DIY Bait-Balls For Getting Rid Of Cockroaches & More Help

Cockroaches are tough nuts to crack and they are especially nasty to have inside your home because they leave behind trails of E. coli and salmonella. They are actively looking for two things: food and water and only a little bit missed from the night’s cleanup will keep them fat and happy.

The most important thing is not to ignore the problem. This will grow to nightmare proportions if not tended to quickly.

Keep all spills wiped up, wash all surfaces, sweep and wash again, especially before bedtime since they like to come out at night. If you do see them scampering about during the day, that’s a sign you have a lot of them loitering about.

Look for common trouble spots: behind the fridge and stove, underneath the sink, around the garbage can, spills in the pantry. Keep sinks and bathtubs dry so there’s no water for them to get to. If you’re a family that brings food and drinks into rooms other than the kitchen, put a stop to that for now until the infestation has cleared.

First up is a recipe for a bait/ball mix that will tempt and bait them. Once they start nibbling at it, they will ingest the poison and you will soon start seeing results. If you have a surefire method of your own–feel free to share it with everyone and add it in the Comments section below (I have a running list started at the bottom of the page).

DIY Recipe:

White Flour
Boric Acid
Confectioners Sugar or Brown Sugar

  • Mix 50/50 flour and boric acid. Sprinkle in some confectioners sugar (about 1/4 of the amount of flour used). Make a dough by adding in water, don’t make it runny.
  • Roll the dough into small marble sized balls and place them in corners, dark cupboards, behind heavy appliances, along floor boards and around the garbage.

Within a month the critters should be gone.

If the infestation is particularly bad:

  • Double the effort by making a mix of 50/50 boric acid and brown sugar then pour the mixture in a thick line around the entire room and entrance ways. The critters will get the stuff on their bodies and carry it back to the nest. Once there is no trace of the pest left (usually within the month), vacuum up the powder.
  • Sprinkling Diatomaceous Earth is another good option. It’s a natural insecticide that works by scratching an insect’s body as it crawls through it. This powder then absorbs water from the host body and the insect then dies of dehydration. Lightly sprinkle it in hot spots where you notice activity.

Keep the bait away from children and pets. If you have little ones running around, tuck the balls behind furniture and heavy appliances and inside cupboards.

More tips:

  • You can also use Borax as a substitute for the boric acid, but the boric acid is more effective.
  • Add some bacon grease to the mixture, makes them a little more tempting and hard to resist.
  • Some folks recommend also adding one of the following: maple syrup; peanut butter; cocoa powder.
  • From Jenny: I’ve used the granular boric acid and sweetened condensed milk for years to make the little balls and it definitely works. Throw some outside close to the house-the roaches just stop and die.
  • From DreamBlvr: I made bait with bacon grease, sugar, maple syrup, flour and diced onions. I made sure my floors, counter tops and sink were clean and DRY as water is more important to a cockroach than food. I just smeared some of the bait in my kitchen sink every night and as it was the only food available, they swarmed to it, taking it back to the nest. Boric Acid kills cockroaches by dehydrating them. Cockroaches eat their dead, also ingesting the bait and dying. That’s why you never really want to kill a cockroach when you see it wandering around. Doing that, kills ONE cockroach. Getting Boric Acid on or into a cockroach kills hundreds of them. It is not an overnight process but it does work with some diligence and patience.
  • Replace old, hardened balls with fresh ones as needed (or spritz the original ones with a light spray of water every day or so to keep them fresh).

One question many folks have is “how did they find their way in”…it could be any number of ways. You may have bought something infested from a garage sale, or a used book store, or even some package from the grocery store that had one hiding inside. That’s all it takes to get things off and running.

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What Readers Are Saying: 42 Comments
  1. Shawn says:

    Just use bay leaves.

    • good one says:

      that method doesn’t work bud. tried it millions of times. never worked each time. doesn’t work with ants either. i used to watch ants crawl on the bay leaves. you think an animal is going to stray away from a leaf? no.

      • nono bug says:

        Bay leaves only temporarily. But this it works !! It says within in a month I say within a week you’ll notice the difference !

        • Fat girl says:

          The only sure way of getting rid of cockroaches is by a professional exterminator. Bay leaves and all the rest of the doodley doo is not the answer. They are HIGHLY resistent to anything “natural”. I am sorry, but those are the facts. If you are a renter….call the Board of Health, the Housing Authority in your town/city and report, report, report!

          • John says:

            What will a professional do that I can’t do?

          • uhhh says:

            False. It only takes a couple generations for a species of cockroaches to build some resilience to a professional grade pesticide. I have yet to learn of a cockroach than can be bitten by a house gecko and survive.

            No, calling the exterminator only makes the problems worse on the long run, since they also kill any natural predators, illnesses, competitors or parasites controlling the cockroach population. Remedies like boric acid work better because they target essential components of the roach biology that they can’t easily out-evolve. Meanwhile, the insecticides target the central nervous system, because it works faster, but they hardly need it to live.

  2. Pam says:

    I tried the bay leaves. They didn’t work for me. I put uncrushed leaves in toille(sp?) circles and tied them off with ribbon and placed them around the kitchen and bathroom. The best thing I have found is Hot Shot “bombs”. You set them off and leave for a couple of hours, go out to your favorite bookstore or whatever and come home and open the windows and I leave for about an hour and them come home and vacuum. There is no residual smell and you will see a difference. Also there is no oily mess to clean up either. I have heard about the Roach Ball Recipe before but never tried it. Hope this helps. Love the website!!! Thanks, Pam

  3. crispy says:

    LoL* I just finished up the roach balls and their already attacking it!Really hope this works because I also tried bombing and bay leaves.Neither worked.The bay leaves did provide them food though.

    • Marlene says:

      Roach balls really work!! I made some for a friend who lived in an apartment that was so roach infested that they shorted out the microwave. The roaches crawled up the walls. The roaches actually attacked the balls as we distributed them abound the apartment. I visited a few weeks later and saw a HUGH difference. True story, I promise!! I used boric, flour, onions, sugar, and a little milk.

  4. Nancy says:

    I hope they work too. Did they?
    i wonder if they could be put in a plastic bag outside, close to the house, and get em before they try to get in? Leaving a little place for them to enter the bag. Has anyone tried this? We are from the north and there is nothing scarrier and more discusting than seeing one of them crawling across the floor or anywhere in here! I have tried everytinhg….even taped aLL around my windows,(clear duct tape:), anywhere I think they could get in, as we never open windows down here in fl, keep air on all year.

  5. Jenni says:

    Can anyone tell me where I can buy boric acid? I’m in Georgia. Thanks!!

    • Almeda says:

      Most grocery stores in the over the counter drugs etc. Also I have found it at Walmart (I believe in with the bug killers). Might try a hardware in the lawn and garden department…hope this helps…I am in southeasten Tn

    • Terry says:

      Lowe’s and Home Depot, Ace Hardware all carry it

      • Bev says:

        So does Menards in the ant , roach and mouse poison aisle.

      • Leon says:

        I was ar Home Depot today, and the once in my area didn’t carry Boric Acid, but they had several brand name Roach Killer Powders. A sure way to get it is online, but you will have to pay shipping, and in some cases sales taxes which will cost you more than the Boric. It’s not very practical to buy small items online. However, I no longer buy on line because some Carriers have a leave packages at the door. So to keep from going through a thingy with the seller about, I didn’t get my delivery, because maybe someone passed my door, picked up my package and kept going. So it’t Easier to just purchase locally and eliminate that headache, because chasing down the product, and getting a refund will end up costing more than the cost of the product.

    • shahid says:

      boric acid is freely avaiable in drug stores or in some indians grocery shop, this is normally used in carrom board where they sprinkles it on the bord so that the striker can hit the disk freely.

    • Olvera says:

      Dollar general have Boric acid and local feed store and Walmart all have Boric acid

    • Jennie says:

      My neighbor just bought a full container fron dollar general for $2.95.

  6. Chris says:

    Home Depot carries Boric Acid. Comes in a powder and costs about $4.00.

  7. chance says:

    Yes, it really works! I was so excited to see a difference within a few days, I applied a light mist of plain boric acid around next to walls and corners all over the kitchen to speed up the process. Then they carry the powder to the nest. We had a serious infestation and within a week there were hardly any adults. There were lots and lots of babies for weeks, but now rarely any after a month. I tweaked my recipe to include boric acid, flour, sugar, minced onion, a little salt, shortening, and a little beer. I call them roach treats. I’ve actually seen them eating it!

  8. Lisa says:

    Yes I do not know what to do this is the first time i ever in my entire life have got cockroaches i have no idea how they even got into my apartment i live in an apartment and the site of seeing cockroaches grosses me out to the core i tried indoor Foggers from Ace Hardware store with no luck i even told my manager about my serious problem with the cockroaches and she has done jack to help me does anyone know the best way to kill cockroaches for good i heard about the roach cookie balls are those good and effective at killing cockroaches what does someone got to do to rid their house to get rid of cockroaches i am a student so i do not got much money but if i buy a product i want it to work and not fail to the job does anyone know what to do to help me out with my cockroach troubles??

    • Cynthia says:

      Hi Lisa,

      You need to report your piggish slumlord to the nearest housing authority. Your landlords building sounds infested..and if they are in he walls and that of your neighbors, then you will never get rid of them. The roaches will lay eggs, and the eggs hatch…infestations continue. Professionaly companies can come out and ‘bomb/tent’ the building, but have to come back monthly.and more inbetween to kill the hatchlings….eventually this will end the cycle. Good luck..Roaches are resilient insects and all the over the counter sprays and tricks will never rid the problem if they are in the walls of your building. Good luck!!

    • Fat girl says:

      You are not responsible for the elimination of cockroaches in your rent…..your Landlord is! Don’t forget to call the Board of Health!!! You better know, those things get into EVERYTHING and lay hundreds of eggs. Only keep your storage stuff in closed containers, not cardboard boxes. Bugs like to eat the glue. If you leave that apartment, you may be taking them with you to spread to your next housing.

  9. Leon DeBusk says:

    I will try the roach ball. Am a firm believer in boric acid. My tip: Clean up! Inside and out. Inside: throw stuff out, Put old wanted stuff in heavy contractors bags. Scrape and vacuum floor joists. Last but not least; take the stove outside; pressure wash and degrease it.

  10. Tome says:

    Yes, it really works…………Thanks.

  11. abe tejada says:

    Yes, no traces of this roaches can be seen after one month of treatment. I have tried many roach remedies, even paid one company to spray our flat but to no avail. Only boric acid got rid all of them.

  12. Wondering says:

    This shouldnt be near children Im guessing?

  13. shane says:

    yes these balls do work this recipe has been around along time I was a pest control worker and I hate to say this but roachs become immune to pesticides after a period of time, and most sprays and things on the market have been out so long that these nasty little bugs have overcome these poisons and well the only thing that they seem to not develope immunity to is boric acid. and I hope this information helps those who read this also if the infestation is bad enough roachs do bite while you sleep so if those that have infestation notice little sores or bumps on thier children this is a result. and another thing to do once you place the balls out do a extreme clean in your home because roachs can live off of anything also you want to take away any other food source so that they have no other choice but the roach balls. as I said I hope this info helps all with this problem and to add to the recipe use diced onions in the batch also it really attracts them as the onion starts composing in the balls and you wont smell this happening. also WEAR RUBBER GLOVES WHILE MAKING THIS AND DISCARD ANY SPOONS COOKING UTENSOLS USED THE BORIC ACID WILL ABSORBE INTO PLASTICS SO DO NOT REUSE THE BOWL, FORK, SPOON ECT AGAIN FOR HUMAN COSUMPTION!

  14. Mindy says:

    uurrggg I am so sick of these bugs!!! I have been sprinkling Borax around my counter tops and it keeps them off but I notice they just go around it now. I am gonna make me a batch of roach treats in the morning!!! thanks for the tip I will post my results!!!

  15. Elizabeth says:

    A friend of mine used the photo film containers. He cut the lid in half then just lay it on it’s side which allows the cockroaches to get at it easily.

    Hope this helps

  16. Logan says:

    I live in Manila, the roaches here CAN grow to 2+ inches in length & they can fly. This is my experience with 100% boric acid bought from Ace Hardware Shagri-la Plaza Mall for 250 pesos ($6 US).

    I have to admit, I was lazy and decided to first pour some around the busier area of where I’ve seen these roaches and it does deter them. I even tested one (3/4 inch) by scaring it into a pile of boric acid, I’d like to say that I saw the same one dead the next day but I can’t be sure. It was in the vicinity of the one scared though. Thing is, there were a lot of dead roaches after just one day of laying the BA around the place.

    Anyway, I decided (30 min ago) to make a version of the a recipe I’ve seen online somewhere: 50/50 (3/4 cup each) – boric acid & regular flour; 1/4 cup brown sugar, about 3-4 tablespoons of maple syrup & water. I mixed the dry ingredients first to make sure they were evenly dispersed adding the syrup later then slowly adding water to get the desired consistency. Made one big ball adding flour if it got too sticky, and pulled enough from that to make smaller marble sized balls. I placed them in all the areas I’ve noticed the annoying things. Within minutes of placing I already noticed about 3 balls being eaten – unbelievable!!! I know the stuff will kill them because they’ve already died using pure BA so it’s only a matter of time.

    Some note: I used rubber gloves, plastic fork and an old plastic bowl – I threw all away except the plastic gloves. Any left over is in cellophane & 2 ziploc bags in the fridge (away from anything edible).

    Anyway, I hope this helps. I’ll update later if I can, feel free to ask any questions.

  17. Jerry Joseph says:

    This method actually works. Only task you should do everyday is to sprinkle some water over the dough balls. This will keep the dough moist and help the roaches to feed on it. After a month you will start seeing the results and there will not be any cockroaches for an year.

  18. ginger no bread says:

    There is a recipe for eliminating cockroaches that has been handed down thru my family and my husband’s families for years. So far, it seems to work pretty good. Here it is:

    Cockroach Eliminator:
    4 Tablespoons of Boric Acid(use more if you desire, or depending on how bad they are taking over)
    2 Tablespoons of flour(regular, white, all-purpose, or wheat–whatever you use or have on hand is fine.)
    1 Tablespoon of Cocoa Powder(like Hershey’s or any off/store brand works just as good.)
    Mix the ingredients together, and put the mixture into jar lids(about 2-4 Tablespoons per jar lid should be plenty). Set them in your kitchen cupboards, behind the refridgerator, and anyplace else where the roaches are roaming-but be sure that you put them in places where children or pets can’t get to the “yummy” powder!!!!!

    A Note or 2:
    I follow the recipe, but I kinda use it as a “guideline” in a way instead. Most of the time, instead of just 4 TBSP of Boric Acid, I may use up to 8! On the flour part I have used up to 5 or 6! I go overboard on the cocoa powder tho, cause that’s the ingredient that actually attracts them, I have used like 1/4 to a 1/2 cup before! It still works wonderfully, but make sure you have something air tight and big enough to store it in. !!!!Don’t forget to label the container, and put it in a place where children and/or pets cannot get to it!!!!!! I usually keep mine outside in the gardening/tool shed outside. A place totally not attractive to kids and up away from my dogs on the very top shelf.
    Refresh the powder in the jar lids about every month or so, to keep its potency awake incase a few strays do scurry in a little. I Store mine in a paper wrapped mason jar with lid and band in a dark place around average room temperature. It should be good for up to 1 year or more!
    ****Almost forgot, If you don’t have or can’t get to any Boric Acid, I have used Borax before(just doubled it up in its place) and it worked just as fine, too!!!
    Let me know if that helps you or anybody on here with cockroach problems out(or if it doesn’t). BEST OF LUCK TO EVERYBODY THAT’S “BUGGIN'”!!!!

  19. BugsGottaGo! says:

    I do hope this works! this is the first time I have had such a problem! It seemed like the more I sprayed, the more there were! I did test a few things. first I made them as directed. I made a second batch using Peanut Butter. Within 5 minutes they were literally coming out of the woodwork to eat the peanut butter “treats”. can’t wait to see results!

  20. T Porter says:

    I have been searching for homemade remedies for silverfish. I am wondering if this will kill them also? Anyone know? I remember my mom making these years ago. However she added bacon grease to the mix. I think it helped keep them soft, maybe.

  21. Jenny says:

    I’ve used the granular boric acid and sweetened condensed milk for years to make the little balls and it definitely works. Throw some outside close to the house-the roaches just stop and die. Think I’ll try the flour version and see what happens. Got my granular boric acid from Amazon.

  22. DreamBlvr says:

    I had my first roach infestation about 2 1/2 years ago. Bombs will kill the ones running around but not affect the hidden nest. Boric Acid in the thinnest line possible works better than too much. You want the roaches to walk through the Boric Acid, not around it. I made bait with bacon grease, sugar, maple syrup, flour and diced onions. I made sure my floors, counter tops and sink were clean and DRY as water is more important to a cockroach than food. I just smeared some of the bait in my kitchen sink every night and as it was the only food available, they swarmed to it, taking it back to the nest. Boric Acid kills cockroaches by dehydrating them. Cockroaches eat their dead, also ingesting the bait and dying. That’s why you never really want to kill a cockroach when you see it wandering around. Doing that, kills ONE cockroach. Getting Boric Acid on or into a cockroach kills hundreds of them. It is not an overnight process but it does work with some diligence and patience. I recently moved and sadly, have a ridiculous amount of cockroaches in my new place and face at least a month of determination in destroying every last one. By the way, as the cockroaches you do see are the larger ones, that’s actually a good thing – it means hundreds of little baby cockroaches aren’t hatching and whaat you’re doing is working!

  23. jack lawson says:

    do not bring brown paper grocery bagds in your home they are one of the worst harbers and carriers of roaches always use plastic also if your neighbors have roachs when they spray they will migrate across yards good luck getten rid o then suckers

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