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Cockroach Control Guide

Cockroach Control Guide

  • Cockroach Identification: How to identify cockroaches

    Cockroaches have proven to be one of the most resilient, adaptable creatures in the history of the world, with their origins dating back an estimated 300 million years. This adaptability has become the bane of pest control professionals across America determined to keep their clients free from these troublesome invaders.

    Of the 4,000 or so cockroach species in the world today, only a small handful are routinely considered structural pests. As with many other insects, the habits of each cockroach species has a tendency to vary, making proper identification the first consideration when investigating cockroach treatment options. The cockroach treatment approaches and corresponding roach control product options are vast, posing unique challenges for those wishing to manage their own infestations.

    Cockroaches are resilient pests that can pose serious health hazards to humans if populations are not adequately mitigated. Virtually all cockroach species pick up germs on their legs and endoskeletons as they move through often bacteria-laden areas, and these germs can then be transferred to humans through food contamination and surface contamination. Bacteria associated with cockroaches can lead to a number of illnesses such as Salmonella and E. coli. Additionally, cockroaches have been associated with an increase in asthma attacks and allergy outbreaks as their saliva and droppings can contain allergens known to trigger allergic reactions. In order to reduce the potentially adverse effects that cockroaches pose, cockroach management is critical.

    How many kinds of cockroaches are there?

    There are an estimated 4,000 different cockroach species in the world, with approximately 70 different species found throughout the United States. Four of those 70 species are more commonly encountered than other species, with the German and American Cockroach being most prevalent. The Oriental Cockroach and Smoky Brown Cockroach are also common roaches. Because various cockroach species have different habits and characteristics, proper identification is essential before beginning any cockroach treatment program.

    Cockroaches vs. Bed Bugs: How to Tell the Difference

    German Cockroach IdentificationCockroach nymphs are sometimes mistaken for bed bugs, but their bodies are longer and more cylindrical whereas bed bugs are more round and oval. Booklice and carpet beetles can be misidentified as bed bugs as well. Before beginning any bed bug treatment regiment, proper bed bug identification is essential.


    Common Cockroach Species

    German Cockroaches

    Appearance & Characteristics: German cockroaches are oval, light brown, and six-legged with two noticeable dark stripes on their backs. Adult German Cockroaches are typically 12-16 mm long.

    Distribution: Commonly found throughout the United States.

    Nest Sites: German cockroaches are an indoor cockroach that can be found throughout structures, particularly in warm, humid places in proximity to food and water such as kitchens and bathrooms. 

    Preferred Food Sources: German cockroaches will feed on almost anything, but prefer starches, sweets, meats, and carbohydrates. Eliminating competing food sources is a critical part of any roach control program, especially when baits are being used.

    Reproduction: German Cockroaches can reach reproductive maturity within 60 days, and females can lay up to 40 eggs at a time. This rapid rate of reproduction and protection from predators due to their indoor habitats enables German Cockroach populations to rapidly expand.

    Distinguishing Features: German Cockroaches are by far the most widespread and economically significant cockroach species in the United States.

    Signs of Infestation: In addition to finding live or dead specimens, German Cockroach populations are also typically accompanied by droppings (which appear as tiny, pepper-like material), fecal stains near harborage areas, a characteristic musty odor, and dropped or empty egg casings in the environment.



    American Cockroaches

    Appearance & Characteristics: American cockroaches are reddish brown with a characteristic yellowish figure 8 pattern on the back of their head. Adult American Cockroaches may exceed 3" in length.

    Distribution: American Cockroaches are widely dispersed throughout the United States.

    Nest Sites: American cockroaches normally live outdoors, but will readily move indoors as well. Inside they are often found in sewers and basements, particularly around pipes and drains. They may also establish populations in attics and crawlspaces, as well as commercial and residential kitchens or bathrooms. 

    Preferred Food Sources: American Cockroaches feed primarily on insects and insect parts and other decaying organic matters. 

    Distinguishing Features: American Cockroaches are the largest of the indoor cockroach species, routinely exceeding 3" in length.

    Signs of Infestation: American Cockroach droppings are larger than those from German Roaches, often being mistaken for mouse droppings. Spent egg casings are also commonly found in American Cockroach infested areas.


    5 Questions Your Cockroach Inspection Should Answer

    Before beginning your cockroach inspection, keep in mind what you are seeking to figure out. Ask yourself:

    What kinds of cockroaches am I dealing with?

    Where are the cockroaches located?

    How widespread is the cockroach infestation?

    How are these cockroaches getting inside?

    What factors might be contributing to this cockroach problem?


  • Cockroach Inspection: How to inspect for cockroaches

    When cockroach activity is known or suspected, a thorough inspection is essential to developing a targeted treatment plan that is likely to resolve the problem and keep the roaches from coming back. Although many different types of products have been proven effective in controlling cockroaches, it is the quality of the application that may make the difference between success and failure. For this reason, treatments begun without first determining certain critical factors have a very low probability of success.


    5 Questions Your Cockroach Inspection Should Answer

    Before beginning your cockroach inspection, keep in mind what you are seeking to figure out. Ask yourself:

    What kinds of cockroaches am I dealing with?

    Where are the cockroaches located?

    How widespread is the cockroach infestation?

    How are these cockroaches getting inside?

    What factors might be contributing to this cockroach problem?

    Our step-by-step cockroach inspection guide will help make sure your inspection process sets you on a path for cockroach elimination and ongoing prevention.

    Step 1: Gather Your Tools

    Cockroaches are more than just a pesky nuisance because of their capacity to spread germs and bacteria than can lead to the spread of illnesses and cause allergic reactions. Some cockroach species exist entirely outdoors, while others exist entirely indoors. And some cockroach species may readily exist both indoors or outdoors. Before beginning your cockroach inspection, make sure you've got a bright flashlight, a pair of gloves, and a bump hat if you plan on inspecting areas such as attics or crawlspaces. The purpose of your inspection is identify which type(s) of cockroaches you're dealing with, where their concentrations may be located, how widespread the roach problem is, how they might be getting in, and what factors might be contributing to their presence.

    Step 2: Inspect Inside Drawers & Cabinets

    Start your inspection based on what you may have seen so far. If you saw a cockroach in a kitchen cabinet, start by taking a closer look in and around that area. Most cockroach species travel only a few feet or less from their harborage areas in search of food or water. Empty all drawers and cabinets so that you are able to see clearly any evidence that may exist. In addition to live or dead roaches, you'll be looking for roach droppings (poop), roach egg casings, or fecal stains or smears that often accompany advanced roach infestations.

    Step 3: Inspect Behind, Beneath, & Inside Appliances

    Some cockroach species, especially German Cockroaches, love to make themselves at home in and around ovens, stoves, dishwashers, microwaves, coffee pots, refrigerators, toasters, and other kitchen appliances. Move these appliances around, looking for live roaches, roach droppings, and egg casings. This would also be an ideal time to clean or sanitize areas that often get neglected during ordinary household cleanings.

    Step 4: Inspect Plumbing & Electrical

    Some cockroach species, such as American or Oriental Roaches, may be associated with plumbing leaks, improper seals around pipes, or utility deficiencies. Roaches may also make harborage behind switch plates on walls. Have a close look in these areas, looking for any evidence of roach presence.  

  • Cockroach Treatment & Prevention

    How To Get Rid of Roaches: Treatment & Prevention Guide

    Get Rid of Roaches in 6 Easy Steps

    Step 1: Inspection & Assessment

    Start with a thorough inspection of the impacted area and the areas around it. Because roaches are thigmotactic insects, they have a need to remain in tightly confined spaces such as cracks and crevices. Using a flashlight, look low and high behind baseboards, undersides of drawers, joints of cabinets, beneath sinks, and around pipes. Remove switch plates and, pull out the stove, dishwasher, and refrigerator. Inspect the joints around microwaves. Because roaches only travel short distances from their harborage areas, start your inspection in those locations and work outward from there.

    Step 2: Install Roach Monitors

    Come to terms with the fact that the roaches didn't appear overnight, and you're unlikely to get rid of them all overnight either. Slow down and allow yourself to truly assess what's happening.Using any type of roach monitoring sticky trap, place several monitors throughout the impacted zone abutting vertical services. These monitors will not independently resolve the roach problem, but that really isn't their purpose. They will, however, give you an idea how extensive or widespread the roach problem is, and indicate where their harborages are. As roaches start getting caught on these traps, pay special attention to the direction they are heading as they get stuck. Whichever direction they traveled towards the trap, their harborage is likely 18-36 inches away from the trap back in that direction.

    Step 3: Clean & Sanitize

    Nothing will limit the effectiveness of any roach treatment program more than poor sanitation. Food particles, grease, sugars, moisture, and just about any organic matter could become a viable cockroach food source. The less food available for them to feed on, the easier and faster it will become to resolve the roach problem. Go on a cleaning and disinfecting frenzy, paying special attention to cracks and crevices throughout the area.

    Step 4: Select a Treatment Approach

    Are you going to use baits and IGRs, or some combination of sprays, aerosols, and dusts? Using baits is often a slower process, but sometimes may have a higher probability of total elimination. Sprays and dusts may provide an opportunity for instant gratification, but only through a comprehensive treatment approach. Most strategies CAN work, but not all are ideal under all sets of circumstances.

    Step 5: Research & Select Your Pesticides

    Once you decide on a treatment approach, browse through Pest Supply HQ's Roach Control Products to decide which ones you want to go with. Keep in mind that not all types of products and formulations work well fact, things like flushing agents, contact killers, and repellent sprays typically negate the effectiveness of many baits. Remember also to purchase any personal protective equipment that might be required for the products you choose.

    Step 6: Begin Your Roach Treatment

    Begin your roach treatment in accordance with the product label instructions for any products you've decided to use. Need additional assistance deciding which cockroach control products to use or how to proceed? Pest Supply HQ offers free email and phone support. 


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