Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Cockroach: MENACE or Misunderstood?

Cockroaches: MENACE or Misunderstood?
From my childhood, I have heard of a creature that cannot be stopped, that is impossible to kill, and that reproduces at an astronomical rate.  Stories abound that this creature would even be able to survive a nuclear blast.

This almost sounds like a mythical creature, and, in a way, it was to me.  I grew up in one of the few states that has no native species of cockroaches, and if there were any, I never saw them.  However, we had heard of them, and we were very careful when we bought things from people to leave the boxes outside in the cold for a day or two just to be sure we didn't become infested.

So, a month or so after we moved into our new apartment, I was startled to see a small creature in the sink that looked like the dreaded menace.  Quickly, I squished it.  However, the next day, my husband announced that he had found another one and that it definitely was a cockroach.

Not having dealt with cockroaches before, I did what every self-respecting American would do:  google it on the internet.  I could have immediately reported it to my manager, but I didn't want to be a bother, and I wanted to see if I could take care of the problem myself before I went to someone else.  What I found surprised me.  Are you ready for this?  Cockroaches aren't monsters.  They're just bugs.

According to some of the experts, the cockroach menace is completely manageable, but some people (particularly pest control) thrive off of the abhorrence that people have for this small bug.  From looking at pictures, I figured out that we had a  couple German Cockroaches in our home.  According to a couple experts, cockroaches are a useful creature in their natural habitat.  They help get rid of  garbage in the environment.  However, in a home without proper cleanliness, they can quickly turn into a problem.  Some of the stories horrified me, but others made me laugh.  I won't relate the gross stories here (unless someone wants me to add them in the comments), but one of the stories was about a scientist who spotted a cockroach on his table at a restaurant.  Instead of killing it, he put a small drop of wine (about as big as the bug) on the table.  The bug quickly drank it up and then went and hid behind a painting on the wall.  A few minutes later, it came back out and he gave it another drop.  It drank that drop too, and then went and hid again.  As they watched, the bug presently fell from the wall and began to spin in circles on the floor, obviously intoxicated (http://insectexpertphd.com/cockroaches.aspx).

After reading these accounts, I came to a shocking conclusion.  Cockroaches are just bugs.  I've seen stinkbug infestations as bad as cockroach infestations.  Cockroaches might be resilient, but I've killed more than my fair share, and they've died.  Cockroaches aren't evil or good, and some are quite beautiful.  Don't believe me?  Well look below.  I think these are pretty bugs.  Click on the pictures to read the article about them.


The internet then instructed me to make sure that there was no food out in the kitchen, but more importantly, that there was no standing or leaking water.  The sources I read explained that even though bugs can survive for a long time without consistent food, if cockroaches don't find water within a week they will die.  I quickly cleaned every surface I could and put everything away.  Our home, which wasn't really dirty before has become spotless.

After talking to my mother about the problem, I did inform the manager that we had spotted a few, and she immediately called the exterminator.  They came yesterday and put a little borax poison down in the hinges and sprayed around the baseboard.

They informed me that though there was no sign of roaches in our home, there were a couple other apartments in our complex that wouldn't be able to completely rid themselves of this pest until they were cleaned.  Meanwhile, we will continue to put our food completely away.  As much as I am now looking at cockroaches in a more realistic, non-panic-stricken way, I still don't want them on my shelf or in my home.

Old fears die hard. 


  1. Having lived with those little critters on an incredibly personal level, I can say that they still terrify me. So you may see them as just insects, I'll stick with my first response. EEEKKK!

    1. Yeah, they still kind of gross me out too. Not gonna lie. They're just gross bugs.