State of the Cockroach Market, Sponsored by Syngenta, Gaining Control

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July 15, 2020

A multi-faceted approach to managing cockroaches allows PMPs to target the treatment to the site.

Chad Moreschi created a tiered, low-impact process for controlling cockroaches for the clients he services in Miami, Fla. “Our mission is to provide the most eco-friendly services possible,” he says, noting that this business focus drives his firm’s service protocols.

First is identification, followed by gel baits. “We use a typical gel bait in places like electrical outlets, cracks and crevices, behind appliances,” he says. “And we use dust.”

Monitoring stations in “hot spots” allows Moreschi to check for activity, and service is performed bi-weekly until the hatched nymphs are eradicated. If necessary, he’ll use a liquid spray to kills adult cockroaches that are actively moving around a site. “But, the goal is to mainly rely on the bait and dust,” he says.

After two weeks, the callback rate is about 5 percent, Moreschi says. He does not rotate cockroach baits and says resistance hasn’t been a problem.

Multi-measure control is a common practice among pest management professionals based on results from PCT’s 2020 State of the Cockroach Market survey. Seventy-four percent of respondents said they use sprayable insecticides and gel baits, while only 9 percent use gel baits alone and 5 percent rely on sprayable insecticides alone.

Of PMPs who offer cockroach control service, 50 percent say their primary control measure is gel baits, while 22 percent said they mostly apply residual pesticides. Just 6 percent say sanitation is the primary control, and no one indicated that glue traps were the No. 1 method of treating roaches. However, for ongoing monitoring, 82 percent use glue traps.

As professional pest management products have evolved, Bery Pannkuk, director of sales at Troy, Mich.-based Rose Pest Solutions, says control certainly has improved. “Years ago, we couldn’t kill a cockroach except with a flyswatter because of the resistance of the chemicals we were all using — and then they invented baits,” he says.

Vacuuming also has become a best practice, Pannkuk adds. “That is positive because the CDC did a study years ago on the allergens from shed skins of cockroaches that become airborne, so vacuuming with a HEPA filter has become more important now,” he says.

“Decluttering is paramount,” Pannkuk adds.

Of course, treatment protocols sometimes depend on the situation. Chad Betts, owner of Betts Pest Control in Wichita, Kan., says bad infestations call for “chemicals first to get a big knockdown.” But if a site is relatively clean, he begins with baits. “If the client follows my protocol for cleaning up, I’ll return within a week or two and bait hot spots.”


Betts also uses dust to get product into voids and cracks and crevices. “The dust is so fine that even if they don’t eat it, they are walking through it and getting exposed to it,” he says.

Insect growth regulators (IGRs) are helpful for breaking the cycle in a bad infestation, Betts adds.

Curtis Rand, vice president of operations at Rose Pest Solutions based in Troy, Mich., says IGRs are helpful in restaurants. “There are only so many places you can spray in a kitchen, so the benefit of IGRs is we can help eliminate the population over time,” he says. “The key is to target the type of treatment you need based on the environment, whether that’s liquid applications, bait, or crack-and-crevice.”

When using any product, Davy Spears, owner of Davy Crockett Pest Control, Pikeville, Ky., emphasizes to his clients that they should not add their own DIY products to the mix. “I let them know that using aerosols will contaminate the baits, too,” he says. “I’ve had a number of customers think that after you do a service, they should spray something on the bait we put down,” he says. “I let them know that using aerosols will contaminate the baits.”

After targeting treatment, control is via maintained ongoing service visits. Rand notes, “The best prevention is a good inspection and follow-up with monitoring.”