Background: Several epidemiology studies have found an increase in the major cockroach allergen Bla g 2 with reported pesticide use. Aims of the study: Our aim was to investigate the effect on the excretion of Bla g 1 and Bla g 2 allergens by cockroaches exposed to sub-lethal doses of the pesticides, boric acid and hydramethylnon gel. Methods: German cockroaches in separate colonies were fed either boric acid or hydramethylnon gel at concentrations of 0.2, 0.1 and 0.01% in their water supply over a 2 week period. Ten colonies were exposed to each treatment concentration. Bla g 1 and Bla g 2 in fecal pellets were measured by ELISA. Results: Cockroaches exposed to boric acid excreted fecal pellets with significantly higher concentrations of Bla g 2 (35 400 U/g) than did controls (12 700 U/g) (P = 0.001). Bla g 1 concentrations were not significantly different. There was no difference in either Bla g 1 or Bla g 2 concentrations between cockroaches that ingested hydramethylnon gel and those in the controls colonies. Conclusions: The application of boric acid, a common pesticide, appears to paradoxically increase the production of Bla g 2, a major allergen, by the surviving cockroaches. This may have important implications in avoidance strategies.