1. Cockroach Prevention for Property Managers

Cockroaches can present a significant challenge for property owners because they are resourceful and resilient insects. Insects are capable in that they have the ability to scale walls and traverse ceilings at a high rate of speed, squeeze through gaps half their size, and hold their breath underwater for as long as 40 minutes.

They are resilient in that they can go an entire month without food, can feed on items we would not consider food and can become resistant to toxic chemicals in their environment. There are few places these insects can't get into, and once they've taken root, they are challenging to get rid of.


Problems Roaches Bring

When cockroaches get into commercial properties, there are many problems they create. While the following list is far from exhaustive, it should give you some insight into the magnitude of the threat these insects present.

Tenants expect a pest-free environment for the investment they make. The more expensive the rent, the higher the expectation. When cockroaches appear, it can cause tenants to move out, leading to decreased revenue.

  • In this day of social media, a cockroach infestation can quickly ruin the reputation of a business. With practically everyone going to the internet to find a place to live or do business, negative reviews have incredible power to affect the income of a property management company.

  • Studies have shown that cockroaches cause a drastic increase in hospital visits for those who have asthma, especially in urban centers. With more than 26 million Americans suffering from asthma, this is a significant threat to consider.

  • Cockroaches not only affect those who rent from you. They can affect maintenance crew members, groundskeepers, and other staff. The presence of these insects can increase workloads due to frequent tenant complaints and lead to low morale and lack of productivity. It can also cost money as your staff spends time and resources attempting to solve this difficult problem.

  • Cockroaches are connected to the spread of 33 unique strains of bacteria, 7 human pathogens, and 6 forms of parasitic worm. When they get into a structure, it can cause illness in both tenants and employees. The results of this are far-reaching. In the worst cases, the presence of cockroaches can lead to litigation or government intervention.

What’s Attracting Cockroaches

There are many conditions that can lure cockroaches onto your property. The most important are food resources, water resources, high humidity, and clutter. Some examples of these are:

  • Trash - Open trash receptacles are an open invitation for cockroaches.

  • Decaying organic material - A vegetable, fruit, or meat that is rotting on your property will draw cockroaches in.

  • Animal droppings - Cockroaches feed on waste. If animals leave their excrement on the ground, cockroaches will be drawn to it.

  • Stagnant pools of water - It is essential to address any conditions that allow rainwater to be collected.

  • Damp landscaping, moist lawns and lots of shade - These conditions are ideal for cockroaches. Implement strategies to allow topsoil and vegetation to dry quickly and trim trees and bushes to let the sun into densely shaded areas.

  • Clutter - Cockroaches have a unique trait that attracts them to clutter. A cockroach feels most comfortable when its belly and back are touching hard surfaces at the same time. For this reason, they will gravitate toward lawn clutter and stored items.

  • Cardboard - Cockroaches have a particular fondness for corrugated cardboard. Stacks of cardboard and cardboard boxes used for storage will lure roaches to your property and give them ample reasons to stay.


What Brings Cockroaches to Rental Properties

Some factors can drive cockroaches onto your properties. Unfavorable climate conditions, such as drought, can lead cockroaches to find moist harborage in the damp landscaping around structures. They can be driven out of one location by construction or the use of pesticides and find their way onto your property. They can be driven away from one property that has become an unfavorable location, to yours—if it has what those cockroaches are looking for.


How to Protect Buildings from Cockroaches

There are many ways to manage cockroaches on your properties through structural modifications, sanitation, moisture control, and educational resources. These are green pest control strategies that will provide a healthy environment for your tenants and protect your bottom line.


Structural Modifications


  • Use a caulking gun to seal gaps around window and door frames, pipes and conduit, and to temporarily fill in holes created by wood-damaging pests.

  • Inspect and repair damaged window and door screens, weatherstripping and door sweeps.

  • Inspect the sole plates of structures and repair any holes created by wood-damaging pests.

  • Apply screen material to protect vents and exhaust pipes.



It should be the responsibility of all employees to implement proper sanitation to reduce cockroach populations. This can be done on the inside and outside of structures.

  • Keep trash receptacles and dumpsters as clean as possible, on both the interior and exterior.

  • Remove trash from the property frequently.

  • Clean up organic debris from fruit trees.

  • Remove clutter from the property.

Moisture Control

  • Inspect gutter systems to ensure rainwater is being channeled down and away from foundation perimeters.

  • Keep vegetation trimmed and neat. This increases sun exposure for moist topsoil and gives cockroaches less protection when they try to explore your property.

  • Fix leaky spigots, pipes, or hoses.

  • Fill any holes on the property that capture rainwater.

  • Rake leaves promptly to prevent leaf litter from trapping moisture and creating a damp environment that is ideal for cockroaches.

Educational Resources

Some of the many conditions that attract cockroaches to your property are the result of your tenants.

  • Provide materials or post signage to inform your tenants of the importance of sanitation in the management of cockroach threats. These materials do more than educate. They let your tenants know that you're serious about cockroach control.

  • Institute clear rules and guidelines to reduce food sources, water sources and clutter.

  • Provide receptacles on the property for pet waste products and encourage tenants to use them.


Where Cockroaches Are Coming From

Cockroaches breed in dark, damp locations that have rotting organic material. If you're searching for the source of an infestation, you're going to need to look in places that are hard to get into, such as underneath decks, patios, porches, stairwells, and other external structures. You'll need to inspect under dumpsters and in the gaps and cracks between stored objects or between a stove and kitchen cabinet. When foods or liquids find their way into hard-to-reach places, they create the conditions for cockroach reproduction.

The best tool for finding the source of a cockroach infestation isn't your eyes; it's your nose. If you're smelling something foul, you can be sure cockroaches noticed that scent as well. When smells are detected, take the effort to shine some light into the location to detect cockroach activity.

There are many foods cockroaches eat that you would not consider food. Keep this in mind as you look for cockroaches. They may be feeding on the glue of some moist wallpaper. They may be dining on the shed hair of pets or livestock. They may be eating paper or cloth items. The best solution for cockroach detection is to seek the assistance of an educated and experienced pest professional. Finding the source of a cockroach infestation can be an extremely difficult task.  

Why Property Managers Turn to American Pest for Cockroaches

All pest control companies are not created equal. Property managers choose American Pest for many reasons. Here are a few reasons you may choose us as well:

  • Several years of Angie's List Super Service Awards.

  • The QualityPro seal of excellence from the National Pest Management Association. This seal is only awarded to companies that pass rigorous testing and show excellence in business operations, environmental stewardship, consumer relations, and employee education, which are the pillars of quality pest control.  

  • Our dedication to Integrated Pest Management and green pest control solutions. We seek natural solutions first and only resort to a limited and targeted use of pesticides when the threat warrants it and there is no other control solution.

  • The fact that we employ board-certified entomologists and some of the most respected pest control experts in the country.

  • Because our service team is made up of highly-trained, career-minded professionals with proven problem-solving skills.

  • Our ability as a LEED Proven Provider to earn you credits toward LEED certification.

  • Because you'll always get friendly, on-time service and the highest level of pest management.

If you need commercial pest control service in D.C., Maryland, or Northern Virginia, the team here at American Pest can help. Reach out to us and request a free consultation. We'll send a licensed professional to inspect your property and discuss with you the pest pressures you are dealing with and what solutions are available to manage them properly.    

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