Autumn 2013 True Natural Health Magazine – Your Questions Answered
By Roger French


QUESTION:   We avoid chemical treatments so as to protect ourselves and the vegies we grow from contamination, but cockroaches and ants are a major problem. I would appreciate any advice you can offer about safe and effective treatments.



Firstly, one of the general rules for many pests. Make your home unattractive to pests by keeping it clean, especially the kitchen, by ensuring food storage containers are airtight, by filling gaps where insects may enter and by using fly-screens on windows and doors.

For do-it-yourself pest control, there are relatively safe and effective methods available.

Ants. Trace the ant trail back to its entrance point and seal the access. If this is not accessible, place deterrents in the trail, especially near the entrance. These include eucalyptus oil, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, crushed mint, peppermint oil, tea tree oil, crushed cloves or bicarb soda. Sometimes, just squashing a few ants along the trail will deter them.

To kill ants, mix equal parts of borax with either icing sugar or honey and place along pathways. Remember that borax is poisonous, so keep away from people, especially children, and pets.

Cockroaches. Seal all entry points if you can access them. Store food in airtight containers and keep kitchen benches and floor free of food scraps and crumbs.

Repellents include Epsom salts sprinkled about, or eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil or citronella oil smeared around crevices. Baits include pyrethrum powder or borax sprinkled into cracks and crevices. They take two to three weeks to act.

Cockroach traps are easily made and can be remarkably effective. Grease the inside of a mug or glass jar with a smear of cooking oil, margarine, butter or Vaseline. The mug or jar needs to be about 100 ml (4 inches) high. Pour in some red wine and/or a small piece of cake or banana or whatever your cockies go for. The cockroaches will be attracted to the bait and will fall into the jar, but won’t be able to climb out. If the outside of the jar is slippery, wrap a strip of paper around it and hold in place with a rubber band.

I have used this trap a lot and on occasions have found up to about 15 cockies in the bottle. I put the lid on and feed them to my chooks, which go into a feeding frenzy over them.

This is only saying what you already do, F.P., but the recommendation to all readers for minimising the toxic pesticide menace is – don’t bring the toxic ones into your home.

If needing a pest control firm, choose one that combines a variety of safer methods, known as integrated pest management.