The next day, I bought Raid.

I’ve been quite lucky on the pest front since I moved to the Philippines. Sure, there was a three month period where I was rinsing tiny ants off of my toothbrush every morning, but I’ve never had to deal with rats chewing on my clothes or cockroaches crawling up the drain during my showers like some of my friends here.

Last week, though, we had an Incident.

It was nearly 10 pm, so getting on towards bedtime for those of us living in the tropics who are expected to get up with the sun. I was casually surfing the web, as is my MO, when I was roused by hysterical shrieks from Roommate. I went to investigate.

Friends, an enormous cockroach had found its way into her bedroom. I mean it was freaking huge.

Now, I like to think of myself as pretty tough. I’m from Colorado, pioneer spirit and all that. Just earlier that night I’d made a joke about saving Roommate–who is sort of a sensitive, feminine type–from bugs. How I ate my words!

It wouldn’t come down to a reasonable height for crushing, that was the problem. It sat up there, seven feet in the air. You guys, cockroaches in the Philippines fly. And they also bite. So neither of us wanted to risk the terrible angle for crushing and suddenly find ourselves with a face full of pure biting buzzing EVIL.

The worst thing was, while it sat, it groomed itself. It would take one of its long, long antennae and run it slowly through its mouth, and then the other. No insect should be capable of such articulated movement.

I did not shriek, but that is about the most I can say about the way I acquitted myself.

Anyway, we stalked it for over an hour, and finally it landed on the floor and Roommate crushed it with a large casserole pan. Well, she half-crushed it. She crushed its back half into a mealy pulp. Its front half remained intact.

To save my sense of self-worth and salvage my pride at not really helping, I swooped in with a broom to clean up. I scraped the back half of the cockroach outside and washed the pan, and then I swept up the front half into a box I had lying around.

It was past our bedtimes at that point. We went to bed, and Roommate slept much sounder for having disposed of the cockroach.

In the morning I woke up with some unrelated–uh, we’ll call it intestinal difficulties and leave it at that–and hauled my ass miserably into the kitchen.

The counter was covered in ants. COVERED.

You know what I forgot to throw away? What I left on the counter overnight?

Did you further know that ants are attracted to protein as well as sugar? And that cockroaches are pretty much composed of protein?

This is me, standing in the middle of the kitchen, pre-coffee, one hand holding a box filled with ants swarming the front half of a cockroach, the other grasping my stomach, wondering what the hell to do with any of this.

PEACE CORPS.

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7 thoughts on “The next day, I bought Raid.

  1. Ew. Just ew. Ants are bad enough without the giant, well-articulated cockroaches or intestinal crud. You have my sympathy.

  2. I keep making the mistake of reading about ur roach-ant problems while I’m eating.

    Having lived in Florida, I am familiar with the tropical evil of ants. They will eat anything, and they can get into anything, especially the evil tiny ones. It was about that time my mom invested in some heavy duty tuperware and became a VERY CLEAN person.

    Somehow, where large and flying cockroaches seem ok, once you added biting we crossed some serious lines. Biting is not ok. Insects that bite will die. horribly.

    Idk if u can find this over there, but http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diatomaceous_earth has worked well for both Julia & I in terms of bug death.

    • I’m not sure I can get that here, but I’ll find out . You’d think that a tropical country would have more bug control available, but it really doesn’t. I checked in three different grocery stores looking for boric acid or Borax, and it just doesn’t exist. The only insect repellent I could get was this chalk stick you use to draw on the ground where ants walk. I don’t think it works.

      This post was actually going to be about vinegar, and how it’s my secret weapon in the War on Bugs. But the introduction went on too long. I’ll probably still make that post, seeing as I’ve already taken a picture of our big Jug o’ Vinegar.

      • i ordered mine off Amazon. It’s pretty cheap but the shipping is a lot because it’s well… heavy… But we bought a 4 pound bag and we have lined our entire apartment with it numerous times, and still have about half the bag left.

  3. Oh…not to worry. Some of the best short stories ever have been written about cockroach trauma.

    The rest are about ants. Especially if one is tied up…laying in the sand near the mound and slathered with cockroach innards.

    Get a grip, girl, and keep the keyboard handy…Love you!

    Mom who awaits the slugs under the pillow stories. I LOVE those.

  4. It’s been earwig season here in Paonia, the little buggers are everywhere. No flying roaches around here though, so I can’t complain.
    I can’t squash them for you, so I’m sending Paonia luck and brother love, love you sis.

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