Natural solutions to deal with ants & cockroaches

Ants and cockroaches are a common nuisance for homeowners, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do something about them. Try these natural pest control strategies to keep your home free of these unwelcome visitors.

Natural solutions to deal with ants & cockroaches


Ants are a nuisance only when they decide to move in, so try to encourage them to leave before taking more drastic measures.

  • Avoid leaving uncovered food on kitchen tables and counters.
  • Wipe up spills immediately.
  • Wipe out the oven and grill pan after you've used them.
  • If you can, keep outside garbage cans away from the house.
  • Try placing pots of ant-repellent herbs such as mint, pennyroyal, rue or tansy – or dried bunches of these herbs – near trouble spots.
  • Consider creating a barrier at the ants' entry points. For example, sprinkle a narrow, unbroken trail of cayenne pepper, black pepper or salt across their path. Or draw a line with chalk.
  • Frequently wipe the windowsill with oil of cloves or eucalyptus oil. Ants dislike these strong odours.
  • Dust cracks in cupboards with diatomaceous earth. The tiny sharp particles of this fossilized silica are lethal to crawling insects, but don't affect humans or pets. Use food-grade, not pool-grade, which may irritate your lungs.
  • Spray a trail of ants with a solution of 500 millilitres (2 cups) of water mixed with 5 millilitres (1 teaspoon) of dish-washing liquid using a spray bottle.

Top tip: Mix equal parts jam and borax, put the mixture in jar lids and place them in the ants' path. If small children or pets are around, place the bait in empty or cut-down milk cartons, tape the tops shut and pierce a few holes around the bottom so the ants can get to the bait, but not the children and pets.


Disturb cockroaches regularly to prevent them from feeling too comfortable in your home. Fewer places for them to live means fewer cockroaches.

  • To deter newcomers, install good-quality screens on all your doors and windows.
  • Make sure you promptly fix leaking taps and pipes – cockroaches love damp, dark, warm places. They can even congregate in the cavity of your dishwasher door.
  • Thoroughly clear away all food each night, including any pet food and birdseed.
  • Regularly move around loose stored items, such as plastic bags, towels, toiletries and under-sink products because cockroaches love to nest among them.
  • Place sticky traps near cockroach breeding areas. Try mixing a low-toxicity bait, such as borax, with sugar or jam in a small lid.
  • Rather than using surface sprays, environment-friendly pest controllers use a heat gun to flush out cockroaches from under cupboards and behind fridges. This burns their wings, causing them to die later.
  • To discourage cockroaches, save the ends off cucumbers and place them in cupboards. Other repellents are vanilla beans, dried pyrethrum daisies and pyrethrum dust, which you can find at garden centres; the latter should be used with caution and strictly according to package instructions.
  • Smear the inside of a glass jar with oil, then half fill it with beer. They'll get in, but they won't be able to get out.

With these tips, you can keep ants and cockroaches at bay without resorting to harsh chemical pest sprays.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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