8.31.2007

Blattella germanica

On Wednesday morning, there was a [singular] skittering little blattella germanica in the empty top drawer of my dresser when I finally went to start unpacking my suitcases after three weeks of wandering. Ew! Gross! I slammed the drawer shut and went out to buy some boric acid, which I applied liberally under and behind the dresser. (I had read somewhere that it is best applied liberally, but further research indicates that it works best applied as a thin film or pushed into cracks in the flooring.)

I haven't seen any others anywhere in the apartment, including under either of the damp, leaking sinks. I hope that this one came from the storage place (where my furniture and boxes were for three weeks), and that it has no local friends.

This morning, I saw it again, in the same drawer. I grabbed a plastic cup and trapped it under the cup, then slid a piece of paper under the cup and moved the whole thing out of the dresser drawer and onto the top of the dresser. Then I wrapped tape around the edge of the cup, where it hits the paper, so it's really trapped now.

But what to do now? Clearly, the blattella germanica must die, but do I really have to be the one to kill it? And how?

It's a very fast little bugger, and there's no way to let it out of the cup and step on it without risking its escape. I thought about drowning it, but that's both a bit more hands-on than I'd like and also maybe not possible given our drain configurations. Someone suggested that I just throw it out the window, but then it will just go into someone else's apartment. I don't want that. It's currently trapped in a sealed cup, so I could just take the whole thing outside and put it in the trash outside. I think I did that with some other bug that I trapped at some point. It might get out of the trap when the garbage is collected or compacted, but by that point, I'm not so worried about it getting back into someone's apartment. I thought it might asphyxiate pretty quickly, but apparently, bugs don't asphyxiate quickly at all.

So, there he remains, sitting trapped in an upside down plastic cup on top of my dresser.

[Update: Just by way of explanation, I caught him on Friday morning and was going away for Shabbat, and didn't have time to figure out what to do with him before I had to pack up my stuff and go. If I had been sleeping in my bedroom on Friday night, I would have disposed of him before Shabbat. When I came home late Saturday night, I immediately took him, in his contraption (still very much alive) to a corner trash can a block away from my apartment and across the street. Perhaps I will write another post about why things that other people think are gross I don't find gross, and vice versa. Or maybe that's something best kept to myself. In any case, I am extremely grossed out by blattella germanica on the loose, and not too grossed out by trapped blattella germanica.]

I've never had a blattella germanica in any apartment I've lived in before, and I hope that, one way or another, this is the end of him.

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On an entirely unrelated note, except perhaps that the article mentions the competition between SF and other cities to be the first large American city to offer free WiFi and blattella germanica seem to be particularly fond of large cities, this ("EarthLink Abandons San Francisco Wi-Fi Project") is too bad. I hope it will happen anyway.

And this ("Are Your Jeans Sagging? Go Directly to Jail") is timely, since just the other day I was wondering how these guys who wear their pants down below their tushes manage to walk without their pants falling down around their ankles. It's a little gross to see someone's underwear-covered butt with pants belted below their butt on the subway seat next to you, but I don't think it should be illegal unless you're also going to make showing bra straps and all other undergarments illegal. (Someone in the article justified the attempt to pass such laws by saying, "'You can’t legislate how people dress, but you can legislate when people begin to become indecent by exposing their body parts,' " but I haven't seen any body parts, just a lot of boxer shorts.)

6 comments:

Marc said...

During some of the time that I lived in NYC, roaches were found regularly around the apartment. On visits over the past decade or two, I haven't noticed any. I think that our preferred trap in those days was a "roach motel".

The techniques for controling the population has changed slightly over the intervening decades.

Good luck.

ALG said...

I think that roach motels may contain bait, and since our apartment seems relatively roach-free, we don't want to bring them in where they don't already skitter.

In an already-infested apartment, it makes more sense to use a roach motel.

miriam said...

"I've never had a blattella germanica in any apartment I've lived in before"

that is truly amazing.
i wish you luck in maintaining that situation, though to warn you i don't thin ki;ve ever been in an apartment in your new 'hood that didn't have them, at least sometimes.

ALG said...

I know that I've been very lucky in this regard. I thought that perhaps my old building just didn't have a roach infestation for whatever reason, but then I saw one in the basement. So I don't know why they didn't come up to our apartment. Even more shocking is that I never saw a roach in my first NYC apartment, since my roommates were, um, less than fastidious about keeping the kitchen clean.

David said...

Roaches are nasty++

Tips: avoid using grocery store boxes when moving (b/c insects like food). Also, they'll eat the paste that holds cardboard boxes together, so get rid of cardboard as quickly as you can.

They're pretty much indestructible except for squishing - sometimes, even in death throes they can lay their egg sac: make sure to get rid of that.

ALG said...

Thanks, David! I've always flattened and kept nearly all of my cardboard boxes from move to move (and never had a problem with roaches), but perhaps I should dump them all after this move and buy new ones before my next move. It just seems like a huge waste of money, since I have boxes that I've used for up to three moves that are still in decent shape, and a whole bunch that I purchased, brand new, for this move. On the other hand, in the grand scheme of the expense of moving, spending a hundred dollars on new boxes (again) is almost negligible and certainly preferable to living with a roach infestation in the meantime.