PEPER COLUMN: Roaches are the new no-see-ums
A good friend who lives downtown and goes for walks every evening made a startling discovery recently. Initially, he believed it to be just a one-night happenstance, but further investigations on additional walks confirmed his earlier observations. Cockroaches no longer appear to be walking the streets of Charleston.
Where are they? Have they moved to the suburbs because of parking problems, flooding and tourists? Do these creatures that usually come out at night and eat basically anything no longer feel that they’re treated with the same respect usually afforded longtime residents? Is there a chance their disappearance can be blamed on cruise ships? Just looking for answers, because a Charleston without a cockroach is like, well, a Tony the Peanut Man without a goober or the RiverDogs without a marketing promotion.
Don’t bug me
For the record, cockroaches have not left this time zone. A few may have changed ZIP codes, but they’re still very much here, … both those that fly and those that don’t. According to the Orkin pest control website, there’s no difference between a cockroach and a Palmetto bug. It might make you feel better to say a Palmetto bug is making its way along your baseboard, but people, that’s a cockroach!
They’re the oldest, most adaptable of insects and are attracted most to warm, moist environments. I don’t care how clean you think your house is, these winged, nasty buggers can be found under the fridge, on the side of the stove or behind a hanging picture. Some cockroaches have been accused of rearranging furniture and repositioning the flat-screen so that it can be better viewed from the La-Z-Boy. When the light comes on, they scatter. If you run to another room to grab a swatter, the light might be turned “off” by the time you return. Sure, there are traps, baits and insecticides that seem to provide temporary relief. But cockroaches have been around since dinosaurs, and they’re still here. Do you think they’re concerned about being crunched by a human, when they once were forced to side-step a stegosaurus?
You think man has certain innate survival instincts? An online summary of a cockroach’s capabilities includes going almost a month without food or two weeks without water and holding its breath for 40 minutes!
Cracks and crevices
Are they really no longer coming out at night downtown like they once did? People are going to bed earlier and getting up earlier. Maybe the roaches are, too. My guess is that they are still scurrying around in the shadows, no matter the neighborhood. They’re definitely still here and if you want to leave some dog food in the bowl or some dirty dishes in the sink overnight just to make sure, be my guest. They’re usually better at hiding, though, than you are at finding. So set those traps, spray those baseboards and place those bait trays in heavily trafficked areas.
It’s been extremely hot, lately. Maybe they’ve just decided to find some air-conditioned lodging until the heat wave breaks. As a matter of fact, what’s that moving over in the corner near the end table?
I’m just sayin’ …
Reach Warren Peper at firstname.lastname@example.org.