Cockroach Traps, Sprays, and Gels

Picture of American Cockroach

Pros & Cons of Cockroach Traps, Sprays, and Gels

Managing and eliminating cockroach infestations requires proper planning and the use of multiple control tactics. Cockroach integrated pest management, or IPM, involves using multiple control approaches (biological, mechanical, cultural (sanitation), and chemical control) to deal with unwanted cockroach populations. IPM begins with identifying the specific type of cockroach species present and estimating the size of the infestation.

Sticky Traps
Pest control experts will accomplish these objectives by positioning sticky traps (glue boards) near suspected cockroach harborages and food sources. Cockroaches will get stuck on glue boards enabling visual identification of the species, while also monitoring the number of cockroaches trapped within a given time frame. This population estimate indicates the extent of the cockroach population and determines the course of action needed to combat the infestation.

Cockroach Traps

Cockroach traps represent one of the simplest ways to reduce foraging cockroach populations. Readily available in stores or easily constructed at home, cockroach traps try to control infestations by confining the insects to an enclosed space or otherwise rendering them immobile.

However, this method of cockroach management is generally only successful with smaller populations. Larger infestations are rarely eliminated by trapping alone and usually force New England residents to use additional tactics or seek professional assistance. Furthermore, traps that successfully catch large numbers of cockroaches in a contained area can exacerbate the health problems of people already sensitive to cockroach allergens.

Cockroach Sprays

When large cockroach infestations warrant the use of insecticides, sprays are often a popular choice. Sprays disperse a liquefied mixture of lethal active ingredients onto the surfaces that cockroaches traverse.

However, users of sprays need to wear protective equipment in order to avoid exposure to the insecticides. Though one of the most common ways to manage cockroach infestations, sprays are often not as effective as other methods. The relatively broad distribution of sprayed insecticides rarely penetrates deep enough into cracks and crevices where cockroaches tend to live.

As a result, sprays often just disturb cockroaches enough to scatter and crawl deeper into walls, making the monitoring and management of the insects even more difficult. The effectiveness of sprays is also mitigated by the tendency of cockroaches to taste their food before consumption, thereby learning to avoid surfaces with chemical applications.

Cockroach Gel Baits

Often packaged in syringes, other specialized applicators, or pre-packaged bait arenas, gel baits can be directly injected into cracks and crevices or placed in other known cockroach harborages. Attracted to the mixture of food and toxicants contained in the gel, cockroaches ingest the bait before returning to their harborage to die. Other adult cockroaches feed on the dead cockroach or nymphs feed on feces containing the bait active ingredient and die as well.

Because gel baits contain a food source to lure cockroaches, this approach to cockroach elimination works best when there are no other opportunities for the insects to eat in the vicinity of bait placement. However, cockroaches can develop resistance to the toxic chemicals contained in the gel as well as an aversion to components of the bait food source.

Pest control professionals will rotate gel bait control products and strategies to avoid this bait resistance/avoidance. With the help of pest control professional, New England homeowners and businesses will implement an effective IPM plan that ensures successful management of cockroach infestations.

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