Cockroach control

I am a new beekeeper. My hives are about 50 metres from the house. Annually I have a cockroach and bug spray done in and around the house as they have in the past been an issue.
With bees now on my property should I cease this pest eradication routine or are there alternatives?

I would cease it. Even very good pest controllers often spray shrubs which bees visit. It looks like you are in Oz, and I don’t know if boric acid is available to you. If so, it is a very good roach killer.

The other option is closed traps - roaches go in and eat the bait, then take it back to the nest. The nest gets wiped out from the bait. The traps are not attractive to bees and the poison is relatively contained. Still not optimal, but I have a significant roach allergy (proven by medical testing), so this is what I do.


Great information thank you Dawn. Will try the bait approach.

Hi Ken, it’s funny you mentioned that. Thinking back, I don’t think we have sprayed for cockroaches since we started keeping bees nearly 30 years ago. I started growing our own veges, primarily organically at the same time. Maybe it’s because I avoid most sprays on my veges, we haven’t sprayed for cockies. Maybe a bit of surface spray inside the house. That’s about it.

I think if I was you, I’d cease the pest eradication routine.

Thank you. Have decided to go bait/traps in future rather than sprays. Should do the job


The most effective thing I’ve ever found for cockroaches is boric acid or borax. Sprinkle it around the baseboards and leave it for a week or so and then sweep it back under the baseboards when you clean it up. Any house I’ve done this in the cockroaches never came back. For ants I mix boric acid or borax with jelly and water and put it out where the ants are going for food. In a few days there are no more ants. But occasionally they come back the next year and I have to do it again.


The only problem with that internationally, is that boric acid/borax is not available everywhere. For example, I know for sure that you can’t get it in the UK or France. Not sure about Australia, but as Macbee is there, I wanted to suggest something practical for their location.

I don’t know what’s available in other places, but once again I’m glad to live in a free country… I can buy boric acid at any pharmacy and borax at any grocery store… why would it not be available?

Sounds like it was a result of an EU regulation, classifying borates, boric acid and borax as significant reproductive toxins:

If the UK completes its exit from the EU, they might get Borax and Boric Acid back, but somehow I doubt it… :grimacing: The current regulations mean that businesses and professionals can buy it, but you cannot buy it for personal or household use.

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It’s available at Coles…

And Bunnings

And likely elsewhere.

I didn’t know the ant application but I might give it a go…

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You can buy Boron as a dietary supplement here… typically 3 milligrams per day to make better bone density and HELP with reproduction…

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Thank you all for your helpful comments on what I hope has been a useful topic for discussion.

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So, how many people have found cockroaches in their hives?

What issues or problems do they cause?

How do you control them?

On my hive inspection today I came across 4 inside but on the edges, easily kept at bay by the bees, until they scampered due to my disturbances. I’m assuming they are seeking the hive for the warmth and humidity, given that I’m coming into winter and nights are now quite cool.

They don’t seem like the cockroaches like what you’d see scurrying in a dirty apartment building but a fatter, slower version.

We always had Borax around growing up and there was 8 of us kids. Apparently, reproduction was fine.


Under the roof. Several times. Like 4 or 5 times in the last year.

Roach poo, and I have a documented allergy to that.

Smoke the roof, when it is off the hive, then heavily apply the sole of some washable footwear, washing off the residue after solving the problem. :blush:

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@Dawn_SD a goats leather compress did the trick today…the feet were keeping me balanced!

Interestingly, this evening I’ve read that Australia has over 450 types of roaches, most being native and only a few introduced. It’s the introduced ones that most people encounter indoors. The native ones generally keep to their own outdoors.

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hiya Snowy, there are always small roaches in the hives here, I have a polycarbonate crown board and there are frequently roaches on the hive mat, they don’t seem to be bothered by or bother the bees. There is a colony a metre off the ground here in a tree trunk and I’ve seen those big winged roaches scurry into the hole several times as I’ve approached to have a nosey. I’d have thought they’d be chased away by the bees however this doesn’t seem to be the case. I wonder if they eat the honey or something or if it s solely about the warmth. I was going to try the borax and jam trick or even use a cockroach bait but if they’ve set up camp in the hive it’s probably not such a good idea. Next time I go for a peek I may go thong in hand as that usually works as a good control measure. :wink:

Thanks @skeggley. Not many people mention resident cockroaches so it’s good to hear others locally coming across them at times too. Can’t say I’ve noticed roaches and the wild colonies near my house…though they can be a tad feral shop I don’t usually get too close.

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There are a lot of alternatives that will not expose the bees to a risk. For any insects, a heat treatment is a very reasonable and effective solution. This is a procedure of heating the temperature inside your premises so any insects at any life stage are exterminated. On the other side, it’s a bit expensive.

A solution to a cockroach infestation may be cockroach gel which is applied on the surfaces inside the infested rooms. It will not harm the bees in any way, only the roaches. However, I suggest it for German cockroaches mostly, if you have Oriental cockroaches, powder insecticide is best.

Here, you can see how to make a DIY roach killer out of boric acid:

It is very important to treat the cockroach eggs as well. I suggest this read for more information on how to identify and treat cockroach eggs:

Good luck!

Cockroaches in the hive proper is a sign of a weak hive. Cockroaches in the nooks and crannies of places like the inner cover space etc. is just normal.