Cockroach. What does the word conjure up for you? It wasn’t something I thought much about until I moved to Arizona and encountered a few roaches the size of small pets! 

One evening a few days ago, the kids found a creepy crawler in the kitchen, and one would have thought E.T. was in our home by their frightened glances. They proceeded to name themselves the “cockroach crew” and armed with pillows, large sticks, specific treats and a huge plastic bowl, the games began.

Two hours and a few screams later (along with a few hysterical moments), they finally trapped the small beast and it is currently still awaiting its fate. Thus, I decided this month to share with you natural, chemical-free ways to trap roaches in your home. 

As evidenced by fossilized remains from the Paleozoic Carboniferous period, cockroaches predate humans by more then 300 million years! There are thousands of cockroach species that exist, but only 30 are associated with human habitats and 10 are truly considered pests. 

Although there are many pest control companies that are reputable and several now that are certified “green” (using less toxic products), caution still needs to be taken. Pesticide chemicals are serious and especially so if you are pregnant or have children in the home, as certain ingredients have been known to cause cancer, birth defects, reproductive health issues and neurological problems.

Fortunately, there are chemical-free alternatives to try before you decide to hire outside help.  

The Chem-Free Cockroach Removal Plan! 

1) Clean! Cockroaches feed off grease and even the smallest of crumbs, so make sure you keep your kitchen really clean. Wipe down counters nightly, clean your stovetop, and be sure to not leave dirty dishes in the sink. 

2) Seal all cracks and holes. That includes inside your pantry, between the countertop and wall, and in the baseboards. It’s a small do-it-yourself project with some caulk and a caulking gun that is well worth it in the end. 

3) Fix any water leaks. Roaches can survive for months without food, but just days without water. Repair even the tiniest of leaks and try not to leave standing water in the sink or overwater plants. 

4) Natural cockroach bait. Mix three  parts boric acid with one part powdered sugar. The sugar will lure the roaches, while the boric acid kills them. The boric acid isn’t toxic to people or pets, but can be irritating, so don’t use on counters or places where little fingers can reach. Sprinkle under and behind refrigerator, stove and dishwasher, under the sink and cracks along the edges of cabinets and pantries.  

— Sara Lemons Vaules is the founder of Lemon and Light, which offers consulting, products and strategies for moving with ease into an organic, chemical-free lifestyle.