Expert Contributor - Scott DideonCockroach in grass

Cockroach “Phobias”

In the Pest Control industry there are things that actually terrify some of our clients. The most common of these are probably rats and spiders. But every so often we can have a client who had a horrible roach experience and was left traumatized by the situation. In the back of their mind they are always wondering if somehow that scenario will sneak up on them again and repeat itself when they least expect it.

German Cockroach

German Cockroach

Most of these traumatic experiences involve either struggling with German cockroaches while living in an apartment or being in a restaurant and having a roach appear out of nowhere.

Cockroaches in Apartments

If you have done pest control long enough, you can tell the stories (actually “boast” of them) of walking into apartments only to have the walls seemingly move because there were so many roaches.  While this happens, it is extremely rare in the Pacific Northwest because we don’t typically have the long hot summers like they do in other parts of the country.  When high numbers of cockroaches occur in a Seattle apartment, the approach used to be to rely heavily on cockroach baits.  Using the baits didn’t require emptying out the cabinets or having the tenants leave the unit after the treatment.

MRF-2000 was the first commercially graded cockroach bait that came out in the 1990’s and was actually made from beer extract.  It was so effective that you would literally see the roaches run to it when it was being applied!  The only problem was that after three days it would harden like concrete and the roaches would wander aimlessly in the daytime upsetting the clients.  Over years they have developed other baits that didn’t have the unfortunate side effects and left you wondering if it was more than just cockroaches that were eating the bait.  Manufacturers of the baits would accurately boast that the roaches were more attracted towards their baits than any other food found in the kitchen.

But over the past couple of years we have seen in the field that the baits were not working as effectively as they used to.  It wasn’t that the roaches were developing resistance towards the pesticides inside the bait, but rather they were losing the ability to digest the sugars in the bait and therefore they were not as attracted to it.  While not being able to digest certain sugars is certainly was a disadvantage for the roaches, it allowed them to survive what had become a common treatment method in the pest control industry.

Fortunately, at Green City Pest Control we have been doing cockroach treatments for a long time, even before when these baits first came out.  When we began to see concerns about the current cockroach baits, Green City Pest Control switched back to more traditional methods of treating the apartments.  This allowed us to stay on top of the roach issues way ahead of most of our competition.   And while the traditional treatments often require removing the food and dishes from the cabinets, it allows us to get the roach activity under control quickly as we use a combination of traditional approaches with some newer products.

Cockroach comparison chart

Bon Appetit !!  

I have friends who have developed a personal list of restaurants that are off limits because while they were sitting down with their date, they could actually “smell” that there were roaches within the restaurant.  Yes, there is a unique smell that the roaches can give off.  Even worse, people can develop a highly allergic reaction to the exoskeleton debris from cockroaches within a few minutes.  So a few of my friends would actually begin to get a stuffy nose as they are waiting to be seated and then have to awkwardly explain to their date why there is a change of plans and it was time to go.  Fortunately for me, I don’t have this curse and I get to just eat in blissfulness.  Or perhaps, I am not that lucky.

American cockroach

American cockroach

At Green City Pest Control, we have readjusted our restaurant treatment methods and have gone back to a combination of using traditional treatment methods along with some newer products.

One of the advantages to this is that those treatments can also address other issues in restaurants like fruit flies and drain flies.   By using different products, we have been able to resolve roach populations in restaurants that otherwise would have been extremely hard to correct by just using the baits alone.

While having standardized service procedures is critical at resolving issues as quickly as possible, we are constantly being challenged on how to rethink how we are conducting pest control.  The goal is to make the products we use more effective, use less of them whenever possible, and once we figure it out to then readjust everything when the rodents and insects decide to change things for us.  We must rethink constantly what we are doing, but we appreciate your willingness to partner with us in this on-going pursuit of excellent pest control.

Green City Pest Control is owned and managed by one of the few Urban Entomologists in the Greater Seattle area and beyond, who has been designing pest management programs for challenging situations over the past 30+ years.

Green City Pest Control

22620 SE 216th Place, Suite B, Maple Valley WA 98038           425-413-9700