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Best Methods of Killing Cockroaches Naturally

Updated on August 23, 2014

There are many ways of getting rid of cockroaches including hiring professionals, using insecticides and fumigants or using natural remedies which are effective and efficient. We look at the best methods of getting rid of cockroaches naturally without using harmful chemicals.

There are over 4000 species of cockroach in the world but only a few are able to survive the harsh winter months. Only fifteen known species are able to survive these cold conditions -- the following are four of the most common house cockroaches:

German Cockroach
German Cockroach

Types of Cockroaches

The American Cockroach (Periplaneta americana) is the largest (2.5 to 3.2 cm). It lives in hot, humid areas such as sewers and green houses, but dies when it is too cold, thus its populations are limited to these locations. Despite its name, it is native to Africa and it is this huge cockroach you will when you go to cheap hotels and restaurants.

The Oriental cockroach (Blatta orientalis) measuring 2 to 2.8 cm, it is quite dark and only the males have wings. It is less common than the German cockroach, but is found in nearly the same places.

The Brown-banded cockroach (Supella longipalpa) measuring 1 to 1.4 cm, it arrived in Europe merely 20 or 30 years ago. It lives in hot, dry places around the house such as devices that produce heat like the television set. This species of cockroach is the rarest of all the known species.

The German cockroach (Blattella germanica) is the most common in our homes. Just like the other three species, this species is transferred from one place to the other via human activities such as transportation of goods in crates and bags.

The rather small insect (1.1 to 1.4 cm) is beige in color and the adults have wings that they use to hover when jumping from high places. Like all cockroaches, the female of the German cockroach places its eggs (around 30 to 40) in a sort of capsule or egg case.

Ten days after mating, the egg case is formed slowly at the back of the female body in about 24 hours. Each female will produce around four egg cases which remain hooked for over 20 days. Once the eggs have hatched, the young cockroaches will take up to six months to mature into adults.

The insects are most active at night and are gregarious (stay together) especially under the influence of an aggregation pheromone that is secreted by a gland in their gut. Depending on conditions of temperature and humidity, the lifespan of a German cockroach ranges from anything between 120 to 250 days.

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Prevention of Cockroach Infestation

Being omnivorous, the cockroach will go into hot and humid areas to eat whatever scraps it can get. It is important to control the most crucial factors that encourage cockroach infestation – temperature, moisture and food.

Controlling these conditions will go a long way in keeping a cockroach infestation in check even more than the use of pesticides which can be harmful and do not address the root cause of the problem.

You have to understand the conditions that encourage the growth and development of cockroaches in order to control any infestation.

You should concentrate all your efforts on the places where cockroaches abound such as small cracks in the walls on which they normally like to rub their backs and abdomens.

The following simple non-chemical solutions will go a long way in eradicating the cockroach infestation:

  • Never leave food or water unattended and clean up spills immediately. Do leave food and water intended for pets exposed all day long. Once your pets have finished eating, soak their bowl in soapy water which has insecticidal properties.
  • Store food in tightly closed cans and avoid paper or cardboard storage as these can be easily nibbled by the cockroaches
  • Always clean on top and below appliances as well as in the dark, damp corners that are near food sources. A single layer of fat that has accumulated behind the stove can sustain a large population of adult cockroaches. Always empty the drain in the refrigerator as this serves as a water source for cockroaches
  • Thoroughly clean the kitchen everyday
  • Put garbage in sealed plastic bags and dispose of them everyday
  • Do not leave dirty dishes, especially at night. If not possible to wash them immediately, immerse in a strong solution of detergent and water until the wash.
  • Vacuum regularly to remove food particles and cockroach eggs
  • Wrap or insulate pipes that produce condensation and repair faucets and pipes that leak. Adequately ventilate the bathroom and dehumidify moist place. Controlling humidity, improving lighting and ventilation in critical areas will go a long way in controlling cockroaches.

Organic methods of Cockroach Control

Here are some effective and organic methods (do not use chemicals) that you can use to get rid of cockroaches organically:

Sticky traps are used to catch and also get an idea of the extent of the cockroach infestation. The more traps there are, the better your chances of controlling the infestation. Traps can be simply made from empty cans that have been lined with Vaseline and baited with wet bread and beer. Once the cockroaches are entrapped, you drown them in soapy water or in extreme cases close the trap and put them in a freezer for at least 24 hours.

Vacuum everywhere thoroughly to catch cockroaches which will be collected in the vacuum bag. Empty the insects in a plastic bag and seal to ensure that the live ones eventually suffocate, then put it in the trash immediately.

Seal the entry points to cockroach habitats by repairing cracks in the walls and other surfaces. This is important because it contains the infestation by restricting the movement of the pests which means they cannot infest other areas within the building. Look for cockroach access point to seal around baseboards, vents, sinks, tubs and other places where plumbing or electrical cabling passes through.

Make sure you seal the edges around windows and doors especially in buildings where cockroaches easily migrate from one apartment to another.

This is particularly important if you live in an apartment building where pest control measures have not been taken.

If the cockroaches from the neighbouring unit do not find conditions suitable for their habitation, they will surely not move in.

Steam cleaning and freezing are used where you suspect that there may be presence of cockroaches in furniture, toys or other objects. This should be done on objects that will not get damaged by humidity and heat. For freezing, the objects are put in temperatures of -8° C for at least 24 hours.

Chemical Cockroach Control using Diatomaceous Earth

This article does not advocate for the use of commercial insecticides in case the methods mentioned above fail.

There is one chemical that is environmentally safe to use and which has a high degree of success in the control of cockroaches and other household pests such as fleas. Diatomaceous earth is a fine powder made from marine microorganisms that is used to treat cockroach infested areas.

When insects crawl such areas and come into contact with the powder, the waxy outer layer that protects them starts to crack, causing dehydration and eventual death. Do not be surprised to see a large number of cockroaches coming out of their hiding places in search of water.

Generally, cockroaches will die within two weeks of contact with diatomaceous earth. The substance is not toxic to human beings and will remain active so long as it does not come into contact with water.

Finally, if nothing else works you will be better off seeking professional help for your cockroach infestation problem.

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