Our Pest Pulse survey invites readers to share their view and experiences on a particular subject. In this issue, the topic was cockroach control. 

Cockroaches are a core pest for the pest management industry. Certainly for customers, when they book a ‘pest spray’ they will expect it to cover cockroaches. But as we know, not all cockroaches are the same. How do pest managers tackle cockroach problems? Our latest Pest Pulse survey provides a topline summary about how pest managers approach cockroach control.

In terms of general pest treatments, nearly 90% of pest managers include large cockroaches in the treatment, with 45% of these pest managers also including German cockroaches as part of the service.

Looking at the preferred insecticide sprays used by pest managers, unsurprisingly there was a noticeable difference in the products used inside compared to those used outside. Indoors, a wide range of different products and actives were used – around a third of pest managers preferred Temprid75, with Seclira and bifenthrin-based products (commonly Biflex) also popular. Outdoors, bifenthrin products (especially Biflex) dominated, being the preferred spray product for two thirds of respondents. Generally, pest managers were happy with the performance of their outdoor spray on large cockroaches (8.3 out of 10), but less satisfied with the performance of their indoor sprays on German cockroaches (7.0 out of 10).

Of course, pest managers don’t simply rely on sprays to deal with cockroaches. Even in a general pest treatment, a large number of additional product formats are used (Figure 1), with over 90% of pest managers using a dust in addition to a spray to target cockroaches.

Figure 1: Products used by pest managers during a general pest treatment (in addition to insecticide spray) to target cockroaches

However, when carrying out a specific German cockroach treatment, pest managers certainly modify their product choice to target this challenging pest. The vast majority of pest managers will use at least three products to tackle German cockroaches, and sometimes four or five.

Gel baits and sprays are the most popular product types used, both mentioned by just under 80% of respondents. Seclira and Attrathor were the only two products specifically mentioned by over 10% of respondents. Interestingly, the split between pyrethroid and non-pyrethroids sprays was about 50:50. Encouragingly, nearly 40% of respondents claimed to use sticky traps in treatments (presumably as monitors) and nearly 45% claimed to incorporated insect growth regulators in their spray mix (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Product formats used by pest managers in a German cockroach treatment

Managing customer expectations is particularly important with German cockroach treatments. The vast majority of pest managers appreciate the challenge of a German cockroach infestation with nearly 75% of pest managers allowing for at least two visits or “as many as it takes” to deal with a residential cockroach infestation. For commercial accounts, only one of the respondents indicated they normally allow for a single visit, with the remainder planning for multiple visits or placing the client on a regular service plan.

In terms of the service free periods offered for cockroach treatments, 46% of respondents include large cockroaches within the general pest treatment service free period and 34% also include German cockroaches. For specific German cockroach treatments, although nearly 60% provide a service free period (with three months being the most common duration), nearly 40% do not o er any service free period. In commercial accounts, where regular service plans are more common, the most common service free period was one month, although nearly 40% did not offer a service free period in commercial accounts either.

Insecticide resistance and bait aversion are two commonly talked about phenomena when considering German cockroaches. Only 12% of respondents thought they may have come across bait aversion and just over 20% indicated they may have experienced some level of insecticide resistance. Product rotation is recommended as best practice to minimise insecticide resistance or bait aversion. The good news is that the majority of pest managers do rotate their insecticides and bait products, although it appears that spray products are rotated more frequently by pest managers (75%) than bait products (55%).