Path of Least Resistance

Sponsored Content - 2022 State of the Cockroach Control Market

A bait-and-switch technique keeps treatment palatable.

July 12, 2022

An integrated cockroach treatment program includes changing baits on a regular basis to prevent resistance issues. And because no two accounts are exactly the same, PMPs can find one bait highly effective at one home — and it could be unpalatable in another.

Overall, resistance is a 50/50 issue, based on PCT data. In the 2022 study, 50 percent of respondents said cockroach resistance is not a concern in their market area, and 50 percent said it is. Still, most PMPs are taking precautions, with 74 percent implementing cockroach resistance strategies like alternating baits.

“We are finding resistance in our baiting program,” says David Pipes, president, Esco Exterminating Services, Pine Bluff, Ark. “Some of the early baits (weren’t) as effective, and there are over-the-counter products that people will throw at a problem before they call a professional. So sometimes, we go in and if we see evidence that someone has used that bait, typically ours will not be as effective.”


Actually, Pipes calls it “more of an avoidance factor than a resistance factor,” particularly with pyrethroid-based baits.

The cockroaches basically know what they’re going to get into and stay away. “So, in those instances, we go in with different chemistries and use IGRs and adulticides to get the population down to a level where it can be maintained and eliminated over time,” Pipes says.

Another issue is when a customer has hired another, or several, pest control firms to manage a cockroach issue. “You can come in behind one of them and have no idea what they were using, so your initial visit is seeing what will stick,” Pipes says.

He’ll bring several baits and test them. “I can usually walk into an infestation environment and offer up a bait, and you’ll know within a minute if the cockroaches will be receptive, because they will come immediately — especially if there’s a large population,” Pipes says. “You can make a small bait placement near some active cockroaches, and then I can know which one will work and go ahead with a bait application.”

Ben Gillenwaters says Hulett Environmental Services mostly uses gel cockroach baits, but also mixes in dry flowables with a mind to rotate baits quarterly. “Honestly, we do not really see resistance too often,” says the company’s board-certified entomologist. “By using multiple products with multiple modes of action, that is not occurring for us.”

According to the PCT study, 81 percent rotate cockroach baits, and most (46 percent) do so on a quarterly basis, with 18 percent switching bait types more frequently and 25 percent reporting they alternate baits every six months. Just 4 percent say bait rotation occurs annually.

“I see companies that get complacent using the same bait over and over again, not switching them up, and we really do change it up based on the situation,” says Adam Carace, president, Pest-End Exterminators, Plaistow, N.H. He goes beyond alternating baits and might go between a spray and bait. “If there is a place we sprayed several times, we’ll try a gel bait or vice-versa,” he says.