HomeCockroachBay Leaves for Cockroaches: A Natural Repellent Guide

Bay Leaves for Cockroaches: A Natural Repellent Guide

Ever stumbled upon those unnerving, little critters scurrying about in your kitchen after dark? Wondering if there’s a natural remedy lurking right within your spice rack?

What if we told you that the solution might be as simple as the aromatic bay leaves?

Dive into our detailed exploration of using bay leaves for cockroaches and discover a fragrant method to keep those unwelcome guests at bay. Do bay leaves keep roaches away? We’ll delve into that.  

bay leaves for cockroaches

What Are Bay Leaves? 

Bay leaves are aromatic herbs derived from the laurel tree. Known also as the laurel leaf, these leaves primarily hail from the sweet bay tree that predominantly grows in Mediterranean regions. 

Most commonly, bay leaves are revered for their distinctive flavor and are incorporated into a myriad of culinary delights. Beyond their culinary application, bay leaves have also been traditionally utilized for their medicinal properties.

They’ve been touted as a remedy for ailments such as diabetes, cancer, pain, and various stomach-related issues. 

Yet, beyond these uses, there is another lesser-known application for bay leaves. Many might find it surprising, but bay leaves are considered a natural remedy against roaches.  

bay leaves for cockroaches
Bay leaves are aromatic herbs derived from the laurel tree

Do Bay Leaves repel or kill roaches?

Bay leaves only repel roaches but it will not kill them. There is nothing about bay that roaches will find attractive. Even if roaches eat bay leaves, it will not die because the components are not poisonous to them.

They only hate the smell that the leaves emit and they will avoid it.

However, when bay leaves are will only kill cockroaches if they are crushed and placed in the same container that is covered with a lead. This means that you have to suffocate cockroaches with the vapors released from the fresh bay if you want them dead.

When crushed, bay leaves will release Allylveratrol, Cineole, and Terpineol Acetate. Those three compounds can only suffocate and kill roaches when they are exposed to them in a closed air-tight area.

When left in the open, fresh bay will just deter roaches but not kill them.  

Killing roaches using bay will therefore be difficult because there is no point in trapping roaches and suffocating them. How long will it take you to time and trap them? It is therefore not an effective way of killing them if you want a permanent solution.

>> Read more: Do roaches like salt?

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Is it safe to use Bay leaves for repelling roaches?

It is safe to use bay leaves when getting rid of roaches or other insects because they are not poisonous to humans or pets. However, always cut them into small pieces when using them indoors.

Bay leaves will not soften even if they are cooked and this makes them a choking hazard to pets.

When using bay leaves for roaches, avoid using throwing the whole leaves around. Target the infested area and place them there.

They have a slippery surface that can easily slide into a pet’s throat if they accidentally eat them. Swallowing a whole bay leaf is difficult because they are sharp and tough.

You can also use bay leaves to repel cockroaches in bed and the bedroom in general. You can place a few leaves under your pillow as you sleep as this will also help in keeping you calm.

This can also be placed near your pets to deter bugs as long as they will not eat them.

How to use Bay leaves for Roaches

Whether you try putting out fresh bay leaves, burning them to make a strong smell, or making special mixtures, each way adds to your tools for getting rid of roaches you don’t want around.

bay leaves for cockroaches

Do bay leaves get rid of roaches? This part shows how the ordinary bay leaf can really help you fight against those tough roaches that won’t go away easily. 

Unfold fresh, dry bay leaves

Position these aromatic leaves in key areas where cockroach activity is frequent: on windowsills, adjacent to room baseboards, behind furniture, near the refrigerator, and on food shelves.

>> Read more: Roaches in refrigerator and How To Get Rid of them Effectively.

Crushed bay leaves for roaches can also be effective. Such placements will ensure that roaches are repelled from their favorite spots. 

Burn to fumigate the room

For an even more potent repelling method, consider fumigating your space using bay leaves. Will bay leaves keep roaches away when burned? In the evening, when cockroach activity peaks, burn a handful of dry bay leaves in a clay container.

The ensuing aroma will drive away these pests. 

As Clegg’s Pest Control verifies, certain odors, including the smoked scent of bay leaves, are particularly repelling to roaches. Continue this fumigation practice nightly until the presence of roaches diminishes. 

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A bay leaf broth can also be instrumental in shooing away bay leaves cockroaches. In the evening, place the bay leaves in a pan filled with water and simmer on low heat for about an hour.

This will release a strong aroma, penetrating even the most obscure nooks and crannies. Once cooled, position this decoction in areas like your kitchen or bathroom. Do bay leaves kill roaches? While they may not kill them, they will certainly repel them. 

Infusion and alcohol tincture

For a more concentrated solution, infuse raw bay leaves in water, boiling for approximately 20 minutes.

After cooling, use this infusion to wipe down surfaces.

Alternatively, you can prepare a tincture by steeping dry bay leaves in alcohol or quality vodka.

This method can also help you alcohol kill roaches, as the ethanol in the alcohol can dehydrate and suffocate them.

After 20 days of letting it sit in a dark place, this solution can be used to clean shelves, appliances, and furniture. As long as the scent lingers, bay leaves roaches will steer clear.

Mix Bay leaves with other plants

Enhance the repellent power of bay leaves by combining them with other plants known to deter bay leaves and roaches, like peppermint, chamomile, garlic, wormwood, tansy, and lavender. 

bay leaves for cockroaches

Bay Leaves Alternatives

If bay leaves don’t produce the desired results, there’s a plethora of other natural repellents to consider: 

Catnip Oil: This herb is loathed by roaches due to its strong scent. Additionally, catnip oil doubles as an efficient mosquito repellent. 

Garlic: A potent natural repellent, the pungent aroma of garlic is highly disagreeable to cockroaches. 

Mint Leaves: Boil these leaves in water and spray the solution in infested areas for a fresh scent that roaches detest. 

Diatomaceous Earth: Derived from the fossilized remains of diatoms, this white powder stands as one of the premier bug repellents on the market. 


Why Do Roaches Hate Bay Leaves? 

One might wonder, are bay leaves good for roaches? The answer lies in the olfactory senses of these pests. Roaches, having limited eyesight, heavily rely on their sense of smell for navigation and locating food sources.

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The distinct aroma of bay leaves is highly repellent to them. This aversion ensures that they steer clear from areas where the scent of bay leaves prevails, making these leaves an efficient, natural deterrent against them. 

Are fresh or dried bay leaves for roaches better? 

When considering whether to use fresh or dried bay leaves for roaches, it’s crucial to understand the longevity and potency of their aroma.

While dried bay leaves have a shelf life for their scent of roughly a year, fresh bay leaves typically retain their potent aroma for a more extended period. This stronger, longer-lasting scent is more effective in repelling roaches.

Therefore, using fresh bay leaves is generally recommended for optimum results. 


In summary, the timeless bay leaves, often celebrated in culinary circles, emerge as unsung heroes in the battle against roaches. Using bay leaves for cockroaches offers a natural and aromatic strategy to keep these pesky invaders from your sanctuary.

Should you be curious about other organic methods or need advice on a myriad of pest-related issues, don’t hesitate to dive deeper into our collection at Pestweek. Here’s to a pest-free living, naturally!

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