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Changes In Indoor Insecticide Residue Levels After Adopting An Integrated Pest Management Program To Control German Cockroach Infestations In An Apartment Building


  • Residents frequently use insecticides indoors or around homes for control of insect pests
  • 55% of the apartment dwellers in two New Jersey cities used insecticide sprays to manage indoor cockroaches
  • Insecticide residues with permethrin being the most common
  • Permethrin was detected in 97.5% of the floor wipe samples in residential homes (single homes and apartments)
  • Main metabolites of pyrethroids have frequently been detected in urine samples from the general population
  • Health effects from residential pesticide use include altered fetal growth from prenatal exposure, childhood cancer, asthma, and decreased fertility
  • German cockroach (Blattella germanica ) (Blattodea: Ectobiidae) is a very common pest in homes
  • Multi-unit dwellings contribute to the high percentage of apartments with German cockroach infestations
  • Pyrethrin and pyrethroid insecticides in the form of aerosol sprays, liquid sprays, and total release foggers are commonly used by residents to control cockroaches
  • These studies demonstrated the need for alternative pest control strategies to reduce indoor insecticide use and insecticide residue levels



Study site

  • The thirteen-story building contained 188 units, with 176 one-bedroom and 12 two-bedroom units
  • Found 49% with German cockroaches
  • The contractor only used insecticides and visited the building monthly
  • For cockroach infestations, Maxforce® FC Select (0.01% fipronil

Floor Wipe Sampling and Insecticide Residue Analysis

  • Two 1 × 1 ft sample sites (30.48 × 30.48 cm, i.e., 929 cm2 floor areas) were selected in the kitchen and bedroom from each apartment
  • Residue concentrations were determined by extracting the wipe samples with 5.0 mL of ethyl acetate

IPM Program Implementation

  • Advion® Cockroach Gel Bait (0.6% indoxacarb) was applied in kitchens and bathrooms of all apartments
  • In apartments still having cockroaches after 15 weeks, boric acid dust, and baits with active ingredients from other classes of chemistry

Data Analysis

  • Data were analysis using Paired t-test, regression analysis and Wilcoxon signed-rank test by SAS software ver 9.3


Baseline Insecticide Residues

  • Insecticide residue concentration in apartments was not correlated with the cockroach counts recorded by the cockroach traps
  • Higher concentrations of permethrin, deltamethrin, and λ-cyhalothrin were seen in bedrooms, while imiprothrin were found in kitchens (Fig. 3)
  • Similar levels of cypermethrin were found between bedrooms and kitchen
  • In bedrooms and kitchens have similar mean number of insecticides (Fig. 4a) and residue levels 

Effectiveness of the 12 month Long IPM Program

  • At 12 months, only one apartment still had cockroaches (total trap count of 4 cockroaches), indicating the IPM program, utilizing baits, was highly successful in eliminating most of the German cockroach

Distribution of Insecticide Residues after IPM Program Implementation

  • Cypermethrin (24%) and permethrin (22%) are most detected insecticides (Fig.2)
  • Mean number of insecticides in the bedroom was greater than in kitchen (Fig. 4b)
  • Compared to those at 0 months, the mean number of insecticides in bedrooms was similar and in the kitchen decreased
  • Mean total insecticide residue concentration decreased significantly in bedrooms and kitchens
  • Bedrooms had significantly higher residue level then kitchens (Fig. 5b)

Effect of Indoxacarb Gel Bait Application on Indoxacarb Residue Concentration

  • Indoxacarb was detectable in 10 apartments at 0 month
  • At 12 months, even though an average of 32 g indoxacarb gel bait was applied in each apartment, only two apartments had detectable levels of indoxacarb
  • Therefore, application of indoxacarb gel bait in kitchens and bathrooms in the 49 apartments did not result in increase of indoxacarb concentration in most of the apartments.



  • In cockroach-infested apartments, insecticide residues are prevalent (71% had detectable residues) as a result of professional application of insecticides and self-treatment by residents
  • An IPM program, including the use baits rather than insecticide sprays or total release foggers, is not only highly effective in eliminating German cockroach infestations but can also significantly reduce the number of insecticide residues in apartments.
  • Kitchens had higher insecticide residue concentrations than bedrooms as a result of more insecticide usage in kitchens than bedrooms
  • After a 12-month IPM program, kitchens had lower numbers of insecticides than bedrooms. Probably kitchen might be more frequently swept or mopped by residents.
  • The IPM program was very successful in eliminating most of the German cockroach infestations
  • The success of the IPM program was also partially due to targeted application of baits guided by trap counts to maximize effectiveness
  • Among the 10 apartments with detectable indoxacarb at 0 months, 9 apartments no longer had detectable indoxacarb
  • Cockroaches can translocate indoxacarb in the gel bait through excretion or necrophagy
  • Residents primarily use insecticide sprays to control cockroaches despite the availability of more effective baits and non-chemical methods are also important to eliminate cockroaches
  • Face-to-face interviews revealed that 51% of the 81 interviewed residents used insecticide sprays in the past 6 months for controlling cockroaches
  • Insecticides spray methods leave a large of residues and ineffective for eliminating cockroach infestations



  • Changing the cockroach control practice from application of pyrethroid sprays or total release foggers by residents and professionals to IPM with gel bait as the primary control material significantly reduced insecticide residue concentration and number of detectable insecticides


Wang, C., Eiden, A., Cooper, R., Zha, C., Wang, D., Reilly, E. (2019). Changes in Indoor Insecticide             Residue Levels after Adopting an Integrated Pest Management Program to Control German   Cockroach Infestations in an Apartment Building. Insect.

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