I am not scared of roaches. However, I do hate the bugs. They make my skin crawl just by being what they are. What I hate the most are flying cockroaches. You just never know where they’ll land. In case they land on your arm or face, their tiny feet will feel repulsive on your flesh. Also, I’ve seen grown men scream like little girls when such things occur. I admit that I do find these events quite hilarious.
The apartment where we lived before had plenty of roaches. We couldn’t do much because the units were right next to each other and not everyone liked to keep their places clean. So, even though we made sure that our spot was garbage-free, our neighbors weren’t as careful. Thankfully, we moved to our own house. We’ve been here a year and we do see occasional roaches outdoors. But our house has stayed roach-free. Here are some of my regular practices that I feel have kept these bugs outside my home.
1. Clean with Vinegar
My mother taught me that pests do not like the smell of vinegar. She always cleaned kitchen surfaces, gas stove tops, and tables with a water and vinegar solution. To make, just blend equal amounts of water and white vinegar in a container or a spray bottle. Just apply or spray and then wipe.
Aside from vinegar, many people also recommend the use of certain essential oils as the scents are said to deter roaches. Rosemary and citrusy oils are popular alternatives. For me, I place dried bay leaves in dark corners, especially those where I think roaches might hide. I crush the leaves first to further release the odor. Some people also say that catnip is a great roach deterrent.
2. Sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth
One of my neighbors has a roach problem. She doesn’t know where they hide, but she sees a few during the day. At night, however, once the lights are out, so many of these bugs come out of hiding. Every time she turns on the light to drink water or do something, she sees the critters quickly scuttling to dark corners. I’ve advised her to contact a pest professional because it seems that her problem is already pretty extensive. Also, because I am afraid that the roaches might think about moving in my home too, I have began to sprinkle DE around my house, especially near the garbage bin.
DE is a fine powder that is non-toxic and Earth-friendly. It sticks on the outer skin of roaches and other pests that have exoskeleton, like ants and spiders. Then, the substance slowly scrapes the outer layer, creating injuries that make an insect dehydrated, which then leads to death. I have to use a mask during application because the dust is so fine that I can readily inhale it, which isn’t good because the minute particles stick to the lungs.
3. Keep House and Yard Clutter-Free
Cleanliness is really the best way to avoid getting a roach infestation. Don’t leave food lying around, and don’t throw garbage carelessly. Clean up dead leaves and wood, and keep your rooms free of clutter. Make it a point to vacuum at least twice a week, and always clean up after spills.
- Mr. T in DC. “American Cockroach Black Hill Park”. May 29, 2011. Online image. Flickr. February 15, 2013.
Claire Trent, the author, wants to share her experiences about pest control so that people will learn about how some creatures can affect quality of life and health. Read more about common household pests here.