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A Property Manager's Guide to Cockroach Infestations

Posted by: Cooper Pest

As a property manager, there are few things more feared than cockroach infestations. At the sight of the single cockroach, tenant complaints become urgent and stressful. Because cockroaches are so difficult to get rid of, wasting your time with DIY is often futile. Cockroaches are also a health risk since they can carry E. coli and salmonella. Some individuals can even experience allergies when cockroaches are present. Once tenants find cockroaches in their space, your hard-earned reputation can quickly be destroyed with negative reviews and fast-spreading word of mouth. They may even terminate their contract or refuse to renew. There is hope! If you know what to look for and how to handle an infestation, your business can be saved. Take the following steps to ensure your properties are cockroach-free.

Act Quickly

When a tenant alerts you to a cockroach infestation, you need to take action as quickly as possible. Cockroaches can hide in small spaces like cracks and crevices during the day, making them hard to find. If one is found, you can almost guarantee that there are many more in the immediate area. Many species of cockroaches live in large groups of hundreds or even thousands and breed quickly. That’s why dismissing a single cockroach sighting as a one-off can be detrimental. Early intervention is key to gaining control and not allowing an infestation to get out of hand.

15_American Cockroach in Shower

Identify Infestations

There are many clues that indicate cockroach infestations are taking place within your properties. In addition to pest sightings and tenant complaints, you can look out for the following signs of cockroach activity.

  • Cockroach feces, which look like small pepper specks, brown stairs, or coffee grounds.
  • Cockroach egg cases that are oblong and brown. These can be found in hidden, protected areas such as behind furniture and appliances, within cracks and crevices, and other covered spaces.
  • A sudden musty odor could indicate the presence of cockroaches. When large groups live together or as cockroaches die, they emit a strong, unpleasant scent.
  • You may find dead cockroaches. That means there are probably many nearby.

Speak With Your Tenants

Cleanliness plays a big part in keeping cockroaches away from your properties. Poor sanitation can be an ideal environment for pests like German cockroaches that are especially attracted to filth. Cockroaches accumulating to feed on garbage or food scraps in one apartment can enter a comparatively clean adjacent apartment. Oftentimes, a messy person’s apartment (the source) doesn’t have any cockroach complaints – it’s instead of the apartment tenants that are surrounding him or her that complain. Keep records of infested units. Doing so can help focus control and sanitation efforts on the source, which will help surrounding units as well.

Talk to your tenants about consistently emptying trash receptacles into dumpsters or outdoor garbage cans with tightly fitting lids. Keep trash cans away from the exterior of the property so cockroaches aren’t drawn indoors. Also, encourage tenants to clean up spills and report any sort of potential water damage right away. Things like leaking dishwashers, plumbing malfunctions, and broken sealant around piping can create a moisture-rich environment that is key for cockroach breeding.


Prioritize Repairs

Always take tenant repair requests seriously. By fixing things as soon as possible, cockroaches are less likely to be active. The longer you wait to address things like drainage issues, cracks and holes on the exterior of the property, torn window and door screening, leaking appliances, water damage, and improper sealing of entry points, the worse things can get.

german cockroaches from m reed 3 on plates

Pictured Above: One of Cooper's representatives found cockroaches living between dirty plates on top of a client's refrigerator. Keeping clean is paramount to cockroach avoidance!


Tidy Up

Keep building exteriors and storage spaces cleared of clutter and debris, especially cardboard boxes, which are very common cockroach attractants. Inspect wood cabinets frequently for signs of cockroach activity. Check exterior areas to make sure dumpster areas are maintained and that bushes and trees do not touch or crowd the structure. Also, if there are firewood piles or other stored items outside, make sure that they’re not stacked against the outside walls of the building.


Increase Circulation

Ensure that your facilities have good ventilation to avoid excess moisture. Cockroaches, like many other pests, are drawn to humid and moist environments. German, Oriental, and American cockroaches are all especially drawn to damp conditions that could exist in your properties.

cockroach sponge square insta


Call For Help

Cockroaches can quickly become detrimental to the satisfaction of your employees, tenants, and your bottom line when an infestation occurs. As a property manager, the last thing you need to deal with is cockroaches. If you’ve found cockroaches in one of your properties or if you’d like to prevent future cockroach infestations, you need to partner with the proven dedication and experience that Cooper Pest Solutions offers. We have decades of specialized experience helping property management groups and individual property managers to keep their rental spaces pest-free. Give us a call at 800-949-2667 or fill out the contact form on this page to set up a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our specialists.

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