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23 May 2007

The de-evolution of the NYC cockroach. Anyone else noticed...


Never had much of a problem in my building with them. When the occasional couple showed up, placing a bunch of those black plastic anti-roach things around the place took care of them in a week or two. Those were the usual lightening-fast light-shy city dwellers you may be familiar with.

Now I notice a new thing. Super slow roaches that you can just reach out and squash without much effort, and the blitz of bait traps scattered around the place aren't having their usual effect.

I'm guessing that a taste for that bait might be inversely bound genetically with evasiveness and we have developed a new breed of slow motion bait ignoring bugs. Anyone else notice anything like this?
Maybe they're so well-fed that they can't accelerate past 'waddle'?
posted by mudpuppie 23 May | 13:46
Super slow roaches that you can just reach out and squash without much effort

Also: Eponysterical.
posted by mudpuppie 23 May | 13:47
They're slow but they're big. I've seen roaches in this city that you could put a saddle on and ride.
posted by jonmc 23 May | 13:48
Adult roaches that are slow and that are not light adverse may be dying. They may have picked up boric acid powder and be on their way back to the nest to croak, which is species behavior that normally benefits the young, by providing dead adult roach bodies as food for the young. Thus, it's generally a good idea on your part to let slow roaches go, since, if they are taking boric acid crystals back to the nest, they are helping with roach control efforts.
posted by paulsc 23 May | 13:57
It's all part of their strategy. The slow moving roaches are sent out to draw your attention while the faster moving roaches have absconded with your tasty bits. Be wary citizen!
posted by drezdn 23 May | 14:05
Speaking of NYC, on the way to the corner store just now I winessed not one, but two police incidents. When I left the building, my octogenarian Greek landlady Tula was on the porch and she said 'look, da poleece!' and sure enough the cops were talking to some catholic school kids who had been in some kind of altercation. A half block away there was a guy in a police cadets uniform and some gangsta'd out kid was saying 'you think just cos you got that uniform you can put your hands on people, huh?'

There were girls around so i figure he was trying to be all macho and stuff, since the cadet just rolled his eyes, grinned and kept walking.

When I came back I mentioned all this to Tula and mentioned that I had been ready to apply to the NYPD before my kidney stones but that now it was too late. 'Not too late for something else,' she said.

Just another day in the big city.

posted by jonmc 23 May | 14:06
I always thought the slow-moving ones were ones that had taken the bait but hadn't yet died.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 23 May | 14:07
We call the big ones water bugs. When they show up, look for a standing puddle of water somewhere.

These guys I'm talking about have this same nonchalance as bitty babies, as well as teens and adults. Though not too many will get big around here with the whole slow motion thing going on.
posted by StickyCarpet 23 May | 14:07
Small, fast, big, small... doesn't matter. I squish 'em! If they're sick enough to be moving slow, they've already visited the nest several times with their boric acid asses and I just want 'em dead.
posted by Specklet 23 May | 14:15
My fear of cockroaches -- of any size -- is so great that I will call a friend in California while standing on a chair rather than deal with the buggers. Slow-moving roaches are even worse.

Once, when I flipped out over a cockroach and woke my mother, she came out and vacuumed the thing up. A few weeks later it crawled out of the vacuum and tried to kill me.
posted by brina 23 May | 14:29
*cancels trip to NY*
posted by essexjan 23 May | 14:44
I once "killed" a cockroach in St. Louis by crushing it with Webster's Third.

When I removed it a couple of days later, the roach popped right back up and ran at me.
posted by scody 23 May | 14:47
Every year at UT Austin, one of the men's dorms would hold what was affectionately known as the Roach Regatta. They'd make paper boats, add a (living) roach as a passenger, and race the boats down the creek.

I can't find any info online. They must not do it anymore.
posted by mudpuppie 23 May | 14:58
I had a scary run in with a roach last night. I value you all, so I'll spare you the details.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 23 May | 15:28
When I was younger, our family had to deal with a pretty intense roach infestation for a while. I regaled IRC last night with some stories about finding them in places like my cereal and even partially ingesting one that had come to its death in a jug. So overall, roaches don't bother me so much except for special cases:

1. Roach eggs. Dealing with roach infestation I could identify a roach egg sack (usually you'd see them sort of halfway pooped out of an adult roach that was waddling around. They're not that big, and rectangular shaped). I was also informed of the terrible possibility held within a roach egg sac. The teeming brood that lied within. My mom told me if ever found they must be crushed with great vengeance. One day when I was home alone I came across an egg sack. My mom wasn't around to do the dirty work. I was tempted to wait until my mom got back but began to worry that the sack would erupt while I waited so I finally drummed up the courage and a large wad of toilet paper to handle the situation. I pressed down, and let me tell you, the pop of the egg sack manifested itself so clearly under my TP'ed digits that it became the epicenter of shivers that moved out to the rest of my body. I swore I could HEAR the pop in some weird way. As if in someway the legion (for they are many) of once and future roachlings all being snuffed out at once created some weird astral disturbance or something...let me tell you to this day nothing squicked me out like that singular pop.

2. The big ones that fly. Fuck that noise. I don't play that shit. First of all, because they're huge bastards, and second of all because once they do fly it's all uncoordinated and shit so you can't run away from them effectively, because they're zigzagging like they're commandos trained to avoid gunfire. One time I came across one right when I woke up in the morning and sweeped it into a corner with a broom and tried to kill it that way, but it kept trying to escape through the bristles like that scene in the beginning of "28 Weeks Later" when Jacob's trying to get into the boat and I'm Robert Carlyle and I don't want him in the fucking boat. Another time I had to call my mom to talk me through it. I'll never directly kill it by hand because I imagine it to be something like the roach egg sac pop but amplified by hundreds, except this one's big enough to have a soul that screams and second of all, because bending over to kill one just puts my face that much closer for it to jump on.
posted by kkokkodalk 23 May | 16:07
i like to fight roaches with brooms and dustpans.

also, when they start flying after me, i run like a little girl. i'm man enough to admit that.

on preview, i see that kkokkodalk and i understand each other in that last regard.
posted by stynxno 23 May | 16:09
Some context for this story: There was a spider in my office the other day, so I wanted to get some TP from the bathroom so I could squish it (I normally wouldn't, but it has big scary looking fangs!). There are two bathrooms on my floor, equidistant from me - a nice bathroom that all the women use, and a spare one that only I use. I turned on the light in the spare bathroom and 3 cockroaches started scurrying around! But, since it is a bathroom, there was nothing for them to hide under. They started running towards me!

Let me tell you, I turned off the light and slowly backed out of there. I went back to my office, calmly sat down, and came to a truce with scary spider. Scary spider is WAY better than big squirrely cockroaches.
posted by muddgirl 23 May | 17:34
In Arizona we mostly have the big water-bug type cockroaches that can fly. One day when we were teenagers, a friend cornered one in his garage and sprayed it with a stream of flaming hair-spray. Instead of dying, the flaming cockroach began to fly around the garage chasing us. It combined two of my biggest fears: fire and cockroaches. *shudders*
posted by mullacc 23 May | 18:50
I once witnessed a chilling scene with 1 spider and 2 roaches.
The spider won, it was gruesome.
posted by signal 24 May | 09:53
I have cockroaches in my Flatbush apartment that are 2-3 INCHES long. They're not afraid of anything.

I have made this into a fun and exciting FPS: I bought a can of roach spray, and I run after them. I put the spray nozzle to the back of their cockroach heads and press and hold for like 10 seconds. Four hours later I come back, the roach is mostly dead, I wrap it up in a paper towel and flush it down the toilet.
posted by nasreddin 24 May | 13:36
I just got back from pre-school graduation. *sniff* || You Wanna Be an M&M?