In most cases, home remedies for roaches will only offer temporary relief from an infestation. The best plan of action is to speak with a pest control professional about eradicating the cockroaches and getting protection against future problems. However, some natural remedies for cockroaches can help you minimize the problem in the meantime. You may want to try some of these approaches as you’re considering how to avoid cockroaches in your home.
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Do Home Remedies for Roaches Work?
Home remedies, including both natural approaches and over-the-counter sprays for cockroaches, aren’t usually adequate as a long-term solution because:
- Roaches hide in places where home remedies can’t reach them.
- Many products require physical contact with the roach to kill it.
- Deterring roaches from a particular part of the home doesn’t prevent the spread of disease or infestation in other areas.
- Roaches may not consume homemade baits or poisons if they’re not appropriately placed.
Roaches seek out dark, moist places with a ready supply of food. This food doesn’t always come from your kitchen; it can include dead insects, wallpaper paste, book bindings, and human hair or fingernails. If you don’t know how to locate roaches accurately, you could have an infestation in an unseen part of the home, making it challenging to tackle yourself.
It’s essential to understand the limitations of home remedies for cockroaches so you can use these in conjunction with other pest control methods. Always speak with your pest control professional about the remedies you’re currently using or have used to ensure your efforts aren’t counteracting theirs.
Home Remedies for Cockroaches
The following home remedies are among the most effective options you can try for killing cockroaches: diatomaceous earth, boric acid, borax, baking soda, and fabric softener.
Diatomaceous earth is one of the most effective home remedies for cockroaches. This powdery substance is safe for humans and pets, but it kills insects that come into physical contact.
Diatomaceous earth has tiny particles that are very sharp; this damages the exoskeleton of insects like roaches, preventing its covering from retaining moisture. Within about 48 hours, the roach will die of dehydration. Unfortunately, this remedy only works when the roach touches it, which not all cockroaches in your home may do.
Boric acid is an effective cockroach treatment if roaches walk through it. The powder sticks to their bodies, so roaches ingest it while cleaning themselves. The boric acid is toxic to the roach. Insects that walk though it may also carry the powder to other areas of the home, spreading this hazardous substance.
It would be best if you used only a light dusting so the roach doesn’t see the powder, as it will avoid a thick accumulation of it. Place the boric acid in an area away from pets and children, as it is toxic to both.
You can also use boric acid as a homemade roach bait. Combine two parts boric acid with one part flour and add syrup as a sweetener. Roaches may consume this if it’s strategically placed.
Borax is toxic to roaches when ingested, as it damages the bug’s digestive system and causes severe dehydration. You can attract cockroaches to the borax by mixing it with sugar and sprinkling it in areas with roach activity, such as underneath sinks and along baseboards.
You can also use the borax to make bait by mixing equal parts of borax, flour, and sugar. Add water until you get a dough-like consistency and roll into small balls for the roaches to consume.
Borax isn’t as toxic to humans as boric acid. Still, it can cause skin irritation, mouth infections, nausea, respiratory problems, and vomiting, so you should keep it away from pets and children.
Baking soda isn’t as toxic as the other remedies listed above, but it does irritate the roach’s digestive system and may lead to death if the cockroach consumes enough. Mix baking soda with sugar to encourage cockroaches to eat the substance.
Fabric softener only kills the roach if you can spray it directly. Combine three parts fabric softener with two parts water in a spray bottle. Shake well and spray on any cockroaches that you see. The thick liquid coats the roaches exoskeleton and blocking its airway; this causes the roach to suffocate if you can get it with a good dose.
Natural Cockroach Repellents
Many natural substances will repel cockroaches, keeping them out of a particular area; this can make a space like your kitchen less appealing to the roaches living in your house, but it won’t kill them. They will probably continue to live and thrive in dark, hard-to-reach places like the empty spaces inside of walls.
If you want to use repellents to minimize roach activity in certain areas, you can try these options:
- Catnip – Scatter around the house to deter roaches
- Ammonia – Mix with water and use to wipe down surfaces.
- Bay leaves – Crush the leaves to release their essential oils and place around the home.
- Lemons – Spray lemon juice to repel roaches or grind fresh lemon peels and throughout locations in the house.
Roach traps are one of the most effective options for dealing with an infestation. Place traps in corners and along baseboards, where roaches are most likely to travel. Commercial products typically contain a slow-acting poison that will kill the cockroach after it leaves the trap. The cockroach can also spread the toxin through its droppings, causing other cockroaches to come into contact with it.
You can make a homemade roach trap as well if you’d prefer a different approach. Place coffee grounds and water in the bottom of a coffee can and coat the inside with petroleum jelly. Roaches will climb into the can seeking the coffee, and the petroleum jelly will make it difficult for them to get out. After about 40 minutes, the roach will drown.
Home remedies for cockroaches are not the most effective, but they may act to supplement other efforts. If you’re dealing with an ongoing roach infestation, reach out to a pest control professional for a lasting solution.