Disgusting embarrassing insomnia trigger help please
August 16, 2018 8:30 PM   Subscribe

We are fighting an infestation of bugs. I've not seen them in the master bedroom, but they have been in the kitchen, living room, etc, and just now I had one crawl on me in the other bedroom that I use for sleeping until the baby wakes up (he is in the master). I am too disgusted and tense to go back to sleep.

We have been circulating through different types of treatment for these German roaches which are apparently a common issue where I've moved to, and I've only ever had run-ins with palmetto bugs which are too gigantic to really crawl on you.

Obviously treatment that works is a priority. We have been trying sprays, traps, homemade stuff. We don't really have the budget for an exterminator but if our latest treatment doesn't work, I will happily go into debt for the ability to fully relax in my house and not worry about roaches messing with my kid.

I'm grossed out and can't sleep, and it is day 2 of the pest disgust interfering with my sleep. (My spouse is supposed to plant the gel bait later tonight. I'm intimidated with the chemicals and the need to avoid placing where pets or children can reach them. My spouse is much more of an expert on toxic chemicals.)

It will also probably take a couple of days for the treatment to work, so I need solutions now. I thought about wrapping myself in a sheet like a burrito, but that would get incredibly hot. I took a Xanax to calm me down enough to sleep, but it seems to not work on disgust-related hypervigilence.
posted by crunchy potato to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
While you wait for the cockroach gel bait to work, I suggest spraying strong essential oils around the legs of the bed just before retiring so they don't crawl up while you're sleeping.


Also, get a mosquito net and tuck the edges firmly under the mattress. That way they can't crawl on you. There are mosquito nets that are rigid and fit over the bed (these are popular in China) if you don't want a hook in your ceiling.


I'm not familiar with cockroach gels but I use a non-toxic gel for ants that works well. Surely, there are non-toxic brands for cockroaches?

I sometimes run my essential oil nebulizer with the bedroom door open to encourage insects to get out. It seems to work.
posted by whitelotus at 8:57 PM on August 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

First of all, home remedy stuff, traps, and sprays will not get to the root of the infestation. I recommend an exterminator for the *whole* building, the landlord should pay or if you own the unit, get everyone in the building to split the cost. Otherwise they will just come in from elsewhere. If you are seeing a lot of them, there are even more hiding.

For yourself, once the exterminator comes you can do some things to keep them away. You can deep clean everything, and keep all food in sealed containers. Don’t leave food or dishes out. They tend to hang out where there is a bit of water so plug your drains at night. I’ve also had some success in an old house pouring bleach down the drains every few weeks.
posted by mai at 9:01 PM on August 16, 2018

Oh, and I heard they are attracted to cardboard so recycle all boxes promptly.
posted by mai at 9:05 PM on August 16, 2018

We get roaches periodically. I didn't want to call the exterminator because I thought he'd have to bomb the house. He came in and put some gel down, cost ~$100 and did the trick. He returned recently (2 years after last treatment) to treat again - didn't bother charging us. Call someone in, sleep is important. It'll probably be cheaper than you think.
posted by Toddles at 9:12 PM on August 16, 2018

I should add that we have small children and he just popped the gel into places no one goes.
posted by Toddles at 9:13 PM on August 16, 2018

I had bedbugs with an infant and was unwilling to do the whole big chemical thing and suffered through the slow diatomaceous earth solution.
I used a lot of self talk about how for dozens of generations we had bed bugs and pests ALL over our homes. I can handle this and these bites. Some people are dealing with Malaria and burrowing worms and I have a few common pests that all my grandmothers had to deal with?
I got this.

Now I am not diminishing the your situation - it's just how I make it though stuff.
posted by ReluctantViking at 9:15 PM on August 16, 2018 [3 favorites]

I can’t tell if you’re in a freestanding house or an apartment. If it’s an apartment, I’m sorry, but literally nothing you do (even hire exterminators) will work unless the whole building is treated. Even then, the German cockroaches are a bitch to get rid of. I eventually just moved away from the apartment I had that was infested after the exterminator had been out twice (but didn’t treat the rest of the building).
posted by Weeping_angel at 9:48 PM on August 16, 2018

Bit late, but: I also have an anxiety problem and have dealt with bedbugs and such that similarly did a number on my sleep. I'd suggest, even if you don't intend to keep it up long term, trying vigorous exercise--like "work yourself to exhaustion" kind of exercise. It's not a great long-term solution, but if you're just talking about needing to manage for a little longer until things improve, I have regularly found that rested-but-sore beats no rest. Also, at least for me, showering just before bed helps with not having random tiny itches that my brain immediately parses as BUG BUG BUG BUG.

It might also help to do a guided relaxation video on Youtube or an audio one through something like Headspace before you go to bed. They aren't magic or anything, but every little bit helps, and you really just need to take enough of an edge off for your meds to work, you don't need to Fix Everything This Moment.
posted by Sequence at 11:51 PM on August 16, 2018

A friend used to live in a huge house that had been converted into four apartments. Roaches were everywhere and the landlord/owner was useless, so the entire building never got treated, but that gel bait stuff did wonders in my friend's apartment. She still had to be careful about not leaving food out, and she'd still occasionally see one scuttle off when she turned on the kitchen light, but 99% of the problem went away as long as she put out fresh gel now and then. When she slacked on the gel, the roaches came back, but it was a really fast and effective temporary solution.

You mentioned pets -- if you have cats, be very careful with essential oils. They can be toxic to cats.
posted by QuickedWeen at 9:01 AM on August 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'm so sorry. I had this problem in two different apartments when I lived in Atlanta. One was a constant battle with ebs and flows, and in the second case we fought and fought but nothing helped and yes I had them crawl on me while sleeping, and into my wine glass, and every electronic device, and it was just uggghhhhhh. Truly a nightmare. I hope the infestation is not coming from your neighbor's place (if you're in a multi-unit building) because if so you will have to get a lot of help fighting them.

If you can afford it I'd bite the bullet and hire an exterminator, preferably one who keeps coming back until they are GONE without charging you extra. I don't think any of my OTC remedies really worked - they killed some but there were always more.

And I second the suggestion for diatomaceous earth - it's pretty non-toxic so you can be liberal about applying it. I never tried it, but my mom used it for DIY bedbug extermination at her house and it worked.
posted by ohsnapdragon at 9:34 AM on August 17, 2018

Update: We purchased this which is already working quickly. I ended up sleeping with a blanket over my head in a pair of jeans last night and it wasn't too bad, so I may do that once more at which point this gel will have handled enough of the problem that I can relax.

I appreciate the suggestions for anxiety management. Definitely some great ideas. I also appreciate RelunctantViking's reframe and it should come in handy if I have another problem like this!
posted by crunchy potato at 4:23 PM on August 17, 2018

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