Do Moth Balls Keep Roaches Away?

The thought of having cockroaches in your home can make you cringe, and you’ll do anything to get rid of them. There are numerous methods, but one we get asked often is, do mothballs get rid of roaches?

 Cockroaches are most likely one of the most troublesome pests in the world. Anyone loathes the sight of these unhygienic bugs, but until you do something about them, they’ll continue to wreak havoc on your place. It should be known that tackling a cockroach infestation on your own is tricky. In serious cases, it’s best to contact a professional roach exterminator like Control Exterminating. 

Before we get into whether or not mothballs can be used to get rid of roaches, let’s first take a look at some of their characteristics. Often people will confuse other bugs with cockroaches.

What Are Cockroaches?

Cockroaches are small insects that have occupied this planet since prehistoric times. The average length of an adult ranges from 0.25 inches to 2 inches while younger ones are approximately 2 – 5 mm in length. They have flat, oval-shaped bodies, with six legs each, and two antennae.

Although cockroaches do have wings, not all use them to fly. A roach can be light tan or dark brown depending on its species. It can also have stripes or a band on its back or head. It all depends on the type of cockroach, of which there are literally over 4000. The United States alone has over 70 different types.

Why Should You Get Rid of Cockroaches?

Besides being creepy, cockroaches can bring lots of health issues with them. For starters, they’ve been found to carry Salmonella Typhi, a bacterium responsible for typhoid. They are also associated with the transmission of Poliomyelitis, a virus which causes polio.

Additionally, they can also cause damage to household items such as books, clothes, and electronics.

illustration of a cockroachDo Mothballs Repel Roaches?

Considering the above health risks, it is imperative that you stay in a roach-free environment. Maybe you heard from a friend that mothballs can help get rid of the pest problem. But wait! What exactly are mothballs?

They are tiny pellets containing a pungent substance usually naphthalene. They are most often placed in stored clothes to prevent them from being damaged by mold and moth larvae. But despite their name, they do have other uses.

So, do mothballs get rid of roaches? The answer is yes they can. The use of mothballs is one of the most effective and easiest ways to use home remedies to curb a roach infestation.

Apart from preventing roach infestations, mothballs also prevent other insects from coming into your home. Also, they are available on the market for purchase.


roach stains in kitchen cabinet

Roach stains. Cockroaches can carry Salmonella Typhi, a bacterium responsible for typhoid. They are also associated with the transmission of Poliomyelitis, a virus which causes polio.


How Do Mothballs Affect Cockroaches?

As mentioned earlier, mothballs contain naphthalene, an organic compound with a powerful smell that repels insects including cockroaches. You only need to identify the areas with high roach concentration and put two to three mothballs there.

When roaches approach them, their respiratory system gets blocked by the strong smell of naphthalene, and they experience difficulty breathing.



Most roaches will move away from the smell of mothballs, and in rare cases, some roaches affected by the smell die due to inability to breath.  

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In other words, we can say that mothballs mostly repel roaches, and in rare cases can kill them as well.


Although mothballs are ultra-affective roach repellants, you should be careful while using them. Their pungent smell isn’t good for people either. So, it is essential that you place them far away from food storage or preparation areas as a precaution.


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