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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


24 Jun 2011, 15:42
I thought diatomaceous earth is a lung irritant and should not be used in busy places or commonly disturbed areas, or areas you can inhale them.
Ask the Exterminator
24 Jun 2011, 15:56
Right off the label, it says:
CONTROLS: Ants, Cockroaches, Earwigs, Fleas, Mites, Spiders and other Crawling Insects. FOR USE IN AND AROUND: Businesses, Commercial Areas, Food/Feed Handling Establishments, Homes and other residential areas, institutional areas and schools.

Using a hand duster, apply lightly in dry areas where crawling insect pests are found or may hide, including cracks and crevices, along baseboards, around sinks, cabinets, refrigerators and stoves and in attics and basements.
01 Jul 2011, 22:08
Not only does catnip not work but after spraying some strong catnip water I witnessed cockroaches drinking from it. Bay leaves seem to have zero effect as well. sigh...
Leanne Bourgeois
30 Aug 2011, 11:53
This is very interresting... I watch Billy the exterminator every week... and he talks about Pyrethrin spray and bait all the time. I live in central florida and a 2 year old 2dogs and a kitten. we see to get the roaches and tiny sugar ant and even ghost spiders( my husband calls them) Where can I find the diatomaceous earth and hedge apples?? or even the pyrethrin bait and spray that would be safe for the baby and pets? please help....
Ask the Exterminator
30 Aug 2011, 15:24
This link will take you to our diatomaceous earth product: 4.html.

Hedge apples are the fruit of the Osage Orange tree. Find that tree and the hedge apples will be laying on the ground under the tree.

Other products can be found on this website by clicking on "Pest Control Products" link at the top of this page.
Claudia Kitchen
15 Oct 2011, 16:56
Nice post. It is interesting to read and it is very useful for the readers. Anyway, thank you for the information. I really appreciated your blog. I will check this out. Thank you and keep it up.

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23 Oct 2011, 21:04
My science fair project; "does catnip repel cockroaches better than DEET". i cant seem to find a good long site on how/what/why catnip would repel cockroaches better than DEET....HELP
Vern Fulop
02 Feb 2012, 07:26
BAKED HEDGE APPLES--Over ten years ago in Kansas, hedge trees grew near my house. Someone told me that if I cut the apple in thin slices (be careful they are hard) and spread them on Alum. foil and bake them in a low 250 degree oven for several hours, they turn dark brown and can then be used for roach and spider repellent. And sure enough they do! I live in Florida now where there are many roaches and in ten years, I have only seen ONE roach in my house. It works: put them under the stove, refrigerator, back of the closet etc. and you will see. To keep pets from getting to them, just put in a netlike bag. IT WORKS!
08 May 2012, 00:10
Yo, I sprayed catnip oil mixed with water, had a lot of garlic and the roaches where chillin' on in like they wanted moreluksm
JR Rodgers
31 May 2012, 02:57
Thanks for the information. Here are a couple of hints that you might find helpful.

Since roaches normally enter the home through water pipes and travel from room to room through the walls, the first defense is to calk water and drain pipes. They also enter through electrical outlets. I have found it helpful to remove the plates from the outlets, spray interior with Boric Acid with a small plastic bottle with narrow tip then return the plates. This should be done about every six months to insure the powder is still active.

Also… roaches love pine. When people mulch their yards with pine straw or pine bark, the roaches quickly make their homes in it. Using these products in the yard away from the house may be OK but using cedar bark or other hardwoods around the foundation will discourage them.

I hope this is helpful.

21 Oct 2012, 15:35
20 mule team borax works for me...use in mop water and make baits adding a little in jar lid...keep away from animals...
03 Nov 2012, 01:16
Since woods roaches aka palmetto bugs fly everywhere they go, would these remedies work on them too?
Ask the Exterminator
06 Nov 2012, 16:34
Not likely. Just turn off outside lights so the wood roaches are not attracted to the house.
Living In Terror
23 Aug 2013, 13:53
We have had a lot of rain lately, so I believe the wood roach, palmetto bug, or American cockroach population has exploded!
Over the last several weeks, I have seen a few HUGE roaches in my house. Of course I scream bloody murder when I see it then kill it. Then I spend 20 minutes listening to see if I hear any more! haha

Well, for the last two mornings I have noticed tons of droppings on my car. (I park under a huge oak tree near my house.
I thought they were caterpillar droppings but wondered why they were here so late in the season.
This morning, I had even more droppings on my car and looked up in the trees.
I could see no evidence of caterpillar-eaten leaves.
My worst nightmare came to mind --- I got to work and looked up roach droppings, and to my horror, I discovered they looked exactly like what I saw!!!
My huge oak is infested in roaches!!!
I am freaking out and will not be able to sleep knowing those horrible things are all in my tree...and near my house!

I'm going by Lowe's or Home Depot tonight to buy some gel. I'll put tons of drops outside my house (along my foundation) and then I'll get the ladder and apply drops anywhere I can on the tree.
I've ordered Advion gel that will be here Tuesday I hope!!!
I really want to go live in a hotel! lol

Give me rats!! I don't care...just take away these roaches!!!

I live in Tennessee if anyone is wondering.
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.
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