Cockroaches are an unsightly and embarrassing problem. Nobody wants to turn on a light at night and discover a host of insects in their home. But roaches are not only unpleasant to live with. They are also associated with a number of health risks and unpleasant consequences when they take up residence in your house.
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Table of Contents
How to Control Cockroaches Without an Exterminator
If you have roaches and need to get rid of them without an exterminator, it’s common to find yourself looking at cans of commercial pesticides in the aisle of your local grocery or hardware store.
Many commercial cans of bug spray do kill roaches on contact, and they can create a toxic barrier against future roaches. However, many roaches are resistant to the chemicals found in common sprays, and it’s possible that, while a spray may kill adult roaches, it becomes less effective against their hatching eggs.
Bombs and foggers are often sold as a cheap exterminator for roaches. These devices work by spraying a fine pesticide mist into the air, filling a room and then gradually settling onto surfaces. Despite what the label may say, these devices aren’t very effective at controlling a roach infestation, because roaches hide in tiny cracks and crevices, and can hold their breath for up to 40 minutes. Bombs and foggers are more effective against flying insects than on roaches.
Some baited traps are simply adhesive traps, like flypaper. While these will certainly trap and kill adult roaches, they do nothing to control an infestation. It is more effective to use poisonous traps, because the roach will ingest the poison and then scurry back to their nest. Cockroaches are cannibals, so if the poisoned roach dies, there is a strong likelihood that other roaches will eat it and will themselves become poisoned.
Depending on the chemical composition of your commercial pesticide, there are health issues to be aware of. Although these products are generally safe for adults, children, and pets, they should still be handled with caution. Store them safely away from children or pets. Don’t use the product in an area where children or pets are likely to breathe or ingest it, such as near pet food areas or on carpets where children might be crawling. If you use a fogger or bomb, thoroughly clean all food surfaces, dishes, silverware, etc. afterward. Always follow all the manufacturer’s instructions for safe use, storage, and disposal of the product.
Killing Roaches Without an Exterminator Safely
If you have been looking for a cheap exterminator for roaches, and want to best protect children and pets, you may have read a number of all-natural DIY remedies online. Unfortunately, many of them do not work. Here are some of the old wives’ tales that are supposed to get rid of roaches, but actually have almost no effect:
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- Fabric softener
- Soapy water
- Coffee grounds
- Bay leaves
- Citrus peels
- Mint or catnip
- Essential oils
The idea behind many of these natural cockroach remedies is that cockroaches don’t like the smell and are repelled by them, which simply isn’t true. Fabric softener, soap, and other methods intended to block their breathing and drown them are sometimes effective against living adult roaches, but do nothing to control the infestation.
However, there are some natural DIY roach killing methods that really do work to kill roaches. Here are the best ones:
Diatomaceous earth is a fine powder that is microscopically sharp and abrasive. When roaches walk through it, it sticks to their waxy skin, and scratches and abrades their exoskeleton. It not only causes them to lose moisture through their skin, but it absorbs moisture as well, and kills roaches through dehydration.
Baking soda is highly alkaline. When combined with a tasty companion to make a bait to get roaches to eat it, it reacts with their stomach acid to expand inside their bodies and kills them from the inside out.
Borax can be used as a powder, where it functions much like diatomaceous earth, or used to create a bait, where it interferes with digestion and kills roaches. Borax is also highly effective because when roaches eat their dead companion, they ingest the toxic borax and are killed in turn. Borax is one of the most effective roach killing methods because it can be used to kill roaches two ways, and has long-lasting effects both on adults that are out where they can be seen, and on roaches hidden in the nest.
These three methods have multiple advantages over commercial sprays and bombs:
- They are safe and non-toxic for humans and pets
- They are inexpensive and widely available
- Unlike chemical pesticides, roaches do not develop a resistance to them over time
In fact, these methods are so effective that they are often recommended by professional exterminators.