Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

How to Deal with Enormous Dying Bugs in Your Apartment

In which we give advice to newcomers to New York City.

From time to time, you may see enormous critters of the roach-like variety, particularly on the floor, on their backs, with their legs in the air. (Bug porno!) If they're scuttling around or, worse, flying, just leave the apartment for a while. This on-their-back thing generally means that your building has had an exterminator visit and/or it's rained really hard! Your new bug friend is dying. :(

1. The discovery is the grossest part. You may be moved to panic! Don't. You can wait this out. One of two things will happen: it'll either die, or it'll crawl off into some little hole. Either way, you win! (Or: your cat will eat it. Thanks, cat!)

2. Some hours later, this terrible bug will appear to be dead. This is often not true. It is likely still hanging on. Watch for tell-tale twitches. So this is when you either smack it to death with something (not a nice book you like!) or continue to wait it out. Those of you who can imagine yourselves picking up this still-living critter and flushing it, knock yourselves out. (Also, come on over.)

3. By the next day, Mr. Bug'll actually be dead. (Note: it's likely that your bug is really a lady!) Then you can pick it up with something and get rid of it. But you know, no rush! It's not going anywhere, and neither are you. Better to wait it out, experts say, than having an ill two-inch insect climbing up your arm and into your shirt.

NB: If you have some friend (or some dude you met on Craigslist) coming over, you actually should rush this process. It's really a private experience. NB #2: Bug is bigger than it appears in picture.

49 Comments / Post A Comment

DMcK (#5,027)

DUSTPAN, m'friend. That's how I dealt with an enormous dead rat in my crib (that my cat KILLED THE SHIT OUT OF, true story).

Tuna Surprise (#573)

Dustpan got the dead mouse (who got half-snapped in a snap trap and died only after a heroic effort to drag himself into the middle of the room where I would see his corpse entangled in the trap rather than have to find it by smelling it) out from under my couch. Team dustpan.

DMcK (#5,027)

@Tuna Surprise Oooh, like a little Brundlemouse. Shoot him with a tiny shotgun!

davidwatts (#72)

what, this isn't a sponsored post?

jolie (#16)

Choire, I don't know what's been going on lately with the OPPOSITE DAY advice you're handing out but for the rest of you:

See dying bug
Find shoe
Put dying bug out of its misery (IT IS THE HUMANE THING TO DO)
Snatch up dead bug in tissue
Flush bug

Basically what I'm saying is don't be a little bitch about it.

jolie (#16)

(if I could edit that comment it would say "Put dying bug out of its misery by clobbering it with shoe")

saythatscool (#101)

@jolie Roach Hostel starring Jolie Kerr, coming 2012.

Art Yucko (#1,321)

Filmed on location at YM Youth Hostile in the LES.

City_Dater (#2,500)


Yes, exactly. Find bug, kill bug, throw away bug corpse. I don't understand this whole "tiptoe around trying not to agitate the dying bug" thing.

C_Webb (#855)

@jolie I think "find shoe" works both ways. First as a weapon, and second because lord knows you don't want to be barefoot in case the beat makes a run for your ankles.

C_Webb (#855)

@C_Webb "BEAST" GAH.

crookedE (#1,817)

@jolie Someone once told me never to squash them with your shoe because, if the bug happens to be a female, you will walk around tracking roach eggs all over your apartment. Whether or not this is true, I am so horrified by it that I just drench them in roach spray and hope for a quick exit from this mortal coil.

@jolie "Humane" would only apply if roaches were sentient. I say, nuke the fuckers.

Bittersweet (#765)

@C_Webb: Team rolled-up magazine. Not tracking eggs around house and use for junk mail = win-win.

IBentMyWookie (#133)

The only acceptable solution is "Scream and grab the nearest man to take care of it"

jolie (#16)

@IBentMyWookie Poor Edith. Imagine having to choose between Sir Cries A Lot and the lady with the nude foot panties.

Aatom (#74)

@IBentMyWookie That's my boyfriend's approach. I play the role of the man in these scenarios. Also: Jolie is absolutely correct. I once grabbed a shoe and flew in the air 15 feet to land on and kill one of these bastards that crawled out from under my bed. It was nothing short of super-human. That's how much I hate bugs. They must all die. Now.

NFK (#8,747)

Don't flush a dying, intact bug down the toilet. I had a Palmetto bug come back that way one time. Not as much fun as you might think.

saythatscool (#101)

What if my dead bug is an actual dead lady and I can't flush her down the toilet? What disposal steps do you suggest then, Choire the Cleaner?

barnhouse (#1,326)

@saythatscool see Tom Stoppard's play, Jumpers, it has got some good ideas.

Bittersweet (#765)

@barnhouse: The solution in Dorian Grey isn't terrible, either.

jfruh (#713)

How do you react if you find a totally alive roach bug that's somehow managed to get down into your cat's food dish but can't get out (or maybe it DOESN'T WANT TO GET OUT, because it's in a dish full of food) and your cat is standing nearby and mewling piteously and it's like 7 am and you just got out of bed and it's skittering around inside the bowl in a thoroughly revolting manner? WHAT DO YOU DO THEN? (Not that this question comes up for me like two times a year or ANYTHING.)

jolie (#16)

@jfruh Do you keep a can of RAID under the sink? You should. Okay now that you've done that here's what you do:

1. Get out the can of RAID
2. Shoot the bug dead with the RAID
3. Dump dead bug and poisoned cat food in trash
4. Wash cat food bowl with hot soapy water
5. Give Fluffy new food

melis (#1,854)

@jfruh Burn house to the ground, salt the earth, move, start life anew with an assumed identity somewhere that is too cold for bugs.

@jfruh Dump cat food and bug into toilet. Flush. Wait for toilet to refill. Flush.

Paul B@twitter (#13,135)

Also you can put a cup over it if you walk around barefoot and forget easily. This also leads to the easy clean up solution which is sliding a piece of paper under the cup and then throwing the whole thing out the window or something.

becky@twitter (#14,213)

1. spray the bug with extra hold hairspray for 60 seconds straight.
2. sit on top of your bed in the fetal position, staring at the bug the entire time.
3. vaccum the bug up after it stops moving.*

*if it is still moving, give it another 60 seconds of hairspray. repeat steps 2 & 3.

zidaane (#373)

@becky@twitter You are missing the bic lighter part.

becky@twitter (#14,213)

@zidaane no, no. that's for my dead bug pyrotechnic show. totally different.

Operalala (#10,518)
NFK (#8,747)

@Operalala How about cybernetically augmented wasps with FLIR and miniature JDAMs as a solution to a roach problem? Too much?

Annie K. (#3,563)

@NFK Now you're getting me all excited.

SeanP (#4,058)

@NFK Needs more frikkin lasers.

NFK (#8,747)

@SeanP Yeah, but I figured animals + lasers = somewhat overused meme by now, so I opted for slightly more plausible upgrades.

C_Webb (#855)

True story: I once had a beta fish that swallowed a cockroach whole when it fell into his bowl. His name was Ella.

SidAndFinancy (#4,328)

@C_Webb Who names roaches?

Or, you make like Alvy Singer and get the wooden tennis racket. You'll be in bed with Diane Keaton in no time.

BadUncle (#153)

I like to keep their mummified remains and glue little tuxedos and ball gowns onto them, and them place them in a little doll house where they have a little mummified waterbug cotillion that's kind of like a David Cronenberg version of a Noel Coward play.

C_Webb (#855)

@BadUncle Bravo.

hman (#53)

Is it wrong to get Craigslist Dude to do the killing for you?

I'm surprised none of the advice here — in the post or comments — includes the very sensible "get a leash".

cherrispryte (#444)

This is so pertinent! Last night, getting a glass of water at 1am, a cockroach, STILL ALIVE, was skittering around the bottom of my sink.

I, using the nozzle attachment on my sink's faucet, forced that fucker down the drain AND TURNED ON THE GARBAGE DISPOSAL.

Hate me. Please hate me. I still hate me a little, because death by garbage disposal is my own personal nightmare, and I have inflicted it upon another living creature.

@cherrispryte I would have done the exact same thing, and then I probably wouldn't have been able to sleep for the rest of the night.

DMcK (#5,027)

Hey, anybody remember that part in Creepshow where E.G. Marshall plays that Howard Hughes-type guy who hates bugs and filth, and he always has a can of bug spray nearby to kill cockroaches, and the cockroaches get revenge on him by swarming all over him and eating him alive from the inside out? Sweet dreams!

swampette (#19,696)

This excellent advice is not limited to NYC! Also totally applicable in the South. Particularly Florida. Just sayin'.

SeanP (#4,058)

People should remember the virtues of a vacuum cleaner in this situation. Get out the little wand attachment and vacuum that fucker up.

Also: I was in my office the other day when my elbow tickled. Brushed at it absently. Tickled again. I looked and there was a GIGANTIC WASP ON MY ARM. I nearly flew out of my skin. The wasp, puzzled, ended up on my desk, waving his little antennae. I walloped his ass with rolled up TPS reports (or whatever they were). Did. Not. Even. Faze. Him. Walloped him again – he fell on the floor, looking only slightly dazed. Stomped on him. Still not quite dead, but he looked like he was getting there. I finally slid a piece of paper underneath him and put him in the garbage, which did turn out to be his final resting place.

I'm still creeped out.

hungrybee (#2,091)

@SeanP If you are like me and vacuum these fuckers and then forget that you now how a vacuum that requires you to empty the dust chamber rather than replace a bag, you then avoid dealing with the vacuum for a while. It's awful. Still, Team Vacuum Cleaner.

Flushing is too good for a dying roach. Stick 'em down the garbage disposal and let 'er rip.

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