas as possible. If this level of familiarity with the roaches in your home is just not for you, there is no shame there! Our professionals at Nextgen Pest Solutions will thoroughly inspect for, treat, and eliminate the German roaches from your home or business.
Inspecting Your Home for Brown Banded Roaches
Brown Banded Roaches are far less common that German Roaches, but because of their habits, the inspection is different. If you positively have seen adult small roaches, but a thorough German roach inspection revealed no roaches, you should consider the possibility of Brown-Banded Roaches. Brown Banded Cockroaches are not typically found in kitchens and bathrooms, but they do thrive in closets, garages, mini-storage units… anywhere items are stored. They are typically higher, closer to the ceiling, where German roaches will be lower to the ground. Brown Banded roaches do not require much moisture to survive; in fact, they can satisfy their moisture requirement from cardboard.
When inspecting for Brown-Banded Roaches indoors, focus on cracks and crevices in the upper 1/3 of your home.
Behind picture frames
Higher levels of bookshelves and cabinets
Upper shelves of closets
Cardboard! Cardboard! Cardboard!
Remember that Brown Banded Roaches are actually quite rare. An indoor cockroach infestation is usually a German roach problem. However, a thorough inspection, high and low, will help to solve your indoor roach problem for good.
Which Kills Roaches Better, Sprays or Baits?
Once you have completed your inspection, you know where the roaches are hiding and breeding. The next step is to control them. But what do you use? Reach under the sink and grab the first can of bug spray you find? No! There is now a better answer.
Advances in pest management have enabled us to gain long term control over indoor roaches; in return it requires a bit of patience. Baiting for indoor roaches is the preferred method of control. When done correctly, baiting for roaches offer superior results over spraying. By baiting rather than spraying for indoor roaches, you can kill all of the roaches present. This is rarely possible with old-school sprays. The pest management industry as a whole is moving away from spraying pesticides indoors unless absolutely necessary. Applying bait near areas of known cockroach harborages, reduces the probability of unnecessary pesticide exposure.
Roach bait is a product that contains both a food attractant and a low dose of insecticide. Baits are available in different formulations. Most roach baits are gels that are squeezed out of a tube with very small drops being placed near the roach hiding spots. Baiting does require the roaches to eat the bait, but once they do, we exploit their behaviors to kill even more of them. When a cockroach eats, or even comes into contact with the bait, it sets off a series of possibilities.
Other roaches in the harborage may eat the vomit of the dying roach
Nymphs (immature roaches) in the harborage may eat the feces of the roach
Other roaches in the harborage may eat the body of the dead roach
Physical distribution of the insecticide resulting in exposure of more roaches
When one cockroach eats your bait placement, he can kill many other non-exposed roaches. A single bait placement can kill roaches that may not ever come out of the harborage; roaches that you would not reach with a spray. The right roach baits can offer primary, secondary, tertiary, and even quarternary kill. It is estimated that for every roach that consumes roach bait, 40 roaches are killed. Different baits are developed to kill roaches at different speeds. A quick killing roach bait will make a big impact on the roaches that you are seeing, however, it may not be as effective at killing the roaches deep in the harborage. The more time a baited roach is given to spread the insecticide through the harborage the better kill you will have. For this and other reasons discussed below, it is of paramount importance to rotate baits.
Why not use both baits and sprays? It is easy to assume that you will kill more roaches faster if you both bait and spray. This is not true. Most sprays will contaminate the bait and cause the roaches to avoid the bait. Using a spray in conjunction with bait ultimately makes roach control more difficult and cumbersome. If a repellent pesticide has been previously used in an area that you need to bait, wipe it down with a soapy water solution. Prior to placing bait, thoroughly clean the area to be baited so that roaches do not avoid the bait.
Many baits today contain an Insect Growth Regulator (IGR). IGRs prevent the normal development of immature cockroaches so that they will be unable to reproduce. IGRs themselves do not kill roaches or any other insect, but better long-term control is attained if the immature roaches in the harborage can not reproduce. Some IGRs can be applied in spray form to cracks and crevices, but some baits contain an IGR as an active ingredient.
Roaches and Bait Aversion and Resistance
Despite the considerable benefits of baiting for roaches as opposed to spraying there are two issues you should be aware of – aversion and resistance. Between factoring in the time it takes to kill the roach, and the possibility of aversion and resistance, roach product selection can become quite confusing. These are also the reasons Entomologists always recommend rotating your bait offerings.
Bait aversion is simply the roaches do not like the taste of the bait you are offering. Each manufacturer of roach bait uses a proprietary “flavor” to attract the roaches. Some German roaches have inherited a trait that makes the sugars in these baits taste bitter. Cockroaches will avoid and not eat the bait if they deem it bitter and unpalatable. This bait aversion is believed to be an inherited trait. Therefore, if you kill only the German roaches in your kitchen that do not carry this trait you will be left with roaches that will not eat the bait. Then, their babies will not eat your bait, and their babies will not eat your bait… If you think your roaches are bait averse, switch baits until you find one that they enjoy. While not technically bait aversion, sanitation must be addressed for roaches to eat your bait. If given the choice, many roaches will choose to feast off of the dirty dishes left in the sink rather than the bait you’ve so carefully placed. You want your roaches good and hungry when you offer them a fresh dab of bait.
Bait resistance is another issue that your well-trained pest control professional should be familiar with and ready to combat. Bait resistance is when the roaches eat the bait but they do not die. Just as we are now battling antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria in human medicine, the concept is similar for insects and their resistance to certain pesticides. Every roach bait has an active ingredient; this is the chemical that acts upon the insect and causes its death. When a roach, or other insect, becomes resistant to an active ingredient, it will not cause him to die. Rather, he continues to live and reproduce and the offspring will likely be resistant to the active ingredient as well. When you rotate your roach baits, ensure the active ingredient is different than the previous one.
There are numerous roach baits on the market today. To reduce aversion and resistance you should rotate between at least 3 different baits. This will ensure some roaches who eat the bait die quickly while others have time spread it amongst the roach community. Rotating between 3 baits also ensures any roaches that are averse to the taste of your first or second bait will eat the third offering. Finally rotating between 3 active ingredients prevents the over-use of one of them allowing for these low toxicity chemicals to be successfully used for years to come. Your professional pest control technician with a solid background in Integrated Pest Management has specialized training and experience to know which bait to select and apply in your situation.
How to Treat for Indoor Roaches
The treatment for the two most common species of indoor roaches, German Roaches and Brown-Banded Roaches, is very similar. The difference is the locations that you will treat. After your inspection, you should have a very good idea of where the roaches are concentrated. German Roaches will likely be in your kitchen and/or bathroom, and Brown Banded Roaches will likely be in cardboard storage containers up high on a shelf. Your treatment weapon of choice should be a tube of roach bait.
Prior to the actual treatment, you must take the time to clean the surrounding area. Domestic roaches like Germans must have ready access to food and water. By committing to keeping a clean and kitchen tidy area free of food debris and excess moisture, you greatly improve your chances of roach elimination.
If the roach infestation is severe and you can access multitudes of roaches, consider physically removing them with a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner. Rather than relying on pesticides, you can immediately reduce the roach populating by vacuuming the harborage area. The more roaches you vacuum, the quicker you will achieve roach elimination.
Once the area is cleaned and vacuumed if possible, treat the areas of German roach activity with your selected bait. Roach baits are most commonly packaged in tubes with a plunger and a tip. As you push the plunger into the tube a small bead of bait will come out of the tip. You can place the bait directly on the surface or you can place it in bait stations.
Do not use the bait as caulk – small pea sized drops are best
Place bait beads 4” – 6” apart
Regularly monitor the bait placements to make sure it is being consumed
Reapply when the placements have been consumed
Reapply every 2-3 days to guarantee bait is fresh and palatable
Rotate bait between applications to avoid aversion and resistance
Do not contaminate bait with spray pesticides or cleaning products
Small beads of bait should be placed near any known harborage and other areas which may have conditions favorable to roach infestations.
Depending on what your inspection revealed these areas may include:
Appliances – Behind, underneath, and next to heat generating appliances such as the stove, refrigerator, toaster, coffee maker, and dishwasher
Cabinets – Inside the cracks and crevices of upper and lower cabinets
Countertop – Under the counter and the cracks and crevices where they are joined together
Sink – Corners around the sink and near the pipes
Sink – Along the wall where the pipes come out
Cabinetry – Corners of the cabinets under the sink
Bathroom Fixtures – Upper rear of the toilet and water attachments
Drawers – Cracks and Crevices of drawers
Picture Frames and clocks (Brown Banded Roaches)
Laundry Room – Under washer/dryer and hot water heater
Closet – Storage bins (Brown Banded Roaches)
Crown Molding (Brown Banded Roaches)
Monitor for Indoor Roaches
The final concept in the paradigm of IPM is to monitor the insect levels to evaluate the success of your treatment. Unfortunately, German roaches do not go away overnight. Depending on the level of infestation, it may take anywhere between a few weeks to a few months to get to population zero. The key to success, is continuing to bait until there are no more roaches. You need to know if you have roach stragglers. If you fail to knock out the entire roach population, they will come back, perhaps stronger than before (resistant to your bait offerings.)
Use non-toxic sticky insect monitor cards to monitor the infestation. Well placed and documented insect monitors tell you if the insect population is declining or increasing. They may tell you that there are no more roaches in the kitchen, but roaches are still active in the bathroom. These monitors can act as your eyes and ears in the night when roaches are active. When Pest Management Professionals are battling German roaches, they will keep a log on the count of roaches behind the toilet and under the sink, or anywhere else roaches are appearing on these sticky traps. Now, the efforts and bait placements can be targeted to the problem areas.
Sometimes, your monitors will tell you that despite an initial decline in population, the roaches are staying at the same level or even increasing. Pest Management Professionals often act as insect detectives; you must re-evaluate your treatment and think outside the box. Has the bait been contaminated? Are the remaining roaches in the population resistant to the active ingredient you are offering? Do they not like the taste of your bait? Are other food and water sources available competing for their attention? Once you have attained 100% control, only then can you stop baiting. After an infestation is resolved, many people still use insect monitors to catch new infestations early. Especially in multi-family housing units or office buildings with shared walls, reinfestations can be common. Treating a German roach infestation at its earliest stages is much less disruptive than allowing them to take over your home.
We recommend you establish a relationship with a pest control company who practices Integrated Pest Management. With shared values and open communication, German roaches can be eliminated leaving your home cleaner, safer, and less allergenic.
How to Kill Roaches that Live Outside
Peridomestic Roaches, roaches that live outside but sometimes sneak inside, are important environmental decomposers. Large roaches such as the American, Australian, Oriental, Smokey-Brown, and the Woods Cockroaches are prevalent in the landscape and cannot be entirely eliminated. The goal of any pest control treatment for outdoor cockroaches should be to prevent outdoor roaches from coming indoors. In southern states such as Florida and Georgia, anyone who has been terrorized by a flying palmetto bug in your bathroom at night, knows the importance of preventing this misfortune.
Preventing Roach Infestations Outdoors
Large roaches that primarily live outside are often found in shady moist areas such as flowerbeds and other mulched areas. Leaf litter and decaying and rotting wood are prime environments for these insects. These roaches prefer to stay outdoors, but sometimes environmental change such as in the temperature or moisture levels cause them to sneak indoors. When indoors, large roaches such as American or Australian roaches will eat crumbs found behind appliances such as the stove or refrigerator, and drink from water that has accumulated in drains or a small drip. Roaches can survive on your pet’s food and water as well.
The best offense for these roaches is prevention. If you are seeing an occasional American or Australian Roach, chances are they are entering through a crack or crevice. Closely inspect doors and windows to make sure they are completely sealed. Use caulk, foam, or other weather-stripping materials to create a barrier around doors, windows, and gaps or cracks near electrical lines. Large roaches can slip inside using very small cracks, so be thorough when filling holes with caulk or foam. By creating a barrier, you can prevent many roaches from making it indoors. In addition, consider moving your trash bins further away from your house. American Roaches in particular, are present in extremely high numbers in the sewer system. Often, an extreme infestation of American Roaches has its root in the sewage or plumbing system of a structure. Because of their proclivity for decaying and rotting matter, and sewage and plumbing lines, American Roaches are filthy and spread bacteria. They have spines on their legs that pathogens stick to; these germs are spread throughout your home when they crawl upon your cooktop or bathroom counter.
If you suspect roaches are coming from the sewers, there are a few things you can do. If a particular drain is not being regularly used, such as the guest shower, run a few gallons of water down that drain every week or two. If the u-trap in the drain is filled, the roaches are less likely to crawl out of the drain and invade your home. In extreme situations of roaches coming out of the sewers, a plumber is needed to smoke the lines. This is a test where smoke is blown into the sewer lines using specialized equipment. The smoke travels through the lines following the path of least resistance. When performed by a well-trained and licensed plumber, the smoke test will reveal any uncapped or cracked lines, illegal or improper connections, and any other area that roaches may be using to gain access to your home. Often, once the plumbing issue is repaired, the roach issue goes away.
PLEASE NOTE: While battling a roach infestation that originates in the sewer, do not put insecticide down the drain. Putting pesticides down the drain is not only illegal as it violates the EPA approved label for the pesticide use, it will not solve the problem. The sheer quantity of roaches in the sewer is so great, you can not kill them all with pesticide. Surprisingly enough, it may make your situation worse. American Cockroaches have a natural predator, a parasitic wasp. This parasitic wasp lays its eggs within the roach larvae, ultimately killing the roach larvae thus reducing the roach population. Using pesticides down the drain can kill this wasp causing the roach population to increase.
A conversation of preventing roaches cannot be complete without a mention of general sanitation. Dishes should not be left in the sink and on the counter overnight. Spills should be cleaned up immediately. Regularly vacuum to keep floors free of clutter and crumbs. Store food in airtight containers and don’t leave pet food and water out overnight. In addition, make sure you are cleaning your dishes with a clean dish rag or sponge. Dirty, moist, crumb laden dish rags provide roaches with both food and water.
Inspecting Your Yard for Roaches
Large peri-domestic roaches live and breed outdoors. Working to reduce the outdoor population means you are reducing the likelihood of a roach sneaking indoors. You should never expect to eradicate roaches from your yard; the goal should be preventing them from living and breeding close enough to your home and sneaking in. These roaches live in mulch beds, wood piles, and decaying trees. Garbage cans and other accumulations of organic matter such as a compost pile provides enough food, water, and shelter which allows these roaches to thrive. Outdoor roaches are especially partial to areas close to leaky water wipes and other areas of moisture. American Roaches have even been known to enter buildings via branches overhanging roofs.
When inspecting outdoors for roach breeding and entry areas, pay special attention to the areas within 5 feet of your home. There is no evidence that a blanket treatment of the lawn is helpful to prevent roaches from entering your home. If you have a mulched bed in front of the big picture window, there are likely roaches living just below the surface. Inspect for leaky faucets, hoses, and sprinkler equipment, excess moisture allows roaches ample breeding opportunity. Trash cans, recycle bins, and compost piles should be placed as far from the house as possible. While this may cause slight inconvenience when taking out the trash, it pays dividends on reducing roaches in the house.
Treating Outdoors for Cockroaches
Once you have determined the areas close by the house that are likely to be housing roaches, you can target your attack. By killing the roaches closest to your doors, windows, and porches, you greatly reduce the likelihood of a roach sneaking indoors. One of the most effective methods of killing these large roaches also happens to be an earth-friendly green approach. Applying a granular bait with the active ingredient boric acid is highly effective against large outdoor cockroaches. An insecticidal bait combines food grade attractants with an active ingredient that causes the death of the insect. Boric acid is a naturally occurring substance, and is often found in laundry detergent and other household items so it is safe for people and pets. However, it affects insects differently. When boric acid is eaten by a cockroach, it disturbs the nervous and digestive system of the roach, and ultimately causes its death.
Many boric acid granular bait formulations are available. The best boric acid bait products are weather and rain resistant, retains its freshness by resisting mold, and contains an enticing food attractant. Boric acid baits have a low impact on the environment and do not harm butterflies and bees. Once you have chosen the product, it is very important to follow the label precisely. By over or under applying the product, you risk having less than ideal results. Many people find it helpful to apply these products with a hand spreader to get an accurate and even application. By killing the roaches breeding near your home’s entrances and around its perimeter, your encounters with these dreaded insects will significantly decrease.
Professional Roach Treatment
Whether its small indoor roaches, or large outdoor roaches, many people find they can not logically and methodically handle a roach infestation on their own. Certified Pest Control Operators have the knowledge, skill, and materials to handle your situation quickly and professionally. As evidenced by this article, our goal is to inform and educate you the consumer. Here at Nextgen Pest Solutions we utilize protocols based upon sound science incorporate Integrated Pest Management practices into our approach for killing roaches. With branches in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama, we are honored to protect your home or business from roaches, and any other pest that may attempt to infest.