Despite living in a major city known for summer infestations of roaches, my husband and I have not suffered much from these adrenaline inducing creatures. In our worst summer, we saw three. In our best ones (in about our first 10 years here), we saw none at all. This year, I had been hoping that we'd have a repeat our best.
I'm sorry to say that a summer spent unsullied by scurrying creatures was ruined the night before last when I saw the first roach of the year high up on our living room wall. It's usually safe by this time of year because it gets colder the roaches head south for the winter, but one just managed to squeak in and spoil our record.
The reason I had high hopes for not getting any cockroaches this year was that I figured out that the way to keep them at bay was both to keep trash (especially stinky, food scrap-filled trash) under wraps, keep things clean, and keep all points of entry screened off. The latter is rather tricky since most Japanese apartments have a lot of little holes through which insects can crawl in. I blocked off our kitchen ventilation fan's gaping hole to the outside last year and that helped a lot. I later figured out that the shower room vent (which is frozen open from rust) and the drain were the other major points of entry and keeping the shower door closed in the risky months discouraged roaches from coming in for a stay if they wandered in because they had no access to food. I guess they could eat our soap or much on hair in the drain, but that's likely less tasty (even from a roach's point of view) than stray kitchen crumbs that don't get vacuumed up.
Since I went to such pains to plug up all the gaps, I wasn't quite sure how the one that got in the other day made its way in, but I have a suspicion. A few days ago when I was pulling laundry off the line in the evening (after dark), and I thought I saw something large and dark on a light-colored shirt that I brought in. At first, I thought it was a moth and that I'd trapped it between the clothes when I tossed them in a pile, but no moth presented itself as I folded and put everything away. I believe now that the roach piggy-backed on a shirt and scurried away when I wasn't looking. Later, it resurfaced on the wall of the room in which the clothes had rested in their unfolded state.
I don't like killing anything, insects included, but roaches (and mosquitoes) require capital punishment for their incursions. The lone roach that made his way into our place this year got gassed to death. My husband carried out the sentence and the accused fell behind the T.V. to quietly expire. I feel kind of bad about it. I wish it had just stayed outside where it could have lived its disgusting existence out in peace.