Which is more dangerous; cockroach or repellent? Here are a few natural methods to control these pests…

Piperonyl butoxide, which we have spoken about earlier, is used as a synergistic compound in all pyrethroids based formulations to ensure that the insect’s natural excretory mechanism does not allow it to remove the toxin. Piperonyl butoxide is labelled as a Class C carcinogen or a possible human carcinogen. Studies suggest that by interfering with hormone metabolism, it may damage organs like the thyroid, adrenal and pituitary glands and may weaken the immune system too.

Piperonyl butoxide is a synergistic compound in over 1,500 different products that we use from head lice killers to mosquito repellents to veterinary pesticides to sprays that are used on our bedding and clothes. Pyrethroids and Piperonyl butoxide are licensed to be used as insecticides as well, so the bag of rice you buy could contain a product similar to what you use to keep cockroaches away.

The pest that invades urban Indian homes is the American cockroach, Periplaneta Americana.

Dripping faucets and leaking plumbing lines create a warm, moist atmosphere that cockroaches love, especially in our humid, muggy weather. Keep surfaces under kitchen-top appliances clean, move them around to limit ‘nesting’ spots. Spots under mixers and grinders should be cleaned, and re-seal cracks greater than 1.6 mm.

Consider using low wattage lighting in your kitchen or bathroom to deter cockroaches from making an appearance.

Several natural plant-based materials used at low doses work very well. Crushed cucumber peels have been tested in Kansas State University to effectively repel cockroaches. These need to be replaced periodically. Dried lemon peels and cloves are also excellent cockroach repellents. A combination of these can be put into pouches in several corners.

Certain essential oils, like peppermint oil, tea tree oil, and Neem oil, also have demonstrable insect repellent properties. Regular cleaning using a solution of six to ten drops of these essential oils in half-a-litre of water is not only fragrant but is also a strong repellent.