View Full Version : Please tell me I don't have roaches...
09-26-2001, 10:26 AM
Maybe some of you can help me solve this insect-related quandary. This morning, I went down to the basement to get my laundry. When I flicked on the light, I saw a large brown bug, laying on its back, completely still. It was at least 2" long, 3/4" wide, and laying in the middle of the floor. I thought it was dead, so I reached down with a paper towel to pick it up. Upon my advance, the bug scared the crap out of me by coming to life, flipping over, and skittering behind a box in the corner of the basement. It was very fast.
Now, it looked like a cockroach. The antennae were long, and it moved like a bat out of hell. However, the house in which I'm living has never had roaches. I saw only the one, and I've been living here for months. I keep everything clean, so as to avoid this very thing. Also, I wasn't aware that roaches "played dead". It remained totally lifeless (even the antennae were still) until I touched it with the paper towel.
My question: was this a roach? If not, what was it? I live in lower Westchester County in New York. If it was a roach, should I be worried, or might it be a fluke? I can't stand fast-moving crawlies. Give me some good news.
09-26-2001, 10:31 AM
It's what is called a Palmetto bug. Yes, it's a giant freakin' roach. Get some Raid MAX and spray the hell out of your basement (along the baseboards mainly) to keep them from getting in.
09-26-2001, 10:35 AM
IANAEBEEIMFA (I am not an entomologist, but everyone else in my family are) You saw an outdoor-type American Cockroach. Don't worry about that one, it probably came in because of the cooling temeratures. They one you really have to look out for is the German Cockroach.
Our Friend the Roach (http://pested.unl.edu/roachind.htm)
09-26-2001, 10:51 AM
I think you might have seen a certain type of beetle, whose name escapes me, but which looks a lot like a cockroach except it has giant pincer things. Someone posted about a month after finding the same type of bug in his house. I also had one of these in my basement and thought it was a cockroach until I saw the pincers. I am not sure that true cockroaches play dead, but who knows - but the beetles definitely do. If it's a beetle, it probably snuck in from outside.
I don't remember the thread title, only that the bug sometimes bit people. Someone provided pictures; if you can find the thread, you might be able to tell what it was.
I'll bet you're going to feel all creepy-crawly until you get to the bottom of this!
Not a good sign. Roaches are, indeed, very fast. It COULD have been a roach. They are brown, have long antennae, and often take that backside down pose in death, and pre-death. It COULD have been one. And being large, it could have been an adult. Meaning, of course that it's 99.9999% the case that you do have roaches. It's almost unheard of to have just one. The somewhat comforting post about its being a palmetto bug that just came inside for some warmth doesn't do much for me. First and foremost - "palmetto bug" is, in fact, a euphemism that Floridians use to refer to roaches, but they're indiginous to those warm climates. (Palmetto bugs, that is). It's not very likely that there would be one that far north. (Floridians, maybe, but not palmetto bugs). There is also a species of roach that seems to like wet places, e.g. basements, and are sometimes called water bugs - another euphemism. They don't usually go in for hanging out in the pantry, but they're not much fun to have around, either. That was one large bug you saw. If memory is not playing tricks on you, and it was really 2" long, you should call the Orkin man. Also, check the paper for apartments for rent.
hmmm read much? I misread the prior posts and mixed up two of them. Maybe it was an outdoor roach just coming in from the cold. (never saw one, however, and never heard of one). Definitely not a palmetto bug. So far, you have roach. Do you have roaches? stay tuned.
09-26-2001, 11:14 AM
[Steve Case]You've got roaches![/Steve Case]
But it's no big deal. Homes get roaches. It doesn't make the place unlivable, it's just a problem you need to control. If you've seen one, there are at least another dozen you haven't seen.
I've had great success with these disk-shaped things called Combat. You buy them six or twelve to the box and put them in corners all over the house. They're poison; the roaches are attracted to what's inside them, eat some, then go away to die. Usually behind a wall or somewhere else where you won't find their little roach-corpses afterwards. Whenever I have the Combat out, if I do find a roach it's so slow and sluggish from the poison that it's easy to grab in a paper towel and kill.
Owning three cats probably makes a difference for me, too. My former roommate once came upon Buster (http://www.mindspring.com/~glenn5/images/buster.jpg) just as half a roach fell out of his mouth. The other half was gone.
09-26-2001, 11:41 AM
Do you have termites, water bugs, and roaches? Eagh, ewww. Aagh, oogh, ecch. Parson's Pet Control will take care of the termites and water bugs, and help you smoke the roaches.......
Seriously, I'm hanging on to the last shred of doubt. I didn't even think of the cold aspect. It was pretty chilly last night. Perhaps NotMrKnowItAll is correct. At least I hope so. His link certainly shows that American roaches are much bigger than German ones. At any rate, I'll try the Raid and the Combat disks.
throatshot, I thought of that, and I've seen Palmetto bugs, but as has been said, not around here. Those things are tough, too. This one squashed fairly easily, once I cornered it.
Nope, missbunny, no pincers. Just a nondescript brown head to offset its huge grotesque brown body.
I hear ya, Fiver, but I can't stand the thought of having to deal with these things. My skin's crawling right now. Also, I guess it's the societal stigma attached to cockroaches that's making me freak out.
Thanks, all. Feeling better already. Any other entomologists out there want to offer their $0.02? Please?
Gala Matrix Fire
09-26-2001, 04:31 PM
In Georgia, there was once a palmetto bug in my room so big that it woke me up knocking stuff off my desk. Thank God I don't live there any more. On the bright side, they were outdoor bugs and when you found them inside they were usually making a break for the outdoors.
Out west, where I live now, the roaches are still outdoor-dwellers. The exterminator who came to our house right after we moved in said to pour 1/2 cup of bleach down all the drains twice a week to keep them out. Seems to be working.
09-26-2001, 09:01 PM
I'm from manhattan; that's a waterbugs. hmm 2" that was a small one..
j/k :) actually i think i've seen them almost that big.
Just asked my wife and she says shes seen them 2 1/2 inches long (like a big thumb she's saying)
they are amazing, you can barely kill one with a shoe unless you're in the shoe and weigh over 150 pounds.
you think you're creeped out now, wait till you see'em fly :)
09-26-2001, 09:27 PM
The link to roaches did not mention Palmetto bugs. I've always thought Palmetto bugs and water bugs are one and the same. From the description you gave, it was an American roach. Palmetto bugs are black. (Big and Black.) Any one know the real name for Palmetto bugs and are they the same as water bugs.
Duck Duck Goose
09-26-2001, 10:21 PM
I am the Expert--I have a resident population of Oriental cockroaches.
Your bug was either an "Oriental cockroach" or an "American cockroach", two different species both colloquially known as a "waterbug", or "palmetto bug" in Florida.
American cockroaches are flatter, browner, have spikier legs, and are faster. Oriental cockroaches are shinier, blacker, slower, and stupider.
If you have wood siding on your house, Oriental cockroaches, which are also sometimes also known as "wood roaches" (not to be confused with the "woods cockroach"), will live under the siding, in the wall space. I was once told that the only thing that will really get 'em out from there is Chlordane, now banned by the EPA (said the pest control guy, sadly. Those Feds, they take all the fun out of it...)
Both kinds respond well to Ortho's Home Defense, which I find is a nice compromise between toxicity to humans and knock-down value. And it doesn't smell bad, either.
Anyway, if it was brown and fast, it was an American cockroach ("waterbug") and although they are most often found outside, I personally wouldn't assume that it was just a lone straggler. They eat anything and unlike the Oriental cockroach, which only breeds once a year, waterbugs breed constantly.
Nuke the basement.
09-27-2001, 04:58 AM
Please stop panicking.
It was almost certainly an American/Australian cockroach (trying to tell the two species apart is kind tricky and not worth the effort). But those things fly, considerable distances. And it was obviously dieing. Basically it's flown in, come into contact with whatever residual insecticide is around and has turned up its toes. This just proves the treatment is still working. Unless you see healthy roaches walking around relax. Re-treating your premises is just going to be an unnecessary expense. You could napalm the place and flood it with DDT today and one of these suckers will fly in tommorrow night and you'll see it dieing on the floor when you wake up on Friday morning. Nothing you can do about it if you're not prepared to hermetically seal your building.
And just to further calm your nerves, those things fall over dead at the slightest whiff of insecticide. They're pussies, not like the annoying smelly litle German roaches. Do nothing, if you see any live ones spray a little surface spray around. Problem solved for about 5 bucks.
09-27-2001, 06:05 AM
Be grateful you don't share a home with my 8 yo. He's planning on being an entomologist and has taken to providing dinky wee homes for any cockie he comes across. This means around Chez Primaflora it's bloody dangerous to open small containers as dead or dying cockroaches lurch out to party.
I live in Qld, Australia. Cockroaches are a simple fact of life.
09-27-2001, 09:27 AM
I don't remember where I got this, but somebody told me once that if you have one (or a very few) BIG roaches, you probably don't have a million LITTLE roaches. Those of you who know this to be untrue will please not say so ( ;) ), or I shall have to pack everything I own and go live on the sidewalk outside my building, because about twice a year I get a BIG roach. Just one. I hate them, but everyone I know, even the neatest of the neat freaks, has at least one icky roach story to tell.
I do have the Combat traps Fiver mentioned, and also a cat, Marlin. Marlin generally chases the intruder and pins it, and I swear he waits for me to come along and finish it off with a shoe. areider is right, it takes some effort. I don't weigh 150 but I whack the living daylights out of Mr. Roach with the heaviest shoe I can find.
Amusing anecdote: Marlin has a new toy mouse, to which he's taken quite a liking. He carries it from room to room and every morning I wake up with the toy mouse next to me, because he's left it there-- having conquered it, of course. Yesterday morning I wake up, there's the mouse, awww... but also there, on the windowsill, is a BIG ROACH. Belly-up and near-death, brought to me by my faithful kitty. Gee, thanks! Gah!
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