Roach control in apartments can be one of the most difficult, frustrating, time consuming exercises in futility known to the common man. The odds of keeping an already infested apartment building free from cockroaches are next to nil unless a drastic and no nonsense approach is taken. Once roaches have invaded the walls and plumbing areas it can be a game of cat and mouse where all it seems you do is chase the critters from one apartment to the other.
Professional pest companies line up by the dozens around bid time to take their shot at landing these seemingly ‘prestigious accounts’ and I always wonder why. Is it the lure of a large monthly production number and exposing your company to other potential business? Is it the pride of the salesman as he posts his totals at the morning meeting? Whatever the reason, the luster of the shiny big number soon goes away when the complaint calls come rolling in and angry tenants besmirch your company’s good name because you can’t get rid of the roaches.
The problem with roach elimination in an apartment
Since apartments are connected on almost every side with walls, pipes, attic areas, some a/c work etc. that in and of itself presents a huge obstacle in creating an effective pest control barrier that covers all the harborage and travel points. This can make life so difficult for a bug man as the roach can go back and forth from home to home. Add to this the roach’s ability to detect insecticides, squeeze through the tiniest of cracks, follow the minutest air currents to help them find their way through even the most solid fire walls and you have a dilemma that can and often does turn into a reoccurring nightmare. Even with these two hurdles there is one problem that no amount of spray will ever be enough to get rid of roaches in an apartment setting.
The recycled roach
What I call roach recycling is actually from new tenants who move in and bring with them their own collection of filthy disgusting roaches. You may have worked hard to get a roach population down to even zero in a building or specific apartment while it was vacant and the maintenance men may have helped with a can of Raid in between your visits. Perhaps you fogged, baited and dusted every conceivable spot where a roach would even think about living. Both you and the ‘super’ scratched your heads amazed that these roaches could live so long in an empty place with all that treatment. Finally when the place is all cleaned up and ready for a new occupant, you pat yourself on the back but then your experience tells you not to hold your breath.
Of course the new tenant is not likely to divulge the fact that the place they last left was a roach haven or that while in between abodes they had their stuff in storage (for 2 years) where it became its own apartment complex for roaches, mice, earwigs and any number of pests. No, what the usual course of action is a call to the manager complaining about the bugs “that they’ve never had before.” The manager then calls you and exclaims there is a problem in # 204 and that you must have never gotten rid of the problem in the first place.
So now you are back to square one and instead of being able to treat an empty apartment where at least you had a chance, you now have to spray around boxes and furniture. Oh and of course the new occupant has a 30 year old exotic bird or asthma or is allergic so you can’t use any toxic pesticides.
So now you work and treat all over again trying to provide a pest free environment with your new set of circumstances in the same apartment. You brace for the calls and hope # 204 is somehow left off the list, you re-teach and educate to a usually unwilling student and all the while the manager is flipping through the yellow pages to line up next year’s bids which is sort of their own recycling program.
Meanwhile across town is a nice couple who are waiting for their one o’clock appointment with you in their single family home. They are always happy to have you, eager to hear about the kids or how your vacation was. They also can’t wait to say what a good job you’re doing and they have absolutely no bug problems to report. You met them last year and they had a severe roach problem that just never seemed to go away. They will never be without you now and where ever they move, you’re coming with them. They learned a lot from you and have implemented many of the things you told them about for pest free living. But perhaps the one thing that was most important they didn’t fully realize until the day they moved. That’s when they learned about roach recycling and how to prevent it when they packed up the last box and left, apartment # 204.