John Ralph, Australian director of Sherwood Chemicals, explains the SOUND approach to cockroach control. 

Although the German cockroach is more regularly associated with commercial premises, it can be found in houses and apartments throughout Australia. Its rapid reproduction rate allows infestations to develop quickly and its small size allows it to set up harbourages in many different locations, making it difficult to control. To have success with a cockroach control treatment, it is important to use the right products combined with a thorough treatment strategy – a SOUND approach.

The German cockroach


  • Colour: Brown with two dark parallel streaks running from the head to the base of the wings
  • Size: Adults are about 15mm long, but the first instar nymphs are only about 3mm long.
  • Ootheca: Each egg case contains 30-50 eggs and are carried by the female until just before hatching.

Resistance to gel baits

Gel baits have been a mainstay for cockroach control for many years. The over-reliance on baits for cockroach control has resulted in an observable decrease in gel performance in certain situations. This drop in performance has been apportioned to either resistance, where the cockroaches eat the bait but the cockroach population has built up a level of resistance to the insecticide, making them less effective or bait shyness/gel aversion, where the cockroaches simply don’t eat the bait.

Although bait rotation is employed to minimise these phenomena, there is clearly the need for the development of alternative control methods.

German cockroaches can cause damage to electrical circuits

New tool for cockroach management

Sherwood Chemicals have been quick to embrace the needs of the Australian professional pest industry in developing formulation chemistry specifically for this market – Ultraforce Cockroach Powder.

The combination of fipronil and the free flowing ultra-fine matrix in Ultraforce Cockroach Powder, ensures the dust is carried deep into cockroach hiding places, coating cockroaches and surfaces. As a powder it can be applied in areas unsuitable for gels such as ovens, fridges and electrical areas.

Ultraforce Cockroach Powder has been under widespread trials in Australia since 2013 and has demonstrated excellent control of both German and American cockroaches. Large populations have been controlled with small amounts of powder, even under the most challenging conditions.

The SOUND approach

When dealing with cockroach problems, Sherwood Chemicals have developed a SOUND mnemonic to cover the key steps of an effective cockroach service and to deliver optimal performance with Ultraforce Cockroach Powder.

S – Site Inspection

Any effective pest management activity should commence with a detailed site inspection. At the commencement of a service, a professional technician must engage their client to establish exactly where it is that they are encountering the cockroach activity – identify all the harbourages. Explain to the customer the nature of the treatment and expected results.

O – Organisation

A well-organised tool kit will make the execution of the intended service more efficient and will enhance the professional image that a competent pest manager should be portraying in all of your pest management operations.

U – Utilise

Where appropriate, utilise effective monitoring systems. This is particularly the case for cockroach management in commercial premises and specifically for food preparation and handling situations. Typically the most effective monitoring systems are sticky traps, which often include the use of a pheromone- based tablet as an attractant. To effectively trap cockroaches with sticky cards, they should be placed behind stoves and refrigerators, in cupboards under sinks and bench tops.

N – Non-repellent

German cockroach infestations are best dealt with using a range of non-repellent products (sprays, gels and dusts). With dusts being the ideal product to deal with harbourages, especially around kitchen areas and electrical goods, the efficient application of Ultraforce Cockroach Powder with a bulb puffer, directly into either active or likely cockroach harbourages, will yield outstanding results.

D – Documentation

At the conclusion of the pest management service a detailed activity report should be prepared in accordance with both the appropriate state or territory pest management licensing requirements and company work procedures.

John Ralph, Australian Director, Sherwood Chemicals

Photographs by Anthony Feez, Territory Pest Control

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