CHOICE Squishes Ineffective Bug Spray Brands

A new pesticide investigation by consumer watchdog CHOICE has found that some surface sprays are completely ineffective at killing cockroaches. If you have an infestation problem, here are the brands you need to avoid.

Dead roach picture from Shutterstock

During its investigation, CHOICE tested 15 surface sprays on German and American cockroaches, which are two of the most common household species in Australia. The roaches were placed on a plywood surface treated with each product and monitored for 48 hours (or up until death).

Of the brands tested, Pea Beu Insect Killer Low Irritant Lemon Fresh performed the worst, with all German cockroaches and 97 per cent of American cockroaches surviving after direct exposure to the spray. Woolworths' Select Natural Pyrethrum Insect Spray also failed to exterminate most of the cockroaches it was used on.

"We wouldn't recommend either of these products,” CHOICE's head of media, Tom Godfrey said in a statement.

Interestingly, Coles' Crawling Insect Killer Spray High Performance was found to be far more effective than the Woolworths home brand despite costing roughly half the price ($3.70 and $6.44, respectively).

Other sprays that performed well in the tests were Mortein High Performance/NaturGard Surface Sprays, Amgrow Patrol Killer, Baygon Do-It-Yourself Indoor Expert Home Surface Spray, Atlas High Performance Cockroach & Surface Spray and Raid One Shot Crawling Insect Surface Spray Targetkill. All these sprays were effective at stopping roaches dead in their tracks.

Alternatively, you could try making this DIY insecticide that has been specifically designed to kill roaches. Or you could try this more humane method that was suggested by a reader:

Here’s a safe approach to getting rid of roaches. Get yourself an empty glass jar. (A washed out mayo jar will do.) Dump your used coffee grounds into the jar; at least enough to cover the bottom (a couple of spoons of wet instant coffee will work just as well.) You’ll need to sit the jar on the ground and tip it at a slight angle to lean against a wall or something.


The roaches will not be able to resist the coffee’s aroma. They’ll climb up the wall and down into the jar to get to the grounds. Because the glass is slippery, they won’t be able to get out. If there are any roaches around, it won’t take long before you find your jar filling up. Get your gloves, put the lid on tight and release them far away from your house.

CHOICE also provides the following prevention tips:

  • Turn off your appliances - Cockroaches like to hide in warm, dark places
  • Keep your home clean, particularly your kitchen
  • Don’t leave your pet’s food or food scraps in pet bowls
  • Thoroughly clean your home regularly
  • Seal cracks and openings in walls
  • Clean out garbage and clutter
  • Don’t accumulate newspapers
  • Don’t leave dishes in the sink overnight
  • Remove any water sources such as dripping taps. Cockroaches can live a month without food but only a week without water.

    See also: DIY Roach Extermination

    Cockroach Killers Reviews [CHOICE]


    What release the roaches into the wild? Hell no, you have just shown me how to make a roach grenade.

    Get your gloves, put the lid on tight and release them far away from your house. Seriusly..? Who the hell would place this vile and disgusting insect on the do not kill list..? They breed faster than... well... anything, and they spread disease..! Do they also have a humane release system for house flys..?

      freeze em. its fun to watch

    I catch and release our cockroaches into our chook pen.

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