Apartment pesticide treatment questions

CommanderBacon

Arachnoknight
Active Member
Joined
May 21, 2018
Messages
258
Hello, folks. I need your expertise.

I live in an apartment complex of approximately 40 units, and I have approximately 56 pet tarantulas and various other assorted pets.

We had some really gross meth heads living above us, and after they were booted out out at the end of November, we started seeing what I believe are German cockroaches creeping into our kitchen. I've never seen a single bug in this complex in the ten years I've lived here, so I'm not sure what to blame it on, but the fact remains that random cockroaches in my home freak me out, so I have been cleaning my kitchen obsessively and trying to treat the kitchen by dusting the corners of the cabinets and cracks with diatomaceous earth and using Combat bait traps.

(Note: I have noticed these roaches in other parts of the apartment complex after I saw them in our unit.)

That seemed to work for a while in our unit, but then new neighbors moved in above us a few weeks ago, and the roaches have returned and been persistent. I will see at least one per day. One day I saw five. I was about to administer another box of bait traps, and had packed all of our boxed and bagged food into plastic bins to prep for treating and filling up all the cracks in my cabinets with caulk and spray foam, when my partner found one in his bathroom; so, they are either in the walls, traveling along the plumbing system, or are in the ventilation system. The cleanroom lockdown has not worked, and I am losing my mind. I hate this so much.

I requested to speak to a pest control specialist about a possible treatment to see how it would impact my pets. The pest control people want to treat my kitchen and bathrooms with Essentria IC3, which is peppermint and rosemary oil based and will undoubtedly kill my spiders if they come into contact with it.

I am comfortable with moving my spiders out of the apartment for a few weeks to give this stuff a chance to settle and am fortunate enough to have a few places to keep them, but the pest control people have no idea how it will impact any of my pets or how long this stuff will disperse into the air. I had a few chemists look at the MSDS and they seem to think that the oils are heavy and should settle relatively soon, but they will spread easily via contact and may continue to disperse for some time.

If I agree to have the unit treated, my chemist friends advise that I adopt clean room protocols when I finally do introduce my spiders back into my apartment, which I am fine with. I have disposable gloves and I can be careful with the storage of my spider stuff.

In the event that I agree to having my kitchen and bathrooms treated, how long should I keep my spiders out of the apartment before I can safely bring them back?

Or should I just suck it up and continue to do my best to treat it on my own with bait traps and resign myself to with living with roaches?

My spiders' safety is my first priority, but this is also impacting my peace of mind and is exhausting me. I haven't dealt with this before and have no idea what an effective course of action will be that will be safest for my spiders.

Any advice would be much appreciated. Thank you.
 

chanda

Arachnoprince
Active Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2010
Messages
1,969
You live in a shared dwelling unit, so if you only treat your apartment, but the other units are not treated, then - like Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator, the roaches will be back.

When you have a widespread German cockroach infestation in an apartment building, the entire building needs to be treated by professionals. You (and the other tenants) should report it to the managers, so they can get it taken care of appropriately - and you should be sure to tell them that you need to know ahead of time when the treatment will take place and what product(s) the exterminators will use so you can remove your pets from the building during treatment, and can look up the residual effects of the pesticides they'll be using, so you'll know when it's safe for your pets to return.

(Also, keep in mind that even if you prefer to treat the problem locally, to reduce the risk of pesticides to your tarantulas, your neighbors may not feel the same way. Even if you do not report the problem to the managers for widespread treatment, if someone else does report it, it's going to happen anyway.)
 

CommanderBacon

Arachnoknight
Active Member
Joined
May 21, 2018
Messages
258
@chanda I figured as much myself re: the infestation in the building. I think part of the reason they are suddenly a problem is because the apartment management company that took over a few years ago are lazy and cheap, and they probably haven't been doing the perimeter treatments like they used to.

As I mentioned, I've already reported it and have the MSDS, so I know what they are using, but I don't know if they are going to be treating other units. I haven't found any data about when to bring back my pets, which is why I am asking and mentioned the product and linked the MSDS. I would ordinarily expect a pest control company to have more knowledge about the chemicals they are using, but these guys just keep telling me to call my "pet store" or my veterinarian about the impact on my animals.
 

cold blood

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 19, 2014
Messages
11,602
I know this isnt what you want to hear....but i would give notice and look for a new place.

I see this as reason #56 not to live in apt complexes.....the meth heads you dealt with would be reason #23.

As said, with so many apts in the building, its going to be hard to eliminate them as the pure logistics of it make it nearly impossible to treat every apt at once.
 

CommanderBacon

Arachnoknight
Active Member
Joined
May 21, 2018
Messages
258
I know this isnt what you want to hear....but i would give notice and look for a new place.
Yeah :/ I have been considering this, but it's hard to get my partner to agree to it. He loves this area and doesn't want to leave.

The meth heads were an anomaly, but since our old apartment managers moved out a few years ago, the building owners hired a property management company, and they are cheap and terrible. Stuff is always broken or breaking, our packages have gone missing, the apartment manager is never on the premises, and they keep raising our rent. This was a really nice place to live for a long time, and now I have roaches :/

The most difficult factors are that we still have an extremely reasonable rate for our area (thanks to our old managers) and my partner is in med school, so I have been paying for all of our living expenses and will have to foot the bill for moving. We have about 3-4,000 books, etc and own a lot of stuff, so getting our friends to help us move again won't be an option. It took a long time to get in, and will be expensive to get out. There's also no way that I can afford to pay rent on a house in this area.

Still, can't hurt to look :/
 

chanda

Arachnoprince
Active Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2010
Messages
1,969
@chanda I figured as much myself re: the infestation in the building. I think part of the reason they are suddenly a problem is because the apartment management company that took over a few years ago are lazy and cheap, and they probably haven't been doing the perimeter treatments like they used to.

As I mentioned, I've already reported it and have the MSDS, so I know what they are using, but I don't know if they are going to be treating other units. I haven't found any data about when to bring back my pets, which is why I am asking and mentioned the product and linked the MSDS. I would ordinarily expect a pest control company to have more knowledge about the chemicals they are using, but these guys just keep telling me to call my "pet store" or my veterinarian about the impact on my animals.
Ah - perhaps I misunderstood you. I didn't realize you'd contacted the apartment management. It sounded like you had contacted the pest control people on your own, to deal with just your unit but not the building as a whole, in which case the products they mentioned might not be the ones that your apartment managers - or their pest control people - might use.

In any case, perimeter spraying is not terribly effective against German cockroaches once they are already inside the building. They can happily live out their little cockroachy lives, breeding generations of children and grandchildren, without ever having to cross the perimeter of the building. They can live in cupboards, underneath refrigerators, dishwashers, laundry machines, and stoves, inside the wall voids or under the floors, scavenging food and water from even the most seemingly unlikely places. (They'll even eat things like toothpaste and cardboard.). They can travel along ventilation systems, plumbing, or wiring, allowing them to spread from one unit to another, without ever leaving the building.
 

cold blood

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 19, 2014
Messages
11,602
Yeah :/ I have been considering this, but it's hard to get my partner to agree to it. He loves this area and doesn't want to leave.

The meth heads were an anomaly, but since our old apartment managers moved out a few years ago, the building owners hired a property management company, and they are cheap and terrible. Stuff is always broken or breaking, our packages have gone missing, the apartment manager is never on the premises, and they keep raising our rent. This was a really nice place to live for a long time, and now I have roaches :/

The most difficult factors are that we still have an extremely reasonable rate for our area (thanks to our old managers) and my partner is in med school, so I have been paying for all of our living expenses and will have to foot the bill for moving. We have about 3-4,000 books, etc and own a lot of stuff, so getting our friends to help us move again won't be an option. It took a long time to get in, and will be expensive to get out. There's also no way that I can afford to pay rent on a house in this area.

Still, can't hurt to look :/
Well you can still rent....im sure there are duplexes in the area.

Best of luck, its an unenviable position to be in, no doubt.

It may suck to move, but id bet my whole collection that if you did move, you would ultimately be happier with your living space.
 

jezzy607

Arachnolord
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 29, 2002
Messages
600
Don't use Essentria, it is very volatile and repellent and useless against GCRs. Baits are perfectly safe to use and VERY effective. I highly recommend they use Advion Evolution gel bait and use sticky traps as a monitoring system. No need to use any liquids if baiting is done by a well trained professional (unfortunately rare nowadays). Baiting done right takes time, and pest control companies rather run in and out as baseboard/spraytank jockies to save costs, and not take the time to bait. I've worked in the pest control industry as a consultant/entomologist for awhile now.
 

CommanderBacon

Arachnoknight
Active Member
Joined
May 21, 2018
Messages
258
Ah - perhaps I misunderstood you. I didn't realize you'd contacted the apartment management. It sounded like you had contacted the pest control people on your own, to deal with just your unit but not the building as a whole, in which case the products they mentioned might not be the ones that your apartment managers - or their pest control people - might use.
Ugh, sorry; I didn't realize I didn't overtly say that I had filed the request with the apartment management company. The pest control company they are contracted with reached out to me directly after I filed the request and sent the MSDS and prep documents.

I'm waiting for my apartment manager to confirm that they will only be treating my unit. If so, I'm going to retract my request.

@jezzy607 Thank you so much. Are there resources on how to properly set the bait traps and bait traps that you'd recommend? I've been putting them in the corners of our cupboards and kitchen so far, and will be adding more bait goo around the underside of the sink. Then I was planning to fill and caulk the cracks above/around the cabinetry per what I've read on some websites dedicated to cockroach problems. Does this sound about right?

After reading responses in this thread, I think I will continue to treat the infestation on my own with baits and the gel goo I bought until they treat the entire building. My partner is fine with managing the problem on our own. I just hate seeing cockroaches in my kitchen and having friends over who see them. It feels gross :(
 

jezzy607

Arachnolord
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 29, 2002
Messages
600
Sticky traps or roach monitors are different from bait traps, they are just glue but very effective when placed along edges. Most or all baits available to consumers are nearly useless against roaches unfortunately. Advion Evolution is HIGHLY attractive to GCRs and extremely effective but unfortunately only licensed professionals are allowed to use it.
 

SquidStina

Arachnopeon
Joined
Dec 11, 2017
Messages
20
This is regarding pesticide spraying in general, but I would just move your T's out of the building for a few weeks. Hopefully you have a friend or family member willing to have some Ts around the house for a bit.
I had to deal with a hoarder with bedbugs that moved in across the hall from me in a 9 unit building. A coworker of mine was willing to take my spiders for the sprayings, plus 2 weeks for any pesticide in air to settle. This happened several times over the course of 18 months, until the hoarder ended up getting evicted. Each time my spiders ended up at my coworkers place for a while, and from the time of the first spraying onwards, I do not let anything that touches the floor or baseboards to go near the spiders. The shelves that the T's enclosures sit on was cleaned a few times before the Ts came home. Any supplies (tongs, fake plants, etc) for the Ts was bagged up during spraying and washed before using again. I am extra extra careful to avoid escapes because they spray still works months later. If a cricket falls on the floor I do not feed it to a T in case of pesticide contamination.
The other option would be to just find a new place, but sometimes it's not that easy. :confused:
 

CommanderBacon

Arachnoknight
Active Member
Joined
May 21, 2018
Messages
258
I'm not sure why this posted twice but please delete. Thanks
 
Last edited:

CommanderBacon

Arachnoknight
Active Member
Joined
May 21, 2018
Messages
258
I'd like to follow up on this thread to provide a post-mortem and advocate for professional bait traps so people don't needlessly spray for roaches or spend money on unnecessary items:

After reviewing the advice of @jezzy607 we ordered some Advion from Amazon. We received 4 vials of the stuff. One was more than we needed. Two is all anyone should need if they live in a house unless you live in some sort of enormous mansion. I think with all of the ones we received we could have treated my entire apartment complex. Basically don't order 4.

I also obtained a package of sticky traps for monitoring, per their advice.

After yet another extremely deep cleaning of my entire kitchen, I moved everything out of the cabinets and applied fine lines of Advion to all of the crevices under cabinets, between them, in gaps between walls, etc. per the instructions. I turned the kitchen into a death trap for roaches and left some sticky traps on the kitchen counters along the wall behind appliances for monitoring. Since we had seen roaches go in and under the coffee maker, we also ran the cleaning cycle and put the coffee maker outside inside a paper bag that I put inside of a garbage bag that I added a half block of dry ice to, which I then nested inside of another garbage bag, and tied then both closed. I left this on the patio for 2.5 weeks. Then I disassembled it per factory instructions, pulled out a few dead roaches and various molts (ew ew ew), and now it is back in my kitchen, resting in a planter dish that I dusted with diatomaceous earth.

I have not seen a single roach anywhere since I did this, and the sticky traps, which appear to be baited with the ever-enticing molasses, remain empty. Advion advises application with another professionally formulated roach killer 1.5 months in to the treatment because German cockroaches have a lifespan of 3 months and can get used to the formula. I haven't done this. Since I live in an apartment complex and we're fairly certain that they're in the walls, I'm not sure it will do much good, but if we see them come back any time soon, I will follow their instructions on a second and third application of some of the other recommended baits.

What didn't work:

Combat bait traps
Combat bait gels
diatomaceous earth
simply keeping things clean (we wouldn't have had them to begin with, although keeping things clean is nice)

I hope that helps anyone with a roach issue who also keeps tarantulas in the future. Using professional baits will eliminate the need for you to move your spiders and other pets out of the dwelling while it's treated.
 
Top