Alex Ko, Ph.D., Bayer Pest Practices Team
1. Why is cockroach control such an important service for PMPs?

There are a number of reasons why cockroach control is important, both in the home and in commercial environments. In the home, cockroach allergens are responsible for sensitizing childhood asthma, especially in inner-city housing. In the commercial environment, cockroaches can contaminate otherwise sanitary surfaces by carrying bacteria and pathogens on their exoskeleton. And no one wants to find a cockroach in their salad!

2. How has cockroach control in commercial accounts changed over the last five years?

In the past five years I don’t think cockroach control has changed too much actually. The focus has still been on using effective products with a focus on detailed inspection, sanitation, and prevention. Baits, sprays, dusts, flushing agents, and a good flashlight (and vacuum) are still the mainstays of modern cockroach control.

3. What common mistake do PMPs make with gel bait applications?

Putting too much bait in one location. It’s generally better to treat a larger area with less bait per placement than to treat a small area with more bait per placement. By treating a larger area you increase the likelihood that a cockroach will find your bait placements.

4. How has cockroach bait technology helped PMPs increase revenues?

Cockroach baits are effective and another tool a PMP has in their toolbox to control cockroaches. However, cockroach baits are not a silver bullet. I still contend that the “X-factor” in cockroach control is still the technician and their training. In this business, people are the most important resource a company has; infinitely more effective than the best spray, bait, or dust product.

5. Why is it important to rotate treatment products and how do PMPs easily get into rotation?

Rotating cockroach baits for treatment is important because it reduces the likelihood of resistance developing. Resistance develops when an inherited trait that confers some tolerance to an active ingredient gets passed down generation through cockroach generation. As the trait gets passed down, offspring inherit these resistance traits from their parents, and express even greater levels of resistance. By changing both the active ingredient and bait matrix you provide to the cockroach population, you reduce the likelihood of either resistance or aversion developing. A general rule of thumb is to rotate among products every 3-6 months.