Cockroaches are among the least-tolerated household insects. They breed quickly, can spread disease and contaminate food. Unfortunately, conventional pesticide approaches to cockroach control may be toxic to humans and their pets. Single-treatment techniques are also frequently ineffective, since hatching eggs may produce new cockroaches. Natural essential oils may be used instead of or in combination with conventional treatment to help control roaches.
According to Discover Neem, neem oil is extracted from the seeds of a tree of the same name, and has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. The oil is mildly toxic, but safe for humans to use externally. If used in cockroach bait, it can kill the insects themselves. Neem oil can also be sprayed to repel roaches, and may discourage them from eating.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil comes from a tropical tree, and is known for its antiseptic properties and strong, medicinal smell. It is often used to treat a number of skin nail infections in humans. However, this oil is toxic when ingested. Tea tree oil also works as a deterrent for household pests, such as cockroaches. Several drops may be placed in areas where insects could enter the house, to prevent them from crossing the barrier. To keep roaches out of cupboards, a solution of water mixed with tea tree oil works well. Homeowners can simply wipe the mixture over the inside of cupboards, closets and other enclosed spaces.
This essential oil is derived from the Australian eucalyptus tree, best known as the primary food source for koalas. Eucalyptus oil also has a strong smell and insect-repellent properties, and can be used in much the same way as tea tree oil. Mixing a eucalyptus oil-based soap with water also produces a solution which can be sprayed on counters, cabinets and baseboards to discourage cockroaches.
- University of Connecticut Integrated Pest Management: Neem Based Insecticides
- University of Nevada Cooperative Extension: Cockroaches
- Clemson University Integrated Pest Management Program: Screening of Natural Insecticides from Tropical Plants against Fire Ants, Termites, and Cockroaches
- Mayo Clinic: Tea tree oil