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Safety & Prevention

Controlling Cockroaches

Cockroaches are found where there is water and food.

Prevent Infestation:

  • Eating should be discouraged in areas other than the kitchen.
  • All foodstuffs should be stored in closed containers.
  • Water sources should be eliminated by caulking cracks around faucets and pipe fittings.
  • Cracks and crevices where cockroaches can enter the home should be sealed.
  • Individual bait stations are recommended. If possible, baiting should be done outside the home as well.
  • Boric acid, formulated for use as a pesticide, is comparatively less toxic than cholinesterase inhibitors and pyrethroids, and can be used in cracks and crevices in areas inaccessible to children.

Help From an Exterminator:

If these measures are not successful, a professional exterminator should be brought in. Be certain that it is a licensed, professional extermination firm and find out what insecticide will be used and its possible toxic effects.

Before Using Any Insecticide in the Home:

Remove or protect all food, dishes, cooking utensils, children’s toys, and clothing from contamination.

After Application of the Insecticide:

  • Young children and pregnant women should stay out of the area for as long as possible.
  • Air out the room well by cross ventilation for 4 to 8 hours before people and pets return.
  • Do not allow crawling babies in the area until it has been well vacuumed or mopped and you are certain that the pesticide was not applied in an area where the infant can reach. For example, if the pesticide is applied to the wall, a crawling infant could hold onto the wall or wipe his hands and sustain a significant exposure.
  • Avoid using over-the-counter bug sprays and bug bombs.

Additional Resources:

Last Updated
Pediatric Environmental Health, 3rd Edition (Copyright © American Academy of Pediatrics 2011)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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