Roaches are pesky little creatures that can multiply to out-of-hand numbers quickly, so control requires immediate action. Cleaning your entire home regularly and paying special attention to your kitchen and bathroom is a must. Vacuuming frequently is also helpful, though roaches can survive being vacuumed -- especially if they are inside their mother's egg case -- and may reappear at the first sign of food. If you are concerned about the harmful effects of commercial insecticides, you may be successful using some natural scents that help keep roaches at bay, while keeping family members and pets healthy as well.
Nepetalactone in Catnip
In 1999, two Iowa State University scientists, Chris Peterson and Joel Coats reported that catnip is an effective insect repellent. A chemical called nepetalactone is found in the catnip plant and is responsible for its repellant effects. This chemical is not harmful to pets and humans. Leave small bags of catnip in roach infested areas to repel the insects. You can also make a tea by simmering the plant in a small amount of water and using a spray bottle to apply it to baseboards and other areas.
In 2001, Arthur Appel, Michael Gehret, and Marla Tanley published findings in the Journal of Agricultural and Urban Entomology concerning the repellent and toxic effects of mint oil to American and German cockroaches. They used corn mint (Mentha arvensis L.) oil that was diluted in acetone for this experiment. The scientists found that it took less time for both species of roaches to die when they were exposed to higher concentrations of the mint oil.
Essential Oil of Citrus
In 2007, Usavadee Thavara, Apiwat Tawatsin, Payu Bhakdeenuan and their colleagues published findings in the Southeast Asian Journal of Tropical Medicine and Public Health stating that kaffir lime leaf (Citrus hystrix DC) oil is most effective in repelling American, German and harlequin cockroaches. The citrus oil was diluted in ethanol at various concentrations. The oil repelled 100 percent of the American and German cockroaches and 87.5 percent of the harlequin species.
Osage Orange Oil
The Osage orange tree (Maclura pomifera) bears yellow-green, grapefruit sized fruit that are often called hedge apples. It is a popular insect repellent home remedy. Some people place the fruit in basements, near baseboards and around the foundations of their homes to repel roaches and other insects, such as spiders and crickets. Sesquiterpenoid is the aromatic component of hedge apples that may be responsible for its repellent effects. Cockroaches exposed to areas painted with the oil from Osage oranges moved to untreated areas, according to Jennifer Schultz Nelson, a horticulture extension educator with University of Iowa. However, she added, studies of this material were conducted with oil extract, rather then fresh fruit, and were quite limited.
- Iowa State University: Facts and Myths Associated with Hedge Apples
- CBS News: Cat's Bliss Is Roach's Blight
- Journal of Agricultural and Urban Entomology; Repellency and Toxicity of Mint Oil to America; Arthur G. Appel, et al; n and German Cockroaches (Dictyoptera: Blattidae and Blattellidae); 2001
- Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health: Repellent Activity of Essential Oils Against Cockroaches (Dictyoptera: Blattidae, Blattellidae, and Blaberidae) in Thailand
- University of Illinois: Osage Orange Maclura pomifera
- Baltimore Sun: What Cats Love, Roaches Loathe
- Photo Credit chai2070/iStock/Getty Images
What Do Cockroaches Look Like?
Cockroaches are mostly nocturnal insects that include about 4,000 different species. Of that number, only about 30 can be found living where...
Cedar As a Roach Repellent
Roach sprays and chemicals for cockroaches can be expensive and require multiple treatments and sprayings. Cedar is a natural product that repels...
Citronella As Roach Repellent
Roaches do not just invade your home and eat your food. They leave smelly trails behind them and can destroy books and...
How to Repel Roaches
Cockroaches are considered one of the most common indoor pests. They like to settle in dark, warm, and humid areas, places that...
How to kill Roaches quickly
Once you have roaches within your home, it is very difficult to get rid of roaches, unless you know the correct and...
How to Get Rid of Cockroaches Without Killing Them
Cockroaches thrive in environments that provide food, humidity and warmth, such as kitchens, bathrooms and heating ducts. The common household pests should...
What are the Weaknesses of Roaches?
When facing an infestation of roaches, also known as cockroaches, it seem like an impossible task to get rid of them. Roaches...
Plants That Roaches Hate
While roaches are a troublesome pest, some of the most common means of repelling them contain harsh chemicals and poisons that are...
What Foods Most Attract Roaches
Cockroaches are the oldest surviving insects in the world, scientists believe. This is due to their ability to adapt, and to survive...
Bugs & Insects That Look Like Cockroaches
The cockroach is flat and oval-shaped with antennae that are about as long as its body. It has six legs that are...
Cockroaches That Smell
According to fossil records, cockroaches have been around for thousands of years. Cockroaches are considered by many to be pests and when...
Recipe for Red Pepper Spray Squirrel Repellent
Red pepper spray squirrel repellent is easier to make than you might think. Learn about a recipe for red pepper spray squirrel...