History Lesson in Cockroach Management & Bait Rotation

July 2015


Over the past year, I have contributed to numerous discussions regarding cockroach bait rotation via presentations, panels and one-on-one conversations with pest management professionals (PMPs). As a former technical director, I understand the operational burden PMPs - both big and small - face when considering such a process.


I'd like to share more about bait rotation, but before I do, let's review a little industry history. My earlier days in pest management included a routine for German cockroach management that many of today's PMPs have never experienced — night work. Working at night wasn't just common; it was expected. Initial services to commercial accounts (e.g., food service, food manufacturing and institutional kitchens) were scheduled after closing. These services were routinely scheduled to begin after the cleaning crews were finished, which sometimes meant a start time of 2:00 a.m.


The service was usually performed by a team of multiple technicians in which each tech was assigned a duty (i.e., a dust tech, an aerosol tech, a spray tech and a fogging tech). The customer was required to complete a complex preparation process to provide access to treatment sites and prevent food/utensil/appliance contamination. It was not unusual for our teams to be literally locked into the account location by the manager while we performed the service, then "freed" when he/she returned hours later.


To say this method was burdensome is an understatement. Even when compensated, night work stressed technicians, especially since this process was complex to perform, and regular routes still needed to be maintained. Frequent rescheduling was common due to customer operations and non-compliance with preparation requirements.


Cockroach Bait Rotation Infographic


The development of cockroach baits and the efficacy these formulations deliver have all but eliminated the burden of night work in German roach management. This is a core reality I try to communicate when we consider the threat that exists from gel bait aversion and potential resistance to bait active ingredients.


At Bayer, we have introduced the Maxforce Rotation Strategy-a definition of how to execute gel bait rotation. I may seem fixated on this issue, but my goals are based on maintaining the value baiting provides to our customers and to the industry as a whole. I don't believe we want to go back to the old days of night work and sending crews out for German roach service. We all understand that the development of new products has become very complex, so every effort to maintain the efficacy of existing technologies is an effort well spent.


Our rotation strategy is divided into three service intervals:

  • Clean Out: This is defined as the initial service (or crisis/complaint) and should be followed for 90 days.
  • Rotate: Apply a rotation-ready bait, such as Maxforce Impact, for 90-120 days to prevent the selection for gel aversion behavior.
  • Maintain: Apply a different roach gel bait to maintain roach-free conditions. Continue the Rotation/Maintenance cycles for the life of the account. The cycle period for Rotation and Maintenance is based on the generational cycle for German cockroaches. This period may be adjusted based on operational execution, but it must last a (biological) minimum of 90-120 days.

You may use holidays, seasons or a personally significant date for rotation periods, but it is suggested that rotation periods last no longer than six months. If you'd like to discuss rotation in more detail, please contact your local Bayer representative, or contact me directly.

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