Industry News

Cockroach management: the initial clean-out

Austin M. Frishman, Ph.D. 

We aren’t running out of cockroaches, and controlling them is an uphill battle we fight every day. Before beginning a cockroach clean-out treatment, ask yourself:

  • What species am I dealing with?
  • What type of cooperation can I expect from residents in relation to debris and sanitation?
  • What type of neighborhood is the site in?
  • What is the probability of re-infestation?
  • How large, how widespread and how long has the cockroach population been in place?
  • What sensitivity situations are in place (asthmatics, pets, etc.)?

Answers to these questions must be taken into consideration for labor, materials and any special procedures needed for a clean-out. Now, let’s assume you’re trying to control German cockroaches in a large apartment complex. Here are some actionable tips to help ensure success:

  • Put in more effort upfront, and follow up with more frequent services until you achieve your goal.
  • Conduct frequent inspections and treatments for apartments with poor sanitation, excess clutter and high cockroach numbers.
    • Watch the video below to see how to reduce clutter that can attract German cockroaches: 
  • Install sticky traps to help monitor populations once you have achieved complete (or close to complete) cockroach elimination.
  • Don’t assume tenants will call when they see cockroaches. Some people don’t want a Pest Management Professional (PMP) in their home for a variety of reasons.
  • Insist on inspecting all apartments, and follow up with those who aren’t interested.
  • Avoid space-treating an apartment - it can chase cockroaches away.
  • Have a pre-treatment list created to inform tenants what to expect and when.
  • Give tenants tips to prevent cockroaches, such as:
    • Keeping tight lids on garbage cans
    • Clearing surfaces of food and water when not in use, including pet dishes
    • Reporting leaking pipes
    • Reporting live cockroaches to building management
  • Some tenants are not physically and/or mentally capable of preparing their residence for a clean-out, so speak to building management about how this can be resolved.
  • A positive attitude goes a long way. Know that your demeanor will reflect on your company.
  • Carry proper equipment, as you may need a combination of drilling, dusting, baits and/or residual control for a cockroach clean-out.
  • When numbers are extremely high (such as 200 or more visible cockroaches), a commercial vacuum cleaner with a HEPA-rated filter can help manage the population quickly, and save on the amount of bait to apply.
  • Never leave pesticides unattended while working.
  • Keep written records on the pesticides you used per state and government regulations, and record the level of sanitation, debris and number of cockroaches observed.

This insect has been around for millions of years and has evolved to thrive with humans. The good news is that researchers have developed new approaches for cockroach control to stay one step ahead. Syngenta is on the forefront of this research, with several excellent baits and residual products. However, great products alone are not enough — you also need motivated and knowledgeable technicians and PMPs to combat this formidable foe.

Now, go get ‘em! 

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