Monday, June 04, 2012
Pest Control Expert Calls Them Survival Machines
"Many insect species thrive in the summertime," says Leonard Douglen, Executive Director of the New Jersey Pest Management Association, "but cockroaches just love the warm weather months.
"The good news is that Americans devote a lot of time to keeping their homes and apartments clean, but the bad news is that roaches can still gain access, often as eggs laid in the bottoms of supermarket paper bags or they can be delivered to your apartment along with your favorite pizza. When they hatch, they scatter in search of every crack and crevice they can find."
Cockroaches have been around 350 million years and are virtually a survival machine. They were the first creatures to return to the atomic bomb testing site near Alamagordo, New Mexico. "They will thrive wherever they find food, water, and a dark place to live," says Douglen.
Cockroaches will eat "almost anything" says Dr. Austin F. Frishman, a noted entomologist and author of The Cockroach Combat Manual. It is virtually impossible, says Dr. Frishman, "to starve a cockroach in locations where people live or process food."
Douglen notes that while cockroaches are meticulous about their own grooming, they are known to transmit a variety of diseases to humans. These include Salmonella, Gastroenteritis, Leprosy, Dysentery, and Typhoid fever, among others.
In urban areas, cockroaches, both living and dead, pose problems for Asthma sufferers. The desiccated exoskeletons of dead cockroaches become an irritating "dust." Studies have shown that any presence of cockroaches raises the distress levels of those who have Asthma.
"We've come a long way from when the New Jersey Pest Management Association was founded in 1941," says Douglen. "People in general and pest management professionals in particular are far more aware of the health threats and property damage insect and other pests pose."
New Jersey has a wide range of laws to ensure that restaurants, hotels and motels, hospitals, schools and supermarkets, among other places open to public use, that require constant pest management standards be met. "If you see a cockroach, flies or a rodent in a public place, contact the local health department. There are laws intended to keep public facilities pest-free."
Of course, the place you least want to see a cockroach is in your home or apartment "The odds," says Douglen, "are that you have many more in areas where you cannot see them. Simply spraying the one you see will not make the problem go away."
A single, female German cockroach can, statistically, produce more than 400,000 descendents in a single year. The young of German cockroaches mature in 36 days, while American cockroaches take up to 160 days. Newborn cockroaches can hide in a crevice one half of a millimeter wide, as narrow as a thin piece of paper. Adult cockroaches can fit into a crack thinner than a dime.
There are a variety of cockroach species indigenous to the United States. They include the American, German, and Oriental cockroach. A cockroach infestation can number in the hundreds of thousands. "The rule of thumb is that, if you see even one," says Douglen, "there can be hundreds more you don't see."
"It's not that cockroaches are smart," says Douglen. "They don't have brains, but they do have a concentration of nerves in their heads that control their nervous systems. The do-it-yourself approach to eliminating them tends not to work because they can detect and avoid surfaces that have been treated with certain kinds of pesticides as a survival mechanism."
New Jersey pest management professionals are trained to understand the habits and hiding places of cockroaches. They come equipped with the most modern technologies to deal with an infestation. They must be licensed and certified by the NJ Department of Environmental Protection and utilize pesticides that have been registered with the Environmental Protection Agency.
Founded in 1941, all members of the New Jersey Pest Management Association also are members of the National Pest Management Association as well. The NJPMA maintains an internet site at www.njpma.com.