You come back home from a great night out with friends, your all-night drinking session already paying off. You open the fridge to relieve your dry throat, but in the time it takes to get your water and close the fridge, an uninvited guest who wants to spend the night with you pops up out of nowhere: cockroach. Within a second your heart starts beating, and you freeze before pulling yourself into quick action to destroy this nasty guest with anything you can find. Your reward? One fewer cockroach and your hangover might be gone in a second. But there are loads more on their way ... .
Your just-killed cockroach belonged to a big, big family. Female cockroaches, distinguished from males by their smaller bottoms and shorter exoskeletons, can produce 200 descendants in half a year. The lifespan of a cockroach ranges from three months to two years. Fortunately, they disappear during the extreme cold and heat: Cockroaches generally cannot withstand temperatures below 20 degrees Celsius or above 35 degrees Celsius.
Today, around 3,500 species of roach are known, and new ones are discovered on a daily basis. While roaches can be found all over the world, Chengdu's moist climate is particularly attractive to them. The pests carry disease-causing bacteria via their mouth and feet; additionally, humans can suffer allergic reactions to roach feces, skin, and corpses
Hide and seek
DVD players, televisions, fridges, boilers, printers, laundry, furniture, cardboard boxes, rubbish bins, suitcases—you name it, cockroaches are having a good time there. They are active at night and seek warm, small places where they will be in contact with surfaces on three sides. Anyone who has tried to catch a roach can confirm that they move quickly, and because of the structure of their feet, they are able to scale walls or even suspend from the ceiling, and they can walk away on you in a blink of the eye. Populations of roaches can be moved from apartment to apartment in boxes, electronics devices, etc., so check any secondhand acquisitions you bring into your house.
• If you're not opposed to using poison, cockroach traps ("roach motels"), sprays such as Miehailing, and incense (Zhanglang xiang) are available at most supermarkets.
• The lovely fragrance of roses seems to be helpful.
• If you can stand it, open windows and doors; the roaches don't like the breeze.
• Involve neighbors in your cockroach extermination as once you get rid of yours, they will come from the flat next door.
• Attack them at night when they are active, and mop the floor afterwards.
• Don't warm up the bathroom or kitchen unless necessary.
• Make DIY glue traps with pieces of cardboard and slow-drying, extra-tacky glue.
• Store your food in sealed plastic boxes or bags.
This article by Bella Ligtenberg was originally published in CHENGDOO citylife Magazine, issue 17 ("How to 2.0"). Image from the movie "Joe's Apartment".