Cockroach Control that Doesn't Stink

Close-up of a German cockroach, the most common pest cockroach in Dayton

We live in a world full of conflict and disagreements. People and nations seem to love arguing and fighting over something. Sometimes we seem to search in vain for things we can all agree about.

That's why it's a kind of a good thing that we have cockroaches. They're a source of unity. Pretty much everyone hates them, and for good reasons: Aside from being prolific and hard to control, cockroaches are filthy insects that spread many serious diseases, contaminate our food and possessions with droppings and filth, and can trigger allergies and asthma attacks in some people.

Another thing most people agree about is that the old-fashioned way of exterminating cockroaches -- using volatile, foul-smelling chemicals that had the family living in the house gasping for a breath of fresh air -- was almost as bad as the cockroaches themselves. We remember those days. And frankly, we didn't like that way of doing things, either. We had to smell that stuff all day, every day. But that was all we had back then.

Just to add insult to injury, the old way of killing cockroaches didn't even work all that well. The chemicals were volatile and repellent enough that roaches tended to avoid the treated areas, only to emerge later on when the active ingredients were no longer concentrated enough to kill them.

Those sub-lethal exposures in turn led to more and more roaches becoming resistant to every new chemical developed to control them. Indeed, being a cockroach exterminator was a very frustrating way to make a living back in the old days.

Modern Cockroach Control that's Easy on People

Luckily, the old days are gone. We now have new ways to battle our own enemy that don't involve spraying smelly, toxic liquids all over your family's home. In fact, many of these products are applied in such tiny quantities that we use a syringe-like device to apply, literally a drop at a time. In addition, the active ingredients have very low vapor-pressures, so they don't get into the air and stink up the house.

Better still, the modern, no-odor cockroach control methods actually work better than the old "surround and drown" sprays ever did. They're not repellent (in fact, many of them are attractant-type baits), so insects don't avoid them. We've also experienced lower rates of resistance to these products than with some of the old-fashioned chemicals.

In fact, the only down side to the new products is that they require exterminators to work harder, using both our bodies and our brains to figure out where to apply the smallest amount of bait where it will do the most good. Luckily, we don't mind that part. It's a lot easier and more pleasant than dragging a gallon of smelly poison around all day.

When used as part of a comprehensive IPM approach that includes sanitation, proper food storage, exclusion, and harborage reduction, we can actually eliminate cockroach infestations. Of course, that'll mean that you lose the pleasure of the monthly visit from your friendly exterminator, but most of our customers seem willing to accept that.

Common Cockroach Species

Of the many species of cockroaches, only four are commonly encountered in the Dayton area. They have different enough habits, biology, and control methods that we want to provide a bit of information and pictures to help you identify "your" roaches.

A German cockroach, the most common cockroach found by exterminators in Dayton and Ohio's Miami Valley

German Cockroaches. If you're seeing smallish cockroaches in your kitchen or bathroom, there's a good chance that they're German cockroaches. They're the most common cockroach specie encountered by exterminators in Dayton and the Miami Valley, and they have a special fondness for warmth and moisture.

German cockroaches range from about 1/2 inch to 5/8 inches in length as adults. Females carrying egg sacs (or oothecae in the vernacular of pest management professionals) may seem a bit longer. They have two longitudinal bands on their pronotum (the shield-like structure on the dorsal side of their bodies, right behind their heads).

Like most cockroaches, German cockroaches like to hide themselves in cracks and crevices. They dislike light and air currents, so the number of cockroaches that you see tend to be a small fraction of the actual population. They are not social insects, but they do secrete pheromones that attract others of their specie to places where food and moisture can be found.

One peculiar thing about German cockroaches is that although all adults have full wings and the musculature to use them, it's a rare thing indeed to come across a German cockroach that flies. That's probably a good thing because the few individuals who do fly, do so very poorly. They basically flutter more than fly.

An American cockroach, the largest cockroach found by exterminators in Dayton and Ohio's Miami Valley. Adults can be as long as two inches in length.

American Cockroaches. American cockroaches are much larger than German cockroaches. Adults can be as long as two inches in length, although most are a bit shorter than that. If you're seeing cockroaches that look big enough to throw a saddle on and ride in a rodeo, there's a good chance that they're American cockroaches.

Adult American roaches are fully-winged and will occasionally fly. But they prefer their legs to their wings. They are quite fleet of foot, especially when you surprise them by turning on the lights. They rapidly scurry away and hide in the nearest suitable crack.

You usually won't see American cockroaches in the kitchen, however, unless you live in a basement apartment. They like to live in basements, boiler rooms, sewers, utility tunnels, and other dark, damp, warm, secluded areas. You're also less likely to see them in the summer because they sometimes migrate to the outdoors during warmer months.

By the way, American cockroaches are often (and incorrectly) referred to as "water bugs" or "palmetto bugs."

A brown-branded cockroach, commonly found in areas of a home other than the kitchen or bathroom

Brown-Banded Cockroaches. Brown-banded cockroaches are a bit smaller than German cockroaches, averaging about half an inch as adults. Males have full wings and can fly fairly well. Females are a bit shorter and broader than males, have stubby, partial wings, and cannot fly at all. Both males and females have brownish bands across their abdomens.

If you have small roaches in areas of your home other than the kitchen or bathrooms, far from ready sources of water, there's a reasonably good chance that they're brown-banded roaches. They prefer somewhat drier conditions than most roaches and are perfectly content living in closets, furnishings, and other dry areas.

This characteristic can make treatment of a home for brown-banded cockroaches a bigger job that treatment for German cockroaches simply because there are more potential places where they can be found. Other than that, the treatments are pretty similar.

An oriental cockroach, often found along the interior perimeter of basements and crawl spaces.

Oriental Cockroaches. Oriental cockroaches average between 3/4 inch and slightly over an inch in length, and are usually shiny black or dark brown in color. Males are a bit more slender than females, have wings that extend over about two-thirds of their abdomens, and a few individual males can fly clumsily. Females are a bit broader than males, have only very short wing pads, and cannot fly at all.

Oriental cockroaches are not as commonly encountered by pest control operators in and around Dayton as the other three cockroach species, mainly because they actually prefer living outside. They have a fondness for leaf litter, mulches, and other warm, dark, damp places that are rich in decaying organic matter. But especially during the cooler months, they will occasionally infest homes.

When they do get into homes, Oriental cockroaches are usually found in basements, crawl spaces, and other dark areas. They tend to be found along sill plates or other places close to the perimeter of the building, and will often live in the gaps in rubble walls or other protected places.

Like American cockroaches, Oriental cockroaches are sometimes referred to as "water bugs."

Cockroach Control

Whatever kind of cockroach problem you're facing, we can take care of it using methods that are touch on roaches, but easy on your family. Please contact us for more information about our non-smelly cockroach extermination programs, or any of our residential pest control services. We look forward to your call.


Jarrod's Corner

Concerns about termites?  Call today at 937-478-5776 for a free inspection. Here we are performing a chemical treatment. We also offer termite bait systems. 


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Apr 28, 2019 05:53:39 pm.

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The Dayton area just ranked #34 in the nation for bed bugs. If you need help, call today for a free estimate. Here is a picture from a heat treatment today in Huber Heights.

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Sep 20, 2018 08:58:53 pm.

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Check out this video from a bed bug heat treatment done near downtown Dayton today.

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Aug 29, 2018 11:08:23 am.

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Aug 24, 2018 03:24:44 pm.

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