Scientists Uncover New Way—and Reason—to Battle Cockroaches

New research provides more reasons to hate—and love—cockroaches.
New research provides more reasons
to hate—and “love”—cockroaches.

(NAPS)—After crawling the planet for more than 350 million years, cockroaches have proven to be one of the world’s hardiest household pests. While cockroaches have long been known to carry disease-causing germs, this year scientists confirmed that they are also a powerful allergen. The good news is scientists also have found a creative way to combat roaches this year—with love.

In March, researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas reported that cockroaches aggravate asthma symptoms in children far more than pets or mites. Their findings were based on a study of 937 inner-city children aged five to 11 with moderate to severe asthma symptoms.

Study results confirmed that cockroach allergens, found in roach saliva, fecal material, secretions and cast-off skin, are the primary contributor to childhood asthma in inner-city homes, causing a significant increase in the longevity of coughing, wheezing and chest tightness for study participants, said researchers. The report recommended controlling cockroach allergen levels with pest control.

Along with the cockroach allergen survey results, scientists at Cornell University and N.C. State University announced in February that they had isolated the pheromone, or chemical attractant, that female German cockroaches produce to alert males they are ready to mate. Dubbed “blatellaquinone,” in honor of the German cockroach’s Latin name, Blatella germanica, the “love pheromone” was synthesized and tested on male cockroaches, who responded immediately. It eventually could be used in poison baits or sticky traps, providing another weapon in the seemingly endless battle against German cockroaches.

Meanwhile, “Make sure that roaches aren’t hitching a ride indoors by monitoring what comes into your home. Also, vacuuming regularly and cleaning up debris and spills are important in preventing cockroaches around the home,” said Orkin, Inc. entomologist Ron Harrison, Ph.D.

Harrison also recommends:

  • Storing garbage containers in dry areas;
  • Sealing cracks around doors and windows, as cockroaches need no more than 1/8-inch to enter;
  • Disposing of cardboard boxes and paper grocery bags, which provide shelter sites for cockroaches;
  • Trimming tree branches that overhang the home; and
  • Contacting a pest control professional to treat for infestations.

For more information regarding cockroaches or other pests, Call 1-800-800-ORKIN or visit for a free home inspection.

Did You Know?

According to Ron Harrison, Ph.D, an entomologist at Orkin, Inc., ways to keep a home roach free include: storing garbage containers in dry areas; sealing cracks around doors and windows; and disposing of cardboard boxes and paper bags, which provide shelter sites for cockroaches.