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STRATEGIES TO CONTROL GERMAN COCKROACHES

Attrathor from Ensystex is a unique product – a sprayable liquid bait that is ideal for dealing with German cockroach infestations.

Commercial building complexes and apartment blocks tend to be geographically more complicated than the standard suburban home. Being aware of this complexity and how pests may be distributed within the structure is a key part of successful pest management, particularly when it comes to German cockroaches.

Recent molecular ecology studies using microsatellite markers to investigate patterns of genetic diversity and differentiation within and among German cockroach (Blattella germanica) populations, indicate that cockroach aggregations may often exist in relative isolation within apartment and urban building complexes, under a metapopulation framework.1

This means that if control practices lead to incomplete cockroach eradication within small spatial scales, reinfestation is likely to occur from a genetically similar aggregation. This emphasises the importance of employing techniques that will best ensure cockroach elimination.

Insecticide baits are a very popular method for German cockroach control. They offer the opportunity for precise placement, use less toxicant and carry lower risks when applied correctly. Gel baits were developed and launched over 20 years ago and still hold a strong presence in the market. However, when treating significant infestations over large areas, as is often the case in commercial accounts, they can take a long time to apply and the amount of product required may make applications costly.

According to Steve Broadbent, regional director for Ensystex, liquid spray baits such as Attrathor, and flowable granular baits, such as the magnetic Magnathor are an ideal alternative to traditional gels for these types of infestations. “Key benefits of Attrathor as a liquid bait are its low-cost ease and speed of use; it provides targeted spraying using a 1 L sprayer to get into cracks and crevices and other cockroach harbourages; and the ability it provides to rapidly treat much larger areas. Instead of relying on a single gel placement, 150 mm strips can be quickly sprayed into target harbourages,” Mr Broadbent explained.

Cockroaches drawn out immediately by the Attrathor Attractant Micro-capsules © Stella Pest Management

“Attrathor employs a dual micro-encapsulation formulation consisting of Attractant Micro-capsules and Active Kill Micro-capsules. The Attractant Micro-capsules contain a highly volatile plant-based compound that is extremely attractive to cockroaches and other insects. Due to its high volatility it works quickly and over a longer-range,” Mr Broadbent continued. “If it were employed in a gel bait, the high volatility would mean it would not last for very long; but the micro-encapsulation process allows for the longer-term release of the attractant. It is this focus on a volatile, highly attractive odour that more effectively draws cockroaches to the Attrathor deposits. Indeed, this attractiveness draws professional pest managers to Attrathor too, when they see cockroaches present just minutes after they have applied the Attrathor.”

Brendan Gow, director of Stella Pest Management in Perth, has experienced the effectiveness of Attrathor first hand. “We’re a relatively new business and since introducing Attrathor to our suite of products, our call backs on cockroach jobs have reduced to zero which really helps enhance our brand and reputation,” Mr Gow said. “Our preference for Attrathor over gel baits, is that there are no blobs of gel left around after a treatment. Our clients also love the fact they do not have to look at a piling up of gel blobs from past treatments. We know that old gel baits should be cleaned-up, but it is rare to see other companies doing this. Since Attrathor leaves no visible residues, repeat treatments of Attrathor required no cleaning of previous treatments, providing a further time saving.”

Attrathor is designed to draw the cockroaches to its kill zone where the cockroaches make direct contact with the micro-capsules, containing Ensystex’s ultra-low repellent fipronil. Attrathor also contains an emetic, which causes cockroaches to vomit a few hours after consumption and is present immediately upon the female’s return to the aggregate in her vomitus, meaning even faster control of nymphal stages.

“Since cockroach aggregates typically consist of around 60% nymphs, nymph control is vital to effectively and quickly eliminate a cockroach population, something we don’t always see with other control options and one of the reasons why we are big advocates of the product,” Mr Gow said. “It’s amazing how many referrals we receive for jobs from those where we’ve used Attrathor successfully to eliminate cockroach infestations.”

1 EL Vargo. Molecular Ecology Meets Urban Entomology: How Molecular Biology is Changing Urban Pest Management. Urban Insect Pests: Sustainable Management Strategies, ed. P Dhang. CAB International 2014 pp 166-180.

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