These bugs are bugging me!
May 5, 2011 8:21 PM   Subscribe

Roaches in my Orlando apartment. I don't trust the management company to take care of it and I am seriously grossed out. Looking for recommendations for local exterminators who will do the job but not cost an arm and a leg!

I've lived in my apartment in Orlando for just over three weeks.

A week and a half ago, I found a big (an inch & a half, maybe?) roach upside down in my bathroom. When I went to pick it up, it was still alive. Ultimately, I got it into the trash and then got the trash outside and away. I went out to the store & bought roach bait. A few days after that, I had another one in the bathroom, also upside down, and also very much alive. I managed to flush that one.

The management company was supposed to have an exterminator come today (they come every Thursday, supposedly), but no one came.

Tonight I got home later than usual, and when I went into the bathroom, I saw my first one that was right side up, crawling on my makeup box. :( Then it was gone.

I freaked and closed the door, but a few minutes later I saw it coming out under the bathroom door. I plugged that up with some pants for now, but I want to get an exterminator here asap because I'm having some issues dealing with them.

Yes, I know it is Florida and there are roaches, but 3 big ones in less than 2 weeks seems a bit excessive. I'm concerned about an infestation.

TL;DR - 3 big roaches in the course of 2 weeks, all in my bathroom, management didn't send the exterminator, please recommend any local exterminators.
posted by firei to Home & Garden (15 answers total)
They came from somewhere. Most likely one of your neighbors. Exterminating your apartment alone won't do much good.

In the last apartment I lived in (not in Florida), the exterminators didn't usually go in apartments; they only sprayed around the foundation.
posted by wierdo at 8:39 PM on May 5, 2011

Best answer: I feel like you don't understand roaches. I'm not an expert either, but here's what I know...

- roach bait attracts more roaches into your space

- if the building has an infestation or your neighbors do, you want to seal all possible points of entry AND get monthly extermination visits

- if the infestation is building-wide, just getting your place exterminated once won't solve the problem. Right now it kinda sounds like you are about to waste some money.

Coming from NYC, your infestation doesn't sound quite so bad. Are you sure these aren't coming in from outside? Just floating that idea.

Also, what makes you think your landlord's exterminator won't be effective? It's not clear from your ask.

Roaches suck and if the problem is building-wide, maybe you can break your lease? You sound very unhappy. I don't know that your landlord will be able to entirely solve this for you.
posted by jbenben at 8:45 PM on May 5, 2011

Wait. These are only in the bathroom? Doesn't that makethem what we call "water bugs"? Still gross, but maybe not as bad? Anyone know??
posted by jbenben at 8:49 PM on May 5, 2011

I'm happy to be corrected on this if I'm wrong, but I actually don't think that three lone roaches in a two week period is very many, certainly not enough to suggest a severe problem. I lived in a building with a roach problem once, and I saw at least two or three a day, in all areas of the apartment. For three bugs in two weeks, I'd put out some borax, relax, and accept it as a cost of living in that part of the world.
posted by decathecting at 8:52 PM on May 5, 2011

I grew up in Orlando. With three roaches in two weeks, your best bet is to get comfortable with them, give them names, and only start to worry when you see/hear the loud flying ones.

Welcome to Central Florida!
posted by piro at 9:03 PM on May 5, 2011 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I disagree with decathecting that 3 roaches is not a big deal since there are at least a dozen hiding for each that you can see. (yeah, that skeeves me out too.)

But I agree with the others who say getting your own exterminator isn't a very good solution. Since you've seen them all in the same place (bathroom) they're almost certainly coming from whatever's next to/above/below your bathroom. That's where they need to be killed. Killing the ones in your bathroom will have little impact.

Push your landlord on this. I'm 100% sure there's something in your lease that says that he has to keep the place free from vermin. If your landlord will not get proactive on this look up the number of your local tenants rights organization and get them on it.

Note: I have never lived in central Florida, though I have seen the size and depth of bugs it breeds, so I may be expecting too much. However I have lived in a place that had roaches and a proactive extermination by the landlord got rid of them for the next 10 years.
posted by Ookseer at 9:07 PM on May 5, 2011

Determine if they are Palmetto bugs or cockroaches. If they are Palmetto bugs I would not worry. If they are real cockroaches, and if you see roaches in your kitchen, I would worry.
posted by Fairchild at 9:27 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Piro basically said exactly what I would have said. Growing up in Orlando, you basically expect to see one or two a day. And chameleons! And other crazy creatures! You don't have an infestation; you just live in the tropics.
posted by judith at 9:48 PM on May 5, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for the advice, all. I guess I'll start harassing management, as well as picking up some boric acid & what not.
posted by firei at 5:18 AM on May 6, 2011

Coming in late, but thought this previous AskMe might be interesting, if you haven't already seen it.
posted by likeso at 6:00 AM on May 6, 2011

Best answer: Whoa guys. These are not "roaches" in the sense that they are German Cockroaches that indicate you or someone near you is dirty. These are palmetto bugs, water bugs, whatever - yes, roaches, but not THOSE roaches.

If you are on the ground floor and you have no pets, get some 20 Mule Team Borax and sprinkle it around your doorways. It will help keep them out. If you have a window in your bathroom put a bit there or around the baseboards. It will help. But seriously - I know they're scary but they are NOT filthiness roaches. They are just bugs. If the weather's just gotten really hot or changed significantly, they're going to be moving around a lot.
posted by Medieval Maven at 6:04 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Having lived in many parts of the south as well as in New York City, I'm something of an expert on this. I don't understand why there's so many different names being thrown around for these bugs.

This is a "palmetto(if you're from the south) or a water(if you're from the mid-Atlantic) bug", which actually is a type of roach, but not the horrible bad kind (American), or the even worse kind (German). There are other types of roaches, but you generally won't see them in Florida.

The bad kinds aren't good to have in buildings where people live, but you'll always find them cohabiting with people. Something to know about these is that generally, you will only be able to see the sick, injured, or dying ones -- they dislike light, and have reflexes to run from it and hide. They are extremely fast! So if you are able to see one that is just straight up hanging out looking at you when you turn on the light, it isn't going to be around for much longer. This is what happens when they're poisoned.

So anyway, if you think the landlord isn't doing pest control, call a local exterminator. Sadly, I can't offer any recs, but try looking on Yelp and reading reviews from people.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 6:31 AM on May 6, 2011

Best answer: Ugh, yes, my money is on Palmetto bugs, not the normal, NYC-style German or American cockroaches. Growing up in North Florida these were just a way of life. They are horrible, but don't really seem to cause "infestations" like other species can--I believe they will come into homes not just to escape the heat, but also if it's been dry for a few days (they need moisture and like bathrooms, sinks, and below-ground crawl spaces). My parents (and I imagine lots of people in Florida) have a standing contract with the local exterminator, who comes every couple of months to spray around the outside of the house. Borax might help in your situation, but this is likely to be an ongoing maintenance chore, rather than something where you bug bomb the apartment and everything's good for the next several years. Those suckers are everywhere, they're really hardy, and they've had way longer than we have to figure out how to survive in the balmy sub-tropics.

One word of warning--these things can fly. If you see one climbing up a wall near you, keep an eye on it! (Shuddering at the memory of the giant Palmetto bug that flew into Dad's Cheerios once...ugh)
posted by Jemstar at 6:40 AM on May 6, 2011

Best answer: Ewwwww roaches/palmettos/etc are so gross. I've gotten used to them in the South, but they're still gross.

Push the management to spray *everywhere* in the building. I also recommend investing in plastic containers for food (you can get some at dollar stores), not leaving food out, etc.

Just be glad that they're the big ones, not the German fuckers.
posted by radioamy at 10:55 AM on May 6, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks! I just picked up some boric acid and I will be going to town with it later this afternoon.

Good to know that they are just creepy & gross, but not a big issue to worry about. Oh well! I'm only here for six months anyway.
posted by firei at 11:12 AM on May 6, 2011

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