Why Are Some Homes Prone to Cockroach Infestation?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"Cockroaches at night" by Sigurd Tao Lyngse is licensed under CC BY 2.0Changlu Wang, PhD

The Urban Entomology lab
Department of Entomology
Rutgers University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Cockroaches are an important public health pest. They carry pathogens and produce allergens which causes asthma. Some residential communities always have chronic cockroach infestations.

This study is designed to understand the environmental and behavioral factors associated with cockroaches in low-income homes occupied by senior citizens. We found 30% of the 388 surveyed homes had German cockroaches. Sanitation and residents’ tolerance are two factors significantly associated with the presence of cockroaches. A dirty apartment is 2.7 times more likely to have German cockroaches. Gender, ethnicity, and clutter level are not associated with presence of cockroaches. People would be bothered by cockroaches when more than 3 cockroaches are caught in sticky traps when 4 traps were placed per apartment over 2 weeks period.

A high percentage (36%) of residents were unaware of cockroaches when they were caught in traps in their homes. These findings are important for property managers and policy makers in designing better intervention methods to reduce the cockroach infestations. 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Keep your apartment clean. Use traps to detect cockroaches early. Do not delay cockroach treatments. Even small numbers can pose health threat and spread to neighbors.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: We need better educational efforts to increase people’s awareness of cockroach infestations and their medical importance. We also need to design better methods to improve home sanitation so that better cockroach control can be achieved.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add? 

Response: Cockroach infestation is often a community-wide problem and requires community-wide effort.

Citation:

Changlu Wang, Evan Bischoff, Amanda L Eiden, Chen Zha, Richard Cooper, Judith M Graber. Residents Attitudes and Home Sanitation Predict Presence of German Cockroaches (Blattodea: Ectobiidae) in Apartments for Low-Income Senior Residents. Journal of Economic Entomology, 2018; DOI: 10.1093/jee/toy307 

Nov 7, 2018 @ 6:22 pm 

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