Cockroaches are persistent, irritating and annoying pests found in the homes and sometimes offices, warehouses, restaurants and hospitals; these destructive insects cause problems anywhere they are, they contaminate food and cooking utensils, they destroy important documents and fabrics, they stain clean surfaces and make them smell.
The fearful thing about the presence of this dirty pest in the home is that they carry diseases; they serve as host to many bacteria and parasites that cause diseases in man; they are carriers of pathogens that cause salmonellosis, typhoid fever, polio, giardia, Listeriosis, campylobacteriosis, plague, dysentery, leprosy, gastroenteritis and cholera. They can also trigger asthma and other allergies; they can spread E.coli, Staphylococcus aureus and streptococcus anywhere they are found.
It spreads these disease causing pathogens by contaminating food stuffs and utensils in the home. They can also defecate and vomit on foods and when these contaminated foods are eaten by humans, it leads to a lot of health problems and infections.
These annoying pests are synonymous with dirt, filth and poor hygiene; they are found in dark, warm and dirty places; they hate light and they are nocturnal. They are also in places where they are biological wastes like sewage, septic tanks, garbage cans and animal houses.
Common hiding place for cockroaches in the home are:
- Around water heaters
- In drains and grease traps
- Below the sinks
- In kitchen cupboard
- Furniture or wardrobes that are not used regularly
- Hidden places like behind the refrigerator or under boxes
What attracts roaches to the home?
- Poor domestic hygiene
- Irregular pest control measure
- Inappropriate storage of food; that is food are stored in uncovered containers
- A hot house or hot environment; try and make the temperature of your room cool
- Leaking pipes and poor drainage
What to expect when you have cockroaches in your home
They will contaminate your food: Apart from the food you eat, this annoying pest can eat anything; they can eat dead plant and animals, fecal matter, soap glue. Paper (including your important documents), leather and even strands of hair that falls from your head. When food is left uncovered throughout the night; they come out of their hiding place and contaminate the food by crawling over it, eating it and defecating or vomiting on the remnant. They can also leave behind their dead skin, hair and empty egg shells in the food.
They will poison your food: Due to the above point; food poisoning can occur. An epidemic outbreak of food poisoning reduced abruptly when cockroaches were eliminated; it serves as host for the bacterium salmonella which can not only cause typhoid fever but can also cause food poisoning.
They can bite you: This is rare but some species of cockroaches bite humans; they can cause wounds by nibbling on finger nails, toes and soft parts of the skin.
They increase the risk of you having diseases: They carry many disease causing bacteria in their gut; while feeding on your food, they regurgitate their own saliva and gastric juices and this infects your food with all these harmful bacteria living in their gut. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an example of a bacterium that is present and multiplies rapidly in the gut of cockroaches; this microbe is responsible for many illnesses like urinary tract infection, digestive problems and sepsis.
They are not good for asthmatic patients: These are asthmatic people’s worst enemy; they produce allergens that cause severe complications and threaten the lives of asthmatic patients when they inhale the allergens.
They cause allergic reactions: These irritating pests can cause allergies in both children and adults; these allergies include skin rash, eczema, sneezing and watery eyes. When someone comes in contact with the saliva or body parts of cockroaches that contains hundreds of allergens, it can trigger undesirable reactions.
They can invade parts of your bodies: These pests not just stop at invading your home, they also invade parts of your body; there are several reports cockroaches entering the ears and nose when people are sleeping, small cockroaches are guilty of this.
Natural methods are better at repelling cockroaches; insecticides brings immediate results but they wear off easily and you will be exposing yourself and your family to toxic chemicals which have adverse side effects. Natural methods can be slow but they keep you and your family safe from toxic chemicals and prevent the situation from reoccurring.
So what are the effective natural ways to get rid of this nuisance?
Keep your home clean: Roaches are attracted and feel welcomed in dirty environment; they like dark, warm and crowded places. You make sure your house is well cleaned, spacious with no hidden corner that cannot be accessed easily; make sure food remnant or residues are not left on the floor and let to stay overnight, don’t keep dirty dishes and make sure that everywhere is always clean.
You can also seal up cracks and holes in your walls; roaches and other insects can crawl into the home through tiny openings in the walls, baseboards, pantry and between countertop. Roaches are also attracted to moisture and water from leaking pipes, that is why they are seen scurrying under the sink, so make sure that all leaking pipes are repaired. Fix all leaking pipes; repair even the tiniest of leaks, do not leave water in your sink and do not overwater your indoor plants; you will cut off their source of water by doing all these.
Keep a cat: Cats don’t eat roaches but they hate them and just kill them for fun; so having a cat as a pet will help to keep this pest under control and can even keep them out of your home. Cats also are nocturnal and very observant; they curiously check around the corners of the house when they hear strange noises and when they see roaches they kill them.
Boric acid: This is one of the best killers of cockroaches, ants and other pests found in the home and it is widely used to kill cockroaches; this is a poison that results in death of the cockroaches when they ingest it. Pour little quantity not much around the corners of your house and where the cockroaches usually hide, they will walk through it and it will stick to their legs, body and antennae. During grooming; they will ingest it and this will lead to their death. You can also mix sugar with boric acid to attract them.
Boric acid is not safe for consumption as it is also poisonous to humans; it should be kept out of the reach of children and pets, it shouldn’t be put in exposed places and make sure it does not come in contact with water if not it will be ineffective in killing cockroaches.
Baking soda and sugar: This mixture is very effective in killing roaches and it greatly reduces their population. To make this natural cockroach killer; you will need a bowl or a cup, baking soda and sugar. Mix ¼ cup of each of this ingredient together; then sprinkle them in areas where you have seen cockroaches or where you suspect them to be. You will have to this do this often so that there will be enough poison to kill the cockroaches.
Baking soda mix with the acid in the stomach of the cockroach and this will result in death; sugar is not deadly to cockroach but it attracts them to eat the baking soda. Borax can also be used in this same way.
Catnip: This herb contains a compound called Nepetalactone; this compound has a strong smell which is intolerant to roaches. You can buy catnip or Nepetalactone essential oil; heat the oil in oil burners to distribute the smell around your home or you can mix the oil with water and use it to spray hidden areas in your home and their hideout.
You can also place fresh catnip leaves in many areas around your home like in drawers, kitchen cabinet, back of kitchen cabinet, under bathroom sinks and in places where you find roaches.
Bay leaves: These leaves are natural repellant to roaches; it does not kill them it only keeps them away because they hate the smell. This is also safe as it is not poisonous to humans, so you are free to place them wherever you please. You will need to get a handful of dried bay leaves; you can use a mortar and pestle or a bowl with something to crush the leaves very well. Make sure you crush them well till you get a powder then you sprinkle this in areas where they are roaches.
Lemon peels or the juice of lemon: Lemons are popularly known as household cleaners and their scent is always associated with a clean home but many don’t know that it is powerful in repelling roaches. They have anti-pathogenic properties that keep roaches away; to use lemon to repel roaches, do the following:
Get the juice of lemon from fresh lemons or you can buy 100% lemon juice; then you put in spray bottles and spray it in those hidden and hard to reach areas where you know that they are hiding. You can use another method; this involves drying and grinding lemon peels and pouring them around the home and in places where the roaches are present.
If your house is terribly infested by this pest; then you will need to do a thorough cleaning with lemon. You will need a bucket or large bowl, plenty lemon juice and rags or towels. Mix the water and lemon juice together; make sure the lemon juice is more than the water, you can ensure this by adding the lemon juice first in the bucket and then you gradually add water.
After the mixture, make sure that the smell of the lemon is still strong; for it to be very effective; the lemon juice has to be more than the water. Then using the towel or rag, you clean everything from the countertops to the floor with this mixture; this will repel roaches, clean your home and give it a nice scent.
Diatomaceous earth powder: Spread a thin layer of this powder in roaches infested areas and corners and in few days you will see good results. When the roaches walk on it, the powder will stick to their bodies and cut into their exoskeleton and this will kill them.
Essential oils: Peppermint, cypress, tea tree and eucalyptus essential oils are effective in killing and repelling roaches and other insects; you can mix them with water and spray them in the corners of your home and in their hideout.
Peppermint is most effective for this and you can mix more than one essential oil to make it more effective. A good example is the mixture of saltwater, peppermint and cypress oils; this repels roaches and bedbugs.
Ammonia solution: Roaches hates its strong and pungent smell; pour the solution in sinks and drain pipes where they love to hide.
Coffee traps: Roaches love coffee so you can use it to lure and trap them so that they can be killed. You will need jars and coffee grounds; you will have to fill the jars with coffee grounds and add water, you can add petroleum jelly to the walls of the jars before adding coffee and water so that they won’t be able to crawl out of the jar. Cockroaches can live in water for 40 minutes and if fully submerged they can live for 30 minutes.
Place these jars strategically around the home where they are found; check the jars every morning to take out the dead bodies for disposal, repeat this process till there are no roaches entering into the jars and your house will be roach free except they laid eggs.
Listerine: Roaches don’t enjoy its minty scent so it repels them; mix in equal parts Listerine, water and dish detergents in a spray bottle and spray around the home and in areas where you suspect that they will be.
Fabric softener: There is a way fabric softener can be used to kill roaches; it is done by using it to make a spray. You will need a spray bottle, water and natural fabric softener; mix ¾ cup of natural fabric softener with ½ cup of water, pour the mixture in a spray bottle and remember to shake it before use.
Use this thick mixture to spray the roaches, their hideout and around the home; roaches breathe through their skin so spraying this thick liquid on them will suffocate and choke them. These natural remedy works well for massive infestation of roaches.