Do you get appalled when you see a roach anywhere? Are you repelled by dirty places? If so, you have every reason to be. Roaches are hardy but dirty creatures. They dwell in dark and dirty corners (anywhere) and come out to eat and mate only at night (nocturnal).
They are carriers of many germs (diseases) and allergens. So one should keep oneself and his surroundings clean to prevent roach infestation and spread of diseases.
In this article, I am going to discuss how to get rid of roaches in your home. But remember, “Prevention is always better than cure”.
Home to get rid of roaches using home remedies
Now, we shall see how to get rid of German Roaches, American Roaches, and Wood Roaches. Roaches have grown resistant to bug sprays but these ancient home remedies are surprisingly, still effective at eradicating roaches. They are also highly cost-effective. Therefore you should try them first if you have a roach infestation at your home.
Baking Soda and Sugar
It would be better if you mix powdered sugar (like they give you in hotels) with baking soda and spread it where roaches are normally found in your house.
Powdered sugar and baking soda have the same appearance, hence roaches will get confused and ingest them both.
The sugar will act as a bait and make the roaches eat the mixture. The baking soda, once ingested, will cause severe gastric problems in roaches, thus causing them to suffer in pain and starve to death.
The baking soda (Sodium Bicarbonate) and the sugar have to be mixed in equal proportions. Half a cup of each would be ideal. You can increase the proportion in case there are more roaches than you thought.
Now, we shall see how to get rid of roaches with Borax, also known as Boric Acid. Its chemical formula is B(OH)3. It is a chemical combination of Boron and Water (hydroxide ions). It is available in online e-commerce websites and well as in stationery shops. It is deadly for insects like ants and roaches and also to humans. So kindly keep it out of the reach of children.
Boric acid should be spread in its dry form only. It becomes non-toxic when dissolved in water. A thin spreading of boric acid in places where roaches are found in your house is enough to kill them.
When roaches walk over the boric acid spreading, they will get the powder on their legs and antennae. Since roaches are self-clean, they will ingest the boric acid while grooming and kill themselves as a consequence.
When I was a kid, my father used to use our carrom board powder (Boric Acid) to kill the roaches in our home. I thought he was wasting carrom board powder when there were sprays available back then but only now do I understand why he used it.
It was effective in killing the roaches. My father used to sweep away the dead roaches the next morning.
A mixture of Fabric Softener and Water
You might be wondering, how to get rid of roaches fast? This method will definitely do it. This mixture is deadly to roaches but will only cause irritation to humans if ingested. The best way to use this mixture is to spray it in the corners where roaches are found in your home.
This spray can reach places (corner holes) where the boric acid powder cannot. Hence, it is more effective at killing roaches instantly. The fabric softener and water have to be mixed in the ratio 3:2 to get an effective mixture.
Some of you may be too kind-hearted like my sister. You might not want to kill the roaches but only keep them out of your home. If so, you can powder bay leaves and spread the powder near the corners where roaches are found in your home.
Bay leaves have a strong odor that repels roaches. It will drive the roaches out of your home and into some other dark corner. You can grind the bay leaves using a pestle and mortar or more commonly (these days) using an electric mixer or grinder.
Bay leaves will be available in any Ayurvedic store or you can order them online from any e-commerce platform.
Lemon Peels or Lemon Juice
Lemon is generally known for its ability to clean grease and stains but just like bay leaves it has a strong odor that repels roaches. I bet that came as a surprise to you.
You can keep lemon peels near the corners where roaches reside in your home or you can spray lemon juice into their hiding holes. This will instantly flush them out.
The odor of lemon has to be very strong in the juice for it to be effective so you have to mix lemon juice and water in the ratio 10:1 i.e., adding one glass of water to ten squeezed lemons.
Spraying lemon juice into the roaches’ holes will instantly make them move out of your house. This solution is again recommended for those people who are too kind at heart and only want to drive the roaches out of their homes and not kill them.
Spraying lemon juice has its upside though. Just like lemon-flavored phenols, they give a nice fragrance to your home. My grandma once employed this home remedy to drive roaches out of her home and even I couldn’t believe it then but it worked!
I know that some of you are thinking, “seriously”?! Just like humans, roaches love the taste of coffee too only that they don’t know that it’s toxic for them.
Coffee grounds aggravate acidity in roaches (and humans) if ingested, causing them a slow and painful death. Coffee also contains a drug called caffeine, which is mildly toxic to roaches.
Spread a spoonful of coffee grounds near the hole where the roaches reside in your home. Then place a jar containing coffee grounds (half-filled) right beside the spread coffee powder.
The top half of the jar (inside) should be oiled so that the roaches slip into the jar easily and cannot escape.
The roaches will be attracted to the spread of coffee grounds and ingest them. They will even venture into the jar (by smell) to consume some more coffee grounds. Eventually, they will die of acidity and poisoning.
The dead roaches will be found inside the jar as they could not escape its slippery surface (inside). You must dispose of the dead roaches every day until you cannot find it anymore.
This person in Florida has trapped and killed bugs in a jar. Watch this video to know how he did it.
This is by far the most lucrative and deadly trap for roaches. Just ensure that your babies or children do not eat the coffee grounds. It can cause acidity in them too.
Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is the naturally powdered fossil of ancient marine life. When buying this substance, it would be better if you buy food grade DE because it will not harm your pets or children (like dogs or cats) if they consume it.
However, DE in any form is dangerous to roaches. It contains minute bone crystals that will damage roaches’ digestive tracts if ingested. The roaches will die of dehydration and pain if they consume DE in any form.
How to prevent roach infestation in your home?
This is what you folks should actively pursue because prevention is always better than cure.
Keep your home clean
I’m sorry, but you’ll have to do the hard work. Roaches thrive in dirty environments and on leftover foods. To prevent roaches from thriving in your home, you must keep it spic and span.
There should be no dirty dishes in your sink or grease on your stove or dirt anywhere in your house. You must clean all these things before you go to bed. After all “cleanliness is close to godliness”.
Remove hiding places for roaches
Cracks and dark holes anywhere in your home, serve as hiding places for roaches. You must seal all of them to eradicate the hiding places for roaches. It’s a painstaking job but you’ve got to do it. It will prevent roaches from coming out and getting into them.
This can take time but it’s worth the effort. It is one of the best methods to prevent roaches from entering into your home.
What attracts roaches to your home?
After knowing the information, I trust that all of you will take measures to keep your home clean and prevent roach infestation. Roaches are one of the hardiest insects on Earth.
They have very fundamental needs like food, warmth, shelter and water and our homes provide all of them. They can also survive for weeks without food or water so just having a clean home may not get rid of them.
Roaches and their eggs may enter your home through myriad means. They include but are not limited to pipes, grocery bags, cracks, shoe boxes, etcetera. There are a total of 69 species of roaches in the world but only a few species of roaches are widely spread. They are:
This species is found in Ohio. They grow up to 1.5 inches long. Males of this species have short wings and cannot fly.
They are brown and can grow up to 1.75 inches long. Both the males and females of this species have sufficiently large wings and can fly. They are the only species of roaches to feed on wood. They live in cracks on wooden surfaces.
They are brown with dark stripes behind the head and they grow up to an inch long. They are the hardiest of all the species of roaches and can fly. They have also been known to bite people.
This is the most widely spread of all the species of roaches. They are reddish-brown with wings as large as their bodies. They can grow up to 2 inches long.
The factors that attract roaches to your home are
Leftover food in the sink or other containers attracts roaches by the hundreds. So always, clean your sink and dispose of your leftovers before you go to sleep.
Roaches are also attracted to the crease on your stove. So clean your stove as well before you go to sleep.
You must also wipe your floor clean before you go to sleep. Particles of food on the floor, dust, and dirt will attract roaches. If you are buying food from grocery stores, make sure that the food containers are airtight.
Roaches may lay their eggs in containers that are not airtight.
Stagnant water anywhere will attract roaches. Be it on the sink or on the bathroom floor or on wet towels and sponges. You must make your home clean and dry before you go to bed.
The only shelter for roaches in your home is cracks and holes anywhere. You must seal all of them painstakingly to prevent them from making it their home. Sealing holes and cracks will prevent roaches that are inside them from coming out and will prevent roaches that are outside them from coming in
How to treat roach bites?
Now, this might come as a shock to some of you people but some roaches do bite humans as they are omnivorous insects.
The species of roaches that bite people are German roaches and American roaches. Roaches are very shy insects and do not bite people unless food becomes very scarce.
The only time they can bite you is at night when they come from under your bed. So you need to clean the underside of your bed at least once a month to prevent roach bites. They mainly target our skin, nails, and hair. My aunt had been bitten once by roaches on her forearm and she had an ugly red swelling on the skin.
The symptoms of a roach bite are:
- Large, red bumps on the skin.
- Rashes and swelling of the skin.
The red bumps that appear on our skin is a consequence of our bodies’ chemical reaction to the proteins present in roaches’ saliva. People with asthma are especially vulnerable to roaches’ bites as they aggravate people’s asthma.
Roaches’ bites can also cause allergies such as anaphylaxis where our BP drops suddenly causing us to faint. If not treated within a short period, it could lead to our deaths.
Roaches are carriers of germs, bacteria, and viruses that cause diseases like:
- Poliomyelitis virus
- Escherichia coli
First aid for roach bite includes
- Washing the bitten area with soap and water.
- Pressing ice bags on swollen skin to reduce the swelling.
- Applying Hydrocortisone or Calamine cream on the bitten area will cure the allergic reaction and restore our skin to normalcy.
- Rubbing onion on the bite mark kills any germs or harmful bacteria that may have entered your body through the bite.
- Pouring Epsom Salt (Magnesium Sulphate) solution on the bite mark will also cure the allergic reaction our bodies have to roach bites.
- Pouring mint juice on the bite mark will reduce the itching and the pain and will also enhance our blood circulation.
Using glue boards to kill roaches
This is perhaps one of the simplest ways to trap and kill roaches. I had tried it once and it was highly effective at trapping and killing a large number of roaches. To see how a glue board is made, kindly watch this video.
Roach traps are used to capture and kill roaches by starving them. The traps can capture roaches either via a mechanical action or via an extremely sticky surface. The traps that capture roaches via a mechanical action include:
- Catchmaster 72MB
- Trapro Cockroach Traps
- Trapper Insect Trap
- Black Flag TAT Roach Motel Traps
Glue Boards are roach traps that trap and kill roaches via an extremely sticky surface. A strong glue like acolyte is applied on the surface of a plastic or a metal tray to make it a glue board.
Apart from trapping and killing roaches, they also give you an idea of how many roaches there are in your home.
You must be careful if you have pets at home. Glue boards can also trap medium-sized animals like cats. If your pet has been caught on a glue board, you must take it to a vet immediately.
Fortunately for me, I did not have any pets at home when I used a glue board once.
Some lure like sugar or honey is placed in the middle of the glue tray to lure the roaches. The tray is then placed close to the hole where the roaches reside in your home.
Naturally, the roaches come for the food and get caught on the glue board. Unable to escape, they starve to death.
It must be noted that sticky boards or glue boards cannot trap minute insects like mosquitoes and gnats. They can only trap medium and large insects like grasshoppers, roaches, mantis, etcetera.
Even though there are myriad ways to get rid of roaches or drive them out of your home, prevention is always better than cure. Keep your home clean and seal all the cracks and holes in it.
Always clean your floor, sink and stove before you go to sleep. This will starve the roaches of food and discourage them from breeding. Also, clean the underside of your bed at least once a month.
This will prevent roach bites. Roaches are carriers of germs, harmful bacteria, and allergens. Getting bitten by one or being in places they have been to (in your home) can spread infections and diseases.
You might have to spend a lot of medications in case you get one of the diseases they spread. So always keep your home clean and prevent the breeding of roaches in your home. This way you can avoid unnecessary expenditures and health problems.
1. Do home remedies work?
The home remedies that are used to kill roaches like Baking Soda, DE, Boric Acid, etcetera do work but the home remedies that are used to repel roaches like lemon juice or bay leaves may not drive the roaches out of your home. They may just go and settle in another spot in your home. So watch out for that.
2. When should I call an exterminator?
If you see roaches crawling out of their holes even when there is light in your home, it indicates that there are many roaches in your house and that it is high time you call a roach exterminator. You must eradicate these pests before they spread any diseases or allergies or infections.
3. What should be my first approach to roach infestation?
Try home remedies first before calling a roach exterminator. They are effective and cost-effective.
4. Do repellents work against roaches?
Yes, both natural and manufactured repellents are effective in repelling roaches. However, you must ensure that the roaches leave your house for good and don’t just settle in another corner of your house.
5. Does boric acid kill roaches?
Yes, boric acid kills roaches but it is a lot more effective when it is mixed with other ingredients. Roach sprays that have Boric Acid as an active ingredient are far more effective at killing roaches than just Boric Acid itself