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  • Writer's pictureChelle Hartzer

Got a Roach? (AKA: I’m in the weeds)

One of the big parts of my job is to keep up with current research, find out what it means on the field level, and share with my clients the applicable ways for them to use it to do their jobs better. Anytime I find new info on our urban pests, I dive into it to find the real, underlying meaning behind it. So when I saw the most recent “Cockroach State of the Market” report, it has some great nuggets. You get the benefits today!

Less than half (44%) of the respondents to the questionnaire said they had not seen a cockroach inside or outside their facility. That sounds pretty good. Particularly when you consider species like American and woods cockroaches can be prevalent outside in much of the US. However, they overwhelmingly (97%) said they were confident in their cockroach control programs. There is a bit of a discrepancy when half of the people saw a cockroach but were okay (?) with that?

Add to that, cockroaches are mostly nocturnal, small, and sneaky. So even seeing one single cockroach can mean that there are many more hiding in secretive spots. In my opinion, seeing one indicates there are more and the program needs to be re-evaluated. On the other hand, maybe many of those folks are confident in their program because after seeing one, the plan went into action and the problem was taken care of.

Next up, folks were asked what they thought the most likely way that cockroaches were getting in or could get in. This was fairly even across: from the outside (33%), employees bringing them in (27%), food deliveries allowing them access (23%), and just a scattering of votes for non-food deliveries (7%). Since they didn’t break this down by species, this lines up with what I may expect.

Surprisingly, only 73% of folks did regular inspections for cockroaches. That means 27% of people weren’t doing inspections or looking for cockroaches!

Species such as American, Oriental, woods cockroaches, and more are very common on the outside depending on the region you live in. Particularly late in the season, those outside populations are high and the chance of one wandering in is high. Even when you consider American cockroaches like to live in drains and sewers, it is still going to have a seasonality and chances are higher seeing one at the end of summer and fall.

For the notorious German cockroach, these are great at hitchhiking on goods. Maybe they come in on incoming goods, where the original location has cockroaches. They get into the raw product, on the pallets, or even just crawling up into the shrinkwrap. The same is true with employees bringing them in. Their lunchbag gets put on the top of the refrigerator when they get home and sits there overnight. The next morning, the cockroaches in the area have found those nice, soft, safe pockets in the lunchbag and are carried into work on today’s lunch.

58% of respondents found cockroaches in employee break rooms/kitchens when they did find them.

Lastly, it’s interesting to look at who’s doing the pest control work in food facilities. Over half (65%) outsource their regular pest control to a third party. The remaining either handled it in house or had some combination of the two.

With everything going on in a food production facility, being an expert on everything is hard, outsourcing to a professional is a great option. They know the rules, regulations, and intricacies of pest control as it relates to food sites. That does NOT mean people are “free” from doing any type of work as it relates to pest control.

Remember that our pests need food, water, and shelter to survive and thrive. The pest control folks are doing the inspecting, monitoring, and treating. The facility has to deal with sanitation issues, seal up exclusion problems, and hep with inspections. Employees may be there 24h a day running all shifts. If they don’t tell someone when they see something, a pest problem can go overlooked until it is a full expansive infestation. The pest control team is responsible for good documentation, early intervention, and communicating where the issues are. No single person is responsible for pest control, everyone is.

67% said the most common ways they control cockroaches are with traps and bait.

All things considered, this survey has some great information, and taking it a few steps further gives us insight on to what is currently happening with cockroach issues. It shows up where there may still be some openings to perform better cockroach management and reminders of what to look for.

There are great resources for all kinds of cockroaches, including a previous wine-ing you can see here. If you want the best of the most recent cockroach research so you can do a better job than your competitor, we can help you with that. Don't let your business go up in smoke!

Lagniappe - too good!

Urban pest consulting


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