Bug-filter: Cockroach? Please god, nooooo!
February 22, 2008 1:21 PM   Subscribe

Oh the joys of foreign bugs. Please can someone confirm/deny whether this is a cockroach? I'm creeped out to the nth degree.

Yes, that photograph is far closer to any gross bug than it should be. I have searched through other questions on this subject, and this picture seems similar to what I have crawling around in a jar on my counter right now... but not 100%. My main problem being that I'm not from the US, so I'm not used to all the insects San Diego keeps throwing at me. Hell, I freaked out when a cricket got into the apartment the other night.

So what do I have and how should I kill it without touching it? If it's not a cockroach, is this something driven inside by the rain (it's pouring today, and I left the screen door open)?
posted by saturnine to Pets & Animals (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I do believe you have a cockroach in that shot. If I wasn't leaving the office right now, I'd track down some actual evidence.
posted by malaprohibita at 1:29 PM on February 22, 2008

Best answer: Looks like an oriental cockroach.
I am not an exterminator, but I do train them.
posted by Coffeemate at 1:31 PM on February 22, 2008 [2 favorites]

Um, I train exterminators, that is. The cockroaches we just kill.
posted by Coffeemate at 1:33 PM on February 22, 2008 [4 favorites]

Best answer: That's a cockroach. It's either an Oriental cockroach female or a juvenile American cockroach. To kill it, drop a tissue over it and stomp hard, preferably while wearing boots. Drop another tissue over it, and use that to pick up the tissue containing the squashed cockroach.

Either way, yes, you've got cockroaches, and there are a few cockroaches living in most southern California houses. The good news is that it's not a German cockroach, which are smaller and far more odious in terms of getting into your food and stuff.
posted by infinitywaltz at 1:35 PM on February 22, 2008

That's totally a cockroach. Sorry.

Be glad you didn't wake up with little bites all up and down your legs, as I used to in southern Louisiana.
posted by herbaliser at 1:46 PM on February 22, 2008

nthing the cockroach. Welcome to the glorious canyon country of San Diego! Just wait until you see a full-grown, two-inch palmetto bug, like the one who shared a comforter with me one night when I was nineteen.... eek.
posted by changeling at 1:51 PM on February 22, 2008

Yeah, herbaliser's right. Southwestern U.S. cockroaches are infinitely less horrible than southeastern U.S. cockroaches. At least in California, they don't fly at you.
posted by infinitywaltz at 1:52 PM on February 22, 2008

flush it
posted by :-) at 2:03 PM on February 22, 2008

To kill it, drop a tissue over it and stomp hard, preferably while wearing boots.

Or just give it a quick tap with your finger. You're going to waste many, many paper towels and tissues if you're afraid of killing roaches unaided, as I have discovered.
posted by frobozz at 2:16 PM on February 22, 2008

Response by poster: The bug has left the building via a fake Timberland shoe and a quick flush. Grossgrossgross.

"At least in California, they don't fly at you."

! Yes. Christ.

Thanks everyone, I am horrified and grossed out by the confirmations, but really appreciative. Currently cleaning everything (floors, counters, dishes), and although I know it's probably wishful thinking, hoping it is just random bug attack. Unfortunately, we did find another about a month ago, didn't think it was a roach and disposed of it. It's entirely possibly they're coming from another apartment but I guess unless we start seeing them more regularly, the only thing to do is be as clean as possible and stop leaving food out (although with two cats, that's a little difficult).
posted by saturnine at 2:34 PM on February 22, 2008

Best answer: You mention that it's pouring out — I had two Oriental cockroaches last year (shudder), one was in the paper recycling bin next to the kitchen door, and another was in with my clean laundry which I had just brought up from the basement.

Anyway, both of the monsters appeared during heavy rains, and I think they were driven inside to seek shelter. I haven't seen any others since, if that makes you feel better.
posted by limeswirltart at 2:46 PM on February 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Bottom of a hand-wielded flip-flop is the ultimate cockroach cure, you'll always get some finding their way into your cosy home. While you're working up to the hand-to-hand combat phase, a can of RAID does just fine.

We get large roaches coming in from the bush out here, 4-5cm long, entirely terrified when I first encountered one, full on five year school girl mode (my very first cockroach no-less) but now, they're just another bug. Strangely, I think I would be more creeped out with seeing small ones now.
posted by Static Vagabond at 2:49 PM on February 22, 2008

We had a roach that came in through the pipes in a seldom used bathroom, it has a tub we never use and my husband caught it crawling out of the overflow thingy. He killed and then TOLD me. I was seriously freaked out and now every day I go in there and run the water for a short time to keep the trap full so bugs can't get in. I don't know how cold it is where you are but it's possible he came in the same way, so you can try that if the cleaning doesn't help.
posted by jesirose at 2:52 PM on February 22, 2008

Response by poster: limeswirltart, that does indeed make me feel better! Thank you!
posted by saturnine at 2:53 PM on February 22, 2008

Really though, nothing you can do will stop cockroaches. It's best to just accept that the horrible creatures will do anything they can to make you completely miserable.
posted by Pants! at 3:31 PM on February 22, 2008

Best answer: If they're on the move, spraying them copiously with Windex will slow 'em down.

If your roach was moving slower, it was likely an Asian cockroach. They like drains, water, sewers.

If it was moving faster or tried to run straight at you, it was an American cockroach. They grow real big. They like basements and big commercial buildings best.

infinitywaltz is right. Both of these are gross! but German cockroaches are the ones that really get happy infesting a kitchen.
posted by desuetude at 4:05 PM on February 22, 2008

In Miami, the palmetto bugs are huge and fly AT YOU. They have no fear. Gross!
posted by HauteMama at 4:33 PM on February 22, 2008

I live in japan and your bug looks a lot like the cockroaches we have here. They're extremely gross and fast.
Due to the extremely poor garbage system in tokyo you're bound to see them in summer just about everywhere. The first time i saw one i got freaked out and asked japanese friends to find a way to protect my home.
Combat is the answer i got. It's a chemical weapon that'll wreck havoc on roaches colonies.
I haven't seen one since i installed the 8 combat death pods in my home.
It's so efficient i sometimes feel guilt for the chemical massacre i perpetrated on the roach community.
posted by SageLeVoid at 9:51 PM on February 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: What's That Bug?

For all your bug questions. Looks like the site is going to be updated soon to improve browsing, in the mean time, the bug list is on the left, just scroll down a bit.

Some roach related info from that site: If you find a common house centipede, let it be; as these will actually kill and eat roaches.

Comparing your pic with the two pages on that site devoted to cockroaches, it's in agreement with other folks here identifying it either as a (wood/American/German/oriental) juvenile or an adult oriental cockroach (also known as a water bug).

It's hard to see the coloration, if you have it trapped still, check out the roaches on the first roach page and do a comparison. It looks like it might be a juvenile wood cockroach, which would be great news, as these don't infest homes and only occasionally wander inside.

If it's a German cockroach, call an exterminator asap, these are the worst home infester in the world. Oriental/American roaches also can warrant a call to an exterminator.

You can also email the site owner if you have a bug question.

Sorry for the long winded reply.
posted by Stilus at 2:49 PM on February 25, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks Stilus, that was by no means longwinded and very useful - I'm now 99% sure it's not a German cockroach. w00t for centipedes, I'd ask where we could buy some, but we have cats and I doubt they'd survive for long. On the plus side, cats are pretty good roach detectors, and would be even better if ours would pluck up the energy to eat them.

An update for others on the thread: some bad news is that I came across two more in the days since making this post (one crawling into a crack beneath the toilet roll holder, eeeewww!). I'm hoping that we're not going to see any more, I'm trying to make sure that all food is covered, the trash gets taken out at night and that we're cleaning a bit more regularly than we used to - anything to not resort to chemicals or the landlord calling in an exterminator, especially for something that is supposed to live outside.

But oh. So so so gross. My skin crawls.
posted by saturnine at 1:59 AM on February 27, 2008

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