Roach Motel (insect trap)

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Roach Motel is a brand of a roach bait device designed to catch cockroaches. Although the term is the subject of a trademark registration by the insect control brand Black Flag, the phrase roach motel has come to be used as a reference to all traps that use a scent or other form of bait to lure cockroaches into a compartment in which a sticky substance causes them to become trapped. Introduced in late 1976 in response to the success of d-CON's roach trap, the Roach Motel quickly became a successful entrant in the industry. By 1979, New York Magazine reported:

"On the strength of its whimsical packaging and an aggressive ad campaign, the Roach Motel now dominates the market, outselling the closest competition by as much as three to one in some cities."[1]

Early versions of the Roach Motels used food-based bait, but later designs incorporated pheromones. The widely known tagline of the Roach Motel was, "Roaches check in, but they don't check out!" (Saturday Night Live spoofed this in their "Roach Brothel" parody. "The roaches make out, but they don't check out.") The phrase also has been applied to information technology systems such as ERP, which readily capture transactions data but make it difficult for organizations to access, report and analyze the data stored in the system.[2]

Black Flag also marketed a related insect trap, the "Flyport," designed to deal with unwanted flying insects like houseflies, with the tagline, "Lots of arrivals, but no departures!" It was less successful than the Roach Motel.

The name "Roach Motel" is United States federal trademark No. 1,059,314, for which Black Flag claims a date of earliest use of May 7, 1976.[3]


  1. ^ Scot Haller, "Checkout time at the Roach Motel," New York Magazine (Jul 9-16, 1979), v. 12, no. 28, p. 71.
  2. ^ Vizard, Michael (24 August 1998). "Are ERP Apps Really Worth All the Trouble?". IDG. Retrieved 22 November 2016. 
  3. ^ "Am. Home Products v. Johnson Chemical Co., 589 F. 2d 103, 104 (2nd Cir., 1978)". Google Scholar. Retrieved 2015-04-19.