If this is a cockroach, what do I do?
June 12, 2007 6:53 PM   Subscribe

Tonight I found this insect on the wall of my apartment. What is it?

Tonight I found this insect on the wall of my apartment. My girlfriend’s dog actually found it first (thank god she wasn’t here at the time), and I found the dog staring at it. The bug was about 4 feet up on the wall, just sitting there. This was at roughly 8:00 p.m. EST. I tried to brush it down to the floor and it flew off the wall. It seemed to fly very lightly and easily, like a moth almost, but it didn’t fly more than a few feet down to the floor. I saw it fly a few times, but never more than a few feet. I managed to capture it easily (perhaps in part thanks to the dog, Teddy, who mauled it a bit). After capturing it in a drinking glass, I took some pictures of it. I think it sustained some physical trauma from the dog, because it has been very easy to capture and control and I always heard that roaches were very elusive.

After taking some pictures of the beastie, I killed it with ammonia-based generic brand window cleaner. After that I photographed it next to a coin for size comparison.

After some quick google research, I don’t know exactly how to classify this insect. It looks a lot like a roach of some sort. The wing pattern seems to look like what I consider a roach, but it is very light-brown colored. Most pictures of roaches I came across are a lot darker than the thing I found on my wall.

A few more facts: I live in an apartment in suburban Alexandria, Virginia, USA. My roommate and I are not exceptionally messy, but we have been known to let some stuff pile up in the sink or garbage can now and then. Nothing ridiculous though, just a little cluttered at times. The neighborhood is pretty clean though, and I have heard no other complaints of cockroach infestations. My building is three floors tall (I’m at the top) and it has four apartments on each floor.

Also, yesterday I got back from a two-day long camping trip to West Virginia, and brought a bunch of stuff up to the apartment from the car. There is a possibility that I brought this in from outside.

To date this is the first experience I have had with what may be a cockroach. Tell me, mefites, is it a roach? If so, what kind? Where may it have come from, and do I or will I have an infestation on my hands?

posted by Caper's Ghost to Health & Fitness (22 answers total)
It's an American Roach or American Cockroach.
posted by iconomy at 6:59 PM on June 12, 2007

IANAE, but that looks for all the world like a cockroach to me.
posted by kaseijin at 7:05 PM on June 12, 2007

Response by poster: I don't want to bust up the flow of answers, but I checked out a lot of pictures of American and German cockroaches, and my invader looks a lot lighter-brown than any of those. Also, it lacks the two dark brown spots on the thorax, although I do agree that the general shape and size lend itself to be a roach of some sort.

Maybe it was an immature specimen, and if I had let it mature, it would have darkened up?

Anyway, continue on with your wise answers.
posted by Caper's Ghost at 7:10 PM on June 12, 2007

Yup, a good ol' American roach.

Is it me or is there a new what is this insect question on askmefi everyday? are insects the new cats?


posted by special-k at 7:10 PM on June 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

Yep. La cucaracha. If you see one, there are hundreds of thousands that you don't see. Pleasant dreams!
posted by Dave Faris at 7:11 PM on June 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

Ditto on that Caper's Ghost, looks like a cockroach. Having had some minor brushes with them, I wouldn't guess that it's something that came home with you.

Infestation? It's possible. I would check under your sink and at the bottoms of all of your kitchen cabinets. Also spend a couple o buck for some roach traps just in case.
posted by snsranch at 7:14 PM on June 12, 2007

that's bucks.
posted by snsranch at 7:15 PM on June 12, 2007

Maybe it was an immature specimen, and if I had let it mature, it would have darkened up?

That's been my observation in the past.
posted by ludwig_van at 7:22 PM on June 12, 2007

Tony Montana would kill it.
posted by OrangeDrink at 7:23 PM on June 12, 2007

To date this is the first experience I have had with what may be a cockroach.

Wish I could say that.
posted by sanko at 7:25 PM on June 12, 2007

'Tis a baby cockroach!: the nymph. Google images link.

The cocroach has a uniquely nightmarish lifecycle.
posted by longsleeves at 7:31 PM on June 12, 2007

See, I'm going to say German Cockroach. Smaller than your average cockroach, equally as disgusting. We had these growing up in Louisiana; they're very common in urban areas, particularly in hot weather months or after large rainstorms.
posted by TryTheTilapia at 7:35 PM on June 12, 2007

My roaches just called your captive specimen 'an amateur', then they ran off with my dinner.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 8:33 PM on June 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

Had one of these good old American cockroaches in the house last night--easily 3 times that size :O Pets are great at catching these, not so good at dispatching 'em. (Man, do they make an eerie racket in the bathtub when brought there, crippled, by a cat who quickly tires of it.) In my experience, you can have just one or two to hitch a ride inside without it being a major infestation. Had them fly right through an open kitchen door.
posted by thebrokedown at 9:25 PM on June 12, 2007

OMG it's a roach...quick, grab a slipper!
posted by JujuB at 9:39 PM on June 12, 2007

Best answer: hey my actual brother

having lived 1 year in augusta, ga., home to lingering segregation and LOTS of roaches everywhere, in every home, ever cranny, every single place you can think of no matter what, i'll just say don't worry too much about it.

i went on a hunt in my augusta bungalow and found 2 dozen

one even somehow landed in my hair while i was working on the computer

just go over your place, clean it all up, put all foods in containers, stay on top of dishes and trash...

be especially vigilant about moisture. Keep the sinks dry, roaches will need water too and if they can't find it won't have as much luck

i found the effective solution to be bug bombing the shit out of my home. go to home despot and get bug bombs, bomb each room and multi-bomb your greatroom...

go away for a few hours while you do it, i stayed home the first time and got very fucked up while they were going off

that should kill them off

if the problem continues see the landlord and have him call the exterminator, or just go that route right away cause he probably wil have to pay for it. no one wants roaches in their buildings

but i find that blowing off bug bombs is a lot of fun, and it's way more gratifying killing all those fuckers yourself
posted by Salvatorparadise at 11:09 PM on June 12, 2007


Well, even if you were my endodontist, that still doesn't mean I'd trust you.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:34 AM on June 13, 2007

eeks... don't you mean entimologist? I don't think I want a dentist giving me advice about bugs. Sounds like a B horror movie.
posted by nimsey lou at 5:01 AM on June 13, 2007

I did a 6 month stretch in Alexandria VA during the Vietnam era, in a (then) bad part of town called Shirley-Duke. This will be an ongoing battle, most likely. You want an professional bug killer if possible. The problem is, they're endemic and they live in the sewers and it doesn't get cold enough to kill them in the winter and they come out of the drains. So keep stoppers in all the sinks.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 5:48 AM on June 13, 2007

I don't think I want a dentist giving me advice about bugs.

Verily, you got the joke.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:32 AM on June 13, 2007

I second the suggestion that this will be an ongoing battle. The thing to remember is that it is always worth it to stay on top of the problem as much as you can. I can't tell you how much worse life gets when a roach population grows beyond "annoying but tolerable".
posted by turing_test at 8:50 AM on June 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

Many places recommend Borax, sprinkled around the living space and in hard to see spots. Some say sugar should be added, and baking soda too.
posted by kc0dxh at 8:11 AM on June 14, 2007

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