Friday, August 22, 2008

The Sweet Charms of Palmetto Bugs

Growing up in the Midwest, we have what you call cockroaches. They do exist. However, like with everything else in the heartland that experiences seasonal change, cold winters and autumns have a way of regulating the size of these critters. Nothing prepared me for my move south and meeting the ultimate American cockroach, the Palmetto bug. Here is one of them, just in case you live in a part of the country that is denied the honored presence of these creatures. They are huge, usually 1.5-plus inches in length.

I can take many things. I have eaten fried scorpions, assorted animal parts that would probably not be legal in the states, and bugs in general do not bother me. Cockroaches, on the other hand, are a nuisance I cannot abide. When I see them, without exception, I go on a murderous rampage. When you kill them, you must squash and flush the little devils, or else they will potentially breed from their dead carcasses.

When I first moved down here, I saw one or two of these fine beasts in my place. I killed them, of course, and sprayed the daylights out of my domicile, figuring that this would do the trick. Well, over the past few weeks, they have made a reappearance. One here, one there, to which I am averaging about one kill a week (and yes, sorry to say, Palmetto bugs are cockroaches...I think they just call them Palmetto bugs to give them a special romance or pass the appearance of these things as being something else). I spray the doors, windows, everything. I hate to break down and call the exterminator, but I feel I must. I live on the ground floor and right next to a park, so they have many places to hide and sneak into my residence.

I have made a couple of observations about these bugs. One, as an added bonus to them being oversized cockroaches named after a tree, they can fly, like dung-eating Peter Pans, zipping around the room, resembling a nimble fighter dodging your jabs and sprays. The second big observation is that my exes would transform into an eight year old seeing their first mouse when these ladies encountered them. Needless to say, I am the responsible jerk on bug patrol, so I was obviously not doing my job. Damned you cockroach. Damned you.

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