I never imagined that I would ever have to deal with cockroaches in my Airbnb rental business ……. until now. Arrrgh!

We live in Canada, where winters are very cold and our Airbnb rentals are incredibly clean. Why would cockroaches want to set up their home here? The only bugs I ever feared having, were bed bugs because they are often mentioned in the news. But, I never imagined cockroaches would be something that I would have to deal with, however there is a first time for everything!

We found cockroaches when my mom moved the fridge to clean behind it and noticed a couple of them running away. We didn’t make a big deal of it then because we had only seen 2 or 3 but the next day, we went back to the unit and saw a couple more in the kitchen. I decided to leave a handful of strips of duct tape on the counter and on the floor to see if more came out while we were gone and sure enough, several of the duct tape strips were covered in roaches. It was at that point that I decided to call a pest control company.

Pestend came a couple of hours after I called them. The technician told me that he would spray the unit (kitchen cupboards, behind appliances, baseboards, crevices, bathroom, bedrooms and laundry room). After he finished the first spray treatment, he told me we had a serious infestation because he saw about 50 cockroaches in front of the fridge when he began spraying. 

Pestend Truck

Unfortunately, we had a family checking in the following day for a 14 day stay. We informed the family of the situation and despite the bad news, they decided to stay in our Airbnb because they were already too stressed out about COVID and didn’t want to look for another place so we offered them a reasonable discount. As a result of these steps, the guests gave us a 5 star review!!! I was so relieved. 

During their stay, our guests provided us with a daily report. The first week was bad as there were a lot of roaches that were still coming out of hiding (roughly 10-15 per day). By the end of their stay, the guests were only seeing 2 or 3. 

Pestend came back as soon as our guests checked out. The technician applied a second spray treatment to help expedite the process of extermination. No roaches came out after the second treatment so we were excited and happy until …………. the next guests called after 2 days to inform us they were seeing roaches in the kitchen. My heart sank. I thought we had dealt with the issue. 

I was upfront with our guests. I explained the situation and offered them a full refund if they wanted to relocate. They didn’t want to leave our otherwise spotless house so we offered them a discount for the inconvenience. 

Pestend reassured me that it is normal to see activity even after a second spray is applied and the spray can take days and sometimes weeks to have the desired effect. They asked me to call them back in 2 weeks to see if another treatment was necessary.

Our guests were wonderful. They provided us with a daily report and after 2 weeks, I called Pestend to come back to help expedite the process of exterminaton (cockroaches were still visible at night and first thing). The final treatment included using gel on all the kitchen hinges and “hot spots” throughout the kitchen as well as powder and traps behind the appliances. 

I did a lot of research on the issue to see what I could do in addition to pest control, and I learned that it is also important to caulk holes and any crevices where the roaches can hide. We noticed that the stove outlet was coming off the wall and there was a big gap where the roaches could easily hide during the day so we caulked as much as we could throughout the kitchen.

Our efforts finally paid off!! The roaches were gone.

I tried to determine the possible cause of the cockroach infestation. A previous guest had a pet lizard which I thought might be fed with cockroaches. I contacted the guest and asked him about this, but he told us his lizard wasn’t fed cockroaches. He said he noticed the cockroaches at the beginning of his stay but he never said anything to us. He stayed with us for 2 months!!

It is impossible for us to know who brought them in and how. I have come to learn that cockroaches can be brought in boxes, grocery bags and clothing. Cleanliness has little to do with it. 

If you are a host and you find cockroaches in your unit, I urge you to do the following:

  1. Call pest control immediately, even if you only see 1 cockroach. Do as many treatments as possible until the problem disappears. 
  2. Inform your guests of the situation and provide them with options. Remember that cockroaches will still be seen even a month after the first treatment. 
  3. Install glue traps right away. I wish I had done this sooner. This would’ve prevented guests from seeing so many roaches.
  4. Cockroaches live in the kitchen and bathrooms most of the time. Caulk and seal any holes or crevices where they could be hiding.
  5. Ask your guests to keep the kitchen impeccably clean and to ensure the sink is bone dry. Cockroaches need food and water and you don’t want to provide either.
  6. Be patient. The problem will eventually go away but it takes time. Also educate your guests on the process.

I highly recommend Pestend from Toronto. They have fantastic customer support. They answered every call promptly and they educated me in great detail on what to expect. Their service technicians are fabulous, too. 

I hope you never have to experience this problem.  If you do, remember that up front and honest communication with your guests is cruicial. I find that most people are understanding and they are willing to work with you.