Roach Approach

Sponsored Content - Cockroach Horror Story

Burns Pest Elimination shares how it cleaned out and gained control over a major apartment infestation.

July 11, 2022

When Austin Burns opened the door to an apartment unit in a multi-family housing development his company services, he quickly jumped back. “Cockroaches are hitting your head as you enter,” said the owner of Burns Pest Elimination, with offices in Phoenix, Tucson and Las Vegas.

The company is frequently asked to service units after tenants move or are evicted. “We don’t know how long the issue had been going on,” Burns said. “The maintenance department went in to get the unit ready to turn and instead found what was an ungodly amount of roaches.”

Empty food containers with leftovers stuck to the insides were littered throughout the space. “There were these paper bowls that were completely full of German cockroaches,” Burns said. “It looked like a bowl of cereal, but the cereal was roaches.”

Not exactly an appetizing way to begin a job. But Burns and his team are used to cockroach infestations. “Issues go unreported to management, and then when we come in for an inspection, that’s when we find the horror stories,” he said.

Sporting PPE, Burns went in for the kill.

Straight to the Source

After investigating surrounding units, Burns inspects the property to identify breeding grounds. “The main target areas are where there’s residual moisture, food sources and a lot of times heat,” he said.

His team is trained to pull out refrigerators and to inspect the backs of appliances. They open cabinets and look in voids. Pet food bowls and even small appliances are common culprits. So are bedrooms where snack crumbs can lure cockroaches into sleeping quarters. Other hot spots include pipes, ceiling, trim, molding, bathrooms and electronics.

“We directly treat sites rather than relying on gel bait to be taken back to those harborages, and that makes our job easier,” Burns said.

Stop the Life Cycle

The team identified adults, nymphs and egg sacs on site. “When we find all life cycles, we need to use all modes of action,” Burns said. The company’s protocol is multi-faceted, including a program that is customized based on what the team finds.

In this scenario, there were thousands of live cockroaches that had to be vacuumed, then bagged.

The clean-out protocol involves using a liquid insect growth regulator (IGR) along with baits. “We dust the voids, and we use gel baits along with dry flowable baits,” Burns said. He also uses monitors and traps with pheromones to monitor activity. Next comes the follow-up visit, and depending on the control achieved, there might be a need for additional bait or insecticide. “We monitor for a few more weeks until we make sure that we broke the life cycle, and from there we can say it’s roach-free,” he said.

The key to managing cockroaches is to tailor the approach based on the pest’s stages. “If we only find adults, we might not use all the modes of action,” Burns said.

When all stages are identified, it’s a real infestation.

The Burns Pest Elimination protocol along with thorough sanitation knocked down the roaches and allowed the property manager to prepare the apartment for leasing.