Controlling Cockroaches

Controlling Cockroaches

Author, Cassie Krejci, Ph. D.

Author, Cassie Krejci, Ph.D.

When you ask someone which insect they are most afraid of, I would guess most people will say, “cockroaches”. Spiders may be a close second, but then again, spiders are not insects.

Did you know that the fear of insects is referred to as entomophobia?

I seem to have digressed….

Get On With It!

You may be wondering I am talking about cockroaches. Doesn’t the TERM Barrier Division deal with termites? Why, yes! But cockroaches are one of those insect invaders that disrupt the comfort of a structure’s inhabitants. As manufacturers of building envelope materials, Polyguard’s TERM Barrier System not only protects the structure from moisture and energy loss, but insects as well! Talk about double duty!

TERM™ Barrier Excludes Pests from structures

Not only do these materials block entry of insect pests into the structure as physical barriers, but the waterproofing qualities eliminate a requisite for life from the structure: moisture. Without easy access to it, most insects will find the home uncomfortable.

dead cockroach

Here’s another fun fact for the dinner table: termites and cockroaches are actually in the same order of insects (Blattodea). Though they are not very similar anatomically, they were recently found to be close ancestors through genetic studies.

So, what is our primary concern with cockroaches, besides the fact that most people just find the sight of them uncomfortable?

Cockroaches are mechanical vectors of pathogens that cause diseases in humans. This means that the cockroaches will pick up pathogens from the environment on their feet, bodies, or mouthparts, and transmit the pathogen to your food, or food prep surface. This can all happen without anyone ever seeing a roach!

controlling cockroaches

Possible diseases that can result from these pathogens are:

  • Cholera
  • Typhoid fever
  • Salmonellosis
  • Listeriosis
  • Plague


There are many species of cockroaches in the United States that inhibit our homes and structures, but the two most common are the German Cockroach and the American Cockroach.

German cockroach

  • Found mostly indoors
  • Enjoy wet, damp, and humid conditions
  • Typically found in kitchens and bathrooms
  • Identified by two dark longitudinal stripes on their back
  • Adults are approximately 0.5″ in length

German Cockroach

American Cockroach

  • Large species (1.5” long)
  • Found indoors and outdoors
  • Enjoy dark humid areas of the structure, such as kitchens, bath traps, and basements

American Cockroach

Cockroach Control

Integrated pest management is the key to controlling cockroaches. While pesticides are a great tool for immediate relief, there are things that you can do around the home or structure to prevent them from ever coming inside, or eliminate their presence. Remember, IPM is an ecological approach to the control of target pests in which all available necessary control techniques are systematically consolidated into a unified program. The goal of an IPM program is to manage pest populations while avoiding economic damage and minimizing adverse side effects.

  • Eliminate sources of food. Store dry goods in sealed containers and get rid of any standing water indoors. This includes pet food!
  • Clean floors. Even the smallest amount of food debris left behind can be a holiday meal for a cockroach.
  • Clear clutter. Paper goods such as newspaper and cardboard boxes provide excellent harborage for cockroaches.
  • Install barriers. The goal is to prevent cockroaches from moving about the home or structure. Sealing up gaps around pipes, drains, or wall voids can prevent roaches from invading.

TERM Sealant Barrier and TERM Bath Trap Barriers are excellent tools to use when installing barriers, either pre- or post-construction.

TERM Sealant Barrier is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to keep insects out of your home or structure is to protect the plumbing penetrations above the slab. Plumbing and pipe penetrations can provide access to the home or structure through the miniscule openings that occur between the pipe and concrete. I like to refer to this area as a “super highway” for pest intrusion because there is little to stand in the way of a determined pest.

TERM Sealant Barrier

The TERM All-Pest Bath Trap Barrier uses a combination of TERM Barrier System materials to block pests in the slab leave-out. TERM membrane, micromesh, sealant, and particle barrier are installed to block pests that may be seeking entrance into the structure through a vulnerable, yet hard-to-treat, area.

TERM Integrated Pest Management

TERM Integrated Pest Management

When evaluating a cockroach infestation and your options for control, don’t forget to include barriers in your IPM plan. Barriers like those of the TERM Barrier System are the safest and least expensive form of control.

For additional information on the TERM® Barrier System products, please feel free to email me at