Saturday, November 8, 2008


In an earlier post, I mentioned that we nearly made it through the summer without any cockroaches penetrating our inner sanctum. That was on October 19th. I figured that the roach had sneaked in on my clothing which had hung on the line, but I did find it odd that it was crawling high across our white living room wall rather than lurking in the shadows or wedging itself behind furniture. Roaches like to be wedged between two narrow areas so they are touching something on both their tops and bottoms. They don't like being high and in the open.

At the time, I recall thinking that I was glad that it didn't show up in a similar place during one of my lessons as it would be horrible for me to be teaching a student and to have a roach crawl by where a student could see it. I know that people who live in Tokyo are aware of the inevitability of roaches, but I can't help thinking that they'd believe I was a really dirty person or that they couldn't feel comfortable in my apartment if a roach might amble through.

I saw what I hoped was our first and last cockroach of 2008 on October 19. Now that it's November, I figured the likelihood of one showing up was pretty low, until two days ago when one of my worst scenarios played out. Several nights ago as I was teaching a student around 7:20 pm, something dark and high up on my whitish walls caught my eye. A roach was slowly crawling across the wall on the left. When I saw it, it was behind my student, but I believe it made it's way over the wall and out of my field of view.

I don't know if the student saw it once it passed my peripheral field of vision, but I did notice her eyes dart to the left several times (though her head didn't move). Of course, a lot of people look to one side or another while thinking as we naturally look to the side of our brain that we're utilizing while concentrating, and I didn't know if she saw it or if she was just thinking. By the time the lesson ended, it was nowhere to be seen and I figured it had crawled behind the bookshelf that is at the end of that same wall.

Since I didn't want that thing running around after my husband got home as they creep him out rather fiercely (and I'm not too great a fan of them either), I tried to hunt it down. I rocked the bookshelf in the hopes of scaring it out, but it didn't show. I took apart the bookshelf which was chock-a-block with heavy books and pulled it away from the wall, but it wasn't there. I got a flashlight and searched a lot of darkened nooks and crannies including under the bed, behind the sofa, behind the T.V., etc. and I couldn't find it. I was already tired and all of this searching was the last thing I needed. Finally, I gave up, turned off the kitchen light and at that moment it scurried from a dark corner and I nailed it with roach killer.

Though I was mortified to see a roach on my wall during a lesson, its presence as well as that of the other one was educational. It's no coincidence that both of them showed up late in the summer after the air conditioner in the living room was no longer used. Though I've plugged every hole that I know of in the apartment, there is one I can't plug and that's the one's related to the air conditioner itself. My guess is that they are coming through a hole that was made during the unit's installation which is a less attractive route when the AC is used. The reason they are high up on my walls is that that is where the entry point is. I don't know if they can crawl through the tubing which water drips through or if it's some other hole, but clearly I'm going to have to try and lock off this point of entry when the air conditioner is not in use if I want to avoid them with more certainty.

As for my student, I'm hoping she wasn't freaked if she saw it. She's a pretty level-headed person, and a nurse, so she's seen some pretty gross stuff. If she shows up next week, I'll be in the clear. If not, well, I'll know what happened.


Anonymous said...

When I start ranting about how much I hate living in this cold climate, my husband reminds me that the bugs' lives are short and they don't get very big. Don't know! the bugs and spiders here are big enough!

When I was in Florida four years ago, I spent some time in the hotel pool and hot-tub. One day as i was approaching the automatic sliding doors to the lobby I almost stepped on a giant reptile!!!! YIKES: it was at least 2 feet long!!! I jumped to the side, onto a table! It kept triggering the doors to open, but finally lost interest so I could climb down and get to my room!

Husband is again working in FL and I'll be going there over Thanksgiving. Hope my hands are steady enough to get a picture if I encounter such a beast again…

Orchid64 said...

I think a two-foot reptile trumps a roach. I'm becoming grateful to live in Tokyo where the traumas can be vanquished with a can of spray. ;-)

That being said, there are 4-8 inch lizards around sometimes.

Thanks for commenting. :-)

Anonymous said...

I'm amazed we haven't come across any bugs here yet, other than the odd mosquito that would wander in during the summer months...That sure WOULD have been a nightmare scenario! Having a student there, and you see the little bugger happily scurrying along! I'm glad it came out so you could zap it...but I wonder...could there be more, hiding somewhere? >_< I hope not...

Orchid64 said...

There could be others, but I doubt it given how few we've seen and the timing and location of their appearance. I think that the odd one wanders into the air conditioning nooks and makes it way in, but I doubt we have an infestation.

We've never seen more than a few each year and I've known people who have so many that they fill up traps all the time. I've put out traps, but never caught one so I think the one or two we see and kill are pretty much all there is to it.