Will Malathion Insecticide Kill Roaches?

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The chemical malathion kills cockroaches.

Cockroaches, one the most unsightly and invasive household pests, are often difficult to eradicate. Although various chemical insecticides will kill the cockroach, when you face a serious outbreak, a comprehensive approach to controlling these annoying bugs is best.


A number of chemical insecticides, including malathion, will kill cockroaches. Though it is effective at killing cockroaches, the primary use of malathion is for mosquito control. Malathion may also leave an offensive odor.


The Environmental Protection Agency reports that malathion poses an acceptable risk to humans, especially since humans are likely to encounter this chemical in moderate amounts. But at high doses, malathion can negatively affect the nervous system, resulting in convulsions or death.


Most experts recommend a comprehensive approach to cockroach control. The first lines of defense are exclusion and sanitation. Exclusion involves preventing access to your home by caulking windowsills and sealing any gaps in plumbing or electrical outlets. You must also keep your home free of any food or water source for the cockroaches. Only after these steps are taken should you consider the use of powerful chemicals such as malathion, the University of Florida Extension recommends.


Mark Pendergast

Mark Pendergast has worked as a freelance writer since 2007, focusing on topics such as health, sports and finance. He has worked as a newspaper reporter and librarian and has written for the "Northside Sun" and "Jackpot," among other publications. Pendergast holds a Bachelor of Arts from Millsaps College.