Roach motel

Today it has been a week. A week we’ve been on the island. It hasn’t been a particularly smooth week, as settling in anywhere can be challenging. Settling in in New Caledonia has its own challenges. Fortunately we’ve lived here before and fortunately I speak a bit of French (to navigate things like bank accounts, telephone lines and ADSL subscriptions), but there are new challenges this time around.

The big one this time is: roaches.

Last Friday, both our little guy (Pablo, 6 years old) and I had the fright of our lives. As we walked down into the garage we noticed what looked like a wall-to-wall carpet of leaves move. Move a lot. As we got closer, we figured out that they weren’t leaves, but roaches the size of human fingers. A whole wave of them, scattering in every direction. There were far more of them than the floor underneath them.

We got into the car, thoroughly traumatised (having grown up in Florida, I knew roaches could be big, but I had rarely encountered such a mass of them – and Pablo, well, he had never seen such a thing in his life).

When we returned 1.5 hours later, they were still there, but many of them were dead. Pablo refused to get out of the car. When I finally convinced him, we both RAN.

I thought to myself, “If I have to go through this every day to get this little guy to school, this is going to be impossible. I got him out of the car once. I doubt I’ll be able to get him out again.”

Turns out the garage roach invasion was due to a treatment that is carried out in the building every 4 months. They are thrust out on a regular basis and eventually the building concierge sweeps them up.

But that doesn’t wholly explain the roaches in our flat. I killed 4 little ones this morning before coffee and then I had the pleasure of finding one in the silverware and one in the food cabinet. I’ve started noting how many I am seeing – and it is driving me crazy (8 Saturday, 5 Sunday, 8 today …). We’ve set out traps and wrapped up all the food, but I hate seeing them on the windows, scattering across the floors and diving into holes. Little makes my skin crawl, but roaches in my food, clothes and books is close to giving me nightmares.

I’m told we have to request that someone ” de-roach” the flat and that after that it will be okay. My husband tells me each time I jump that it is worse in Africa.

But we are not in Africa. New Caledonia is warm, yes. But we are in a clean, modern flat. We don’t have to live like this.

Or do we?


7 thoughts on “Roach motel

  1. ha. in texas, we had waterbugs the size of, well, texas. double check but i think they are harmless – probably less noxious than insectisides…..none at our hotel but we shall see with the new house, once we find one!

    • Good point, Tracey. They’re common in restaurants, are hard to get rid of and are usually seen at night. The fact that I am seeing them during the day is not good! Are they germ-carrying? That is the question.

  2. I’ve heard about this sort of thing In Africa, as your hubby has pointed out. We are lucky to have seen very few small ones in Brooklyn. The large ones make the entire family freak and thank goodness it’s been far and few between. I’ve heard people can be allergic to their excrement from a doc. There are these natural weird looking orange fruits that people claim work. Google and see the name since I’ve forgotten. For me, it’s the way they move that creeps me out! Good luck w/ finding a solution! xo

  3. Oh, my worst nightmare! Here in Florida, we have “palmetto bugs,” the flying version of your visitors. Fortunately, they are not as prolific as the more common kind. In Arizona, they are a huge (in numbers) problem in older neighborhoods where reclaimed water is used for flood irrigation – people’s lawns were routinely flooded by the city to help keep them green (because lawns shouldn’t be growing in the desert). Between the moisture and huge number of drought-resistant oleanders used for privacy, these neighborhoods are breeding grounds. We had to routinely use a pest-control service. I wish I had some more natural solutions to suggest!

  4. Pingback: Roaches, roaches everywhere, and not a drop to drink | New Caledonia Today

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