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Be Kind to Cockroaches

The following is a guest post by PETA staffer Paula Moore.
 
June is National Pest Control Month—but instead of reaching for the Raid, why not show a little kindness to a cockroach? A new study by scientists at Queen Mary, University of London has found that cockroaches are social beings who “talk” to one another about food and prefer to dine in groups. When presented with two identical slices of bread, the roaches repeatedly gathered around the same slice, rather than splitting up. In an earlier study, researchers used computer simulations to show that, even with their tiny brains, insects have enough neural circuits to possess consciousness, and they may even be able to count. According to professor Lars Chittka, one of the researchers, “Animals with bigger brains are not necessarily more intelligent.” If you’re not ready to roll out the welcome mat, though, here are a few simple steps to help you keep unwanted bugs at bay:

 

• Don’t provide roaches with food. Wash dishes promptly, store food in tightly sealed containers, and keep trash in bins with tight-fitting lids.

 

• Remove roaches’ hiding places. Keep compost heaps as far from your house as possible, always wash out food containers before storing them for recycling, and don’t let old newspapers pile up.

 

• Prevent roaches from entering your home by sealing up holes and cracks. Baby roaches can squeeze into a space as thin as a dime.

 

• If you do see roaches, scatter whole bay leaves or catnip throughout your house. Iowa State University scientists found that catnip is 100 times more effective than DEET at repelling roaches.

 

Check out PETA president Ingrid E. Newkirk’s book Making Kind Choices for more tips on dealing kindly with insects and for other ideas on animal-friendly living.

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  • santos says:

    Hey, Is there any ready made cockroach repellent that is available in the stores? Im talking about the ones which will not kill them.

  • Ali3n says:

    Humane way to get rid of roaches and other pests: IGR, insect growth regulator. Aka permithrin. Completely non toxic to pets and people, it keeps insects from molting and as a consequence, breeding. They die from old age and live a normal life – without multiplying. Great humane way to eliminate indoor pest problems albeit takes a month or 3 to work effectively as they still have to go through their normal life cycle before eventually dying of natural causes.

  • Michael Walls says:

    People who live in apartment buildings have no control over the clenlieness of other tennants in the building. Once they get in the walls they can travel from one unit to the next – anytime they want.

    I never kill a bug in nature – save for ones that are biting or stinging me. However, I don’t consider my home part of the great outdoors and all insect invaders are dispatched.

    Cockroaches are filthy – yes we’ve all heard how they preen themselves – but they leave copious oily droppings. 60% of asthmatics have allergic reactions to cockroaches, which are second only to house dust mites in an ability to trigger allergies. You are actually breathing the poop dust!

    This article is pretty radical. What next, be kind to pathogens? Best method is avoiding all contact with people?

  • Tess says:

    I’m glad to see other people who don’t kill insects, including roaches. I can’t say that I love them, and would rather they hadn’t gotten into my house, but I still don’t want to kill them. I’ve already taken a number of them out of the house in a glass jar, to release them outside. I’ll try the catnip.

  • kitn says:

    Hey Ria,
    I’ve got news for you, Ummm Yoguart, strawberry flavor, have parts of cockroaches in them. It was on the news years ago as I was eating a yoplait strawberry vanilla flavored yogurt. I stalled wondering wow! and said oh well I’m not dead yet! ;)’ It was weird to hear but it is said that that’s what the probiotics are made of unless I’m confusing myself with something else but unless you like eating cockroaches, stay away from the strawberry flavored yogurts. And may you have a Happy Labor Day Weekend!

  • dani says:

    cockroaches appear in clean or dirty places just saying…

  • Veg_in_Arizona says:

    Does anyone have any cruelty-free ideas to repel scorpions? We had our house “sealed” to keep them out, but they still get in. Those plug in devices that are supposed to emit some high frequency to repel insects definitely do not work on Arizona scorpions. Any ideas? We don’t want our cats to get stung by them. :(

  • The PETA Files | Wilmer Valderrama Speaks Up for the Little Guy says:

    […] the child as it is to the caterpillar,” we hope that others will follow Wilmer’s lead and learn how easy it is to live in harmony with […]

  • Lois says:

    My landlord once described a house in which an old woman had lived for years in seclusion with the drapes drawn, and rarely left the house. When she moved out, he went inside–and the walls and floors in every room were so thickly coated with roaches that it was hard to see the surfaces underneath. When he turned the lights on, it was as if every surface suddenly came alive and fled in a thick, black, river of roaches.

    And this is not an isolated case. Many, many homes–mostly in big cities–become infested to the point where there simply aren’t any alternatives. In cases like that, there is no way you are going to get rid of the cockroaches other than by killing them all. You can’t very well trap several million insects and then release them into the wild! Catnip and bay leaves? Please, they’ll eat those the way they eat their way through cardboard boxes!

    Obviously, the best thing is to prevent them from coming in at all. People like to think of roaches as being indestructible because they are so common and prolific. However, they thrive and multiply because HUMANS ALLOW IT. If you leave food on the counters and dirty dishes in the sink, if you spill food and don’t clean it up, if you have damp basements or leaky faucets, you are providing food and water for vermin and should not be surprised when they show up. If humans became extinct, cockroach numbers would drop back to normal levels in warm temperate zones and become nonexistent in colder climates. Clean up after yourself and roaches won’t have a reason to come in the house. Unfortunately, for many people cleanliness is not next to godliness–it is next to impossible. :o

  • Melissa Flower says:

    Thank you so much for this article. I just had a “discussion” about cockroaches with a friend, and now I can pass on these smart, yet humane, tips.

  • Me says:

    Well, here in Las Vegas, bay leaves and catnip do NOT work. There are just too many of them. If they get into the house, I trap them in a glass jar and take them back outside where they belong.

  • RIA says:

    Ria – Please will you guys stop eating smarties. They use a colour agent that is from cockroaches and it upsets me deeple to see these poor little creatures being used for such sources. SAVE THEIR LIVES. DONT EAT SMARTIES.

  • Maureen says:

    Any suggestions on getting flies to move out? I tried using peppermint oil and citrus oil but no luck. I’ve got a lot of them in the house but still refuse to use insecticides.

  • cANDY says:

    This is great!!!!

  • stefanie says:

    i can proudly say, i don’t kill them, they all want to live juts like you and me, they all have only one life

  • Shahrukh Asundaria says:

    One should kind with every good creature of nature not only cockroaches

  • Rosy says:

    thanks for advice…
    Rosy

  • gaby says:

    ” one man” – the hero of a worldwide-known novell by ariana fellaci – survived in prison for years with a friendship to a cockroache, to whom he spoke about his fears !!!!!!

  • JunMing says:

    Hey where can i find catnip? Thanks for the info!

  • Brett says:

    I love the response of saying they put a glass over everything that has to go outside. A friend took a photo of a spider, with a transparent dinner plate covering him, and the ends of the legs STILL came out the side of the plate. More than a glass needed here!

  • mia stefania says:

    I’m so glad I found this! I’ve been finding roaches at work and was looking for a vegan way to deal with it. Tomorrow my store will be covered in catnip!!!!

  • Kristin says:

    I’ve also heard grapefruit scent deters cockroaches. I’ve used all natural grapefruit mist in cupboards and closets- smells great, and seemed to help.

  • Rocco Sirico says:

    If any insects get into my home I take them in a cloth and return them outside were they can live. I don’t use any Raid or other chemicals.I set them free.

  • Kerri says:

    i keep cockroaches for pets-they are the most misunderstood insect in this world. They comprise of about 2,000 know species and only a handful are of the so-called pest kind.

    I also have cute bunnies and kitties-every animal is special in it’s own way. Oh-and cockroaches groom themselves. If cockroaches were to be extinct the world would be full of decay as they are import recyclers.

  • Tara says:

    I have always known that insects are undervalued in the eyes of most humans and have gone out of my way not to kill them and still maintain a clean house. I once saw a cockroach approach a picnic table ledge to size up the gap between anther table, he then walked back and took a runner to make it over. From that day on I have respected all life including plants and have only received good “karma” in return.

  • Terry says:

    Although I don’t particularly like to see cockroaches and other insects in my house, I do believe that they possess intelligence to some degree, like all animals, human and non-human. It would follow that they have feelings, and a will to live. I would not want to take that away from them if I could help it. I always welcome ways to repel insects and to discourage them from coming inside my house, rather than to kill them. I do my best to transport them alive, outside.

  • Therese says:

    Thank’s for that article. I am so happy that there are many more people who don’t like to kill Cockroaches. My whole family make fun out of me if I just mention that every small and great creature need to be on this planet for some or other reason and I don’t like to kill none of them.
    You mention buy leaves I don’t know if you meant fresh or can they be dried. In any case I can try catnip. I am kind to all bugs and creepy-crawlies but I don’t like to share my house with them

  • Natalia Perroni says:

    it makes me feel so happy to see there is other people on planet earth that wants to be kind to cockroaches!
    im not alone!

  • Lacy says:

    Roaches have always been one of my favorite insects.. I honestly think they are more intelligent than humans. But sadly, the people I live with don’t like sharing a house with insects so thanks for the tips!

  • Veggyroo says:

    I don’t know why, but since we’ve had pet house rabbits we don’t get cockroaches any more. I don’t think the rabbits eat them, so perhaps it’s their smell. And bunnies are much cuter to have running around than cockies!

  • Julan Abbott says:

    I love beatles and cockroaches. I love fleas and mosquitos. According to me anyone who detests these creatures cannot be an Animal Rights Person in their soul. I read about the number of neurons. Well, it is not necessary to have hardly any neurons at all to possess consciousness , just the appliances like eyes, ears, legs etc.are important. Then the being however tiny it is has automatically consciousness. And a worker ant has no less consciousness than you or me.

  • Char says:

    What should we do about mosquitoes?! If they get in my house I feel like they have to die!

  • RobertO says:

    not only they can be intelligent, my experience is that if you try to catch them, you wouldn’t, only if you are thinking about something totally different than putting them in a box, because they can read your mind ;)))) so think what a beautiful day, and than almost get in your hand

  • Gary King says:

    I can’t do the catnip because my cats would get to it. :D

  • João Leit says:

    Hey everyone! We’ll try the catnip and bay leaves here at home! I’m sure it will work and make those little cockroaches away from here. Greetings from MOROCCO!

  • donna says:

    You can also use a jar..like a jelly jar with a “lip” on the inside and put vaseline around that and then you can put cola and sugar in the bottom with a cotton ball or a rock in the center, 1) just enough to NOT drown the bugs, but the vaseline will prevent them from crawling out.Put the jar by the stove,refigerator,door etc. toss waay away from your home in grass. 2)fill it up 1/2 way and I promise this works! I use to live in an old trailer,,

  • chander kumar soni says:

    i must be kind…

  • Madmaggie says:

    Thank you for posting. I am repelled by roaches and large water bugs but like most here hate to kill them. These are good solutions! And maybe it will make me think more kindly towards them when I see them now!!
    I also practice EFT – emotional freedom technique to help me get over my fear of them. Tap tap tap away yuor troubles!

  • Rachelle says:

    Thanks for this article on Cockroaches.
    Never knew about using catnip before.
    What about other pests? Would catnip help?
    I’ve had problems with bed bugs.

  • STUART HASSEL says:

    P.S. – I FORGOT TO MENTION THAT MY GIRLFRIEND IS CONSTANTLY INSTRUCTING HER STUDENTS THAT ALL ANIMALS AND INSECTS HAVE THE RIGHT TO LIVE AND TO BE KIND TO ALL OF THEM. SHE ALWAYS HAS THEM CATCH SPIDERS, COCKROACHES, ETC, AND PUTS THEM OUTSIDE.

  • STUART HASSEL says:

    MY GIRLRIEND IS A TEACHER IN AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN LOS ANGELES WHERE THEY DO HAVE QUITE A COCKROACH PROBLEM, NOT ONLY IN HER CLASS BUT HER STUDENTS HAVE MAJOR PROBLEMS WITH THEM AT HOME AS WELL. I WILL DEFINITELY PASS THIS INFORMATION ON TO HER. NOW WHAT ABOUT OUR RAT PROBLEM? I’VE BEEN HOLDING OFF ON KILLING THEM BUT WE ARE NEAR OUR WITS END WITH THIS. PLEASE HELP!!!

  • Donna Coliz says:

    Thank you for the catnip suggestion–my cat child will be thrilled. I have also heard that boric acid (available at your durg store) sprinkled around the perimeter of a room will keep out ants. I don’t know if this works for cockroaches or not; but ants don’t want to cross the boric acid line. It is good to have many options. =)

  • Rita says:

    I am vegan and I dont kill insects. I used to have infestation of cockroaches in my current apartment. After doing a lot of research on the internet, I have found an insect proof trash can at the “Container Store” for $130 couple of years ago but it was worth it and insect proof trash cans are hard to find. Cockroaches will eat from your kitchen trashcan in the middle of the night if your trashcan is not securely tight. You have to use very fresh bay leaves because the dry bay leaves you purchase at the grocery stores will not work since I’ve tried them. The cockroaches walked all over the leaves so fresh bay leaves will work from wut I read but haven’t been able to find them. You have to replace all your cardboard and paper boxes with plastic ones. Cockroaches love to harbor and groom in paper made boxes. Also remove all your kitchen cabinet liners. They like to leave feces on the sticky laminating stuff behind them. Also they love living in kitchen appliances because they love to stay warm places. Place all your appliances (toaster oven, microwave) on crates that have grids. They don’t like walking on grids! These are also available at the “The Container Store.” You can purchase the insect repellent devices like Riddix you plug your outlet. I use couple of them in the kitchen and bathroom. Cockroaches live in your kitchen and bathroom because they need water. A female cockroach can lay 30 eggs every days until she dies (1 sac contains around 30 eggs). Thats why german cockroaches can be a nuisance. I have cured my infestation cockroach problems by 90%. My apts were built in 1960’s. From wut I heard most old apts do have cockroach problems than new apts. Hope all this helps! Good luck to you all who may benefit from my advice.

  • ERSHAD HOSSAIN says:

    I TELL EVERYONE NOT TO HARM COCKROACHES AND OTHER HOUSE PESTS. THERE ARE VERY FEW PWOPLW LIKE YOU WHO WILL WORRY ABOUT INSECTS AND PESTS. GOD BLESS YOU.

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