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Using Landscape To Predict Cockroach Abundance and Diversity

Project Title:

Effects of house and landscape characteristics on the abundance and diversity of perimeter pests



Arthur Appel, PhD, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama

Xing Ping Hu, PhD, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama


Project Summary:

Drs. Appel and Hu have developed a statistical model that can predict smokybrown cockroach abundance based on 11 landscape characteristics.  These include: number of trees/acre, number of pines/acre, number of hardwoods/acre, number of objects/property (masonry grills, retaining walls, outbuildings, woodpiles, junk piles), ratio of house area to lot area, size of attic, age of house, number of residents, number of outdoor pets, and use of professional pest control. In addition to predicting cockroach abundance, the model also suggests habitat modifications that may reduce pest abundance in coordination with control tactics.  In preliminary studies, the integrated pest management programs developed based on the model provide better, longer lasting control with less insecticide.


The current project will expand and refine the statistical model developed by Drs. Appel and Hu beyond smokybrown cockroaches to include several species of pest ants and subterranean termites. The model will correlate pest abundance and diversity with house and landscape characteristics, and could ultimately be used by structural pest management sales and service personnel to better predict, treat and prevent perimeter pest infestations.