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The Importance of Cockroach Control

The technicians, researchers and everyone else involved in cockroach control need to care and not be satisfied with anything less than total elimination. (3/3/2008) Austin Frishman

Too often I heard a complacent “researcher” at a comfortable university state they are happy to report that XYZ performed at an 85 percent or 90 percent level. How can you be happy with leaving some cockroaches? We must — and can — go to l00 percent elimination of existing population. New ones may enter, but can be prevented from re-establishing. Even in public housing, this is important. The technicians, researchers and everyone else involved in cockroach control need to care and not be satisfied with anything less than total elimination. Here are just a few important reasons why:

1. We now know that the persist ant presence of cockroaches in confined living quarters can result in increased, severe asthmatic attacks. In some areas, asthma is the primary reason why a child misses school.
2. In poorer neighborhoods, I have witnessed children and adults believing that they “deserve” cockroaches. Their life and surroundings are in misery. They have given up. The least we can do is remove one burden from their lives.
3. Physical abuse by cockroaches, both the larger peridomestic and smaller German cockroaches, does occur. Bites on the body, chewing off of eyebrows and feeding on body sores or eye mucus are more common than we like to think about.
4. When cockroach numbers are high, they turn cannibalistic on whatever there is to eat. Crawling into an ear and requiring surgery to remove them does occur, but it is a accidental invasion. Feeding on sores and eyebrows is not accidental. It is intentional.
5. Knocking out smoke detectors, setting off mouse snap traps, dropping a computer, defacing photos, curtains, walls, etc., occurs every day somewhere in this country as a result of a cockroach infestation.
6. We are all aware of a new highly resistant strain of Staphylococcus. It is nicknamed MRSA, short for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. It is most prevalent in nursing homes and healthcare surroundings.What does this have to do with cockroaches? Back in l980, I co-authored a paper in the Journal of Environmental Health. Our publication verified that both American and German cockroaches are capable of carrying Staphylococcus. Because pest management professionals (PMPs) search out cockroaches and touch contaminated surfaces, it is a very wise idea to wear chemical-resistant gloves when doing inspections and treatments. With an increase in cockroaches comes the increase of the spread to people. As a side note, veterinarians are reporting that persons who take their pet dog to nursing homes for pet therapy are at an increased risk of contacting MRSA. The dog picks it up from the care center, shows signs of sores on its body, and transmits the MRSA over to family members.

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