It is well known that termites and ants are particularly difficult to control in terms of both preventative and remedial pest management tactics. However, cockroaches were the most significant insect pests of homes and buildings during the 20th century and before, as they were largely immune to the professional-grade control measures that existed at the time. Luckily, the late 20th century saw the advent of effective cockroach baits that remain the industry standard to this day.
Since numerous cockroach pests inhabit single nests that are obscured within inaccessible indoor areas, such as wall voids, there is no easy way to destroy or remove cockroaches from an infested home. Early roach baiting systems only killed the few individual roaches that ventured out of their nests and consumed the poison bait, but today’s roach baiting systems contain a slow acting poison that becomes fatal hours after being ingested by roach pests. This delayed reaction allows affected roaches to return to their nest where they spread the poison to their nestmates, eventually leading to the complete destruction of the nest.
These improved baits work by exploiting several cockroach behaviors, particularly foraging, mutual fecal consumption in nests, and vomit consumption in nests. For example, each hidden cockroach nest within a home sees a small proportion of individuals leave during the nighttime hours in order to gather food sources from open living areas. These foraging roaches consume poison bait from bait stations placed throughout a home before returning to their nests.
Cockroaches naturally indulge in the consumption of their nestmates’ feces, and therefore, the contaminated feces of poisoned roaches are readily eaten by nestmates, allowing the poison to spread throughout a nest. The poison is also spread via cannibalism, which is a normal cockroach behavior. Lastly, studies have shown that foraging roaches vomit before dying from the toxic effects of the bait, which prompts healthy nestmates to consume the toxic vomit, further facilitating the spread of fatal toxins throughout a nest.
Have you ever resorted to cockroach baits to eliminate an infection?