Roaches. Why'd it have to be roaches.
September 13, 2018 5:02 PM   Subscribe

There are dead roaches in my attic. I want to know how long they've been there.

I've already called an exterminator, and am spending the time before they come doing some anxiety-reducing research. A child sent up to investigate took this photo of a dead roach. How long has that roach been there, do you think?

I am aware that there are probably one million living roaches hiding around that dead roach, I am not roach-naive, I just want to know if it's, like, a week dead, or ten years dead.
posted by The corpse in the library to Home & Garden (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Hey neighbor! I am no entomologist, but that looks less like a roach and more like those conifer bugs that are all over the place this time of year. Again not an expert, but they seem to not live in houses on the regular but wander in for visits this time of year.
posted by stowaway at 5:07 PM on September 13, 2018 [3 favorites]


OK, question update: is that a dead roach or is it a conifer bug?
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:10 PM on September 13, 2018

I agree, that resembles a conifer bug to me. The antennae are distinctive, that would be my vote.
posted by suri at 5:13 PM on September 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'm from Texas, that's not either of the two major brands of roaches.
posted by Lyn Never at 5:16 PM on September 13, 2018 [5 favorites]

i don't know from conifer bugs, but i do know from roaches, and i am pretty sure that is not a roach. i am not an entomologist but have lived in tropical locales and in NYC and that does not look like any roach i've met (and i've met lots!)
posted by halation at 5:17 PM on September 13, 2018 [2 favorites]

I just went outside and found a live one to compare it to, and I am more certain that it's a conifer bug. (I took a pic if you're interested.) But maybe your attic is not as critter-proof as it needs to be so maybe still worthwhile to have an exterminator come and check things out. When I find them in the house it's because they came through an open door.
posted by stowaway at 5:18 PM on September 13, 2018

That doesn't look like any roach I've seen anywhere in Canada or the northeastern US. suri is right about the antennae thing - roach antennae are further apart and longer and creepier and ugh vom you'd know one in your heart of hearts if you saw one.
posted by blerghamot at 5:20 PM on September 13, 2018

It’s a true bug, order hemiptera, not a roach. You can tell by the pronotum, and how that makes a shield shape of the body. Roaches are flatter; smaller proportional antennae, bigger overall (? You give no scale), and generally have a different body plan.

To tell how long it’s been dead, squish it or bite it. If it’s dry and crumbly it’s been dead probably a month or more. If it has some wetness to it, then it died within maybe a week or two.

Know your enemy. This is no roach, and perhaps a completely ignorable non-issue, but you have to learn some basics about insects to correctly diagnose your problem.
posted by SaltySalticid at 6:23 PM on September 13, 2018 [9 favorites]

Also roaches never have protruding thin heads. Don’t jump to conclusions is generally my advice, but good on you for asking and providing a decent photo, you can rest relatively easily, because Hemiptera are generally not troublesome and persistent interior household pests, at least in North America. (Also always please post your geographic region when asking about any wildlife!)
posted by SaltySalticid at 6:34 PM on September 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

Also, just in the grand scheme of things I would not expect surprise roaches in the attic. I would expect surprise roaches in the kitchen or bathroom where there are better sources of food and water. A lot of dead roaches in an attic and no other evidence of roaches elsewhere would be unlikely, even if these weren't pretty clearly Not Roaches.
posted by Frowner at 7:03 PM on September 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

Not a cockroach.
posted by JamesBay at 7:59 PM on September 13, 2018

You have no idea how happy this is making me.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:38 PM on September 13, 2018 [5 favorites]

Nthing not a roach, and I would say that you are, in fact, blissfully roach naive.
posted by aspersioncast at 9:39 PM on September 13, 2018

I am so glad for you it's not a roach! It's such a wonderful feeling when you find out your worst insect fear is put to rest. Sort of like when you think you have bed bugs but find out the bits are only mosquitoes.
posted by james33 at 7:50 AM on September 14, 2018

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