Do mothballs work for roaches?

Having cockroach infestation at your home? Your neighbor told you about the secret way to get rid of them fast? You might have heard about the mothballs and how great they are to solve your pest problems.

Be aware that this might be not the best advice regardless of the best intentions. I have prepared this article to be clear on when to use mothballs and what you need to be cautious about.

What is mothball?

Mothballs are small balls of chemical pesticide and deodorant. They look like white opaque crystal balls. Mothballs in older days used to contain two chemicals: naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene. Those kinds of month balls are banned in the European Union from 2008. Also, naphthalene based products are illegal in the US.

<< Check Price on Amazon >>

Modern mothballs contain pyrethroids such as Transfluthrin. They are designed to be opened in a sealed container where you want to fumigate your clothes. Improved mothballs are better than old naphthalene based. But they are still not pleasant either and you should use them with caution. Make sure you read the product label before use.

What you can use mothballs for?

Mothballs used to control pests in natural fiber clothing and materials like wool. Usually, those bugs are moths, silverfish, and other fiber pests.

There is a lot of urban myths about the use of mothballs to repel other pests. You can find bogus information on the internet about how to repel rats, mice, raccoons, snakes with mothballs.

Yet, most of them are false statements. You should treat them with caution. Especially what comes to using chemicals at home. If you decide to use mothballs – make sure you read the product label carefully.


Do mothballs kill cockroaches?

Having cockroach infestation in your home is unpleasant and might be a lengthy process to deal with. After a while of unsuccessful roach treatment, you may start looking for a magic bullet on how to deal with those pesky bugs. All options might look worth trying.

You may be wondering do mothballs kill cockroaches? The quick answer – they don’t.

Mothballs are designed to release poison only affecting moths. Cockroaches are different species and with different biology.

Roaches are very good at adapting to the environment. They can withstand heat, cold, and a variety of poisons. One year they might get killed by a chemical, but the next year they are immune.

The best way to get rid of cockroaches is by involving pest control professionals. You can also try to kill the roaches by using products specifically designed to kill roaches.

Do mothballs repel roaches?

Mothballs cannot be used to kill roaches, but it may keep them away. The smell of pesticide and deodorant used in mothballs affects cockroaches.

However, they might soon adapt to the mothball smell and may not be bothered by them anymore. It might take a while, like a year or two to do so. Mothballs could be a temporary solution to repel roaches.

The key is to switch methods used to get rid of roaches so they will not be able to adapt fast enough.

How to use mothballs to repel cockroaches?

When using mothballs you have to be careful as it contains chemical pesticides. They can be harmful to anyone living in the house. Always read the product label and use instructions.

In general, using mothballs is quite easy. You need to spread the balls where you think the infestation is.

After placing mothballs they will start releasing poisonous gas and smell. Mothballs also will get smaller in size and after a while will finally disappear completely. If you want to continue the process you need to place new mothballs.

There are few tricks to make mothballs work more efficiently to repel cockroaches. Place them in a narrow space where gas concentration will be higher. In this case, it will work more efficiently.

Place mothballs in the areas where cockroaches like to hangout. Roaches like damp, dark places where there are some food and water available. You can scatter some mothballs around sewer pipes, under the sink, and near trash cans.

Be careful not to contaminate your own food in case you want to place mothballs near the food sources. Place food leftovers in sealed containers and keep them in the fridge.

does bleach kill roaches

What harm mothballs can cause?

Chemicals in mothballs can cause damage to your skin and irritate eyes and nose.

Mothballs containing naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene over time can cause damage by breathing in fumes. It can be especially dangerous for young babies and small children under 3 years old or younger. You should avoid using such types of mothballs.

Exposure to high concentrations of naphthalene and paradichlorobenzene can cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, eye and nose irritation, or coughing. Exposure to those chemicals for a long time can lead to more serious effects such as liver and kidney damage.

Modern mothballs based on Transfluthrin can be harmful as well. Inhalation or skin contact with this chemical can cause anxiety, convulsions, nervousness, and skin allergies.

How to buy and safely use mothballs?

You have to be careful when using mothballs at home. They contain chemical pesticide and deodorant so you need to know what you are doing.

Avoid at any cost illegal pesticide products. These products can harm you, your family, and your pets. Never buy chemicals on the street or at the stores that do not look trustworthy.

Illegal pesticides often can be very toxic. They are not tested for EPA-approved pesticides. Such products could be counterfeit or copy-cats which looks like legit EPA-approved products. They might not have important safety information on how to use them.

Always read the instructions on how to use the product and when to use it.

When working with mothballs use disposable gloves and mask.

Chemicals used in mothballs are flammable. You should avoid using them near open flame or high heat areas.

Keep away from using mothballs near food. Keep away from children and pets. Store mothballs in non-reactive plastics like polyethylene or polypropylene.

Alternatives to get rid of roaches

When you have cockroach infestation at home the best alternative is to get a pest control professional. They are specifically trained to assess your unique pest situation and find the best treatment approach.

The second alternative is to use chemicals designed to repel or kill cockroaches. There are many types of them: roach foggers, sprays, sticky traps, baits, and repellants. You can read about the entire process on how to get rid of roaches and decide by yourself.

Final words

Mothballs are used to control pests such as moths, silverfish, and other insects found in natural fiber clothing and materials like wool. Mothballs can be used to repel roaches, but they cannot kill them.

When using mothballs always read instructions. They are poisonous for humans and pets. Containing chemicals can cause anxiety, convulsions, nervousness, and skin allergies.

You should at any cost avoid mothballs based on either naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene. They are banned in the European Union and illegal in the US.

Always buy pesticides at the places where you can be sure you are getting a genuine product. Illegal pesticides can be dangerous to your health because they are not EPA-approved.