Rutgers University

Press Releases

How to Get Rid of Cockroaches and Other Pests: Keep a Clean Home, Rutgers Scientists Say

c92dab4f9f9e1ab87436_rutgers3.jpg
c92dab4f9f9e1ab87436_rutgers3.jpg

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Your mom’s advice on keeping a home free from cockroaches and bedbugs is reinforced by science.

To keep these pests from invading, follow the common-sense rules of cleanliness.  To kill them, use traps and bait.  Don’t bother using foggers, sprays and aerosols, which are less effective and can contaminate food, floors and counters.

These insights were confirmed by a seven-month collaboration between Rutgers University-New Brunswick and the New Brunswick Housing and Redevelopment Authority and led by Changlu Wang, professor of entomology at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences.  The resulting study is published in the Journal of Economic Entomology.

Sign Up for E-News

Wang and his team did their survey in a public housing project with 258 apartments in 40 buildings. Their first step was to find out which pests, and how many of each pest, lived in those buildings.

Cockroaches were present in 28 percent of the apartments; rodents in 11 percent; bedbugs in 8 percent. Surprisingly, this kind of pest data for an entire community is hard to come by, Wang said.

“The usual way to figure out how many of what pests are in a community is to count complaints,” Wang said. “And complaints are just not very reliable, because not everybody complains.”

Wang and his team visited all accessible apartments in the community and set traps in strategic spots in each apartment, which not only helped them identify pests but identify where they were coming from.

They then treated those apartments using baits and traps, and reduced the number of cockroach infestations by 85 percent over seven months.

As they counted cockroaches and laid traps, Wang’s team also talked to the residents about how to avoid cockroaches in the first place and how to deal with them once they arrived.

“With cockroaches, the best way to keep them away is to keep the kitchen clean,” Wang said. “Don’t leave food around; wash the dishes often; reduce the clutter in your kitchen as much as possible.”

And once the little beasties show up, call the maintenance people. “Our maintenance people do a routine visit every month,” said John Clarke, the authority’s executive director. “But a lot can happen in a month. If you see a cockroach on day three, and wait until our guys come on day 28…well, let’s just say it would have been better to call us on day three.”

Wang’s team also took samples from kitchen and bedroom floors in 17 apartments to measure the presence of insecticide residue from the past use of pesticides at the beginning of the study and seven months later. They found both the numbers of insecticides present and the amount significantly reduced.

The results prove that using a combination of education, baits, and traps is more effective than using foggers, sprays and aerosols. “Sprays are less effective because cockroaches are increasingly resistant to them,” Wang said. “Plus, they can contaminate the food, the surfaces of floors and counters. They’re especially dangerous to children, because children crawl around on the floor.”

The study was funded by a $20,000 University Community Research Partnership for New Brunswick grant, administered by Rutgers’ Department of Community Affairs.

It was the second such grant for Wang, who previously worked on reducing bedbug infestation in one of the Housing Authority’s properties. “This study was a big help to our residents and our staff,” Clarke said. “My only wish is that we could have another grant like this every two or three years.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

New Brunswick

The Jaffe Briefing - February 16, 2018

OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

E STREET - While a tired nation is demanding gun control (yet again), Springsteen guitarist Stevie Van Zandt is having none of it. No stranger to political opinions, the New Jersey icon tweeted "What happened to us? We are averaging 2 school shootings per week AND WE DO NOTHING ABOUT IT!" Many tone-deaf politicians on Capitol Hill ...

The Jaffe Briefing - January 15, 2018

OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

TRENTON - As state lawmakers are set to announce a bill at 11 a.m. to decriminalize pot - an issue that has consumed the Statehouse -  the Record is reporting on an often-ignored issue: the state's ridiculously antiquated liquor laws. For example, supermarkets in the state can only have up to two liquor licenses, stemming ...

The Jaffe Briefing - February 14, 2018

OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

ON AIR - Gov. Phil Murphy had his very first "Ask the Governor" monthly program last night. He appeared on News 12 New Jersey to field your questions about all things New Jersey. Impossible to recap an hour segment. Of course, we will try: New Jersey should be a better place to retire. The state pension mess will be solved.

The Jaffe Briefing - February 13, 2018

OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

ON THE RAILS - Perhaps Donald Trump is still ticked that New Jerseyans had no interest in his team, the New Jersey Generals, which played football in the now-defunct USFL. Or, perhaps he is angry we didn't frequent his now-defunct casinos in Atlantic City. Or, perhaps he is seeking revenge for the fact that 546,345 more New Jerseyans voted for ...

The Jaffe Briefing - February 12, 2018

OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

ON THE RAILS - Anyone who commutes by train should be laser focused on Donald Trump today. Not to capture the latest buffoonery, but because the President is unveiling his long-awaited infrastructure plan. Will this "master of the deal" step up and deliver the $15 billion of so that was promised for the Gateway Tunnel project? Or will he play ...

The Jaffe Briefing - February 9, 2018

OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

LEONIA - You can't make everyone happy. That's the message for Leonia officials, who solved one issue, and are now dealing with another. First, they appeased residents by blocking George Washington Bridge traffic from heading down 60 local streets. But now, as the Record reports, local businesses are breathing fire because, well, the ...

Upcoming Events

Mon, February 19, 7:00 PM

Villagers Theatre, Somerset

Hairspray Auditions

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_f91ed86077ea29dfd56e_image

Tue, February 20

Plainsboro

Project Feeder Watch

Green Home & Garden

Carousel_image_f91ed86077ea29dfd56e_image

Wed, February 21

Plainsboro

Project Feeder Watch

Green Home & Garden

Don’t Blame Hurricanes for Most Big Storm Surges in Northeast

February 16, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Hurricanes spawn most of the largest storm surges in the northeastern U.S., right? Wrong, according to a study by Rutgers University–New Brunswick scientists.

Extratropical cyclones, including nor’easters and other non-tropical storms, generate most of the large storm surges in the Northeast, according to the study in the Journal of ...

Criminal Charges for Rutgers Student Protesters From $15 Min. Wage Campaign

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Police have issued charges to a dozen of the Rutgers University student activists who disrupted a public meeting in December.

The students, from the Rutgers chapter of United Students Against Sweatshops, disrupted the Dec. 12 Board of Trustees meeting as part of their campaign for a university-wide $15 minimum wage.

As the meeting started, students pushed through a rope ...

Rutgers-New Brunswick to Exhibit Papers of Sen. Frank Lautenberg

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Frank Lautenberg, New Jersey’s longest-serving U.S. senator, left an outsize imprint on state politics and national policy by the time he died while in office, in 2013.

His papers, now curated and maintained by the Rutgers University Libraries, encompass 2,250 boxes of hats, buttons, campaign stickers, vinyl records, paper documents and other artifacts that, laid end ...

Verizon Features Vets4Warriors on FiOS 1 News

February 12, 2018

Fatima Aguilar’s first day on the job at Vets4Warriors was anything but normal. A military veteran serving as a Second Lieutenant with the New Jersey National Guard, she found herself in a potential suicide crisis situation as soon as she hit the phones.

“I started around three and a half years ago on the overnight shift, and my very first call was a US Marine veteran who was on a ...

OPINION

Letter to the Editor: Low-Income Families Who Need Safe Cribs Have Nowhere to Go

February 15, 2018

One recent email came from a pastor in East Orange, sharing the struggles of a young couple who have no safe place for their baby to sleep.

Then, there was also a phone call from a Newark hospital, making its fourth request in two years, as well as a frantic text from Puerto Rico, for a family who lost everything in the hurricane.

They all pleaded for the same thing: A safe crib for a ...

Somerset Patriots Sign Frontier League All-Star RHP Randy McCurry

February 17, 2018

The Somerset Patriots have announced the signing of right-handed relief pitcher Randy McCurry for the 2018 season.

“I’m excited to play in the Atlantic League this year,” said McCurry. “It’ll be a transition for me but I am ready to face some really good competition and help the team win.”

McCurry enters his first season with the Somerset Patriots and ...