Is it possible to use dishwashing soap as an alternative insecticide? How would that and what are the components of the dishwashing soap that would kill the insect?

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    $\begingroup$ please read the help pages before posting questions $\endgroup$ – rg255 Feb 17 '16 at 15:18

I'm not completely confident that the aforementioned post is a duplicate, because the question explicitly asks "Why do cockroaches burst from soapy water?" While this question explicitly asks "Can soap kill cockroaches and/or ants?"

The short answer to your question is yes.

According to this website:

The soapy water kills [cockroaches] by forming a thin film over the roach's breathing pores that stays in place due to surface tension, causing the roach to suffocate.

Ants are killed in a similar manner (see this archived Reddit post).

For a more scientific read, check out this paper: Behavioral Responses and Mortality in German Cockroaches (Blattodea: Blattellidae) After Exposure to Dishwashing Liquid.

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