Is There An Organic Method Of Killing Cockroaches?

Is there an organic method of killing cockroaches? Some essential oils can help kill cockroaches. A lot of people have become concerned about the use of chemicals and pesticides in residential areas. However,...

A lot of people have become concerned about the use of chemicals and pesticides in residential areas. However, cockroaches do represent a health concern as well. They are believed to be capable of transporting viruses, diseases and illnesses indirectly, and cockroaches can exacerbate existing allergy and asthma conditions for those with sensitivities.

Are there options that don't involve harmful chemicals? According to Stoy Hedges, an entomologist and Director of Technical Services at Terminix International, "There are a variety of products that are making a way into the market. For example, essential oils, mint oils, clove oils, the products that come out in the market that are food grade materials, have an effect on insects. In some cases they are not quite as effective as some of the other materials, what people call professional materials. We are using those kinds of products in our schools, daycares, and places where there is a real sensitivity to using any chemicals at all. Nature makes some effective insecticide."

The University of California Integrated Pest Management Program online,, recommends always trying the least toxic materials to combat cockroaches to begin treatment. "Insecticides are most effective when combined with sanitation and exclusion practices that limit the cockroach's ability to establish or reinvade; chemical control alone will not solve the problem. If insecticides are used, they must always be used with extreme care. Indoor chemical control is warranted only if the cockroach population is established but not for an incidental intruder or two."

Commonly used insecticides include dusts, baits, and sprays. Some populations of cockroaches have developed resistance to many types of insecticides. While you don't expect to find a mass grave of cockroaches immediately upon application of a pest control treatment, after a few days if nothing seems to be working, it's probably best to try something different.

According to the UC-IPM website, "One effective dust for control of cockroaches is boric acid powder, which is a contact poison. It is the least repellent of all the insecticides for cockroach control, and if it remains dry and undisturbed, it provides control for a very long time."

Boric acid works slowly. First, it clings to an insect's body when the pest walks through treated area, then when the cockroach grooms itself, it ingests the poison. It takes approximately a week to take full effect.

"The most popular use of baits in homes is within bait stations, which are small plastic or cardboard units that contain an attractive food base along with an insecticide. The advantage of bait stations is that insecticides can be confined to a small area rather than being dispersed and they are relatively child resistant."

The best baits are not quick acting because roaches quickly learn to avoid those. Rather, you want a product that takes around seven days to work. They will not draw the cockroaches to different locations than they usually frequent, so try placing them where you know the insects tend to travel.

Regarding sprays and aerosols, the UC-IPM website suggests, "The safest application method for home users is the crack-and-crevice spray used in combination with sanitation and exclusion. Avoid the use of insecticide aerosol sprays, bombs, or foggers, as these will just disperse the cockroaches and may actually increase problems."

Finally the UC-IPM recommends, "If you wish to avoid sprays and aerosols completely, a thorough vacuuming with a HEPA or triple filter vacuum cleaner followed by the use of boric acid dust in cracks and crevices and a baiting program can effectively control severe infestations."

If you are overwhelmed at the number of options available to you, consult a professional and share your concerns about the possible negative effects of using chemical treatments. Today there are many more options available in the battle against cockroaches, and you should be able to find an approach that works and you are comfortable using in your home.

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