Squashed Roach
February 12, 2016 8:11 PM   Subscribe

Why is it so hard to squash a cockroach? "Insects, whether they creep or fly, live in a world of hard knocks. Who has not stepped on a cockroach, then raised her shoe to watch the creature get up and scoot under a door? Bees and wasps, for their part, face a never-ending obstacle course of leaves, stems, and petals—bumblebees crash their wings into obstacles as often as once a second. Now, researchers are learning how these creatures bend but don’t break."
posted by dhruva (26 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is why I typically stun cockroaches with a bunch of spray cleaner or other harsh chemical first.
posted by SansPoint at 8:29 PM on February 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


[Obligatory Wall-E GIF]
posted by blueberry at 8:37 PM on February 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


The trick with squashing a cockroach is, once you've stepped on it or squashed it with a paper towel, to grind the shit out of that fucker. Don't assume that just because you've given it a firm stomp with the heel of your shoe that you've disabled it—that's a rookie mistake. Grind it under your heel like you're a private eye in a gritty film noir, crushing out the butt of his cigarette. You need to break that fucker up into smaller pieces, or it's just going to skitter away into a dark corner, only to drop right onto your face in the middle of the night while you sleep. Get that little bastard.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 8:38 PM on February 12, 2016 [18 favorites]


But the pieces will carry the pheremonal evidence of your transgressions. The colony will know it was you. Don't worry about the skittering legs you feel on your face in the middle of the night. Worry about the ones that you don't even feel.

Sweet dreams!
posted by yesster at 9:09 PM on February 12, 2016 [4 favorites]


arrgh you made me imagine the crunch, you made me imagine the goop

now I want to tear off all my skin and live in the vacuum of space
posted by rifflesby at 9:26 PM on February 12, 2016 [12 favorites]


(and yes, I did read the article. It seems like a similar principle that was used in the Puffer Kite, which is no longer on the market. Thin membrane, with higher-pressure vessels to provide structure)
posted by yesster at 9:35 PM on February 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


Why is it so hard to squash a cockroach?

Because they are big and crunchy and after the first time you try to squash a cockroach to death you quickly learn the error of your ways and master the art of herding them out the door or into an empty container and then chucking them out into the street, hoping that they find their way into your neighbor's house instead of back into yours.

Ugh, fucking Florida and your neverending supply of creepy crawlies, not that Florida has anything on the horror that apparently is Australian wildlife.
posted by litera scripta manet at 10:11 PM on February 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


Okay, but when it comes to wasps, it's all out war, especially when they cross into your turf (aka show up in your house, tempting your stupid dog to chase after them.) Then you do whatever you can to whack them with a broom/swiffer/rolled up newspaper/sneaker, and then while they're stunned, you grind them with your shoe like there's no tomorrow.
posted by litera scripta manet at 10:15 PM on February 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


Ground up wasps and bees will attract and aggravate their comrades. The more you know.(scroll down to the section "Attack Pheremone.")
posted by yesster at 10:23 PM on February 12, 2016 [2 favorites]


The most discomfiting sensation I've yet to feel is a cockroach run up my pant leg (I didn't know what it was at the time), while in a torrential downpour in Cambodia. I grabbed at the crawly feeling, scuttled to the bathroom, and took off my pants. Out fell the bug—quite squashed, though not yet dead. Well, not for another 10 seconds, when a swarm of ants took care of cleanup.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 10:29 PM on February 12, 2016 [3 favorites]


Tse-Tse flies are the worst little F'ers, it was like trying to kill a flying tick.
We took to carrying a San Francisco phone book inside our car in Tanzania, you used it to beat them into submission against the window. You could not kill them with your hand you could only quickly roll them back and forth on you leg when you felt them bite through your jeans (felt like getting stabbed with a hot pin) and break off there little wings and legs.
posted by boilermonster at 10:59 PM on February 12, 2016 [4 favorites]


Death-defying roaches help build better boots. Now that would be helpful...
posted by Namlit at 12:00 AM on February 13, 2016


litera scripts manet, that's funny because this Australian is terrified of Florida. The Everglades, aggggh!

Since I got cats I've started feeling sorry for cockroaches. For myself I'd prefer the quick death of stomping and grinding to mush. The kitties bat them around for ages, with lots of pauses to bounce around all "omg, omg, mommy look at my toy!" while the cockroach tries to drag itself away.
posted by kitten magic at 1:44 AM on February 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


The most discomfiting sensation I've yet to feel is a cockroach run up my pant leg
.... nothing is worse than a roach crawling up the hairs of your leg in the middle of the night.
Nothing.

Also, while it is in fact easy to squash a cockroach - or some species of, as I recall German roaches are tough) it's a lot harder to incapacitate a squashed roach, because as a friend told me, nothing is worse than 'killing a 'roach, dropping it into the toilet, using said toilet and seeing it crawling up the bowl, guts hanging out.

I heard her screaming, so I have no reason to doubt her words.
posted by Mezentian at 2:05 AM on February 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


There is a beautiful bit in Philip K. Dick's Through a Glass Darkly where the hero goes over to his "girlfriend's" house to kill a roach for her and then they talk about it for a minute and she says,

IF I HAD KNOWN IT WAS HARMLESS I WOULD HAVE KILLED IT MYSELF.

This is like the greatest dialog in a book ever and the genius who made the movie left it out which is weird. Why would you do that?

(She isn't his girlfriend but he is obsessed with screwing her one of these days.)
posted by bukvich at 5:17 AM on February 13, 2016 [4 favorites]


I'm so glad to live in an area that doesn't have those damn things crawling around. I can deal with ants or centipedes or stink bugs but roaches? Ugh.
posted by octothorpe at 6:19 AM on February 13, 2016


Ugh, fucking Florida and your neverending supply of creepy crawlies

Those are palmetto-bugs, look like giant cockroaches, but are harmless outside bugs who sometimes wander inside. They are very easy to squash, but you learn not to as they make an unholy mess and have evolved to smell terrible when mashed. Pick'em up and play with them a bit, they're pretty chill, then let them go in the bushes outside.

Water bugs, however, are dag nasty, and do bite and scratch and fly and hate all that lives. You can try to step on them, but they might judo throw you across the room.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:05 AM on February 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


Sorry, I'm not even going to RTFA. I spent so much time in a string of cockroach-infested apartments in the Midwest that I don't even want to revisit those memories. And then that one apartment of a friend of a friend in Boston where the fuckers were so bold they wouldn't even scurry away when you turned the lights on? I wasn't about to sleep on the couch that night. I slept on the balcony, in the middle of some god-forsaken neighborhood. I thought the risk of a stray bullet was better than having a roach crawl into my ear...

So, decades after moving to the dry and high city of Denver, where I've never seen a cockroach (although there are skeezy apartments where they've settled in, I hear), Ima gonna put those filthy memories behind me. Like the time I lived in a rooming house and put up some egg carton insulation above the sink on the wall between me and my neighbor, and then one day I found out that I'd created a giant cockroach breeding hive...ughh.
posted by kozad at 9:18 AM on February 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


.... nothing is worse than a roach crawling up the hairs of your leg in the middle of the night.
Nothing.


I'm sorry to tell you that being woken by a spider in your ear is way more alarming.
The big red and yellow centipede in the shirt I threw on in when I was in the Seychelles was a close second.
posted by boilermonster at 10:02 AM on February 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


One time, I swatted a large house fly so hard I heard it splatter on a window across the room. Should have picked up tennis, with my killer backhand.
posted by lmfsilva at 10:02 AM on February 13, 2016


I'm a huge fan of the: "let the cats chase it into the open, drop a bowl on top of it ("Please God, don't be one of the flying ones..."), put a weight on top of the bowl (See: Cats,) then wait a week for it to starve. Slide a piece of cardboard carefully under the bowl. Then never use that bowl again..." method.
posted by Cyrano at 10:58 AM on February 13, 2016


You can always plead with a roach, and then play the saxophone at him. That’s the Shuffle Demon method.
posted by LeLiLo at 11:20 AM on February 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


Does nobody else just spray them with rubbing alcohol? The screw thread of many household sprayers is compatible with the big bottles of isopropyl from the drugstore. Put the nozzle on stream and blast from a distance; usually two direct hits is enough to send the fucker into convulsions and then death. The smell dissipates rapidly and you've already disinfected the area.

No guts, no running around the house screaming with a shoe in your hand.
posted by a halcyon day at 12:57 PM on February 13, 2016 [4 favorites]


the: "let the cats chase it into the open, drop a bowl on top of it ("Please God, don't be one of the flying ones..."), put a weight on top of the bowl (See: Cats,) then wait a week for it to starve. Slide a piece of cardboard carefully under the bowl. Then never use that bowl again..." method.

This is not a good method. I used that method once, when I had a room in the basement as a teen. (I used to find them in my bed; it was terrible.) My father knocked over the cup I used, the cockroach got away, and I felt completely freaked out that it was back in my space and got yelled at for it. Death to all bugs on sight now.
posted by limeonaire at 8:44 PM on February 13, 2016


Palmetto bugs are also known more generally as American Cockroaches, and are definitely big ol' nasty cockroaches. They are mostly outdoor bugs, except when there's a cold snap or you don't take the trash out enough or they just feel like flying straight at your face for the sheer hell of it.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 2:08 PM on February 16, 2016


Nah, that's a different beastie. I lived on the East coast of Central Florida, in the sandy pine forest around five miles from the coast. Never saw an American Cockroach, but I understand they're pretty chill, too. Palmetto bugs are about as big, but look more like the Madagascar hissing roaches. Never had one spray me with its stink-juice when I wasn't crushing it to death, so I stopped crushing them to death. They like climbing on hands, it's like a bug hamster wheel for them.

Waterbugs, tho... eeeeeevil. These are insects about the size of a crossover SUV. They are aquatic insects, inhabiting lakes and ponds and streams, and are very predatory, eating mosquito larvae, tadpoles and bull sharks who swim into the wrong goddamn lake. They are intensely territorial, which means that anything that isn't itself needs to get out or die. Its territory is everywhere. They have bug-mouth-parts that can bite the hell out of you, and not in the stick-a-proboscis-in-you way that Mosquitoes and Horseflies do. No. It's biting away chunks of your flesh to eat.

It also has amazngly overdeveloped forelegs, like Arnie in Full Steroid Mode forelegs. Only the Mantis Shrimp's are stronger, and the Mantis Shrimp isn't as hateful. Their immensely overdeveloped forelegs of course end in sharp hooks.

Oh, yes they will pierce mere human skin. And rip. As it bites.

Of course they fly. Into your hair. While trying to get laid, and so they are even more hateful than usual because they are not getting it on with another waterbug, because a mere human dares to exist in its presence.

Florida: America's Australia
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:42 PM on February 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


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