Case Studies

Pests We Treat Case Studies: Home in Edison, NJ overrun with cockroaches

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018 by Chris Fyfe


I was dispatched to a home in Edison, NJ, to help a homeowner resolve a severe cockroach infestation. This was a German roach infestation, the most common roach species that infest homes and apartments. Most roach activity is found in residential and commercial kitchens and bathrooms, both of which supply them with water, moisture, and food. Have bathrooms food? For cockroaches, yes! They will feed on almost anything including soap. glue, and toothpaste. 

German roaches are about one-half inch long and light brown to tan, with two dark stripes on their back just behind their head, as well as six long spiny legs that allow them to quickly scurry across almost any surface, and specialized pads that allow them to stick to and walk on walls and ceilings. They can fit through tiny openings as small as 3/8 of an inch. Roaches, and German roaches, in particular, are one of the vilest insects that we deal with, ranking right up there with bed bugs. Roaches not only spread many harmful viruses and other pathogens to people, but they also have allergens that can trigger serious allergic reactions.

As soon as I entered this home, I knew that there was a severe roach infestation. When there is a heavy infestation in a home, there is often a musty smell that comes from their feces. Yes, cockroaches poop, and if there are enough roaches, it’s pretty easy to spot. Cockroaches deposit small cylindrical pellets that resemble coffee grounds. A cluster of roach deposits is a sure sign that there is a major roach infestation. Roach droppings are left behind wherever there is roach activity and with this home, droppings were everywhere. I found them on the walls, on top of door frames and on top of the refrigerator. 

Roaches are resilient insects and an entrenched roach infestation can be a challenge to resolve. Proper preparation for a successful treatment requires cooperation from the homeowner or tenant. We have extremely effective products to get rid of these vile insects, but to be most effective, roach harborage areas must be removed. Cowleys gives homeowners a prep sheet to follow prior to treatment. This customer followed the prep sheet to the letter, making my job much easier and ensuring that this roach infestation would be eliminated. To prepare the kitchen for treatment, all of the kitchen cabinets were emptied and all food was taken out of the kitchen and covered with plastic. 


I begin treatment with a residual insecticide using my compressed air sprayer to get into every nook and cranny of the kitchen. The beauty of a residual application is that it remains effective wherever they are applied for some length of time. Over-the-counter roach control products, despite their tough-sounding names, are usually ineffective and more often than not, make matters worse by spreading the infestation. I applied our professional use product to all of the cabinets and behind the appliances, baseboards, and wall junctures. Cockroaches can squeeze into almost any space, even finding their way behind floor molding. Next, using a micro-injection fogger, I treated all the smallest cracks and crevices throughout the kitchen and adjoining room. These insects can hide virtually anywhere, and it is critical to flush them out from any possible hiding space.

Once all of the flushed-out roaches were no longer moving, I spoke with the homeowner. He was visibly relieved to see all of the dead roaches that had come out of the woodwork. Now, after treatment, this family would be living in a much safer and healthier environment. To prevent further roach infestations it is critical to maintaining good sanitation in the kitchen — no food left out, everything in sealed containers, no dirty dishes, and all food surface areas kept clean and water-free. However, even with spotless kitchens, roaches can sometimes hitchhike their way into a home on grocery bags or in corrugated boxes. As soon as there is any sign of roach activity, contact a pest control service immediately. With roach breeding rates, It does not take long for a small roach infestation to soon become a major problem. 

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