How To Get Rid Of Wood Roaches On Deck

Deck spaces are a great way to gather your family and friends for a get-together. However, uninvited guests like wood roaches might ruin the fun. Don't worry! You can stop stressing because we have researched how you can eliminate them. Through the pests experts we found, we will present to you the right way to do so. Here is what we learned:

Getting rid of the wood roaches in your decking can be done differently. One method uses insecticides like Borax or diatomaceous earth. If you prefer natural methods, you can make your deck an unpleasant environment for them. Lastly, place horse apples strategically to deter them from your decking. 

We know, it can still be confusing, and you want more specific instructions on how to do them. This is why we will thoroughly discuss each method so you can apply it properly and ensure that wood roaches won't be present in your deck. Also, preventions and other things that are useful for this will be tackled. All of these are for you. So, keep on reading. 

close up photo of a wood deck outside the house, How To Get Rid Of Wood Roaches On Deck

Ways To Eliminate Wood Roaches On Deck

If you are observing the wood roaches on your deck, you might have realized that they are less shy than normal household cockroaches. You might have attempted to shoo them away by stamping your feet, but they wouldn't budge that much. Imagine having that in numbers. What a nuisance, right?

The good news is that there are multiple ways to get rid of them. The solutions that we will present to you are really simple if you follow the instructions carefully. Let's start with using treatments.

Using Insecticides

The two main ingredients for our anti-wood-roach solution are Borax and diatomaceous earth. These insecticides are specially formulated for the prevention and control of insects like wood roaches, ants, or other pests. 


If you choose to use Borax, it is better to buy it in powder form because this is the most effective. Especially in the recipes that we will talk about. Before you start using this, there are some safety measures you should observe.

Do not take this for granted. Borax is proven to cause effects like nausea, vomiting, skin, eyes, and nose irritation, as well as diarrhea. Aside from that, it also encourages internal diseases like kidney failure, infertility, and digestive problems. So, here are the safety precautions that you should do:

  • Wear gloves and a face mask to prevent contact and inhalation. 
  • Do not wear clothes that have been exposed to Borax. 
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after using Borax especially if you are going to use it for any activities such as eating, or cooking. 
  • Do not use it in an unventilated space. 

Once you are prepared, we can now proceed to the recipes! 

Recipe #1

In a condiment shaker, pour an equal amount of sugar and Borax. Shake to mix them up, then sprinkle to areas where you see roaches. It is one of their favorite foods, so this will entice them to come and indulge. Use white sugar to mask the presence of the insecticide. 

Recipe #2 

Instead of sugar, you can use baking soda. Baking soda is poison to them, so it is a good addition to make power-up borax. It targets their internal organs, causing them to die. However, they do not like its smell. So, you should mix in sugar also to mask the two power killers. 

Recipe #3

Instead of mixing, Borax will serve as a finishing touch for this last trap. Another way of fooling them is to sprinkle the powder on top of the foods that they love. Bait them with a bit of sprinkled food, and leave it readily available -the poisoned roaches won't be returning to their dining area! To give you an idea, some examples or roach-luring foods are:

  • Meat - Chicken, turkey
  • Grease - oils, meat fats
  • Cheese 
  • Starch - Bread, potatoes
  • Sugar - Fruits

Check out this borax on Amazon.

Planning to use borax as a cleaning agent? Read this: "How To Whiten Sheets With Borax."

Diatomaceous Earth

Unlike the long list of harmful effects of Borax on us and our pets, diatomaceous earth (DE) is safe. But make sure that it is food-grade (meaning low in crystalline silica). Well, good news, insecticide belongs under this category. However, you should still minimize inhaling this, for it can irritate your lungs and cause inflammation in them. 

So, how does it kills roaches? When any part of their body makes contact with the diatomaceous earth, their exoskeleton's coating will be removed. Meaning that they won't be able to stay hydrated. Thus, they'll die of dehydration

How to Apply and/or Spread Diatomaceious Earth

To use DE as an insecticide on your deck, you need to make sure that the area is dry. Then, simply pour a large amount of diatomaceous earth on the deck's entrance and spread it towards the entire space with a leaf blower. 

Another way to use DE is to mix a half cup of it in a bottle spray with two cups of clean water. Spray it all over the deck area and wait for it to dry. Reapply if it gets wet or if needed again. 

Check out this diatomaceous earth on Amazon.

Are you also suffering from carpet beetles? Learn how to get rid of them here: "How To Get Rid Of Carpet Beetles?"

Creating an Undesireable Environment

Another way of eliminating roaches on your deck is to simply make it not livable. If they cannot survive in their surroundings, roaches will look for other places to live. They thrive in decaying organic materials and spots where plants and woods decay, which is what we will prevent. 

Here is how you can make your deck not suitable for them. 

  • Remove the leaves in and on the deck as soon as you see them. 
  • Seal your trash cans properly. After storing the leaves or any plant material, make sure you close it properly so that the roaches do not have any opening to enter. 
  • Store the firewood away from the deck. 
  • Wash empty containers that may have food leftovers or stains. 

Horse Apple

One home remedy that you can do is to use horse apple. Apparently, wood roaches are not a fan of its citrus smell. Place them around the deck's foundation or in a spot where they might settle. Other scents that they hate include mint, thyme, pine, basil, and citronella.

Are Wood Roaches Harmful?

photo of a two roaches on the wood deck

Not really. Wood roaches are not known as transmitters of disease. They also do not bite or contaminate the food they touch. But in a way, they can harm the people who are present in their presence if they have a phobia over it. 

What Month Are Wood Roaches Active?

Male wood roaches are most active in May and June. Once they found a mate and were able to produce egg cases (usually 29) with 32 eggs each. Then, they will spend 10 to 12 months as a nymph. So, by the next summer to winter, they will be adults who are ready for mating. 

Tips To Prevent Wood Roaches

up close photo of a wood roach on the wood deck

Once you have applied any of the methods to get rid of wood roaches, you will have to take preventive measures to keep them away, especially during their mating season. These tips are not only for your deck but for your indoor as well. 

  • Seal any opening where they can enter and evade your property. 
  • Place the unused firewood away. They prefer to live in wood piles also. If unaware, they may be present in your firewoods which means you can take them indoors unconsciously. 
  • Turn off any unnecessary lights. Unlike a household roach, they are attracted to light and will even fly into lights since they are not sensitive to it. 
  • Keep your surroundings clean. Preventing the leaves from decaying on the surface of your deck and in between its board can be a good start to keeping the wood roaches away. 

Planning to use pressure as your deck's treatment? Read this: "Should Deck Joists Be Pressure Treated?"


close up photo of a wood deck outside the house

To get rid of the wood roaches on your deck, you can either:

  • use pesticides like Borax or diatomaceous earth,
  • make your deck inhabitable by cleaning all the fallen leaves,
  • close the trash can properly,
  • wash or remove any empty containers with leftover food (especially if it is not included in the scents they hate),
  • and place stored firewood elsewhere. 

Wood roaches are not dangerous to humans. They do not transmit diseases, bite, or contaminate the food that they make contact with. However, maintain your property even after treating it in order to not have the same problem again. 

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