A number of affordable housing providers and pest control firms have told me that they think cockroaches are on the rise. One theory is that we’ve turned our focus (including our budgets) from general pest control to bed bugs. Another is that the industry is still learning how to best use the minimum risk (25b) pesticides (sometimes referred to as “botanical”). There are many more. Whatever the reason, we can’t let cockroaches come back. And if a property has cockroach infestations—get rid of them.
No one in America should live or work in a high-level cockroach infestation. This post will tell you why cockroaches are bad and how to get rid of them.
Why are cockroaches bad?
They trigger asthma. In fact, they are the primary contributor to childhood asthma in inner-city homes.
Next time you see a little red cocktail stirrer/straw, pick it up and try to breathe through it for 15 seconds. That’s what it feels like to have an asthma attack. It's scary for both the child and his or her caretaker. In addition, asthma attacks caused missed school, missed work, and medical expenses.
These side-effects were enough for the Asthma Regional Council to publish a business case for pest control in effective asthma management. Read it here: http://asthmaregionalcouncil.org/uploads/IPM/IPM_FINAL_2009.pdf
The facts are out there:
- Watch this news report on a HUD-funded study being done by Dr. John Carlson “On Call: Roach Asthma Study” http://www.wdsu.com/r-video/29443651/detail.html
- “Cockroach allergy is a problem among people who live in inner-cities or in the South and are of low socioeconomic status. In one study of inner-city children, 37 percent were allergic to cockroaches, 35 percent to dust mites, and 23 percent to cats. Those who were allergic to cockroaches and were exposed to the insects were hospitalized for asthma 3.3 times more often than other children. This was true even when compared with those who were allergic to dust mites or cats.” From the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America www.aafa.org/display.cfm?id=9&sub=22&cont=312
- “…data confirm that cockroach allergen is the primary contributor to childhood asthma in inner-city home environments,” said [National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences] Director Kenneth Olden, Ph.D. “However, general cleaning practices, proven extermination techniques and consistent maintenance methods can bring these allergen levels under control.” From NIH, www.nih.gov/news/pr/mar2005/niehs-08.htm
How do you get rid of them?
It’s not rocket science, they’re cockroaches!
- Prevent them by sealing up holes in “the building envelope” and teaching people to avoid bringing them home on cardboard and furniture.
- Maintain areas so that roaches have limited access to food, water and hiding places.
- Inspect and monitor EVERY AREA in the building so that new infestations are found quickly.
- Eliminate infestation using proven IPM techniques. Foggers don’t work. Baits are better than sprays. Focus time and resources on infestations until the cockroaches are gone.
If you are paying for pest control, work with your contractor on in-house crew to control pests. Routine spraying won't get the job done.
- Read the recent Pest Control Technology article, "Holistic Approach."
Preview: “PMPs need to adopt a more holistic approach to multi-family housing using wall void dusting with a non-repellent dust and a highly attractive and effective gel bait. Additionally, without the apartment owner's cooperation to reduce interior harborage using caulking and the elimination of moisture conditions, the PMP will have a difficult time getting control. The unfortunate consequences of this lack of effectiveness will be felt by the tenants of these buildings. As pest management professionals it is our job to do better.” http://www.pctonline.com/pct1111-german-cockroaches-control.aspx
- Visit the StopPests webpage on cockroaches. You’ll find answers to frequently asked questions. http://www.stoppests.org/pest-solutions/cockroaches/
- Read the FL School IPM News articles on Cockroaches:
History and bait advice: http://schoolipm.ifas.ufl.edu/Florida/FloridaSchoolIPMNewsVolume3number1.pdf
Tight spaces, clutter, and sanitation: http://schoolipm.ifas.ufl.edu/Florida/Florida%20School%20IPM%20News%20Volume%202%20number16.pdfThe
The German Cockroach: http://schoolipm.ifas.ufl.edu/Florida%20School%20IPM%20News%20Volume%202%20number7.pdf
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Help us help you
- Maintain your home according to the housekeeping standards in your residential lease
- Let the PMP (exterminator) in your home
- Call XXX-XXXX to report leaks and holes around pipes so we can fix them
- Call XXX-XXXX if you see a bug in your home so we can call the PMP
A note on pesticides: The PMP’s bait works great. No need for sprays. Foggers aren't worth the risk. Have a professional apply all pesticides. Cigarette smoke, strong-smelling cleaners, or pesticide sprays can ruin the bait. And the roaches are less likely to take the bait if they have crumbs or spills to eat. Clean up—and be patient. With many baits, the cockroaches eat the bait and slowly die. But first they go back to their buddies. The friends eat them and get poisoned too.