Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Cute cockroach babies — and how they die

On their backs

Mom and Pop roach may go “Awww, kit'chy-coo.”  - Image by Rick Geary
Mom and Pop roach may go “Awww, kit'chy-coo.”

Matmail: Are cockroaches cute when they are babies? Perhaps a better way to phrase it is, are they smaller? Smoother? Less likely to make eye contact? I see various sizes around San Diego sometimes in each other’s company, other times alone. Typically, they are decidedly alone. — Ed Vogel, the Net

Dear Mr. Alice: I have a few roaches in my home. So every time I see one, I grab my fly swatter and WHAM WHAM. When I look, there is the little sucker on his back, his little feet movin’, and again WHAM WHAM. Now this is my question. Why do roaches turn on their backs before they die? I won’t eat or drink. I’ll even hold my breath until I hear from you. — Alfred Beck, San Diego

Well, exhale and have a cold one, Alfred. And tell ’em to shoot you a bowl of peanuts while they’re at it, and put it on my tab. Got to keep your strength up for all that WHAM WHAMing. I’m sure you’ve found out, the fact that you haven’t left toast crumbs or sticky soda-can rings on the table lately hasn’t reduced your herd of cucarachas one little bit. Those suckers can live happily on glues and paste, paper, cloth, soap, paint, fingernails and hair, other roaches —just about anything. Or nothing, for a few weeks anyway.

You must be pretty light on your feet and fast with that swatter if you have a respectable kill rate. Roaches can easily sense the vibrations of another roach creeping in on tiptoe, and they have two body structures to detect air movement. Either one alerts them to big trouble ahead, and they zoom for the nearest crack. But when you do luck out and WHAM WHAM on one enough to stun him, he ends up on his back because that’s the heavy part. Bread falls jelly-side down; roaches fall wings-side down. Most roaches killed by insecticides also end up supine because the poison affects their nervous systems, they spasm, and they flip, unable to right themselves. Glad to hear that the simple fly swatter is effective, because you can freeze ’em, nuke ’em with enough rads to turn a human into pot roast, hold ’em under water for 20 minutes or so, and they’ll survive. Ingested poisons don’t always work well because roaches “pre-taste” their food with special mouth structures, and they just move down the buffet table if one dish doesn’t appeal. This from a bug that will happily dine in the bottom of a birdcage or your cat’s litter box.

As for Ed, who seems more kindly disposed toward the things, “cute” is in the eye of the beholder, I think. Mom and Pop roach may go “Awww, kit'chy-coo,” but we mostly go WHAM WHAM. Baby roaches, fresh out of the egg case, look pretty much like the adults except they are tinier, more round than flat, and they’re wingless and white. A few minutes later, a tight skin they’re squashed into splits, they eat it, and they slowly darken into that familiar Crayola color, domestic-roach brown. After a few more weeks and molts, roach nymphs acquire wings and their adult size and shape. One common San Diego species, the German cockroach, lives maybe four or five months and spends four or five weeks of that as a nymph. So the little guys you see may be “babies” or they may just be a different species. Adult German roaches are less than an inch long; American roaches are up to two inches long.

Roaches are the independent sort and are decidedly alone until it’s time to hit the rack in the walls, when they sometimes sleep in piles. And as for looking you straight in the eye, they can do that times 100 or so. Each huge, bulging roach eye is made up of hundreds of smaller eyes. So if you feel like you’re being stared at, you probably are.

_.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

The Brigantine and The Embarcadero: A tale of two happy hours

This could be the best experience on the waterfront.
Next Article

Skin: A History of Nudity in the Movies, uncovered

Nudity does more to advance an actress’s career than it does the plot
Mom and Pop roach may go “Awww, kit'chy-coo.”  - Image by Rick Geary
Mom and Pop roach may go “Awww, kit'chy-coo.”

Matmail: Are cockroaches cute when they are babies? Perhaps a better way to phrase it is, are they smaller? Smoother? Less likely to make eye contact? I see various sizes around San Diego sometimes in each other’s company, other times alone. Typically, they are decidedly alone. — Ed Vogel, the Net

Dear Mr. Alice: I have a few roaches in my home. So every time I see one, I grab my fly swatter and WHAM WHAM. When I look, there is the little sucker on his back, his little feet movin’, and again WHAM WHAM. Now this is my question. Why do roaches turn on their backs before they die? I won’t eat or drink. I’ll even hold my breath until I hear from you. — Alfred Beck, San Diego

Well, exhale and have a cold one, Alfred. And tell ’em to shoot you a bowl of peanuts while they’re at it, and put it on my tab. Got to keep your strength up for all that WHAM WHAMing. I’m sure you’ve found out, the fact that you haven’t left toast crumbs or sticky soda-can rings on the table lately hasn’t reduced your herd of cucarachas one little bit. Those suckers can live happily on glues and paste, paper, cloth, soap, paint, fingernails and hair, other roaches —just about anything. Or nothing, for a few weeks anyway.

You must be pretty light on your feet and fast with that swatter if you have a respectable kill rate. Roaches can easily sense the vibrations of another roach creeping in on tiptoe, and they have two body structures to detect air movement. Either one alerts them to big trouble ahead, and they zoom for the nearest crack. But when you do luck out and WHAM WHAM on one enough to stun him, he ends up on his back because that’s the heavy part. Bread falls jelly-side down; roaches fall wings-side down. Most roaches killed by insecticides also end up supine because the poison affects their nervous systems, they spasm, and they flip, unable to right themselves. Glad to hear that the simple fly swatter is effective, because you can freeze ’em, nuke ’em with enough rads to turn a human into pot roast, hold ’em under water for 20 minutes or so, and they’ll survive. Ingested poisons don’t always work well because roaches “pre-taste” their food with special mouth structures, and they just move down the buffet table if one dish doesn’t appeal. This from a bug that will happily dine in the bottom of a birdcage or your cat’s litter box.

As for Ed, who seems more kindly disposed toward the things, “cute” is in the eye of the beholder, I think. Mom and Pop roach may go “Awww, kit'chy-coo,” but we mostly go WHAM WHAM. Baby roaches, fresh out of the egg case, look pretty much like the adults except they are tinier, more round than flat, and they’re wingless and white. A few minutes later, a tight skin they’re squashed into splits, they eat it, and they slowly darken into that familiar Crayola color, domestic-roach brown. After a few more weeks and molts, roach nymphs acquire wings and their adult size and shape. One common San Diego species, the German cockroach, lives maybe four or five months and spends four or five weeks of that as a nymph. So the little guys you see may be “babies” or they may just be a different species. Adult German roaches are less than an inch long; American roaches are up to two inches long.

Roaches are the independent sort and are decidedly alone until it’s time to hit the rack in the walls, when they sometimes sleep in piles. And as for looking you straight in the eye, they can do that times 100 or so. Each huge, bulging roach eye is made up of hundreds of smaller eyes. So if you feel like you’re being stared at, you probably are.

_.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Can You Escape?, Vote Ready Concert, I Love a Clean San Diego

Events August 13-August 15, 2020
Next Article

Immigrants flock to San Diego

Indian-Americans, Casa Cornelia, Border Angels, Somalis, Vietnamese in Linda Vista
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close