If you want to learn how to get rid of cockroaches as naturally as possible, you, my friend, have come to the right place. That’s because I’ve been taking the crash course in roach control. In my new home state of New Mexico, if you live within four walls and have a roof, you have cockroaches unless you treat for them. You can put your food in airtight NASA containers. You can scrub the floors three times a day until Mr. Clean shows up at your house and tells you to give it up, already. You can wake up at 3 a.m. and chase them around. But you won’t get rid of them.

A lot of people down here have usual visits from the pest control guys, but I have a little dog who enjoys licking the tile and three birds who would probably hang upside down from the perches, permanently, if we sprayed all over the place. Let’s not even get into the fact that I don’t want the human members of my family exposed to chemicals strong enough to kill bugs capable of outliving a nuclear holocaust. So, what’s a girl to do?

Diatomaceous earth is a naturally occurring soft rock that does some serious damage to cockroaches. The powder is so fine it destroys the exoskeleton of the roach and dehydrates its body. The roach won’t die immediately, but he’ll get that powdery stuff all over himself, take it back to the nest, and get it all over his buddies. Eventually, you might see an uptick in dead little bodies around the house as the roaches come out of hiding to find water as they get thirstier. Not pleasant, but it’ll do the trick. One problem with diatomaceous earth, however, is that even if you get food grade (yes, there’s food grade), it’s still a dangerous inhalant. So if you use it, stuff it way back under the stove, refrigerator, or cupboards. But make sure it cannot be reached or sniffed at by children or pets.

Baking soda is a safer alternative that gives cockroaches worse gas than a burrito festival. You can mix one part baking soda to one part white sugar, then make a paste or soup out of it by adding water, then fill old plastic lids jar caps (like those from a spaghetti sauce jar). Then place the lids around the house, again hiding them underneath things. Again, keep them out of reach of children and pets, although I can’t imagine too many kids or pets would enjoy the taste of baking soda, even when combined with sugar. Roaches, on the other hand, will gobble that stuff up. You can even sprinkle straight baking soda under appliances, where they’ll traipse through the powder and haul it back to the nest. Again, this does damage to the whole group, causing gas and bloating that kills roaches.

One I really like is a little recipe for bug balls. This tasty little treat is too much for a hungry roach to pass up. Since the balls are snack size, they happily roll them back to the nest where everyone can enjoy a bite or two. Here’s what you’ll need:

1 cup Borax (like 20 Muleteam Borax, found in the laundry aisle)

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup diced onion (they really dig that stuff)

1 Tbs. cornstarch

1 Tbs. water

Mix everything up and form little balls from the dough. You can put a few tiny balls into an open Ziploc bag or on a jar lid, then tuck them away in the dark places cockroaches like. (Again, keep these away from kids and pets.) The roaches tend to die out of sight, and their loyal family members eat their dead, then they die too. It’s recycling, see.

The bug ball recipe makes about 50 balls, which will last you quite awhile.

So, there you have it. You can kill roaches dead, and you won’t have to tent the house and worry about the Breaking Bad guys setting up shop in your living room. No chemically fumes, no costly monthly visits from the pest control companies. For more ways to do things naturally and chemical free in your home, check out my series of paperbacks and ebooks on Amazon. And if you have any other ideas on how to get rid of cockroaches naturally, comment below or send me an email.