IDing a bug
April 23, 2005 10:29 AM   Subscribe

AskMefi entomologists: what's this insect, and should I do anything about its presence in a house? Pics within.
posted by casarkos to Science & Nature (12 answers total)
German cockroach.
posted by Captaintripps at 10:55 AM on April 23, 2005

Just looks like a cockroach to me. Here's the Straight Dope cockroach-killing guide.
posted by boaz at 10:56 AM on April 23, 2005

Durr, male American cockroach.
posted by Captaintripps at 10:57 AM on April 23, 2005

I'd bet money on cockroach
posted by peacay at 10:58 AM on April 23, 2005

I'm pretty sure that's a roach. It doesn't look exactly like the roaches I've seen, but it looks pretty close.

"should I do anything about its presence in a house?"

Kill its family, kill its friends, then kill everything that looks even vaguely like it.
posted by majick at 12:45 PM on April 23, 2005

See, roaches I encountered growing up in South Florida were five-inch black mofos that refused to die for anything short of a localized thermonuclear bomb. This one is the size of my pinkie knuckle and died when I misted it with Lysol.

I've been feeling murderous lately, so they've come at a great time. Thanks AskMefi!
posted by casarkos at 12:55 PM on April 23, 2005

Don't they say the only things to survive a thermonuclear bomb are roaches and duct tape?
I think the big ones eat the smaller varieties, which might be why you didn't see the little ones in Florida.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 5:08 PM on April 23, 2005

I think the pictured one is a juvenile. IIRC, they're kinda soft and round growing up, then they shed their soft skin and grow the hard carapace and wings in their adult form.
posted by boaz at 5:27 PM on April 23, 2005

Having had a (thankfully) minor and brief cockroach problem, the first thing I learned to do was become an immediate clean freak. If their arrival is recent, you may be able to get rid of them by simply eliminating all possible food and water sources. That means no dirty dishes in the sink, take the trash out daily and keep it covered tightly, etc.

Secondly, get a couple cans of serious bug killer spray, some rubber gloves, and a flashlight. Go hunting for the little bastards. Mine were actually living in an unused kitchen cabinet over my fridge (dark, warm, undisturbed). Try to think of where you see them the most, or what room they seem to be coming from, not where you think they might have entered. I have no idea how mine came in, or found that cabinet, but I often saw them on walls up high or coming from the direction of the kitchen.

Once you find them, kill them all like they are the unholy spawn of Satan. Because they are. It will be disgusting to do, watch, and clean up, but strangely gratifying. I found mine on a cold winter's night at about 1 AM, promptly killed them, threw anything in the vicinity into the dumpster, and coated any nearby surfaces with bug spray. I slept better that night than I had in weeks. The next day I bleached everything in sight and swore that I would never allow another roach to live on my property again.

Hunt them down now before things get ridiculous.
posted by MrZero at 10:59 PM on April 23, 2005

If you go the route of bug bombs, please remember to turn off any pilot lights so you don't blow up your house like these poor fools.

posted by nanojath at 12:28 AM on April 24, 2005

That looks like a wood roach. One might wander into your house every now and then, but they wont infest the place unless you’re living in a big, hollow tree. Unlike their creepy cousins, they move around in broad daylight and won’t skitter away from you. They also seem to enjoy drowning themselves in the cat’s water dish.
posted by Huplescat at 9:43 AM on April 24, 2005

Even if it is a woodroach, your house is probably partly made of wood. And as it decays, they can eat it.

In any case, I recommend getting a big bottle of spray cleaner (I like lemon-scented fantastic). When you see one, spray the crap out of it until it drowns. Why not just squish it? They can lay their eggs as they are being squished. Yuck. Plus leaves a mess.

Then, preventative care. The borax solution seems like a good one, and excessive cleanliness. Keep in mind though that the amount they need to eat is super miniscule, so unless you clean very thoroughly, it won't be enough.

If you live in an apartment building with messy neighbors (or a row house with other houses attached), they may mostly relocate but they won't completely die off. They are especially problematic in buildings that haven't been kept up well. I lived in one where the walls were decaying and it made for a roach heaven inside those walls, and then one would pop out and scare us every once in a while. If you rent, get your landlord to put poison in the basement and all around the building.
posted by mai at 7:40 PM on April 24, 2005

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