By Chris Williams on January 8, 2019.

I live in a duplex with a cockroach problem that seems to be getting worse. I bought some tubes of gel bait and put it out but I don’t see any change whatsoever. What gives?

L. V., Jamaica Plain, MA

One question with so many possible answers. Gel baits are the primary products used for indoor cockroach control and work well. Assuming that you purchased a reputable, EPA-registered product, the lack of results could be due to any one of these factors:

  1. Failure to follow the label directions– Always read the label thatwill tell you where to apply the product, how much to apply, and how often to reapply.
  2. Amount applied– Gel baits are applied in very small amounts, with lots of applications, usually as tiny spots or thin beads of gel. If you’re applying larger clumps of gel, the cockroaches may be eating it and you can’t even tell.
  3. Application sites –The label will list some possible application sites but applying where you’ve observed cockroaches is important. Generally, you concentrate on the kitchen making applications in cracks and crevices such as behind the backsplash, in drawer and cabinet corners, around pipe openings under the sink — but not on surfaces that food might contact.
  4. Contamination of bait –Bait should not be applied to surfaces that have been recently treated with insecticide or household cleaners, or that might be treated or cleaned after bait application.
  5. Competing food sources –You need to remove or place in sealed containers any other available food sources in your kitchen, including pet food bowls on the floor. Clean up spills and crumbs. If the cockroaches have plenty of other food, they might ignore the bait.
  6. Bait-averse population –Some cockroach populations develop an aversion or a resistance to an insecticide ingredient that they have been exposed to for a long time. They can learn to avoid it or they can develop a tolerance to it. A different bait might work better.
  7. Unreal expectations –Cockroach baits don’t work immediately. You don’t say how long you’ve had the bait out, but typically you should start seeing some dead roaches in a couple of days.

German Cockroach eating gel bait. Z. Ciras

In a duplex, you could be getting some migration of cockroaches from neighbors next door that could be replacing any that you eliminate, but you should still be seeing dead cockroaches if the gel bait is working.

My advice to you is save yourself some aggravation and call Colonial Pest. We’re the professionals because we know what needs to be done and exactly how to do it. Our technicians can quickly assess the extent of your cockroach problem and will attack it with a product guaranteed to work. We can also cockroach-proof your home from next-door invasion by locating and sealing up any openings that could connect between the two duplex units. We do it all – give Colonial a call!

For more on gel baits, see: Ask for a Gel Baiting Program for Cockroaches



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