Roaches are one of the most dreaded household pests out there. They can contaminate food, cause allergies, and even spread diseases.
Even worse, cockroaches have a reputation for being nearly indestructible. This has led to many people using kerosene as a DIY pesticide for cockroaches.
But does this remedy work, and should you use it?
Does Kerosene Kill Cockroaches?
Yes, kerosene can kill roaches, but it’s a risky solution that can lead to injury or even death for your or your loved ones.
Related: Can Kerosene Kill Termites?
What is Kerosene?
Kerosene is a hydrocarbon liquid that is typically obtained from the refining of crude oil that’s often used as a source of heat or light. It’s clear, colorless, and flammable with a distinct smell.
Compared to other fuels, Kerosene has a relatively low volatility, which means that it does not evaporate as quickly.
This makes it a good choice for use in lamps and heaters, as it can burn for longer periods of time without needing to be refilled. However, spilling this liquid can render surfaces highly flammable and it’s tough to clean up.
How Does Kerosene Kill Cockroaches?
When roaches come into contact with kerosene, they absorb the liquid through their exoskeleton. This fuel is toxic to insects, disrupting the insect’s nervous system, and causing paralysis and eventually death.
Roaches are particularly susceptible because they have a high surface area to volume ratio, meanings that their exoskeleton is relatively thin compared to their body size. This makes it easier for kerosene to penetrate the exoskeleton and enter their body.
See Also: Does Dettol Eliminate Roaches?
How to Kill Cockroaches Using Kerosene
There are two popular methods for using kerosene to kill roaches. Both methods have decent success rates and are safer than simply pouring flammable liquid everywhere, but are still no substitute for some of the most popular DIY treatment methods.
This method can still coat a surface in flammable liquid, but with less overall risk. Here are the steps:
- Mix kerosene with water in a 1:10 ratio. This will dilute the kerosene and make it less flammable.
- Using a spray bottle, spray the diluted kerosene solution in the areas where cockroaches are present. Be sure to spray in cracks and crevices where cockroaches may be hiding.
- Wait for a few minutes for the kerosene to take effect. Cockroaches that come into contact with the kerosene will die.
- Clean up the dead cockroaches and dispose of them properly.
- Thoroughly scrub the area where you sprayed to remove as much kerosene residue as possible.
Another popular method is to use a homemade alternative to mothballs.
Simply dip some cotton balls in kerosene and place them where roaches are present. The fumes will kill any roaches that get too close.
Precautions to Take When Using Kerosene
Even though we don’t condone using kerosene for pest control, we do feel it important to mention how to safely handle this volatile liquid if you plan to use if for lamps or other intended purposes.
- Always use kerosene in a well-ventilated area to prevent inhaling toxic fumes.
- Keep kerosene away from heat sources, sparks, or open flames, as it is highly flammable.
- Do not smoke while using kerosene, as it can easily ignite and cause a fire.
- Wear protective gloves and goggles to prevent skin and eye irritation.
- Store kerosene in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight and sources of heat.
- Keep kerosene out of reach of children and pets, as it can be harmful if ingested.
It’s also important to follow the instructions on the kerosene container carefully and avoid using more than the recommended amount. Using too much kerosene can be hazardous and increase the risk of fire or explosion.
If you experience any adverse effects while using kerosene, such as dizziness, nausea, or difficulty breathing, seek medical attention immediately.
Safer Alternatives for Killing Cockroaches
Considering the dangerous fumes and high flammability, it’s obvious kerosene is a terrible option for pest control. But what can kill cockroaches efficiently without endangering your home and family?
Here are four popular DiY methods that not only work with minimal health risks, but are also inexpensive.
#1 – Bait Traps
Commercial bait traps work by attracting cockroaches with a combination of food and insecticide. The traps contain a slow-acting poison mixed with an attractive food source that the cockroaches eat and carry back to their nest.
As the cockroaches die, they contaminate other members of the colony, which helps to reduce the population of cockroaches over time. This method targets the entire colony of cockroaches, not just the visible ones, and uses the natural behavior of cockroaches to eliminate the entire population.
You can even make your own homemade bait using a little bit of borax mixed into peanut butter.
#2 – Sticky Traps
Sticky traps are adhesive traps that capture cockroaches as they move across the surface.
The most popular type of sticky trap is the fly strip, but there are also sturdier card-based versions. They’re designed to be placed in areas where cockroaches are likely to travel, such as along walls or in corners.
The great part is that the strips are non-toxic and any pest that steps on them will get stuck, causing them to slowly starve to death. However, these traps won’t kill roaches that don’t step on them, making them a little less efficient than other methods.
#3 – Boric Acid
Boric acid is a natural insecticide that is safe for humans and pets but deadly to cockroaches.
Simply sprinkle a thin layer of boric acid powder (AKA borax) along the baseboards, behind appliances, and in other areas where cockroaches are likely to hide.
The cockroaches will walk through the powder and ingest it, which will eventually kill them.
#4 – Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth is a powder made from the fossilized remains of tiny aquatic organisms called diatoms.
Simply sprinkle a thin layer of diatomaceous earth along the baseboards, behind appliances, and in other areas where cockroaches are likely to hide.
While it’s safe around humans and pets, the crushed shells are as sharp as broken glass to insects. When they walk over it, the edges cut into their exoskeletons, causing them to die from fluid loss.