AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION SERVICE
JAMES E. BROGDON
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN AGRICULTURE AND HOME ECONOMICS
Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914
Agricultural Extension Service, University of Florida, Florida State University and United
States Department of Agriculture, Cooperating. H. G. Clayton, Director
CONSIDER THESE IMPORTANT POINTERS IN THE
CONTROL OF COCKROACHES
1. Sanitation is important. Deprive roaches of their food
supply by keeping the kitchen and other premises clean.
2. Make it difficult for roaches to enter buildings. Fill small
holes and cracks with putty or plastic wood and inspect all bas-
kets, bags or boxes of food and laundry brought into the house.
3. Learn how and where roaches develop. Learn where they
crawl and hide. Apply the correct insecticide to those places.
4. Know what insecticides to use. Chlordane, dieldrin and
lindane are effective against the roaches commonly found in
5. Learn how to apply a residual spray. The manner of ap-
plying an insecticide is as important as what to use.
6. Repeat applications of insecticides as needed. One applica-
tion will not last indefinitely.
7. Avoid contamination of food, water and cooking and eating
utensils when applying insecticides.
8. Store roach-control chemicals out of reach of children, pets
and irresponsible people.
WHY CONTROL ROACHES
Cockroaches are troublesome pests throughout the United
States. They are not only annoying but, when abundant, they
may also be destructive. These insects, sometimes called water-
bugs or palmetto bugs, destroy food and damage fabrics, book
bindings and other materials. When roaches run over food they
leave filth and may spread disease germs. Roaches may serve
as mechanical carriers of several diseases. An oily liquid that
is offensive and sickening is secreted from scent glands of these
pests. This odor may ruin food and be imparted to dishes that
are apparently clean. Excrement in the form of pellets or an
ink-like liquid also contributes to this nauseating odor.
A B C D E F G
Fig. 1.-Common Florida cockroaches. A, common woods roach and
egg capsule; B, American adult with egg capsules; C, Australian adult;
D, Australian nymph (immature); E, brown-banded adults; F, German
adults with egg capsules; G, German nymph (immature). (Photograph
by Frank W. Mead, State Plant Board of Florida.)
KINDS OF ROACHES
The four kinds of roaches commonly found in Florida dwell-
ings are shown in Figure 1. The German and brown-banded
cockroaches are about the same size and the adult females are
never more than 58 inch long. The adult female American
cockroach may be 11/. to 2 inches long, including wings. The
Australian roach resembles the American very much but is
slightly smaller. The common Florida woods roach sometimes
enters dwellings from the outside area or from beneath the
house, but does not become established inside the house. It is
very clumsy and has no wings. It is often confused with the
Oriental cockroach, which is a major household pest in other
sections of the country.
HOW ROACHES REPRODUCE
The female roach lays her eggs in a leathery capsule which
she forms at the end of her body and carries around for several
days (see Figure 1). Before the eggs are ready to hatch, the
female roach deposits the bean-shaped egg capsule behind pic-
tures or baseboards, in desk drawers, under sinks, underneath
tables or around water pipes. Each capsule contains a number
of eggs. There may be as many as 48 eggs in the capsule of
the German cockroach. The German and brown-banded cock-
roaches may have two or three generations a year, but other
kinds require about a year to develop from egg to adult.
AIDS IN PREVENTING INFESTATIONS
Inspect all baskets, bags or boxes of food and laundry brought
into the house. Fill with putty or plastic wood all openings
around pipes passing through floors or walls, as well as cracks
leading to spaces behind baseboards and door frames, particu-
larly if roaches are coming in from adjoining apartments or
from outside. Make it difficult for roaches to enter.
WHERE TO LOOK FOR ROACHES
Roaches hide in dark, sheltered places during the day and
come out and feed at night. They may be found around the
kitchen sink or drain board; in cracks around or underneath
cupboards and cabinets or inside them, especially in the upper
corner; behind drawers; around pipes or conduits, where they
pass along the wall or go through it; behind window or door
frames; behind loose baseboards or molding strips; on the under
side of tables and chairs; in the bathroom; and in radio and
The German roach is usually found in the kitchen and bath-
room, while the brown-banded roach may be found all over the
house. Look for brown-banded roaches in the upper part of
cabinets or closets and book cases, behind mirrors, in drawers
and behind pictures, in radio and TV cabinets and other similar
Other kinds of roaches prefer damp, warm places and usually
develop in basements, storerooms and similar locations.
CONTROL OF ROACHES
Sanitation or cleanup will aid considerably in roach control.
Take away their food supply. Do not leave crumbs of food on
tables, floors or in kitchen sinks over night. Keep garbage cans
covered tightly and store food in tight containers. Dirt and
filth help roaches to develop and make them more difficult to
Insecticides applied in the living portion of the house will kill
the roaches there, but others will continue to appear. To con-
trol them satisfactorily, you must treat the source of infestation.
Residual Insecticides.-The use of a residual insecticide prop-
erly applied to places frequented by roaches will kill roaches
that contact it for several days or weeks. However, applications
will need to be repeated.
Chlordane is very effective against all kinds of roaches and
has good residual properties. It should be used as a 2 to 3%
spray or 5 to 6% dust. Oil base chlordane sprays are most
commonly used and do not leave visible residues like dusts.
These sprays are available commercially already prepared.
Dieldrin has recently been given label approval for use in the
control of household pests. It has a long residual effect. Follow
recommendations on container label for usage.
Lindane is effective against roaches, but does not have as long
residual effect as chlordane or dieldrin. It may be used as a
dust or spray and is available as a ready-prepared household
DDT was the first of the newer insecticides used for roach
control, but is not satisfactory against all kinds of roaches com-
monly found in Florida dwellings.
HOW TO APPLY INSECTICIDES
Refer to the section on "Where to Look for Roaches" before
applying insecticides. Sprays are generally more suitable than
dusts and do not leave visible residues. Liquids may be applied
with any of the sprayers shown in Figure 2 or similar applica-
tors. Apply sprays behind baseboards, back of the stove and
refrigerator, around pipes and under sinks, on exposed surfaces
where roaches crawl, on the under side of objects and other
places where roaches may crawl or hide. Hold sprayers about
6 inches from the surface being treated and apply a fairly coarse
spray so that the surface will be wet, but not until it forms
droplets and puddles on the floor. A paint brush is excellent
for applying liquid insecticides to baseboards, the inside of
cabinets, the bottom and outside of drawers and similar locations.
Remove drawers before treating thoroughly the inside of cabi-
nets, desks and similar furniture. The insecticide may be applied
to the bottom and sides of the drawers, but this usually is not
necessary for satisfactory control. A small duster similar to
the one shown in Figure 2 is excellent for applying dusts to the
edges of baseboards, in corners, in and around cupboards and
similar places. Dusts may be effectively applied to hard-to-
Fig. 2.-Some types of household applicators. A, paint brush; B, com-
mon household applicator; C and D, pump oiler type sprayers; E, puffer
duster. (Photograph by Frank W. Mead, State Plant Board of Florida.)
Avoid contamination of food, water and cooking and eating
utensils with roach-control chemicals. Cover exposed food or
cooking and eating utensils in a room that is being treated to
protect them from spray. Remove fish bowls from the room or
protect them while insecticides are being applied.
Oil solutions should not be used near an open flame. Oil solu-
tions that get on asphalt tile floors should be removed imme-
diately, as they will damage them. Store insecticides out of reach
of children and irresponsible persons. Do not store roach-control
chemicals where they may be mistaken for a food product or
medicine. READ MANUFACTURER'S LABEL CAREFULLY.
Appreciation is expressed to Clemson Agricultural College for use of
the cover drawing; to L. A. Hetrick and A. J. Rogers, Department of
Entomology, University of Florida, for helpful suggestions used in the
preparation of this circular. Helpful information was taken from USDA
Leaflet No. 144, "Cockroaches and Their Control"; Florida Agricultural
Extension Service Bulletin 143, "Household Insects and Their Control";
and Clemson Extension Service Circular 402, "Goodbye Mr. Roach".