It's after midnight; you're having trouble sleeping, so you decide to get up and get a snack. As you stumble through the house, making your way through the dark to the kitchen, you're thinking about that ice cream you bought. "That will do the trick" you think.

You reach the kitchen, flip on the light, and to your surprise, little creatures scurry away to their hiding places. ROACHES!

A Brief Lesson On Cockroaches

Roaches all go through the same life cycle and develop by gradual metamorphosis. They pass through three stages: egg, nymph and then to adult. Eggs are laid in batches, with each egg case holding many individual roaches. The number in each egg case depends on the species, but can have as many as 40 individuals in each egg case. And each one becomes a reproducing adult in as little as nine weeks, again depending on the species.

There are several things that will contribute to a roach problem too. Such as where you live. That is, if you live in a building with other people, such as apartments or high-rise buildings. Or houses that are attached to other houses, like duplexes or garden-style apartments or condos. This means that you have no control over what or who enters those other units, and if roaches are brought into another attached unit, there will be a definite danger that this problem will spread to other units. It will depend mostly on how the building was built, and how many people move in or out of those units during about a two-year span. If there is a high rate of turnover, there will be a greater danger of discovering roaches sometime. Roaches, at least the kind that are associated with man, the so-called german roaches, are vectored only by man. They need mankind to survive best, and are carried from place-to-place on our belongings, both alive and in egg form.

So when you buy that neat bureau at the yard sale down the street, you could possibly bring in roaches. Now this doesn't mean it happens every time, but it does happen, and if you are careful about what you bring into the house, your chances will be reduced.

Want to get rid of them yourself?

DON'T SPRAY! All of the commercial sprays contain a "flushing agent" which tends to flush roaches from their hiding spots. And while you may kill some of the roaches, there is a definite danger you will scatter the ones you DON'T kill to other areas. So if you do this inside your house, you may find that the roaches will pop up in other areas where they weren't before. Also, don't use those little bombs you can buy in the store. They are PURE flushing agent.

The most effective control nowadays, is NOT from spraying, as we used to do in the "Olden Days," but from baits. Roach baits are almost 100% effective if used correctly, and are non-invasive. That is, they don't smell, and won't disturb your normal routine. So if you have roaches, and the exterminator shows up with a sprayer, and wants to spray - beg off. Ask him if he uses roach baits. If he doesn't, he is behind the times, so ask for one that does. Spraying for roaches is a long-term task. You don't spray once for roaches. Your first treatment must be followed with several (or many) follow up visits to reapply insecticides. They often smell, they are much more toxic, and they require close cooperation from you and all your attached neighbors.

And yes, you can buy these baits yourself. The most available form is in the form of those little bait stations you can buy in the supermarket. You can also buy the bait gel in a syringe too. As with anything else, some are more effective than others. The most effective, at this time, I feel, are the COMBAT brand. They are made by the same company that makes our professional brand MAXFORCE.

In your apartment or home, you attach these stations (they come with removable tape tabs) in the areas where the roaches are. That is, inside your kitchen cabinets, under the sink, or wherever the roaches are. Roaches are "thigmotropic" - they like dark, damp places, where they can feel things touching all sides, the "roof and the floor" as it were. So your placements with gel needs to be in cracks and crevices where the roaches will find it easily. With the stations, one Station per average-sized cabinet is plenty. Under the sink, or in any cabinet with visible water lines, put more. There is no need to put stations or gel all over the house, or in places where there are no roaches. Also, don't ramdomly place them in cabinets or around the kitchen. In cabinets, roaches like the corners, where there is no air movement. Placing them right in the corner almost guarantees immediate feeding. And you only need a few, so don't overdo it. Also, remember that these stations do have a lifetime, so when you install them, write the date on it and check the label for the recommended lifetime. Whatever it says you can double - it's usually 6 months, but I have had them work for 12. But after that, their effectiveness is drastically reduced.


Pretty good, assuming you've done it correctly. Exactly HOW and WHY it works on the roaches is gruesome. Roaches are cannibalistic and will readily eat other dead or dying roaches. Roaches are also coprophagous, which means they eat each others excrement. In fact, new little roaches do this soon after birth, and MUST do it to survive. When the bait poisons and kills a roach, that roach, and his excrement, becomes poison for other roaches, that, in turn, become poison for still more roaches.

Never mind putting these things around the house anyway, to catch any roaches that MIGHT come in. This product is best used when you discover the problem. Otherwise, you'll have to change them, on a routine basis, for them to remain effective and active. This is false economy, so don't waste your money. Besides, you'll soon forget to change them and when the roaches do come, the bait won't be effective. The best thing to use, is one of those glueboards I told you about. Put it under your sink, or beside the refrigerator and check it every once in a while. You can get a pretty good insect history on one of these. And they're cheap too.

Or, in the alternative, you can employ a professional exterminator, who will know all of these facts, to perform this procedure. His work will carry a guarantee that you will get the most effective control.

Different Kinds of Roaches?

Yep - there are several species here in Kansas. I'll show you a few.

The German Cockroach. These are usually the ones you will find infesting homes and restaurants. They are usually less than an inch long, are golden to dark brown, and the adults can be identified by the 2 black stripes directly behind their head.

Oriental Cockroaches. These shiny black roaches are often called "waterbugs". They are usually found in basements, crawlspaces, sewers, even outside in mulch and rock beds - although I have seen these inside homes too. They are much bigger than german roaches - usually twice the size.

American Cockroaches. These big boys (2 inches or more!) will scare the life out of you the first time you see one live. And these can fly. Rarely do we find these in houses - they are more common in sewers and outdoors. I remember walking through the New York subway and seeing some run between peoples feet. These are called "Palmetto Bugs" in some parts of the country.

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