It goes without saying that cockroaches are nasty critters that nobody wants to see running loose in their home, particularly in their bedroom. Not only are roaches appalling, but they can also spread diseases through their droppings and saliva. As a result, people have been looking for the most effective ways to deal with those pests. And while most rely on traps and chemicals, others are searching for a simpler and more natural solution.
That’s why many homeowners are wondering if keeping their lights on during the night will scare away roaches. Before providing the answer, followed by a few useful tips, let’s take a deep dive into roach behavior and feeding patterns.
It’s important to understand that roaches are not afraid of light. As a matter of fact, they avoid it because of how they live. More specifically, roaches are nocturnal creatures meaning that they are dormant during the day and active for about four hours at night. While they might go out and search for food outside the normal cycle, roaches will tend to avoid light.
Another interesting fact about the behavior of cockroaches is that they evolved to consider light a danger warning. That’s one of the reasons why roaches scatter quickly whenever you turn on your light during the night. And since this species of insect has survived for 300 million years, their light aversion has proven to be quite fruitful.
To put it simply — yes, lights can be a powerful weapon against roaches. However, you need to put them in the right places. Just turning on your kitchen lights won’t be enough and will only make roaches warrier in the future.
One of the best ways you can use lights is to install light strips inside cupboards and kitchen cabinets to keep them lit. Doing so will force roaches to change their foraging routes, taking a riskier approach and exposing themselves. Then, you can use another conventional method, such as a roach repellant spray.
Another strategy is to place lights near cracks and crevices where you believe roaches enter your home. This method is only effective at preventing insects from entering your home, and won’t help you get rid of existing invaders.
The Disadvantages of Using Lights as a Roach Repellent
Although using lights to repel roaches can seem like a good idea, it comes with a couple of disadvantages. For starters, leaving your lights on every night can get very expensive, very fast. While you can reduce the cost by getting energy-efficient light bulbs, your electricity bill could still end up double what it used to be. So, unless your house has other means of getting energy, you should consider alternative methods to get rid of roaches.
Secondly, there are some species of roach that love light. Yes, you’ve read that right; keeping your lights on might attract insects like wood roaches. These pests will enter your home when they see it lit, gathering near doors and windows. Even though they are outdoor roaches, they can still live inside, looking for light, warmer temperatures, and food.
More Ways to Get Rid of Roaches
Believe it or not, there are many ways to repel and get rid of roaches besides a well-lit room. While some methods rely on plants and similar natural repellants, others involve chemical products like borax and baking soda.
If you want to get rid of roaches without using chemicals, you’re in luck. There are a handful of effective home remedies that will send those nasty pests packing. And best of all, these methods shouldn’t be harmful to pets or children:
- Plants: Certain types of plants can keep roaches at bay. Chrysanthemums and catnip are two of the many plants that roaches avoid, mainly because of their smell. By positioning them near your back and front doors and windows, you can prevent roaches from entering your home.
- Salt: It’s common knowledge that many insects die when they get in contact with salt, including roaches. While this isn’t the best form of pest control, placing some salt around cracks and crevices can reduce the chances of infestations.
- Diatomaceous Earth: This naturally occurring sedimentary is known to repel scorpions, but can also work on roaches. It acts like little fragments of glass, which damage the underbelly of roaches, preventing them from crawling throughout your home.
- Baits: When buying baits, make sure to get those that use natural ingredients. That way, there won’t be any artificial poisons left around your home, putting the lives of your pets and children in danger.
- Essential Oils: For the best results, get lemongrass or peppermint essential oils and mix them with some water. Then, spray the mixture anywhere you see roaches. That will scare them away and make them avoid the area where you sprayed in the future.
- Citrus: While citrus is tasty for humans, it is a natural roach repellent. The smell of lemons deters most insects, so add a few drops of lemon oil to the water when you mop your floors. The scent will send roaches packing and freshen up your home at the same time.
If you don’t have kids or animals, you can use other conventional methods such as borax and roach deterrent liquid concentrates. However, you’ll still have to be careful when using these methods, as they can cause health problems if not handled properly:
- Borax: This laundry product is excellent for killing cockroaches. To get the most out of it, combine equal parts of white table sugar and borax. Then, dust the mixture in places where you’ve seen roach activity. When consumed, the borax will dehydrate the insects and eventually kill them.
- Liquid Roach Deterrent Concentrate: You can purchase a liquid roach deterrent concentrate at most local home improvement stores. These chemicals are meant to be diluted and sprayed into crevices in order to keep roaches from getting out of their hideouts. You can also mop your floors using the solution to deter insects from crawling all over your home.
- Pesticides: One of the most reliable ways to get rid of cockroaches is to spray pesticides around your home. However, choose a product that’s safe for indoor use. And remember that these sprays are long-acting, so don’t use them around food.
- Boric Acid: Even though it is a natural compound, boric acid can be poisonous to humans and roaches alike. If ingested, the powder kills the insects by attacking their nervous and digestive systems. What’s interesting about boric acid is that it sticks to the legs and wings of roaches, allowing them to carry the poison to their nest. To use this chemical, you’ll need to sprinkle some on a paper plate and put peanut butter in the middle to attract insects.
You may also want to check: How to Keep Bugs Out of Your Basement?
Overall, while it’s true that roaches hate light and will try to avoid it at all costs, it isn’t a reliable deterrent. Not only will keeping your lights on ramp up your electricity bill, but some species of insects will be attracted to them. As a result, you’ll need to rely on other methods, such as baits, essential oils, and liquid deterrents.
However, no matter which one you choose, you should always take the necessary precautions to avoid putting your family in danger. Some of these chemicals can cause severe health issues when handled without care, so do your research beforehand. And if all else fails, remember that you can always call a pest expert for help.