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Cockroach Control From the Exterminator’s Viewpoint

By Chris Williams on January 1, 2014.
Cockroach frass infestation

Cockroach Frass

If you pay attention to the media, you would think that the only pest that pest control companies ever deal with is the bed bug. While the resurgence of the bed bug has been taking up a lot of our time and energy lately, let us not forget the importance of our old standby, our reliable foe, and long-time pest…the cockroach.

Pest Control Technology magazine recently conducted a survey of over 1,000 pest management companies. The survey confirmed that cockroaches remain an important pest, although no longer the most challenging pest. Among the cockroaches themselves, some newcomers are gaining in pest status.

When asked which pests they considered to be the most difficult to control, pest management companies voted for the bed bug (53%). Twenty-six percent of responders said ants were the most difficult pest. Cockroaches came in third at 11%, beating out mice and termites. Yet,  for half of the companies, cockroach control still makes up 16 to 30% of their revenue.

Outdoor Cockroaches Are Making Themselves at Home

Cockroaches that have been traditionally outdoor pests seem to be transitioning to becoming indoor pests as well, according to 28% of the companies surveyed. The American cockroach, oriental cockroach, smokybrown cockroach, and the wood cockroach are called peridomestic cockroaches because they can live indoors but are usually found outdoors. In contrast, the German cockroach, our main cockroach pest, is a domestic cockroach since it lives almost exclusively in our homes and offices. The German roach accounts for most of the cockroach service calls.

The average service call to control German cockroaches in a residence takes about 30 minutes, according to most of the companies surveyed. A service call for one of the peridomestic cockroaches takes longer since inspection and treatment has to be done on both the inside and the outside of the home. Outside treatments around the perimeter of a structure help keep these cockroaches from moving inside and 58% of the companies surveyed employ this method.

The most popular professional method for controlling cockroaches is bait, used by 96% of the companies surveyed. Half of the companies use bait as their primary treatment regimen, while 24% use general insecticides as their main weapon against cockroaches.

Resistance to insecticides is the main reason that bed bugs are such a formidable pest, and 70% of the companies surveyed say they worry about similar resistance developing in cockroaches. Most pest management companies practice resistance management techniques that include rotating the type of pesticide used, using insect growth regulators (83%), and incorporating non-pesticide control measures like vacuuming (46%) and cockroach trapping (34%).

Even with the recent emphasis on bed bug control, the cockroach control business has remained consistent for most pest management companies. Twenty-five percent of the companies had an increase in cockroach calls in the past year. Cockroach control is steady revenue and no one in the pest control business expects that to change any time soon.

Photo credit: Armed Forces Pest Management Board / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

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