How do I know if roaches are in my plastic bags?
January 29, 2008 6:31 PM   Subscribe

Should I throw away all my plastic bags because I saw a roach?

(I can't believe I'm using my question on this)So tonight in my apartment, I saw 1 roach scurry across my floor. I freaked out, searched previous questions and am getting ready for battle, because there's never just 1 roach. I read about them liking to hide and lay eggs in plastic bags. I have a ton of plastic bags that I was going to recycle tomorrow, but now I'm worry that they're infested with roaches and roach eggs. I'd really like to recycle the bags, but I don't want roaches in my car or infest the place I'm taking them to. Should I throw the plastic bags out? If I move all the plastic bags will roaches just fall out of them like in a scene from Joe's Apartment or some bug horror movie?
posted by Attackpanda to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I hate to break this to you, but it's unlikely that the roach you saw is a little antisocial hermit roach. There are most definitely others that you have not seen. Getting rid of the plastic bags will have no effect on the roach population in your apartment. There may be roach(es) in the cache of plastic bags, but they're not going to rain down on you if you move the bags. And if you move them into your car, they're not going to colonize it. They'll run out of food eventually.

So yeah, it should be okay to recycle them by auto. But throw the bags away if it'll help you sleep at night.

And then dream about this comment.
posted by mudpuppie at 6:36 PM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but all apartment buildings have roaches. They probably aren't living in your bags-they like paper better-just recycle them tomorrow. Put them in your car if it makes you feel better, roaches will not infest your car.
BTW- I am an entomologist, and I hate roaches. They're gross. Just keep your place clean, don't leave food crumblies around, keep stored food tightly covered, and cover sink drains and tub drains. That's where they like to come in.
posted by bolognius maximus at 6:39 PM on January 29, 2008

throw away the bags? why stop there? throw away all possessions, make a clean break of it.

or call an exterminator or just clean up and lay down the boric acid......
posted by caddis at 6:44 PM on January 29, 2008

I've heard that roaches like paper bags. They think paper with glue on it is delicious. I've never heard the same about plastic bags, though.

Roaches might bust out everywhere if you move your bags, but I kind of doubt it.

I live in NYC, and all I've dealt with are the little German cockroaches, but I've had great luck with these traps augmented with this gel applied to areas a lot of them seemed to be trafficking.

It takes a little time to start working, but place traps and gel right away, and once you stop seeing roaches, remember to replace your traps and gel according to schedule. I wouldn't put off poisoning them, because a lone roach turns into a highly visible infestation quite quickly.

What's happening is that your roach population has overbred to the point that they're being forced out in the open more, and that's why you're seeing them.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 6:49 PM on January 29, 2008

Second the traps linked above, if there the ones I think they are they are especially effective due to a slow-release mechanism that allows a poisoned roach to bring many down with him/her.

Pouring bleach down your drains also may help.

You should throw your bags away if you value the emotional comfort / feeling of clean start that the act will provide more then the rational decision-making that should extend from the knowledge that it won't actually help anything. There would be absolutely nothing wrong with that, nor the vice versa, in my book.
posted by oblio_one at 8:56 PM on January 29, 2008

If you're super paranoid and want to feel a little better about the process, stuff the plastic bags into a giant black plastic garbage bag for transport. That'll minimize the chances of one getting away into your car.

Also--get into the habit bolo-max mentioned. Keeping edibles in glass or heavy plastic instead of original packaging helps avoid rodent and other insect problems as well as roaches.

In a typical apartment building, roach problems are something to be handled building-wide by the landlord. You can take measures yourself, but it's awfully easy for the little bastards to crawl to the next unit.
posted by gimonca at 9:02 PM on January 29, 2008

Nthing that it's paper bags and cardboard boxes (actually, the glue) that the beasties love. Transport your bags in peace. Get the gel poison thingys referenced above.
posted by desuetude at 9:42 PM on January 29, 2008

Side comment on the pouring bleach down your drains thing: If you have a garbage disposal, make sure you run the faucet good and long so you make sure you flush it out before you turn it on. You don't want to have any risk of anything splashing back at you when you do. . .
posted by FlyingMonkey at 5:17 PM on February 2, 2008

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