If roaches or other insect pests have invaded your home -- but you don't want to resort to toxic chemicals to get rid of them -- there are natural pest repellants and insecticides you can use to get rid of your pest problem.
Roach repellants are one option. Some natural chemicals can be laid down in the kitchen or outside walls to ward off insect pests. Bay leaf and catnip contain such chemical compounds that roaches find repulsive. Some kitchen chemicals and even foods can also be used as insecticides, particularly if mixed with a bit of sugar and water to draw the insects in for food. A sugar and baking soda combination is one such insecticide.
Natural Cures: Boric acid or borax is one roach solution to poison the pests. Diatomaceous earth can also be used (with care) to kill roaches.
Our readers offer information and opinions on Earth Clinic, not as a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician, pharmacist, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or following any treatment suggested by anyone on this site. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs or diagnose your particular medical history.
08/15/2012: Anonymous from Somewhere, Someplace: "From another website:
Finest and cheapest way to get rid of ants.
1. I'm guessing Big Problem.
2. Buy the 1 Liter bottle of Honey, but any cheap sugar solution will work.
3. Buy a box of 20 Mule Team Borax. It's 99. 5% borax.
4. Get a funnel.
5. Pour all the honey into a large bowl, and add ONLY about FIVE Tablespoons of Borax into the bowl.
6. Mix it up with a fork so all the globs of borax are finely disbursed amongst the honey.
7. Pour it back into the 1 Liter bottle with the use of the funnel.
8. Rinse out the bowl and the funnel.
9. Go around the house and pour small globs of honey along the perimeter, and near any ant colonies you can see.
If the mixture is less than 5% borax, then the ants can take it home to the nest without it killing them immediately. (That's why only 5 tablespoons.)
VERY IMPORTANT - Keep it less than 5% of the mixture.
The ants will take it home, everyone will eat it, and go get more and then they will die over the next 24 hours, including, most importantly, the Queen."
[YEA] 08/05/2012: Jayne from London, UK: "I have cleared up a few ant infestations in my home using Method Spray. It's an environmentally friendly cleaning spray, and I'm not sure what made me think of trying to spray the ants with it, but it seemed to make them sticky, slow them down and then they died.
That might sound really cruel, so some people might not want to try this. But the advantages for me were that we didn't have to spray the horribly toxic chemical sprays.
I'm keen to try the cucumber skin next time, as that sounds like it might get rid of them without killing them. But I just wanted to share this solution which worked for me."
11/22/2009: "Cheryl from Phoenix, Arizona, United States writes: "I am a preschool teacher and ant hills pop up all the time on the playground and bite the children something fierce. I wanted a non-toxic solution so I used Cream of Rice (you can also use Cream of Wheat as well) and sprinkled it around the ant hills. This will create a swarm at first, but as soon as the food goes down into the nest and is consumed... the cereal will expand and kill the whole nest in a few days. I've had great success using this solution."
[YEA] 10/01/2009: "Deirdre from Atlanta, GA writes: "Okay, ant remedy update:
Neither chili powder nor borax powder stopped the trail of ants from coming inside. I thought sprinkling chili powder along their path was a winning remedy, but the ants simply went around the powder and marched on inside. I even saw a few ants walk right through the chili powder too. Wow!
What worked phenomenally well and almost immediately, was clove oil! I located the area just outside on the doorstep where ants were trailing in and added 5 drops of pure clove oil to the area. Then I added a drop of clove oil here and there along the kitchen countertop where a few remaining ants were lingering. Potent stuff. No sign of ants.
Am very glad not to have to use ant bait as I hate the thought of destroying an entire colony."
09/17/2009: "Philip from Dearing, GA/USA replies: "I would like to update my post. It seems that WET cat food or canned cat food works better than dry cat food. The ants are better able to carry this to the queen, rather than the dry."
[YEA] 08/26/2009: "Philip from Dearing, GA/USA replies: "I have used Borax from the detergent aisle in the grocery store for ridding fireants. A couple ways I have had success is to use hot tap water and about 2 cups of Borax in a 5 gallon bucket. Mix well to disolve the borax. Then put water into flower watering container and pour directly onto the mound. (Be sure to cover all of mound with the water) You will have 5 gallons of the water.
To use ALOT less Borax you can make a BAIT fot the ants. This is done buy taking dry cat food, Borax and grape jelly and creating a mixture. You will need one cup of dry cat food, 2 Tablespoons of borax and 2 tablespoons of grape jelly. Mix well in bowl. Put one tablespoon of the mixture directly on top of the mound. ( Works better when no rain is expected) The worker ants carry this to the Queen and this wipes out the entire colony. I have seen mounds big as small car tires completely disappear.
Don't get discourage with this method if it fails from time to time. 95 percent of the time it will rid your fire ant promblems. Re-apply if nessasary and to any new mounds. Takes about a week to see results."
06/21/2009: "Tim from LA, CA writes: "Spray white vinegar straight daily or as many times it takes to get rid of ants. If you spray around plants, Vinegar can hurt some plants like strawberries etc. so test first on a plant if it can handle it."
06/01/2009: "Kate from Marietta, Ga writes: "I use dry molasses on the fire ant mounds that pop up around my yard. It doesn't kill them, it simply chases them away. If they move to another spot close by, I add more. You can also try regular ol molasses by diluting it in hot water first. Haven't tried it, but it might work. I found my dry molasses online at an organic gardening supply shop."
05/11/2009: "Bea from Arizona writes: "For me, borax is the solution to my ant problems. It's mostly the black ants it works on but a little borax and sugar (equal parts) in enough water to dissolve it all attracts and kills them pretty well. You make a trap like a roach motel. I use a cat food can, but anything that you can fill and cover will do, and poke some reasonable-sized holes in the side so the ants can crawl in and out. They'll eat the poison but should leave the can before they die. Good luck, but remember that ants do good things for the soil and even your lawn. It's only when they make big ant hills or crawl into your house that you need a solution."
02/20/2009: "Tricia from Missouri writes: "Does anybody know if you can use boiling water to get rid of ants? I've tried it before, and it seems like maybe it works but I don't know. We have SO many in our yard. It is never this bad. I wish I had not done it. My mother always poured boiling water right down the top of the anthill. The anthill seems to go away but I think maybe they only start a new hill somewhere else. Does anybody know?"
01/24/2009: "Rosy from Orlando, Fl writes: "Hot cooking grease will kill ants. We use that on the fire ant hills when I was a kid. My mom is allergic to poisons, so that's what we used. The ants will move to another spot, but that's another pan of grease."
01/17/2009: "T from Maryland, USA writes: "It seems we get a different plague here every year. One year it was ants invading the kitchen. I was pregnant at the time and didn't want to use any kind of poison. I also have pets so must be careful what they might come into contact with. After several tiring weeks of barely keeping the ants at bay by spraying with vinegar water all darned day, I read about diatomaceous earth. I picked some up at a big name home improvement store and sprinkled it around the perimeter of the house. One treatment was all it took - they never came back! While DE is a safe, non-toxic method for use around people and animals (it's only dried phytoplankton), don't overdo it since beneficial insects can also be killed by it. Use only as specifically needed, for their sake. We need them for our organic gardens :)"
03/04/2008: "Joyce from Joelton, Tn writes: "I have read that if you sprinkle quick cooking grits on regular or fire ant hills, the workers will carry it home to feed their queen and eat one themselves, causing them to swell up and burst. Ants who died from this should not be harmful to any birds who eat them."Replies
"11/06/2009: Phil from Dearing, GA, USA replies: "Hi Robert and Joyce. I have had some sucess by pouring 20 mule team borax mixed in hot water directly on the fire ant mounds. It doesn't always work, but has worked on many occassions. I use about 2 cups of borax to 5 gallons of hot water stir and dissolve and pour out of gallon jug or water flower container and completely drench the mound... Also you can take cat food ( WET or dry and mix a little grape jelly with a little borax and put on the mounds and I have had success with this also ) Place a spoonful on top of mound. And I will agree with Keeper about the corn meal... I used self- rising in the high and dry summer and got rid of about a half acre of fireant mounts,just as an exsperment.But it has to be completly dry, if there is DEW on the ground the nest morning it will not work."
[NAY] 05/11/2008: "Robert Henry from Ten Mile, TN replies: "Regarding Joyce's Quick Cooking Grits Remedy for Ants: NAY, This is an old treatment that I used for 20 and it does not work. I just did not want to use toxins. Do now and even they have limited effectiveness. It just makes them start another hill. I have searched the internet for a non toxic way to address these ants and have found none. Would welcome a solution."
10/14/2007: "Thomas from Kerrville, Texas writes: "Leftover cold coffee and the grounds take care of ants. A really huge mound may take 4 hrs, but what's the rush anyway? For global warming solution, and other great information, simply check out Malcolm Beck's website"