Does Citronella Repel Roaches?
You have probably heard about citronella being used as a mosquito repellent, but is it effective at repelling roaches? There are many ways to kill cockroaches, but repelling them is, ironically, a much harder task.
This article will set the record straight on the best ways to keep roaches away and what they're looking for in a home.
Using Citronella Oil Against Roaches
Citronella is a natural and humane pest repellent. It's been used to repel insects for decades, and it doesn't kill them. Unlike other methods, it works by masking scents that are attractive to insects. Citronella oil is an essential oil that's obtained from the leaves and stems of different species of Cymbopogon (lemongrass).
To use the oil effectively, you can place a few drops of the oil around your home and then wipe the area down thoroughly. It is most effective in areas where the roaches are looking for food and water. You can wipe down your kitchen, pantry, cupboards, and any other area you want the roaches out of.
A 2015 study showed that citronella worked as an effective roach repellent when used in higher concentrations. Lotions that contain around 15% citronella oil were shown to only be effective for about 2 hours.
What Insects Does Citronella Repel?
Citronella is effective against all sorts of insects. These include flies, mosquitoes, bees, wasps, gnats, ants, and of course, cockroaches. While burning citronella candles and relying on the scent and smoke works well for flying bugs, it isn't good enough to repel cockroaches. Instead, you need to make an oil out of the leaves of the plant and water. You can also purchase the oil and add it to water.
Using Citronella Outside
While most people think that having Citronella plants outside is enough of a barrier, they are actually completely ineffective. The plants only release their scent through touch, and that is unreliable. Still, you can use the repelling powers of citronella oil outside to prevent the cockroaches from getting in where they don't belong.
Soap and water is a classic roach killer solution and can be turned into an effective repellent when infused with citronella oil. Take citronella-infused soap and spray it outside on the walls of your home. Pay special attention to where you see any cracks or foundation problems. Using the soap should keep the roaches away until you can get those cracks repaired.
They will catch the scent on their next visit and will leave the area alone. However, it is only a repellent, and you need to make sure that you are taking action to make your home less of a target for a cockroach infestation.
Taking Care Of Your Home
You can caulk and seal up the various holes in your home's foundation that are causing cockroaches to get inside. Also, make sure to clean your kitchen every month or so, clean up dirty dishes and food spills, and keep food covered in air-tight containers. Think like a cockroach and see if there are any areas of your house they could live in.
A kitchen would give them food, a leaking fridge or sink would give them water, and dark attic spaces would give shelter. Do your best to make these areas less attractive to cockroaches, and they will leave you be.
Also, try to figure out if the roaches have a nest somewhere because you might be able to take the fight to their home.
What Essential Oils Repel Roaches?
One of the best ways to naturally repel roaches is by essential oils. Essential oils made from peppermint, mint, and even catnip are enough to start repelling cockroaches. Other oils can be made from food items you wouldn't expect.
You can make a catnip essential oil spray to use around areas where the cockroaches will enter your home. Catnip contains something called nepetalactone, an element that can drive cockroaches nuts and make them run in the other direction. Now, if you have a cat, on the other hand, it might run towards the problem!
Spraying the roaches directly with the essential oil will not work to repel them, but if you spray the oil around where they enter the home, it will do the trick.
What Natural Scents Do Cockroaches Hate?
Other natural plants that can repel cockroaches include mint and bay leaves, with their scents too strong for most cockroaches to stomach. Other scents include cinnamon, garlic, and coffee grounds.
Interestingly enough, salt may be an effective way to deter roaches from entering an area. The ammonium nitrate and chloride inside of the salt wards them off and sends them scurrying away. Salt should only be used in a pinch because there are limited studies that show its overall effectiveness. Boric acid and diatomaceous earth have been proven for years to be much more effective at repelling roaches.
Ending the Roach Problem For Good
If you are concerned that repelling the cockroaches isn't enough to keep them away from you, you can try the lethal option. Repellents such as boric acid and diatomaceous earth are both pesticides that are significantly less toxic than those you can purchase at the store. Both of these powders kill cockroaches on contact.
So, if you're looking for a natural way to keep roaches away, citronella oil may be your answer. It's inexpensive and smells nice too. If you really enjoy the smell of citrus in your home, get some citronella oil and apply it generously!
If any of the above strategies are not working to end your roach problem, it is best to get in touch with a pest control professional as soon as possible.