Cockroaches in Commercial Kitchens
ANNA HANSEN, Technical Service Support, MGK
What is the most important component when you begin treatment for cockroaches in commercial kitchens?
One of the most important components going into a cockroach treatment is your inspection. A good inspection will help you evaluate the level of infestation, locate harborage areas, and determine what products you’ll want to use. Don’t throw away your monitors until you get a good look at your catch. Pay attention to what life stages are being caught on monitors and from which direction to help you pinpoint harborage areas. Communicate the results of your inspection with your customer to help them concentrate on areas that need addressing.
Pest control is a partnership between you and your customer. Getting customer compliance for removing conducive conditions is arguably one of the most challenging aspects of roach control. To increase compliance, it may help not to overwhelm your customer with a massive to-do list. If I want my kids to listen, I don’t tell them to take off their coats and shoes, put everything away, and change their clothes before dinner. They might listen but are likely to miss a few steps or not follow instructions at all. It’s more successful and less stressful when I break that list down into one or two tasks at a time. Try telling your customer that cleaning behind a specific fridge or under a cabinet would help your efforts. Once that task is accomplished, you can point out the next one.
I arrived on-site, and the staff was in the kitchen prepping. Aside from sprays, what alternative control methods can I use?
Not all insecticides can be used when a facility is in operation. It can be frustrating to not have all your tools at your disposal, but you don’t have to completely reschedule your service. These are opportunities to get out the vacuum and remove any visible roaches you find during your inspection.
Baits are another great option for control in these situations. For best results, be sure to bait as close to harborage sites as possible. Cockroach baits are designed to be attractive, but roaches won’t necessarily travel across the kitchen to a bait if there are other food sources closer to home. Add enough bait for the level of infestation as determined by your inspection. An additional control measure is applying an insect growth regulator (IGR), such as NyGuard® IGR. When used in accordance with the label, NyGuard may be applied in food handling areas when the facility is in operation. IGRs reduce the reproductive potential of cockroaches and inhibit reinfestation. Used alone, IGRs work more slowly, but the end goal for using an IGR is long-term control of a roach population.
What features and benefits are ideal in a cockroach product?
There are several effective approaches for cockroach control. Some PMPs prefer baits, others might incorporate fogging applications, or a combination of several products. The ideal features and benefits in a cockroach product will vary depending on the level of infestation. When dealing with a high-level infestation, look for a product with flushing action to treat in harborage areas. From there, consider the use of residual insecticides and incorporate different modes of action. A product’s formulation, such as bait, dust, liquid concentrate, etc., has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. While personal preference plays a role, the conditions at a given location can also be a big driver in what formulation to choose.
It may seem elementary but double-check that your product is labeled for use in commercial food or food handling areas. Not all insecticides are! The EPA is responsible for establishing the maximum residue legally allowed to be present in food after an application, known as a food additive tolerance (F.A.T.) When the EPA sets a tolerance, they must make the determination that the pesticide can be used in food handling areas without undue risk to consumers. The EPA has accepted Sumari Insecticide for use in food handling establishments. With NyGuard already built into the product, Sumari is a dual-action formulation combining two long-lasting residual active ingredients. Sumari checks all the boxes for a quality roach control product when treating in commercial kitchens.