Integrated Pest Management: Cockroaches


Cockroaches are hitchhikers. They come into the home by hitching a ride on clothes, backpacks, bags, and other items brought into the home. Used furniture and appliances can be especially problematic, as they can also carry cockroach egg cases. Contrary to popular belief, they do not typically crawl or fly from one house to another in Michigan. 

Sprays and Bug-bombs

Sprays and bug bombs are methods to rid the home of pests that put children at risk. Sprays and other pesticides only kill bugs when they come into contact with them while the chemicals endanger people living in the house. For people with asthma and allergies, cockroaches are extremely problematic as their saliva, exoskeletons, and feces are all highly allergenic. 

The earliest way to detect cockroaches is by looking for their feces described as greasy black pepper found in the corners of cabinets and shelving, along cracks and by other hiding places. People with allergies and asthma will often exhibit symptoms when cockroaches are in the home. 

Cockroaches, like all pests, need food, water, and shelter to survive. Removal of these three conditions makes it difficult for pests to survive in your home. 

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) 

Integrated Pest Management is an approach that involves integrating three steps with the least amount of risk to people, property, and the environment. The three steps involved are: starving them out, drying them out, and keeping them out. This approach is both environmentally and family-friendly as it reduces exposure to toxic chemicals. 

Step One: Starving them out

  • Eat in one area of the home to contain crumbs and food clean up.
  • Store all foods, including pet food in tightly sealed containers.
  • Keep trash in a sealed container.
  • Keep all living areas uncluttered and clean.

Step Two: Drying them out

  • Fix all plumbing, water leaks, and clogged drains.
  • Eliminate food and water sources such as pet bowls left out all day.
  • Mop and clean surfaces leaving no puddles of water for pest to drink.
  • After food, water and shelter have been removed, bait stations and insect growth regulators can be used to kill existing populations.

Step Three: Keeping them out

  • Seal or fix cracks, peeled wallpaper, and shelf liners, or holes that cockroaches could get through.
  • Make sure windows and doors are secure and have weather-stripping if necessary.
  • Seal around pipes and crawl spaces.
  • Use silicone caulk, copper mesh, screens, or door sweeps on exterior doors.

Call a pest control professional if you suspect an infestation, but do not use sprays and bombs. Sprays and bombs contaminate everything they touch, thereby adding more risk to children that come in to contact with hazardous residue.