Natural Remedies for Roach and Pest Infestations

| Modified on Jul 12, 2021

Sparrow Control
Posted by Michael (New Zealand) on 07/11/2021
5 out of 5 stars


You all know I am an easy-going chap but I get really riled at those pesky house sparrows that were stupidly imported a century or so ago by those barmy "Acclimatization Societies" who have played such a large part in wrecking our wildlife since. Did they ever get anything right I wonder? Bad for my blood pressure I know!

B.T.W. I think Americans mistakenly call them "English Sparrows" but they actually, originally came from what the English call "The Continent" I.e. Europe. Some call them "Flying Mice" and although I am a bird lover, I am prepared to make an exception in the case of sparrows and miner birds. Sparrows will nest in your rafters and defecate over your decking which you then inadvertently traipse into your home. Their deposits stain and can ruin your paint and woodwork. They will bathe in your guttering where your water supply comes from (argh! ) and spread germs, mites and diseases. They will harass the local indigenous, endemic and endangered birds. Difficult to like them- you bet. O.K, I can calm down now!

Soo, another neighbour was having trouble with sparrows roosting in the inner recesses of her retractable awning on the side of her house. It is actually quite fun watching the thing operate-she stands inside at her window, operates a magic switch and the thing cantilevers / unfolds or folds neatly back onto the roller - get the picture? One needs the new-fangled electricity of course in order to do the job effortlessly.

So, bringing to bear my long-acquired, anti-sparrow expertise, I naturally performed a detailed scoping exercise and environmental impact report. Bearing in mind that we are now fortunate to have a variety of "tools in the toolbox" (oh dear) in the end, I opted for the "Paste" method. Here, one purchases a tube of paste/gel which in my case consisted of a mixture of a base material to act as the sticking agent plus a dose of cinnamon and a dose of pepper.

It is claimed to be non-toxic to birds (we were not out to kill them) but they do not like the sticky feel on their feet and also dislike the cinnamon smell and pepper. Presumably they then fly away in disgust and come to our house!! The darn stuff looks like honey but was easy to spread in a controlled manner using a tube gun. Recommended you use gloves and refrain from swallowing it (??). Says such on the tube!! Amazing they don't tell you how to position your feet.

I thought I would need three 350 gram tubes to cover ten meters (ten yards) of upper surface area but I managed to economize by using half of one tube! I cut short, approx. four inch strips of sticky tape and placed them at six inch intervals and dabbed about four blobs of goo on each tape (or you could just wiggle a wavy line of it).

Seems like it worked the first night it was placed there. I wish everything I did was so successful and managed to SAVE money in the process!!

I am not going to tell you my other options (so there) because D never gives me an "Editor's Choice" any more so it kinda takes away the incentive to try harder!! Boo hoo!!

Join the War on Sparrows why don't you? Subscribe here.........

Cheers from Down Under where it is cold and wet.

Posted by Charity (faithville, US) on 06/03/2021
5 out of 5 stars

Mint by the door and fewer flies, mice, ants, and mosquitos around. I keep a nice pot of it next to every opening to our home. Reminds me to drink some too. The neighbor has lots of horses and piles of poo. I plant mint in our marsh and on the creek to keep the mosquito population under control. Plant mint by comfrey and no ants on flowers.

Dawn Dish Soap
Posted by Carol (North Carolina) on 03/06/2021
5 out of 5 stars


to kill roaches, simply mix some dawn/generic dish soap with water in a spray bottle. I don't know proportion. So that it sprays easily. Perhaps 1 tbsp. To 1 cup of water? Maybe not quite that much. Spray small roaches 1 time, larger a couple of times. Within seconds they will do the death dance and die. Wipe up. Done. It is a god-send.

Posted by Tommo (Scotland) on 02/07/2021
5 out of 5 stars

Another use for cayenne pepper - Somewhat off piste for Earth Clinic but it may useful to know that cayenne pepper is a harmless and effective way of getting rid of field mice and shrews, which are looking for a warm indoor habitat in winter. Simply scatter a heavy dose of cayenne pepper close to the point of entry. The pepper makes the wee beasties sneeze and sends them scuttling off at top speed to find a more welcoming place to nest over winter. It works a treat!

Michael's Roach Remedies
Posted by Cpn (Somewhere Usa) on 08/25/2020


Just had to jump into this. There is a product called Harris Roach Bait. It is not very expensive and uses boric acid.

It is little white pills you just put them where you see roaches they eat it kills them.

Can't remember who put out the roach bait with egg stopper but I used this a long time ago and didn't see any for years. This is the plastic baits they crawl in and eat and go back to the nest and it killed the nest and eggs.

It must say on the box with egg stopper.

Michael's Roach Remedies
Posted by Tessa (Okanagan) on 08/25/2020

Hi Michael from New Zealand!

It's good to hear from you again.

I'm familiar with Australia's cockroaches. They are gigantic. When I lived in Sydney in the 70s, the first one I saw was sitting on top of the wardrobe. I thought it was a mouse. It wasn't (shudder).

I'll keep the roach recipe. If it kills those monsters, it's bound to do the same with other creepy-crawlies.

Thanks - take care from Canada!

Michael's Roach Remedies
Posted by Art (California) on 08/25/2020 930 posts


I use borax also for ants and your mix sounds like it will work for ants also!

I use a saturated solution of borax water and then dilute it by half, filter it through a coffee filter and put it in an old spray bottle and very lightly spray directly on the ants so they will take it home to the nest. I used to use it with sugar and make cotton balls soaked in this solution, but late in the season the ants wouldn't take the bait, so I just do the diluted borax spray now and it is quite effective!


Michael's Roach Remedies
Posted by Michael (New Zealand) on 08/25/2020
5 out of 5 stars

Hi there,

Regarding the roaches you mention on this Site, I presume they are similar to our cockroaches? Not very pleasant creatures but apparently they are destined to inherit the Earth (or what's left of it ) after the Nuclear Holocaust, as they have a huge tolerance against radiation.

Now before we get to my remedy, you just know you have to hear my Life Story first, right?

In days of yore, I once secured a job as navigator (before Satalite Navigation - I used a sextant) on a Pacific Islands trading scow with an Island crew. I would freak out when coming down from my night-time watch on the bridge to make toast in the Mess. Turning the light on, hundreds of cockroaches would suddenly panic and run hither and yon. Disgusting! What to do? Boldly I ventured where no sailor had gone before and resolved to fumigate the whole vessel when next in port!

The crew thought this was a huge joke and rolled about in the allyways laughing their heads off. I would show them! I had initial success, and we repeated the operation ten days later to catch the babies who had hatched in the meantime. HOWEVER, at the following port, later in the voyage, a new crop must have climbed aboard and totally re-infected the ship- back to square one and the crew had the last laugh. Come on board with any cardboard!!

These days I use a mixture of one teaspoon of each of Plaster of Paris, Borax and Castor Sugar (the fine stuff). There you go!

Cheers from Down Under.

Multiple Remedies
Posted by Katy (New York) on 11/23/2018


So sorry to hear you are being inundated with various unwanted pests! However your colorful rendition of events was very entertaining and could be good subject matter for an article of some kind. lol Seriously! I was thoroughly entertained reading it...if you are not a writer in some capacity, you should be! :)

Congrats on the success's you have had along the way and I hope they continue. Thank you for sharing! :) :)


Multiple Remedies
Posted by Michael (New Zealand) on 11/15/2018
5 out of 5 stars

Hi there!

Things are generally pretty tickety boo down here in the Land of the Long White Cloud but some things could be improved.

Unfortunately, some of our not-so-wise ancestors brought things here that did not belong here and impacted severely on the health of New Zealand. Much of the natural ecosystem has been decimated, as some foreign pests have run amok - ground-nesting birds do not get along with dogs, cats, stoats, weasels, rats and possums for example!! No surprise there. We have a new "policy" of trying to make the Nation "Pest Free": BOLD AIM you might say. Think globally but act locally might be the new mantra but what to do?

A few years ago when we first moved into our humble abode, I was shocked that we seemed to be smack in the middle of a dog migration route similar to the Wildebeest Trail in Africa. As we are not completely fenced, I had to resort to building a wire mesh fence on one (long) side of the property to stop dogs crawling through the hedge and leaving their deposits on the lawn or eating my small family members or having my SFM "examining" the aforementioned deposits. Being a "Do it yourself Kiwi" I had to dig in a robust strainer post at each end before I could commence fence building. Not for the faint-hearted!!

Next were the Argentine ants, which we battled for ages inside the house until finally resorting to an unnatural remedy kindly offered by a pest eradicator. Since then: not a single ant inside the house but still plenty under any material in the garden or under fruit trees, where they are possibly eating my roots/worms as I write this. What was it: some sort of isotope?

Next on the list: sparrows, which I know are a problem for yous guys in the US of A. They love to nest under the eaves and poop all over your decking. My wife was concerned that little feet might traipse this stuff inside the house. Presumably big feet (or Big Foot) might bring in even more!? It seems laughable now but after trying everything under the sun / roof, we finally had a "Light-bulb Moment" and introduced several unwanted CDs (not my Beatles ones) which we hang by thin twine from the rafters where they happily flash and rotate in the breeze: batteries not included. A couple of very thin aluminium tops from infant milk formula cans even have a glowering face painted on them for added effect. 90% success there too. They even scare me.

Next up: rats in the ceiling gnawing through insulation and electric wiring: wonderful! Being a SNAG, and card-carrying member of Earth Clinic, bright eyed and bushy tailed, I eagerly sought out an environmentally friendly means of dealing with these unmitigated pests other than poisons from the local hardware shop. I went out on a limb, mortgaged the family home and bought a gadget that emits magic rays, ultra sounds and flashing strobe lighting that would do credit to Los Vegas on a Saturday night. It is early days yet and the critics claim that the rats will learn not to care but I am hoping that their headaches and hallucinations will drive them to the neighbours place before mine do.

The latest in this long and sorry saga is that there has been an exponential rise in the local cat population of late.

Now don't get me wrong, whereas I don't like dogs (other than useful ones), I am on record as being on first name terms with a few cats and even grew up with a couple that were affectionate companions in forming my character at an impressionable age. However, I have detected a new genetic streak in a few cats. These cats are very nervous around humans but will invade your space as soon as your back is turned. I was cleaning out my car the other day when a cat leaped out from under the front seat, hurtled past at warp speed and disappeared. I thought cats didn't like cars? If I had shut the doors on this one (without knowing it was there) it would have cooked within a couple of hours in this heat. They go inside my shed and I will probably find one curled up in my favourite chair (or scratching the settee!! ) when I succumb to my next bout of ennui and need a well-earned lie down. Also, we have almost NO birds here any more and we blame the cats for this situation. It's gotten so that the birds are too scared to land here.

Anyway help is now at hand from America! Yippee - US to the rescue! For the first time here you can buy skunk powder, sprinkle it on the lawn and repel the cats / dogs. How cool is that? Although only a few days - it seems to be having some success. The manufacturers claim it is "rain-fast" too but we are in the midst of a dry spell at present so who knows?

BTW and FYI (don't you love these acronyms?) a clever Kiwi has invented a pest trap that re-sets itself as well as having other virtues. This could prove a boon in pest control / eradication and for the protection of wildlife. Check it out why don't ya?

Cheers from Down Under.


Posted by Jenn (Cobborra Nsw) on 10/03/2017

What exactly is Cream of Rice?

Posted by Mama To Many (Tennessee) on 08/06/2015

Dear Marianne,

I am terrified of roaches. 20 years ago, I was teaching in a school that had tons of them. I was so afraid I would bring one home in my purse. So, just in case, I put boric acid (from the hardware store) all along the back edges of all of my kitchen cabinets.

When I have ants, I mix the boric acid with honey and put it in old lids and place them where I have seen ants. Usually, I have an increase in ants for a day or two and then I don't see them any more.

I am assuming that one of these two methods would work well using borax instead of boric acid?

~Mama to Many~

Posted by Marianne (Nelson, Nz) on 08/05/2015

How do you use Borax for cockroaches? I have tried several times but it dries up hard as concrete and doesn't work so far. I would love to find out. Thank you!!!

Diatomaceous Earth
Posted by Paizley (Albuquerque, NM) on 08/30/2014
5 out of 5 stars

I found my first dead roach (brown-banded) this morning from the DE I sprinkled around the kitchen. I have seen others acting erratically (I assume from DE) and was able to kill those with my shoe. I find the roaches are not repelled by heavier dusting as I have seen them crawl right thru it, powder clinging to their bodies. Then I laugh an evil laugh and say "Die, MF." So I guess it's working, finally. Food-grade is the way to go. I'm sure others are dead but their carcasses are where I can't see them. Evil LOL. There are some nymphs and I have seen them go into crevasses where I applied DE. So here's hoping they'll all DIE. The worst thing is many of these come in from outside so I doubt I'll ever be roach free but at least I won't have an infestation. Where I live, we have Turkestan, Oriental, and brown-banded roaches that come in from outside, especially after a heavy rain. Oh yes, and the "lovely" German cockroach, too. Brought one home in a sack of potatoes. I HATE roaches!!!!!

I have seen warnings to not breathe the DE dust, to wear a mask, etc. I have asthma and it doesn't bother me. Also, it may be drying but that's good for the oilier parts of my face. I'm using food-grade so it's safe.

White Chalk
Posted by Jennifer (Texas, US) on 08/22/2014
5 out of 5 stars

Lately we have had a problem with the large water roaches. It is disgusting and unsanitary. I don't want to spray poison all over my house and then I remembered something I heard long time ago. White Chalk. White Chalk is non toxic. So here is what you do...Draw a thick white line around front door, back door etc. You can even confine them to a particular area. Buy a few boxes of white plain old chalkboard chalk and keep a few pieces inside for drawing lines and crush up the rest and sprinkle it around the house. I put it all around the slab of my house and no more roaches; the only drawback is of course when it rains you are SOL and It will also kill crickets, grasshoppers, beetles etc, But it has not hurt my garden. Hope this helps.


Posted by Susan (USA)

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.

Posted by Susan (USA) on 05/11/2008
1 out of 5 stars

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.

Posted by Susan (USA) on 08/21/2007

Jackie from Grand Rapids, MN replies: "Thanks Bill from New Mexico for the remedy for ants. I have a big ant hill in the back yard i've been holding off doing anything year i put ant bait outside and the wildbirds ate the ants and died so never again will i do that. i even feel bad about killing the ants, but digging them up and moving them to the woods i don't think would work.

Posted by Susan (USA) on 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.

Posted by Susan (USA) on 08/01/2007

Bill from Bloomfield, New Mexico writes: "I rarely see this, but it works every time! On an ant nest, or across the ant's trail,simply apply lemon juice. The store concentrate seems to work as well, also. I have never had to apply lemon juice more than twice to eliminate large ant populations. A bonus is that this remedy has no toxic effects for your pets.

Posted by Susan (USA) on 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.

Posted by Susan (USA) on 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.

Posted by Susan (USA) on 08/20/2007

Keeper from Blythe, Ga writes: "re: Ants -- Sprinkle a little corn meal around mound.

Posted by Susan (USA) on 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.