Roach Control in Food Facilities

July 2023 edition by Christina Kline

Cockroach control in a food plant can be easy or extremely difficult and time-consuming. Many different factors can determine control measures and your treatment plan, as well as the longevity of the treatment plan.

Begin with inspection. Part of our integrated pest management program we implement at all sites we service, we inspect. Inspection can lead to identification of conducive conditions that may allow entry by the cockroaches, sanitation conditions that allow them to thrive in given areas, and identification of the cockroach itself. You must identify the species before you can control the species. The type of cockroach directly affects the overall treatment plan you apply, from the baits to application methods. For instance, you’re told by your contact that cockroaches have been sighted in the kitchen of the cafeteria. You meet with the staff in the area, and they tell you they’ve seen three behind the fryer that shares a wall with the community fridge that employees keep their lunch bag in or on. You inspect the area in question and find a light tan oval-shaped shell under the counter and black spots on the wall where there is a paper-tight crack. By identifying the evidence as a German cockroach ootheca and frass, you pull up a picture of the German cockroach and the staff confirm this as the pest in question. It’s game on. You formulate your treatment plan. You begin with deeper inspections to pinpoint ground zero. Locate points of harborage and apply bait to the immediate areas. Remember, you deliver the bait to the cockroach, they aren’t going to come to the bait. You then apply tamper-proof monitors in discreet locations near and in the immediate areas that may act as cozy nesting spots for the roach. Lastly, you educate the staff on your target pest all while discussing your “next steps” to aid them in eradicating their problem.  Ask them to keep the area clean and orderly, tell them what needs to be sealed properly to eliminate harboring points, and perform all of this with compassion for the situation.

Baits, insecticide, growth regulators, fogging, flushing, and fumigation, all can be forms of control for cockroaches in a food plant but, as we all know, you must determine and justify use for any tool you choose. Just remember, routine inspection is keen to controlling cockroaches in any food plant and should always be your first step. Get down there and look at hard-to-reach areas, tell your contact what structural deficiencies may be located, and if you’re up to it, do some pest exclusion work to ensure harborage is eliminated. Identify your cockroach and educate the customer on the species. Offer season-appropriate exterior perimeter treatments to keep peridomestic cockroaches pushed back in the warmer wet months.

It's difficult to sum up roach control because just like FSS, Inc. and the pest control program we implement; it's forever changing and evolving for the better with new technology and pesticide formulations coming out constantly. All we can do is mix the old with the new and control roaches with our own creative twist.