Attrathor insecticide is a sprayable liquid bait for use against cockroaches. 

The German cockroach Blattella germanica is found almost exclusively in human environments, mostly in urban areas. Whilst it has long been associated with disease transmission, it is viewed nowadays as having significantly greater impact on human health through the production of asthma and rhinitis-triggering allergens. Cockroaches contain a protein that acts as an allergen for some people, meaning that it causes an allergic reaction, typically in the airway. Cockroach saliva, excrement and even their dead bodies can cause allergic reactions, with a total of 11 cockroach allergens having been identified to date.

In fact, sensitisation to cockroach allergens is one of the most significant risk factors for the development of asthma in low-income urban populations worldwide. In the US, 85% of inner-city homes test positive for cockroach allergens and up to 93% of inner-city children with asthma from different populations are known to be sensitised to cockroaches.1 This is a very worrying statistic and, whilst no data is available for Australia, we might expect similarly high levels in lower socio-economic areas. More recently, there is evidence to show cockroach-borne bacteria and asthma allergens contribute to the microorganism load of airborne dust in homes, leading to increased rates of cockroach-induced asthma.2

B. germanica is well known as a vector of enteric (food poisoning) pathogens such as Salmonella, Enterococcus and E. coli, but it can also host many other bacteria in its digestive tract, including antibiotic-resistant strains. When this is combined with the increased risk of asthma and the psychological stress they cause to some people, we see why they are such a serious pest. People are often mortified when they find cockroaches on their premises, feeling both revulsion and a fear that it means they are not keeping their environment hygienic.

Effective cockroach control has been shown to reduce allergen loads and rates of asthma morbidity, as well as the economic costs associated with cockroach-related illnesses.

Inherent to successful cockroach management is the selection of insecticide, from both a control and resistance management perspective. A targeted high- dose rate ensures mortality. Steve Broadbent, regional director for Ensystex advises, “This is why we recommend Attrathor Targeted Insecticide as the primary weapon in resolving cockroach problems. Since it is a sprayable liquid bait, it can be applied quickly and cost effectively, and ensures a targeted application to a wide area. This makes it especially valuable when treating domestic residences and complex commercial premises, as one can treat a larger area more thoroughly and more quickly than if using a gel bait.

“The key issue is that being a liquid bait, it provides both passive control when sprayed into cockroach harbourages, but more importantly, it uniquely provides active control by drawing the cockroaches to the sprayed Attrathor kill zone. We have observed cockroaches being drawn from two to three metres away to feed on the Attrathor, something we do not see with gel baits.”3

Attrathor combines the world’s first ‘Quick-release insect attractant micro-capsules’, which release a highly volatile, highly palatable food attractant alongside ‘Controlled-release active micro-capsules’, which protect the active component to allow for long-term residual performance (pictured above).

“These active micro-capsules are pressurised with carbon dioxide and contain Ensystex’s patented low-repellent fipronil in a liquid form. This means they burst upon contact with the cockroach to ensure a high lethal dose,” explained Mr Broadbent. “The micro-capsules are transferred through a cockroach aggregate by direct transfer and the fipronil is further spread by ‘Viral excretion transfer’, to ensure the early instar nymphs are also targeted.”

This transfer occurs because Attrathor contains an emetic that causes the female cockroach to vomit when she returns to the aggregate’s harbourage after foraging. Many studies have shown that cockroach nymphs do not travel far from their birth harbourage, and first and second instar nymphs rarely leave the crevice in which they were born. These nymphs have a strong feeding preference for female cockroach vomitus, which in this case, will be laced with the fipronil to facilitate the early elimination of these nymphal stages.

Mr Broadbent added, “The science behind the product supports what many professional pest managers are finding in the field: that their experiences of controlling German cockroaches with Attrathor have been very positive. We regularly hear reports that pest managers start to see the impact of Attrathor within a few hours after application!

“The most important result is for pest managers is giving customer satisfaction by demonstrating that the cockroaches have been controlled and that the customer’s home or place of business is safe, free from disease-transmitting, asthma-inducing pests.”

1 Poms, A., Mueller, G. A., Randall, T. A., Chapman, M. D. & Arruda, L. K. New insights into cockroach allergens. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 17, 25 (2017).

2 Rabito, F. A., Carlson, J. C., He, H., Werthmann, D. & Schal, C. A single intervention for cockroach control reduces cockroach exposure and asthma morbidity in children. J Allergy Clin Immunol 140, 565–570 (2017).

3 Tee, H-S & Lee, C-Y. Sustainable Cockroach Management Using Insecticidal Baits: Formulations, Behavioural Responses and Issues. In Urban Insect Pests: Sustainable Management Strategies, CAB International (ed. P. Dhang) (2014).