RSS Feed
Email this article
Printer friendly page

Ask Rick A Question

Organic Cockroach Control

Summary: When it comes to cockroach control most people will scream “No mercy!” The problem is that some roach pesticides will poison you too! Here are a few non-toxic solutions to get rid of cockroaches.

Cockroaches are small, fast, and adaptable. They learn quickly what foods they can and cannot eat making them resistant to many kinds of pesticide treatments. By far the best way to get rid of roaches is to clean up food spills and fix leaky water pipes or other sources of moisture accumulation. If that doesn't solve the problem here are a few ideas that might.

Diatomaceous earth is a type of sharp edged, brittle soil that irritates the waxy exoskeleton skin of cockroaches. As the tiny particles cut up the outer shell, the cockroach gets dehydrated and eventually dies. Sprinkling some of this on top of cabinetry or behind appliances will help curb the roaches' enthusiasm for your home.


Roaches hate catnip because it has a natural chemical repellent. Make a catnip tea by simmering some catnip in hot water and then spray it where you see roaches. This can be very effective in deterring the little buggers. You might want to try something else if you have cats though because it will drive them more bonkers than it will the roaches.

Keep a spray bottle handy filled with soapy water and spray a roach every time you see one. This is a roach killer, as well. You can even make a game of it based on the number and size of roaches you get. Big American cockroaches are worth ten points; Oriental cockroaches are worth five, and so on.

If you just want to keep the roaches away, but are not too excited about picking up dead, crusty cockroaches then sprinkle dried bay leaves, cucumber slices, or garlic power in corners or behind baseboards. Roaches like rotting food, so these gourmet spices don't appeal to them and might actually send them packing.

Hedge apples are the large sticky, neon green fruit from the Osage orange tree and they are natural roach repellents. Leaving one or two in a room for a

Hedge apples

couple weeks will repel cockroaches, ants and spiders. They do get moldy and sticky so when the green color has faded to brown it is time to throw them out. The insects possibly drawn to old, moldy, sticky hedge apples is a whole other article.

Non-toxic, sticky cockroach traps placed near warm, dark places where the roaches are likely to travel also provides some level of control.

I hope these tips help you. Let me know how they work out.

Ask Rick A Question


09 Feb 2014, 03:36
So how effective is catnip? I have read on varying sites that it's a repellent against roaches, but reading comments it doesn't seem to be working. I really hate the roaches that I've seen in my apt and I have seen them in my bedroom a little frequent now and its tooo close for comfort. The exterminator told me the ones in my apt are house roaches/German roaches I don't want them in my room at all and need something to repel against them entering. I want to try catnip but I need to know it will work before wasting money. Please help!!!!
Ask the Exterminator
11 Feb 2014, 16:19
I have no idea if catnip is effective. Professional pest control companies are not permitted to use products against their label and catnip is not labeled for roach control. A word about repelling roaches. I prefer to know where my insects are nesting rather then driving them to new and more hidden places. Instead of a repellent I suggest using attractant roach baits like Maxforce FC. Baits keep the roaches in one area as they feed. Once they feed on the baits they die. Catnip will never kill roaches.
13 Mar 2014, 21:22
Catnip oil works very well. It is better than DEET for repelling insects, BUT, the compound must contain nepatalactone isomer 1 which is the active ingredient. How do you know how much isomer 1 your preparation has? You don't; not without a lot of expensive lab equipment. Isomer spectra varies widely within one individual plant depending on when and where you test it. If you want to use catnip as a deterrant I would buy pre-made catnip essential oil that is lab tested. Don't try to make it at home.

I have had no success with diamtomaceous earth and cockroaches. Works well with ants and fleas but doesn't seem to do anything to cockroaches.

Rosemary and tea-tree oil also work really well with ants. I've had some convincing home studies. Don't heat the rosemary though, just crush to a paste.
13 Mar 2014, 21:43
I forgot to add that catnip oil containing nepatalactone is an essential oil. "Essential" doesn't mean that you need it. It means that it contains an aromatic (essence). This means that once it is dry, the aromatic is nearly all evaporated. Most catnip is sold dried and will contain almost zero essential oil. No preparation from dry catnip will ever work for repelling insects. Cats can still smell it due to their amazing evolved scent receptors but cockroaches and mosquitos won't detect it.
24 Mar 2014, 00:02
I have roaches. I live in new York so I have roaches. they are invincible. I have tried every thing boric asid, roach traps (motel and sticky veriety) the gells that leave brown lines. an insectiside called spectiside and much more. they either don't work or stop working. I just put out cucmber shavings and at the moment that is keeping them away. I want to know how often to i change them. they were fresh and moist and now are dry, getting britle.
13 Apr 2014, 09:41
The catnip is working for me. I bought an ounce of fresh catnip from a local herb store. I boiled about a quarter of an ounce with about 2 cups of water and put it in a spray bottle. When I see a roach I spray it on them. I am seeing the roaches stop in their tracks dead and fall of the wall without crawling back up. This is a big deal. When I have tried other home remedies they always keep crawling after being sprayed. Nothing has stopped them until now!
30 Jun 2014, 19:52
I find that both awesome and hilarious, Leena. Maybe I'm a little sadistic but I can just imagine those nasty bugs freaking out from being repelled by their OWN BODIES. So they can't run away from the repellent because it's on them!
29 Oct 2014, 23:05
I live in a townhouse--a row of six!! German roaches have moved in to mine--next neighbor blames me for hers and I for mine! LOL Is there a pet safe home remedy to kill and repel more? Like crushed garlic in water. I have cats so cannot use catnip! One of mine will attack U if she is around catnip!
29 Oct 2014, 23:12
Roaches have ruined my beautiful side by side refrigerator--they want $800.00 to repair--electrical of course. None inside thank God! In N Florida where I live, where can I acquire hedge apples? Sounds wonderful in cabinets and behind refrigerator, or in laundry room even!
We had a fire in laundry, ruined W&D, have new ones--hope the roaches to march to those!
29 Oct 2014, 23:14
Roaches have ruined my beautiful side by side refrigerator--they want $800.00 to repair--electrical of course. None inside thank God! In N Florida where I live, where can I acquire hedge apples? Sounds wonderful in cabinets and behind refrigerator, or in laundry room even!
We had a fire in laundry, ruined W&D, have new ones--hope the roaches to march to those!
don't march!
Chantal W.
25 Jan 2015, 13:48
You said in comments:

I have no idea if catnip is effective.

Then why are you saying it is effective in the body text of your site?! Take that text off if you can't verify it.

I have a question about ants--How do we get rid of them in our yard? We sprinkle Amdro on the mound, and the ants just build a new mound a few feet away.
Ask the Exterminator
25 Jan 2015, 19:34
My response to you was that my professional pest control company does not use catnip because it is not labeled for insect control. Therefore, I, personally, don't have experience using it, but I have read that it is an effective repellent.
26 Jan 2015, 07:02
I'm not sure if catnip works, and I equally doubted if dry catnip doesn't contain any catnip oil. Essential oils are made by a method called stream distillation where they actually distillated oils from dry herbs, I can't understand why catnip is an exception
31 Jan 2015, 12:14
I have german cockroaches in my LG stove. When I put the oven on Convection Roast or Convection Bake, I can see them running around behind the instrument panel against the wall above the glass cooktop. I have not noticed them in the drawers or in the oven itself ... have not pulled the unit out yet - they seem to be living in the panel. What do you suggest? I live in Florida.
18 Apr 2015, 14:55
Thank you very much for the concise article of possible organic solutions for cockroach control!
03 May 2015, 23:34
I just moved into a new place and as the temp got warmer, the roaches have slowly started coming out. 1 at a time. I can go days without seeing a roach, but then days where I see 1-4. I have put down Boric Acid, sealed up holes, put drops of AVION (think that's how it spelled), put down MAX FORCE, Bleached the drains regularly. I'm even going to remove outlet covers and Boric Acid in there, moved appliances, baseboards, I don't know what else to do. BUT the main problem I have is that:
1 - My upstairs neighbors are seriously dirty - they do not clean
2 - the roaches are so sporadic that I can't lock down their hideout.
3 - The stuff I've done does not seem to keep them away.

Basically - I need more ideas, I need HELP.

What else can I do to get them away from my apartment....????

I just moved here and I'm considering moving again..

Give me more idea please.... I try anything. Catnip, Borax, anything...
Ask the Exterminator
04 May 2015, 09:47
Sounds like you're doing all you can, but if you have a dirty neighbor it's going to be tough to control. Complain to your landlord. He/She is legally responsible for providing a pest-free environment. Report him/her to the Board of Health if you don't get cooperation.
14 Jun 2015, 23:42
To have an answer for the confusion of whether catnip works or not, I found two articles that support its efficiency.

The other can be found on Google: Natural Insect Repellents: Activity Against Mosquitoes and Cockroaches. By Schultz, Peterson, and Coats.

Both articles show proof that catnip is a better repellent than DEET in the short term. They also show that the fruit of the Osage orange tree, provided the longest duration of repellency.
I hope this helps.

19 Jul 2015, 01:33
Chantal W.

Get some Cream of Wheat "REGULAR, not instant" Oatmeal. Place it by the mound, and in a couple days they should be gone. To keep anything else from eating it, or keep it from getting wet, place a box or milk crate on top of it, and weigh it down. If the ground is wet, place it in a dish so it doesn't get wet. This only works if the Oatmeal does not get wet and expand before the Ants have time to eat it. There may be other food they would like that expands when eatin and will have the same affect, but this one has always worked for me.

The Ants eat the Oatmeal and the explode when it expands. I have used this with many different species, but really tiny difficult to see ones cannot eat it because the pieces are too big for them to eat. But your normal size or bigger ones will not have the same problem.
Ask the Exterminator
19 Jul 2015, 10:31
Absolutely not true.
Notify me about new comments on this page
Hide my email
The box below is for visitor comments! Questions posted in this box may not be answered by Ask the Exterminator. For quickest response click on the "Ask the Exterminator a Question" link at top of this page.
Security Image:



More Articles Like This

  • Pyrethrin
  • Drione Dust
  • All Natural Pest Control
  • Carpenter Ant Bait

  • Categories: