The Toronto Public Health department was cited as saying there
is a "green" way to get rid of those pesky cockroaches for good without
using sprays, based on a three-prong attack of prevention, education
and non-spray alternatives. Monica Campbell, of the department's
health promotion and environmental- protection unit, was cited as saying
the payoff for going green is twofold: fewer cockroaches and fewer
potential health risks, adding, "Toronto Public Health and a growing number
people in the scientific community and the public are getting more and more concerned about how pesticides might adversely affect people's health."
She added that pesticides such as diazinon, commonly used against the roach, do not break down easily indoors and could be harmful for children and pets.
The story says that the department's recommendations are based on its research from a year-old pilot program in 1996 at a 900-unit apartment building.
Before introducing the "roach coach" methods, the department found that 62 per cent of the units in the building used sprays to combat cockroaches. During the year, tenants learned how to prevent infestations and, if necessary, use low-toxicity products such as boric acid paste and hydramenthylnon gel.
After the yearlong study, the researchers found that only 11 per cent of the units still chose to use sprays.
Rich Whate, a member of the Toronto Environmental Alliance, which advised on the original study, recently applied the "roach coach" methods in an apartment complex in Etobicoke and was quoted as saying, "the tenants loved it and it worked."
The key to cockroach control is prevention. The health department urges residents to inspect for the pests and use traps to keep track of their movements. Tenants who suspect they have cockroaches should notify the building manager immediately.
Ms. Campbell urged residents to keep their kitchens and bathrooms clean to deprive the insects of food, water and hiding places. For example, leaving dirty dishes in the sink or dishwasher is an open invitation for roaches.
Homeowners and building managers should fix water leaks and plug cracks and holes underneath sinks so cockroaches can't move from one place to another.
If the cockroaches are already in residence, a licensed pest-control company can come in and apply low-toxicity gels or baits. Since the roaches eat each others' feces, the poison they consume eventually kills the colony.
The health department's free educational brochure, called Farewell to
Cockroaches, is available through Central Mortgage and Housing Corp. (which
sponsored the study) at 1-800-668-2642.