Cockroach Baiting Basics: 15 Do’s and Don’ts

Annual Cockroach Control Issue - Annual Cockroach Control Issue

Baiting is extremely effective, but that doesn’t mean service technicians should ignore industry best practices when it comes to this valuable treatment technique.

July 3, 2017

As industry product suppliers have continued to innovate, baiting has become the “go-to” treatment protocol for cockroach control. But even the finest tools used improperly will fail.

To help ensure your technicians are applying baits in the most professional manner possible, what follows are critical “do’s and don’ts” of baiting from leading cockroach experts, including University of Florida (UF) Department of Entomology and Nematology Professor Phil Koehler; UF Lab Student Sam Pass; Rose Pest Solutions Vice President of Technical Services Mark Sheperdigian; and McCloud Service Technical Director Patricia Hottel.


1. Place bait close to or in cockroach harborages. Cockroaches are lazy and will eat the first thing they find. To help direct placements, use visual inspections, client sightings and glue trap monitors. Additionally, inspections and inspection tools can help build the “demographic” profile of where the bait-consuming cockroaches will be located.

2. Apply bait to cracks and crevices, putting out enough to kill the cockroaches that are present. Not only are these the areas where the cockroaches are most likely to encounter the bait, but narrow cracks and crevices will also help protect the bait from moisture loss, keeping it more palatable.

3. Inspect bait placements to see if cockroaches are eating it. If they are not, consider switching products — the industry has seen bait aversion to the sugars in bait food lures as well as to active ingredients. Rotation from one active ingredient class to another is advised as part of resistance management.

4. Clean up food residues and ensure food storage containers are sealed. This improves bait performance by leaving the cockroach with fewer alternative food sources.

5. Remove old bait with a putty knife or other blade. Old bait is no longer attractive to cockroaches and it can make the account look dirty.

6. Carry a towel or rag to wipe up bait drips and spills.

7. Always read and follow the label. If it states crack and crevice only, don’t put bait out in the open. With cockroach baits, there can be subtle differences in label language, depending on the product, with manufacturers defining application rates and bait placement sizes. As with any pesticide, the label is the law.

8. Store baits at temperatures to facilitate proper application. Too hot or cold a storage temperature may impact application ease.


1. Don’t make just a few large bait placements; placing many smaller ones is more effective. But …

2. Don’t make placements too small or they will dry out too quickly.

3. Don’t place bait where pesticide has been sprayed, or to surfaces where they will be washed away or mopped up.

4. Don’t apply bait to food surfaces.

5. Don’t place bait beyond the areas where cockroach activity has been detected.

6. Don’t apply bait to hot surfaces, where it may melt or run.

7. Don’t expect that gel baits are the only option for all cockroach control. Insect growth regulators in combination with baits can increase feeding by adult female German cockroaches, and granular baits may be best for American, Asian and Oriental cockroaches depending on location. Know the cockroach and be open to modifying your strategy based on species and situation.

The preceding article was excerpted from a “Targeting Cockroaches” e-Newsletter sponsored by Rockwell Labs Ltd.