For the last several months, I worked in between Jakarta and Bali. It was a wonderful time, transitioning between the hustle and bustle of a huge city to the quiet rice fields of Ubud, Bali. And it was nearly perfect…except for the cockroach situation that cropped up in both places.
In Jakarta, roaches seem to be a part of everyday life. The house I rented was an open-air, gorgeous structure that allowed the occasional mid-day breeze in along with an array of pests I didn’t care for. Now when it comes to spiders and ants, I don’t really mind. But roaches? Hell no.
But it can seem impossible to control, especially in places like Jakarta and Bali, in which the majority of housing is open air.
So what do you do if you love the open air but can’t stand the roaches? I did some serious research during my time and discovered a few handy tricks. If you’re in the same, unenviable position I was in, here’s how to fortify your (open) home!
Get Essential Oils
Essential oils aren’t just for relaxation – turns out they’re a highly effective roach repellent. And cockroaches being the gross beings they are, who wouldn’t prefer to simply prevent roaches rather than deal with an actual infestation?
The thing is – not all essential oils are useful to repel roaches. The top three best ones are cypress oil, peppermint oil and cedarwood oil. You can get all three and combine them to make your own potent roach repellent. But in my experience, crypress oil seems to be the most effective, by far, even if you just use it alone.
To use, mix the oil(s) with water and spray everything – your countertops, your furniture and the entrances to your home. You’ll need to spray regularly so the scent stays potent enough to ward off unwanted visitors.
Sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
This stuff is a life-saver. Never again will I live in the tropics without at least one bag of diatomaceous earth (DE). This powdery white stuff if one of the best home remedies for roaches you can get your hands on – and it’s pretty readily available in both Jakarta and Bali (look at the health food shops selling it as a detox powder).
This all natural soft powder secures your home from roaches by killing any unfortunate cockroach that makes contact with it. And it’s not just roaches – it’ll kill any bug with an exoskeleton.
The best part, though, is that it doesn’t effect other friendly creatures, like geckos. Which is really good news since geckos are a lovely form of natural roach repellent themselves – they feed on roaches, after all.
DE is the perfect solution for all of us who don’t want to use even the most highly effective roach killers like boric acid because it can potentially be eaten by geckos – causing them to die and become collateral damage in our war against roaches. Not cool.
To use DE, scatter it evenly all around the entry points to your home – basically any place that roaches can use to sneak into your house. Once a roach makes contact with it, the DE will puncture the cockroach’s body, causing it to dehydrate to death within 48 hours.
Pack a Bug Vacuum
If this sounds funny and bizarre to you, you’re probably not as squeamish as me when it comes to multi-legged creatures. The thing is – I freak out! Roaches may be disgusting but I don’t want to have to kill them and deal with that sickening “crunch” sound and the cleaning up of the body.
But at the same time, it’s disturbing to remain in a house that has a roach wandering freely.
So what’s the easiest, most elegant solution? Suck that roach up with a bug vacuum. These hardly take up any room in your suitcase and even the most squeamish of us can use it to immediately remove an offending pest. It works just as well for spiders and other creepy crawlies as it does for roaches!
Okay, there you have it – 3 highly effective and all natural ways to get rid of roaches. And ‘though my experience was limited to Jakarta and Bali, the tactics should work wherever you are to keep roaches well and away from you and yours!