Behavioral responses and mortality of the German cockroach, Blattella germanica (L.), after exposure to solutions of common household dishwashing liquid diluted in tap water without other known insecticidal active ingredients are described. Soap solutions of 0.05, 0.1, 0.25, 0.5, 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, and 5.0% were tested on first and second instars, fifth and sixth instars, and adults. Cockroaches were treated individually or in groups. Behavioral observations after treatment included an immediate knockdown period, an awakening and a struggle period, an unresponsive period, and either death or recovery between 30 min and 18 h after treatment. Probit analysis gave an excellent fit of unresponsive rates 18 h after treatment with the various soap concentrations, and LD50 and LD99 values were calculated to be 0.4 and 3.0% soap, respectively. Adult females were the most difficult to kill, but at soap concentrations of 1% or higher, 95% or greater unresponsiveness and death occurred. Soap concentrations of 3% or greater resulted in 100% unresponsiveness after 3 min, and eventually resulted in 100% mortality within 72 h for all adults and nymphs treated. Observations on the mode and site of action for soap are consistent with the blockage of spiracles and/or tracheae that results in asphyxiation and death. Future investigations into the efficacy of soaps against other arthropod groups are warranted and may be beneficial in certain situations.
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