Does Catnip Repel Roaches?

Catnip plant beside a dead cockroachIf you’re tired of trying all the old-school roach-repelling techniques, it’s time you opt for something new. Catnip is a well-known compound with exceptional insect repelling powers. It contains nepetalactone that affects roaches’ senses and keeps them away.

You can use catnip in many ways to repel roaches in your home. Simply make catnip sachets and hang them near your house’s high-roach traffic areas or entry points. You can also sprinkle the ingredient or make catnip tea and spray it all over your home.

It’s important to know that catnip is an insect deterrent. It can repel roaches but doesn’t kill them. You can also use it to prevent cockroaches from entering your home for a long time.

Let’s see how catnip kills roaches and the best ways to use it to repel these pesky bugs.

Does Catnip Keep Cockroaches Away?

Catnip is a natural insect repellent homeowners have been using for years. The plant contains nepetalactone as an active ingredient that cockroaches don’t like. It belongs to the family of mint and has a cool, minty smell that is toxic to roaches.

The good thing is that catnip’s odor isn’t unpleasant to humans and pets.

A group of Iowa State University researchers researched catnip’s efficacy on roaches and found it 100 times more effective than DEET. DEET is a common ingredient in most insecticides.

Therefore, catnip doesn’t only repel roaches but also keeps them away from your home. If your house already has an infestation, it can even drive these cockroaches out.

Nepetalactone plays with roaches’ nerves and makes them lose all their senses. As a result, cockroaches can’t process what to do and move away from the catnip sources.

Does Catnip Kill Roaches?

Catnip can’t kill roaches but only repels them. The chemical nepetalactone doesn’t have the power to eliminate insects. It only confuses cockroaches and other bugs, making them lose their ability to sense direction.

Despite having a strong minty smell, roaches can survive a catnip spray by closing their openings or spiracles. This way, the herb doesn’t reach the roaches’ internal organs. These bugs can even last up to an hour without air.

However, you may find one or two dead roaches after applying catnip heavily on them. This is because some cockroaches may forget to close their spiracles on time and can’t stand the strong scent of catnip.

Note: Only spray catnip in high amounts in places where you and your pet live or sit less.

How Can You Use Catnip To Repel Roaches?

Catnip is a natural and safe alternative to harmful insecticides and harsh pesticides. In fact, a scientific study also found that catnip can effectively repel German roaches in domestic households.

Using a natural roach-repellent is the safest option if you’re allergic or have pets or children at home. But it’s better not to use catnip in the presence of pet cats because some felines can get psychotic with the herb’s smell.

There are multiple ways you can use catnip to repel roaches. The 3 most common ones are:

Spraying Catnip Tea

The process for making catnip tea is similar to regular tea. It comes as loose leaves, so you need to pay attention to the amount you use to make the catnip tea. If the solution is too dilute, you may not get your desired results.

Here’s the right way to make a catnip tea for repelling cockroaches:

  • First, boil a cup of water on a high flame.
  • Then, add a teaspoon of catnip herb to the boiling water.
  • Let the tea brew for about 5-10 minutes until it becomes a good solution.
  • Next, allow the solution to cool down and reach room temperature. Now, strain the mixture and pour it into a spray bottle.
  • Spray the catnip tea in every corner of your home, especially the kitchen and bathroom. These are the places with the highest roach infestation.

Catnip tea works wonders on small roach infestations, but it may not give you desired results in the case of large infestations.

Sprinkling Catnip Leaves

Whole catnip leaves have a more pungent odor than any other form. As a result, they’re more likely to repel cockroaches and other bugs and keep them away. It’s the easiest method to keep your home pest free.

These steps will guide you about sprinkling catnip leaves in your home the right way:

  • First, locate areas that are the favorite places of cockroaches in your home.
  • Now, put catnip leaves in a small container or make sachets. If you make a catnip sachet, ensure the material is breathable, allowing the catnip odor to spread.
  • To target cockroaches in hard-to-reach places, such as gaps in the walls and window crevices, sprinkle leaves directly in them.
  • When the catnip scent starts to fade, replace the leaves as soon as possible.
  • Keep repeating this process until the area becomes roach free.

You can also place the catnip leaves in small air-tight bags and put them in high- roach traffic areas.

Buying Sprays From the Market

You can also buy liquid catnip sprays to keep roaches at bay. These solutions are readily available at physical stores.

What Other Herbs Can Keep Roaches Away?

Cockroaches are a nuisance. Even after trying the above methods, you may still see these tiny bugs crawling here and there. You can use some other natural herbs to get rid of the remaining roaches.

Some of them are:

  • Peppermint. The strong, minty smell of peppermint is toxic to roaches and several insects. Peppermint essential oil can not only repel them but can even kill them with direct contact.
  • Eucalyptus. This herb is known to confuse and alert roaches. The smell of eucalyptus is unbearable for these bugs, and they prefer staying away from places with this herb. Eucalyptus can also repel mosquitoes and flies in your home.
  • Rosemary. A study in the Journal of Arthropod-Borne Diseases found that rosemary oil is super-toxic on brown-banded roaches. Only 2.5% to 30% of rosemary caused mortality in the bugs. You can use rosemary essential oil alone or put some dried leaves in the catnip sachet.
  • Lemon. It may not give effective results like other essential oils, but it is readily available and safe. You can squeeze lemons into water and clean your entire house with it. It will keep roaches at bay.
  • Cedarwood. You can also use cedar wood and chips to keep roaches away and kill them on contact. The ingredient absorbs moisture from the bugs and dries their bodies out.


Are Roaches Repelled By Catnip?

Yes, roaches are repelled by catnip. It consists of nepetalactone, a chemical that keeps cockroaches and insects away. The herb can repel cockroaches in several forms, whether whole leaves or catnip tea.

How Do You Use Catnip to Keep Roaches Away?

You can use catnip as whole leaves, ready-made sprays, or catnip tea. All of these ways effectively keep roaches away. You can combine catnip with other essential oils and herbs to cause maximum damage.


Catnip is a natural ingredient that repels cockroaches and other bugs with its pungent odor. It contains nepetalactone that insects hate, so they prefer staying away. Here is a quick takeaway of the efficacy of catnip on roaches:

  • Nepetalactone is more effective than DEET present in insecticides.
  • Catnip is safe to use but always keep it away from your pets and children.
  • You can make a catnip tea, use whole leaves, or buy ready-made sprays from the market and use them to repel roaches.
  • To yield maximum results, you can combine catnip with other herbs that cockroaches hate, such as peppermint, eucalyptus, cedarwood, and rosemary.