Fair warning, this post will not be for the faint of heart. This will deal with several species of cockroaches that now live and have died in this area of the country.
(somebody has a lot of free time)
No we have not yet encountered Darth Roach as shown above, but we have some specimens here that can be just as tough. But before we jump to the situation here and now, let me take you back to yesteryear, when things were not quite as rough…
Like I have mentioned, I grew up in Charleston, SC. As Bill Murray of “Ghost busters” fame exclaimed recently to CNN, “We have bugs! BIG bugs!” Those bugs he was mentioning are the famous flying Palmetto Roach shown below.
(not to scale)
These flying pest are of a decent size and mass to get anyone’s attention. The fact they fly too makes it all the more enjoyable. A couple of years ago, a renegade palmetto bug crawled on my back while I was sitting in my living room. Out of reflex I grabbed whatever “it” was and chunked it as hard as I could across the room. My wife (of New England origins) was amazed not only when she heard the “Thump!” of the roach’s mass hitting the wall across the room, but also with the bloodlust I displayed in jumping up and quickly dispatching this same insect intruder. What can I say, I don’t “do” bugs.
But from my Carolina origins, I also was aware of the nasty German Cockroach. These mini-horrors have a super-quick egg-to-breeding-adult growth period that many would consider to rival Star Trek’s Tribbles. Only these small critters are not warm and fuzzy like the tribbles. They look more like this:
(almost to scale)
These pests will infest a household in just a matter of weeks. The only things that will get rid of them are deposits of Boric acid (a non-starter if you have kids or pets) or the Combat-brand Roach Tabs. These enclosed tabs have Boric acid in them and the poisoned roaches who feed in there carry the poison back to the nests. If there is an infected dwelling of these pests wait two weeks after deploying these tabs. Then you will have nothing but roach corpses to clean up. Oh by the way, I find it interesting that in Germany they call these pests Russian Cockroaches. Even more curious, scientists place the place of origin to SE Asia.
Fast forward to 2012. My wife and I were camping near Plant City, Florida – roughly halfway between Orlando and Tampa. During this weekend trip, we were hit with a half a foot of rain. Now I had been to this campground before and I knew of a spot that would get the least amount of flooding. I was right. What I did not count on was a complete infestation of all of nature’s creatures wanting to share the high ground with me. Our tent complex was nearly overrun with what I thought were German roaches and fire ants. The nasty twist to these German Roaches were they flew! And really well! Here is what they looked like.
(flight aspects not shown)
On the way back we were careful to isolate our clothes and tent gear. Nothing came in the house back here in the Swamp unless it had been shaken, searched and left outside overnight. We did manage to bring back more than a couple of these “riders” who decided my carport was their New World. These new colonists were seen flying around my carport months after our trip. Then suddenly, they were gone. Why? The Swamp got ’em.
Now I am not saying my carport is the insect version of the missing English colony of Roanoke only for roaches. What I will say is there are plenty of hunters out there more than willing to welcome additional items to their insect menu. “Stinkeye” the lizard and his buddies are more than capable of wrecking havoc on any host of insects that make their home here already. These cockroaches, who I have found out are called the Asian Cockroach, just never had a chance to overcome the serious war of attrition that is the circle of life here.
This week I have heard that the Asian Cockroach is running amok down south of here in Florida. That may be all fine and dandy down there, but they had better be ready if they intend to invade the Swamp. I am not claiming that my Carport is some version of an insect Auschwitz, but anything wanting to live here had better be on their “A” game.
Such is life here in the Swamp.