Debunking Myths: Do Moth Balls Really Keep Roaches Away?

Ever wondered if those old-school moth balls in your grandma’s closet could be your secret weapon against roaches? You’re not alone. There’s a lot of buzz around whether or not moth balls can actually keep these pesky pests at bay.

Moth balls have been used for years to protect clothes from moths, but their potential roach-repelling properties are less well-known. You may be thinking it’s a simple, cost-effective solution to your roach problem. But is it too good to be true? We’re here to give you the lowdown on this common query.

Key Takeaways

  • Moth balls, traditionally used against moths, may also repel roaches due to the toxic gas they release but evidence is anecdotal and inconsistent.
  • The active substances in moth balls, Naphthalene and Paradichlorobenzene are insecticides which insects find intolerable, potentially making moth balls effective roach repellents.
  • Moth balls can pose health hazards such as skin irritation, liver and kidney damage to humans and pets. Therefore, their usage ought to be handled cautiously and in well-ventilated areas.
  • Moths balls may require confined spaces for effective pest control, which doesn’t match roach infestation zones like kitchens and bathrooms well.
  • Alternatives to moth balls include professional pest control, DIY methods like Cockroach traps, baits, Diatomaceous earth, and Boric Acid.
  • Preventive measures like cleanliness and rotating control methods for long-term efficacy are also recommended for effective roach control.

Mothballs are a common recommendation for repelling pests including roaches, but their effectiveness and safety are often misunderstood. Rentokil’s pest control myths debunk the notion, explaining that while mothballs use naphthalene to repel insects, their use for roaches in home settings is largely ineffective and potentially hazardous to human health. To tackle roach infestations more safely and effectively, Corbett Exterminating suggests integrated pest management techniques that focus on sanitation and barriers rather than relying on mothballs. Furthermore, D-Termination Pest Control emphasizes understanding roach behavior and environment modifications to keep them at bay, rather than using potentially harmful substances like mothballs.

Understanding Moth Balls

To accurately assess if moth balls can repel roaches, you must first understand what they are and how they work. Moth balls are small, white pellets made primarily from a chemical compound known as naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene. A lot of people trust them as an effective method to keep moths away from their clothes due to the pungent odor they release.

Moth balls work by releasing a gas that’s toxic to insects. The smell is not only detested by moths but also by other small pests. This unpleasant odor, paired with the toxic gas effect, is believed to drive insects away, hence the theory that they might be effective in repelling roaches.

Let’s delve deeper into the main active substances of moth balls:

Naphthalene: This is an organic compound commonly used in moth balls. It’s known for its strong, distinctive odor which insects find intolerable. In addition to this, it’s also known to cause physical damage to insects’ respiratory system, hampering their ability to breathe; a direct line to mortality for these pests.

Paradichlorobenzene: Similarly to naphthalene, paradichlorobenzene is often found in various pest-control products due to its effectiveness against a wide variety of bugs.

Do you now see why moth balls might be potential roach repellers? Remember, while they might seem like a simple solution, moth balls can pose certain risks as well. After all, they are essentially pesticides in solid form, and their use should always be done cautiously. Also, keep in mind that their effectiveness against roaches is something that still requires thorough research. Never rely solely on moth balls to rid your home of roaches or other pests without further considering other effective methods of pest control.

Do Moth Balls Repel Roaches?

Your curiosity about the effectiveness of moth balls against roaches is completely understandable. The question, however, isn’t as simple as it might seem. Using moth balls as a pest control strategy has been a long-standing practice, but it’s important to remember that their primary target is moths, not roaches.

Moth balls contain powerful insecticides, naphthalene, and paradichlorobenzene, which are intended to kill moths and their larvae. These chemicals evaporate over time, dispersing a gas that moths find repulsive. It’s this ability to release such toxic gases that has led people to believe that moth balls can repel not only moths but other pests as well, including roaches.

Studies about the effectiveness of these substances against roaches have revealed mixed results. In some cases, roaches have been observed to avoid areas treated with moth balls, while in other scenarios, these insects appear indifferent.

Many people report seeing fewer roaches in the areas where they have placed moth balls. Although this might seem like evidence of their effectiveness, it’s crucial to understand that correlation doesn’t always imply causation. The drop in roach activity could be influenced by other factors, like season changes or other pest control methods simultaneously in use. Hence, while moth balls could potentially “repel” roaches to some degree, they are by no means a full-proof solution for roach control.

While the research continues, there’s no denying that the risks associated with the use of moth balls should also be part of your decision-making process. These products are pesticides, which means they contain substances that can be harmful to humans and pets if not used correctly. They should always be kept out of reach of children and pets, and used in a controlled manner, ensuring proper ventilation. Therefore, it’s always advisable to consider professional pest control services or other safer, science-backed methods alongside, or even instead of, using moth balls for roach control.

This narrative might not provide as clear an answer as you were hoping for, but it does highlight the complexities surrounding the topic. As you tackle your roach problem, remember to weigh your options carefully, considering all the information at your disposal.

Risks and Considerations

While moth balls may have some impact on roach behavior, it’s essential to weigh the associated risks and considerations. Moth balls are primarily designed to deter moths and are not a targeted approach for pest control, especially for roaches.

The primary chemical found in moth balls is Naphthalene or Paradichlorobenzene, both of which are pesticides. As such, they pose a variety of health hazards. As an individual, it’s important to understand these risks before making the decision to use moth balls as a means of roach control.

Risks Associated with Naphthalene and Paradichlorobenzene

Below outlines some of the potential health risks:

ChemicalHealth Risks
NaphthaleneSkin irritation, cataracts, liver damage
ParadichlorobenzeneSkin irritation, liver and kidney damage

Significant concerns exist around children and pets inadvertently ingesting these chemicals, leading to potential poisoning. Even without ingestion, these chemicals can lead to harmful effects through inhalation or skin contact.

One of the critical considerations of using moth balls as roach repellents is that they require confined spaces to work effectively. Roaches, however, typically infest open spaces like kitchens and bathrooms making it difficult to efficiently utilize moth balls in these areas.

Thinking about moth balls’ efficacy, the lack of targeted strategy for roaches, the potential health risks, and the inappropriate match between the preferred deployment areas and roach infestation zones, it’s clear moth balls might not be the most effective solution for your roach problem. This understanding is not to deter you from exploring all avenues of roach control, but to alert you to the complexities and considerations involved with option of moth balls. Keep in mind, professional pest control services or safer DIY methods might be a better bet for your specific situation.

Alternative Roach Repellents

There are countless other options to consider other than moth balls for cockroach control. Given the health hazards and associated risks of moth balls, it may be wise to evaluate these alternatives.

Boric Acid, one of the most common and effective roach killers on the market, is an option that’s worth considering. It works by dehydration and affects the roach’s exoskeleton, causing them to die off. Exposed cockroaches in turn infect others in their nests, magnifying the effect. But remember! despite being less toxic to humans and pets compared to other insecticides, you need to be careful with its application, ensuring it’s out of reach of children and pets.

Professional Pest Control Services or Integrated Pest Management (IPM) are also viable options. Their expertise and access to a wide range of products tailored for cockroach extermination offer a comprehensive solution. However, they can be expensive and may require several treatments to completely eradicate an issue.

For the DIY enthusiast, multiple methods can work effectively to control roach populations. Options like:

  • Cockroach Traps: Inexpensive and widely available, these traps can assist in controlling roach alpha-pops. They contain a food lure to attract roaches into a sticky surface, trapping them.
  • Cockroach Baits: These work by attracting roaches to a poison. The roach then carries the poison back to its nest, effectively infecting and killing the colony.
  • Diatomaceous Earth: A powder made from fossilized aquatic organisms, it kills insects by drying out their exoskeleton.

Insects adapt rapidly, and over-reliance on a single control method may not be effective in the long run. Rotate strategies and use a combination of methods for successful long-term control.

While these methods may seem more labor-intensive than simply deploying moth balls, they provide a targeted and safer approach for cockroach control. But don’t forget, cleanliness and preventive measures are essential in keeping the bugs at bay. You’re dealing with a resilient critter, the cockroach, so don’t expect it to be a quick fix. Consistency and persistence will be your tools for success. Implement these alternatives, and you’ll see a drastic reduction in your roach problem.


So, moth balls aren’t your best bet for keeping roaches at bay. They pose risks that outweigh their benefits in roach control. Instead, consider safer and more effective alternatives like boric acid, but remember to use it cautiously. You may also want to explore professional pest control or DIY methods such as traps, baits, and diatomaceous earth. Be mindful that effective roach control isn’t a one-time affair. It’s about combining methods and being consistent and persistent in your efforts. In the fight against roaches, it’s not about finding a quick fix but a sustainable solution.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Can moth balls be used for roach control?

Moth balls are not advisable for roach control. They pose several health risks to humans and pets, and their effectiveness as a roach deterrent is questionable.

Q2: Is boric acid an effective roach killer?

Yes, boric acid can effectively kill roaches. However, it is toxic, so proper application is crucial. Always follow safety guidelines when using it.

Q3: What are the other methods for roach control?

Professional pest control services, DIY options like traps, baits and diatomaceous earth are some of the other effective methods recommended for roach control.

Q4: Is a single method effective for roach control?

Typically, no. You will need to use a combination of methods to effectively combat a roach infestation. This could involve a mix of professional services and DIY solutions.

Q5: What is important in maintaining pest control efforts?

Consistency and persistence are essential in pest control efforts. It’s important to continually apply treatments to prevent roaches from coming back.