Integrated pest management, cockroaches, and bed bugs

Over the years I have noted that bed bug infestations are easier to treat if the tenant has a bed with box spring and legs. The bugs, at least in smaller infestations, start by infesting the raw wood and cloth folds in the mattress edges and box spring which reduces spread to other areas of the home. As such one of my house rules for my apartment block is that everyone must have a bed with box spring and legs and must sleep thereon. This simple requirement saves a lot of hassle and grief for neighbouring suites – they are less likely to get bugs when the inevitable infestation happens. With appropriate beds and regular monitoring our infestations typically remain isolated to one suite.


Cockroaches in Winnipeg have become quite problematic in the last year. I have noted that roaches are much more mobile than bed bugs and the spread from apartment to apartment is much more pronounced. Still, a small infestation of roaches usually remain locallised in one suite and if we are careful (no tenant chemical self treatment or physical scattering) we can get away with treating a single suite and monitoring the neighbouring suites. However, in one particular apartment block the refrigerator (roach hot spot) in the suites is right beside the suite entrance door. This building has been much more problematic for the treat/monitor protocol we use with other apartment blocks due, in part, because even the smaller infestations are more liable to disperse down the hallway!


From a cockroach / IPM standpoint having the refrigerator next to the door seems like a giant shot to the foot. Rather, when planning an apartment block with insect control in mind, the refrigerator should be a considerable distance from the suite door. If you are a tenant seeking an apartment block in which to live keep in mind that the kitchen layout may play a role in how often you get roaches.


As the chemicals become degraded with resistance or bait aversion it seems to me that integrated pest management is the way to go for both roaches and bed bugs. Harm reduction through manipulation of the physical environment is a no brainer decision.

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