Currently viewing the category: "Cockroaches"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Dear WTB,
I found myself in a debate over the Labor Day weekend as to whether or not Los Angeles’ famous creepy crawlers are in fact cockroaches. My friend who grew up in New York kept referring to them as water bugs. As a life-long Southern Californian, I say la cucaracha! What do you say? Oh, and I’m refering to both the small brown ones and the big black ones. I tried to search online for a photo but I got too ooged out to continue. Oh, and is it true that the cockroackes will rule the earth long after we’re gone?
curiously strong in silver lake

Dear Curiously Strong.
Cockroaches never gave up the earth. If you want to really be creeped out, just try watching the film Mimic (soon to be posted as a review on this site). Yes, those waterbugs are roaches, in fact the Oriental Cockroach, Blatta orientalis. We have a roach comparison photo on our roach page.

hi again
thanks a whole bunch for taking your time to research that bug for me. the picture and description of the bug you sent fit perfect. anyway you guys are
great and thanks again

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Dear Bug Man,
A half an hour ago I woke up to find a palmetto bug on my leg. After nearly breaking my hand on the wall throwing it (and it felt sticky), I got up (couldn’t sleep after that repulsive incident) and noticed the area on my leg where the roach had been was very red. Then about 6 bumps (like mosquito bites, almost) appeared in an oval configuration about an inch long. One of the bumps was long (about half an inch) and thinner than the rest. My question is do these things bite? I immediately jumped on the internet to look for an answer, and most sites state that they do not. But the redness/bumps on my leg seem to indicate otherwise. That thing must
have bitten me. Should I be worried? What should I do?
Thank you
Stefanie in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Dear Stephanie,
All the information I have ever read agrees with the internet, that Palmetto Bugs do not bite, however, it could still have been responsible for your skin irritation. People will sensitive skin might get pricked by the spines on their legs, and this could have happened when you grabbed it, something like a contact dermatitus. It could also have been a psychosomatic reaction to the repulsive incident.

Thanks for the response…it definitely wasn’t in my head…still have the red marks. YUCK!
Thanks again,
Stefanie H.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Are cockroaches known spreaders of disease? That is my only question, because they certainly look like they would be, truly gruesome characters what with their greasy demeanor and inquisitive antennae.
Having spent much time in South East Asia, you will be pleased to know I am sure, that I once was neighbor to a Thai girl who lived basically on a linolium floor. Thai’s eat on the floor. Lunch time, she would tap her foot, and one limping fellah, I guess it was a male I did not inqiure, would limp and dash across the floor from the vicinity of the bathroom, lodge itself next to her heal, and enjoy a lite meal, hand fed. She would then later tap her heel again, and the little fella (not so little) would limp and dash back to where he came from.
I personally am not particularly fond of cockroaches. However, I am beginning to respect the intelligence of insects, as I know you do, and whether or not you publish this is up to you.
But I knew you’d love to hear the story–and it is a true story. God bless you bug guys. New website for me thanx to Yahoo. See ya again soon. (Not the cockroach, you!)
Best regards,
frederick pavese

Dear Frederick,
Thank you for the sweet letter.
According to Hogue, "The importance of cockroaches in transmission of human diseases sems overrated, although most of the domiciliary species have been found capable of mechanically transmtting some disease organisms, especially dysentery bacteria." The key word here is mechanical transmission, meaning the roach must walk through a disease infested area before transmitting it to a person who puts dirty fingers into the mouth. Roaches are scavengers who help clean up dropped food, especially in the tropics where their large size prohibits huge numbers inside the home, unlike the German cockroach (Blattella germanica) which is the small, quick, light hating roach known to infest tenement slums and other high human population environments, including restaurants. I think that Thai girl’s pet sounds like a delightful companion.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

It’s official.
There are flying cockroaches in New York City. One flew from the floor of my apartment to a table top before my eyes. If only it had been a hallucination. Once it was dead, I felt like I’d slayed a dragon.
What’s the best way to kill a flying cockroach? I’ve heard they have armor.

Dear Becky,
Squashing works fine since they do not have armor.
Thanks for the horrifying news.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination