Florida Cooperative Extension Service
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
University of Florida
COCKROACHES AND THEIR CONTROL
Don Short & John Strayer
Assistant & Associate Extension Entomologists Res
POINTS TO CONSIDER IN CONTROLLING
Why Control Cockroaches
Cockroaches are pests throughout the Un
States. They are annoying and when abun
they are also destructive. These insects, also kn
as waterbugs, croton bugs or palmetto bugs, dest
food and damage fabrics, bookbindings and ol
materials. When cockroaches run over food t
leave filth and may spread disease germs. T
secrete an oily liquid from their scent glands tha
offensive and sickening. This odor may ruin fc
and be imparted to dishes that are apparently cle
Excrement in the form of pellets or an ink-]
liquid also contributes to this nauseating oc
Learn The Kinds of Cockroaches And How TI
Develop. Learn Where They Live, Crawl or H
Figure 1.- Common Florida Cockroaches.
(left to right): Florida Woods Roach, Ameri
Smoky-Brown, Brown and Australian. Bottom:
to right): German and Brown-Banded.
Figure 3.- One gallon compressed air sprayer.
Apply sprays along baseboards, back of the stove
and refrigerator, around pipes and under sinks,
around toilet stools, on exposed surfaces where
roaches crawl, on the underside of objects and
other places where cockroaches may crawl or hide.
Hold sprayers about six inches from the surface
being treated and apply a fairly coarse spray so that
it does not form droplets and puddles on the floor.
A paint brush is excellent for applying liquid
insecticides to baseboards, the insides of cabinets,
the bottom and outside of drawers and similar
locations. Remove drawers before treating thor-
oughly the inside of cabinets, desks and similar
furniture. Allow time for cabinet shelves and
drawers to dry and then replace shelf paper before
replacing contents of shelves and drawers.
A small duster may be purchased for applying
dusts to the edges of baseboards, in covers, in and
around cupboards and similar hard-to-reach places.
Generally speaking, additional treatments will
/need to be made in one to two months. Fre-
Squency of treatments will depend on sanitation
practices, thoroughness of the insecticide appli-
cation and how vulnerable the home is to re-
Cockroach control outdoors.-To reduce the
number of cockroaches going indoors, it is sug-
gested that dusts containing 5 or 10% chlordane or
1 to 2% diazinon be applied under the house,
porches, etc. and to mulches in and around flower
beds, shrubs, etc. If the house is on a concrete
slab, a barrier can be made by applying the dust in
a band 1 or 2 feet wide on the ground around the
house. Other outside places where cockroaches are
commonly found should also be treated. If sprays
are applied, use those to be mixed in water and
applied to plants (not household spray mixtures
containing oil). Follow mixing directions on the
Commercial products and services.-Insecticides
may be purchased as either emulsifiable concen-
trates or wettable powders and mixed with water
at home for spraying. Equipment needed for ap-
plication is also available at stores selling pesticides.
Ready-to-use sprays are available at local stores as
aerosol bombs, bottles with push button sprayers
or in containers to be poured into flit guns (hand
sprayers) and applied. These are sold under
various trade names with the active ingredient
given on the container label. Read the label to be
sure you get one of the recommended insecticides.
The Structural Pest Control Industry offers pro-
fessional services in the control of cockroaches and
other household pests. Florida law requires these
businesses to be certified and licensed to perform
these services. They have the equipment and train-
ing to do a thorough job, therefore, many people
prefer'to use this service rather than try to control
Be Thorough Practice Pesticide Safety
SAvoid contaminating food, water, cooking uten-
s and dishes with cockroach-control chemicals.
Cover exposed food or cooking and eating uten-
si in a room that is being treated to protect them
fm spray. Remove fish bowls, pets, etc. from the
rom or protect them while insecticides are being
applied. Have adequate ventilation in rooms being
t sated. If the insecticide is spilled on the skin,
vAsh immediately with soap and water.
Oil solutions should not be used near an open
Sme. Oil solutions that get on asphalt tile floors
s would be removed immediately, as they will
mage them. Store insecticides out of reach of
Sildren, pets and irresponsible persons. Do not
s ore cockroach-control chemicals where they may
mistaken for a food product or medicine. Dis-
se of empty containers promptly and safely.
Kinds of Cockroaches.-The kinds of cock-
3aches most commonly found in and around
lorida homes are shown in Figure 1. The smallest
ckroaches, the German and the brown-banded,
e close to the same size and the adults are seldom
lore than 5/8" long. The larger cockroaches, the
merican, Australian, brown, and the smoky
brown are 11/" to 2" long. Though they are
nerally found outdoors they can become an in-
oor problem when they migrate or are carried
doors. The largest cockroach, the Florida woods
ach, will also enter dwellings from the outside
from beneath the house.
Development of the Cockroach.-The cockroach
s three life stages: the egg, nymph and adult.
ockroach eggs are deposited in groups in a leathery
se or capsule called an ootheca. This capsule is
ually dropped or glued to some surface by the
male as soon as it is formed, however, the female
rman cockroach carries the capsule protruding
om her body until the eggs are ready to hatch.
ere may be from 30 to 48 eggs in the capsule of
e German cockroach but capsules of other cock-
aches may have only 10 to 28 eggs.
The newly hatched nymphs have no wings and
ey shed their skins, or molt, several times before
coming winged adults. Figure 2 shows the
developmental stages of the German cockroach.
German and brown-banded cockroaches may
ave several generations per year but others may
quire a year to develop from egg to adult.
Figure 2.- Life cycle of the German Cockroach.
dult female and male, nymphs and egg capsule.
Where to Look for Cockroaches-Cockroaches
hide in dark, sheltered places during the day and
come out and feed at night. They may be found
around the kitchen sink or drainboard; in cracks
around or underneath cupboards and cabinets or
inside them, especially in the upper covers; behind
drawers; around pipes or conduits, where they pass
along the wall or go through it; behind windows or
door frames; behind loose baseboards or molding
strips; on the underside of tables and chairs; in the
bathroom; and in radio and TV cabinets.
The German cockroach is usually found in the
kitchen and bathroom, while the brown-banded
roach may be found all over the house. Look for
brown-banded cockroaches in the upper part of
cabinets or closets and bookcases, behind mirrors,
in drawers or behind pictures and clocks, in radio
and TV cabinets and other similar places.
Other kinds of cockroaches prefer damp, warm
places and usually develop in basements, store-
rooms and similar locations.
Make It Difficult For Cockroaches to Become
Prevent infestations.-Inspect all baskets, bags or
boxes of food, firewood and laundry brought into
the house. Destroy any cockroaches or egg
capsules that are found. Make it difficult for
cockroaches to enter by filling with patching
plaster, putty or plastic wood all openings around
pipes passing through floors or walls, as well as
cracks leading to spaces behind baseboards
and doorframes, particularly if cockroaches a e
coming in from adjoining apartments or from oL-
side. Keep door and window screens in good -
pair and make sure that there are no cracks betwe
them and the frames.
Sanitation Is Very Important
Sanitation or cleanup will aid considerably
cockroach control. Take away their food supply.
Store food in tight containers and avoid spilli
flour, cereals and other dry materials in cupboard
or on pantry shelves. Do not leave remnants
food on tables or in kitchen sinks overnight. Swe
kitchen, pantry and dining areas. Put table scrap
vegetable parings and other waste materials
tightly covered garbage cans.
Know What Insecticides to Use. The Manner of
Application Is As Important As What to Use
What to use.-Sprays and dusts properly applied
will control cockroaches. German cockroaches,
however, are often resistant to chlordane and
malathion. Baygon, diazinon, dursban and ronnel
(Korlan) will control resistant cockroaches.
Sprays and dusts can be purchased ready-
prepared, however, sprays can be prepared accord-
ing to directions on the label. Be sure sprays'
mixed with water are used the same day otherwise
they will lose their effectiveness.
Baits are currently available but are not as fast
acting as sprays or dusts. When dealing with heavy
infestations baits should not be expected to control
cockroaches, however, they can be used in addition
to residual sprays. At present, a bait containing
Baygon or Kepone would be the most effective
for a homeowner to use.
(1) Baygon.-1% oil solution; controls German
cockroaches as well as other kinds.
(2) Chlordane.-2% oil solution or water emul-
sion; or 5% dust-German cockroaches have de-
veloped resistance; controls other kinds.
(3) Diazinon.-0.5% oil solution or water emul-
sion; or 1% dust-controls German cockroaches
as well as other kinds.
(4) Dursban.-0.5% oil solution or water emul-
sion; controls German cockroaches as well as other
(5) Malathion.-2 to 3% oil solution or water
emulsion; or 5% dust; controls German cockroaches
as well as other kinds, however, German cock-
roaches have shown resistance in some areas.
(6) Ronnel (Korlan).-2% oil solution or water
emulsion-controls German cockroaches as well as
Application of insecticides.-Be sure you under-
stand where to look for cockroaches before apply-
ing insecticides. Sprays are generally more suitable
than dusts and do not leave visible residues.
Liquids may be applied with a hand sprayer,
push button sprayer, aerosol bombs or a more
expensive compressed air sprayer similar to the one
shown in Figure 3.
AUG Z 6 16
AUG 2 0 1976
This public document was promulgated at
an annual cost of $407.00, or .027 cents per
copy to inform homeowners how to control
Single copies free to residents of Florida. Bulk rates
available upon request. Please submit details on
request to Chairman, Editorial Department, Institute
of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of
Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611.
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN AGRICULTURE AND HOME ECONOMICS
(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
Cooperative Extension Service, IFAS, University of Flonda
and United States Department of Agriculture, Cooperating
Joe N. Busby, Dean
Acknowledgment is made to entomologists of IFAi
and USDA for information and assistance in preparation o
The use of trade names in this publication is solely fo
the purpose of providing specific information. It is not
guarantee or warranty of the products hamed and does no
signify that they are approved to the exclusion of others o