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Horticulture Hotline: Prevent roaches from encroaching

Pest control

There are several ways to prevent cockroaches from encroaching on living spaces. 

Although this is the Horticulture Hotline, I decided to write about entomology (insects) today. Instead of the Horticulture Hotline, I’ll call it the Entomology Swat Line.

With the cooler, rainy weather, the old cockroach has found its way into many Lowcountry homes. Contact your pest management company if you have a contract or consider getting on a contract if you do not like dealing with cockroaches. If you are a die hard do-it-yourselfer, here are a few tips that will make your battle a little more effective.

Treat your outside perimeter. A band about three feet from your house generally in the mulch is a good place to start. A granular product like Bug Blaster or Wisdom sand in the mulch beds surrounding your house will help kill the roaches before they get inside your house. A National Organics Program (NOP) product that is very effective is InTice Perimeter Bait. Using a spray around windows, doors, garage entry and any other entry point to your house will also keep them from entering your house. EcoVia is an NOP product you can use around the outside and inside of your house.

Underneath your house, consider dusting with a boric acid product. BorActin is an NOP product labeled for this or you could use the InTice Perimeter Bait. These products will last a long time in the crawl space of your house because they are away from sunlight and moisture (hopefully no moisture).

In your house, consider using InVict Gold Cockroach Gel. InVict Gold is a fast-acting bait that has our customers at Possum’s singing its praises. The bait products are great because they move throughout the roach population. Maxforce Gel capitalize on roaches’ nasty habits needed to survive, making these products very effective.

An immature roach has to eat the fecal pellets of the adult roach in order to mature into an adult roach. Roaches also cannibalize each other. By using this bait, you get a domino effect by the little roaches eating the fecal pellets of an adult that has consumed the bait. When one roach dies from the bait, then another eats the dead roach, it will also die. In wall voids you can also use InTice Perimeter Bait.

There are many good aerosols that come with a long straw that are designed to be sprayed in cracks and crevices. Now there is a good selection of “green” aerosols to choose from along with the old standbys. If you treat the outdoors and use a gel inside, an aerosol application probably will not be necessary.

Definitely consider using a growth regulator to help lengthen your control of the roaches. Generally, growth regulators are very safe to humans (they work on things that insects have and humans do not have), if applied properly, and some will also help with fleas (Nylar). Growth regulators will keep roaches or fleas from reproducing; therefore, breaking up their life cycle. Fleas like damp moist areas, so they flourished this fall.

Knowing where to put these products is crucial for the success. Always read, understand and follow the product label. There are also many pest control companies that are well established in this area and are very capable of taking care of any of your uninvited guests. If you are a do-it-yourselfer, this article should help and the products suggested should work well.

Bill Lamson-Scribner can be reached during the week at Possum’s Landscape and Pest Control Supply, 481 Long Point Road in Mount Pleasant (971-9601). Or visit at