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Roaches thriving amid coronavirus

26 Comments

The Twittersphere was abuzz: “G’s!” “In winter?” “Yes!”

Everyone seemed to know, as though by instinct, what “G’s” were. Gokiburi. Cockroaches. Spreading. Proliferating. Regardless of the season. The pheromones spoke loud and clear: “Our time has come.”

Roaches are, in a sense, the comic side of the coronavirus tragedy. They’re ugly, slimy, noisy and not fragrant; we don’t want them in our cities, homes, workplaces and places of recreation. But they are harmless, after all, and the image we have courtesy of Spa! (March 23-30) of a middle-aged woman in her brand new Tokyo high-rise apartment, caught by surprise with no pesticide in the house, going after the little beast with a rolled-up newspaper, is funny rather than pitiable.

Be that as it may, her complaint is widespread and widening, says Spa! A real estate agent puts a number on it: up 238 percent over this time last year. Winter sightings in particular are surprising. In Honshu at least, roaches are spring and summer pests. In winter they are generally dormant. Not this past winter.

One turns, almost instinctively, to COVID-19 for an explanation. There is no direct link between the virus and the insect, and yet circumstances forced on us by the former do seem to favor the latter.

One possibility, raised only to be dismissed, is that there is no extraordinary proliferation at all; we’re just home more, and so see what normally we would not be home to see. There may be some truth in that, but it’s certainly not the whole story, says entomologist Ritsu Ariyoshi. It’s a fact, he affirms, that our being home creates a favorable cockroach environment. We keep room temperatures and humidity up. What’s comfortable for us is comfortable for them. There’s more food on hand too. Our refrigerators, pantries and trash bins are full.

The online ordering in we do is also helpful. Orders are delivered in cardboard boxes, which make wonderful nests and playgrounds for roach families and communities.

Some 4,600 cockroach species are known. A mere 30-odd of them interact on familiar terms with humans. Each locality grows familiar with its own characteristic visitants – but their range seems to be spreading as conditions change, and sightings of unfamiliar species are not uncommon. Some prefer home environments, others thrive best in restaurants. A Tokyo pub-owner Spa! speaks to finds his premises overrun lately.

 Early closing regulations have hit the industry hard. An across-the-board 60,000-yen-a-day government subsidy has encouraged many operators to shut down altogether for the time being. Those remaining open, like Spa!’s source, suspect roaches from closed establishments migrate to theirs. What can they do about it? Not much.

The U.S. and Europe, Spa! reports, are enduring proliferations not of roaches but of rats. Look on the bright side. Roaches are probably easier to live with.

© Japan Today

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

26 Comments
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One of the amazing characteristics of roaches is said to be they can continue living for up to a week without a head. This is only bested by LDP politicians, many of whom are able to conduct a good part of their careers minus a brain.

21 ( +22 / -1 )

I'll not top NCIS' great comment, but temperatures have been much warmer than average for most of the winter and early spring, as witnessed by the cherry blossoms blooming early. This may be a bigger factor than Covid-19.

We only get the small cockroaches, light brown and under 1cm long, but they got into our rice cooker and would crawl around inside it on top of the display. We had to get a new one.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@kohakuebisu

You coudl save money not buying new rice cooker.

You could simply pour a little water into cooker and let it boil. Believe me, steam does a great job. As for the display, it could be cleaned with hand sanitizer. That's just my opinion.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Screw the newspaper. Too slow. I bravely mash them with my hands. Little soap and water takes care of the gooey stuff.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

Too early for cockroaches. You can buy boxes of killers, little plastic things you place around the room in the corners and in cupboards. Probably needs more thought and care if you have little children who might try and eat them. One make is Housan Dango. They are very effective. We might still get two or three over a whole summer season. You can also make your own with Boric Acid but the Housan Dango are cheap enough.

https://www.earth.jp/en/products/housandango/index.html

Cockroaches are 10 million years old and can survive an atomic bomb.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Hate the critters, thank God I don’t have that problem, I would freak the heck out if I would see one.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Big man afraid of little cockroaches. Just take ya 6-bore. That should do it!

Keep your room clean avoid any food droppings and a tight fit lid on the garbage bin. If you live in a house which we do, there might be ventilator grills around the outside to air under the floor. I put the little plastic Housan Dango there too. They like dark damp places. Japanese cockroaches can be 10 cms long and more. Always sleep with your mouth shut.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

We very, very rarely see roaches where we live. The very few we have seen have mainly been trapped under the claws of our cat. She stands there meowing loudly until I come and do the necessary with a slipper and sheet of kitchen paper.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Interesting that Cleo, we used to have a cat that ate them, quite nutritious I think, and didn't cause him any harm !!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Not noticed an unusual amount compared to any other year, but have seen a lot more rats over the last year.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Cockroaches are 10 million years old and can survive an atomic bomb.

More like 350 million, according to the fossil record.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The U.S. and Europe, Spa! reports, are enduring proliferation not of roaches but of rats. Look on the bright side. Roaches are probably easier to live with. I DON'T LIKE EITHER, THEY ARE FILTHY AND IF I EVER SEE ONE IN MY HOME I'M CALLING THE EXTERMINATOR TO GET RID OF THE FILTH.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I saw my first roach in Japan. Engaged Ripley mode. Killed it (several times), bagged and sealed absolutely everything, cleansed every surface, scouted every inch of the apartment with a torch and rearranged the furniture so there was no hiding place.

Any increase is likely due to climate change.

Be more worried if roaches can get Covid as that would be a fertile reservoir for new variants. We know cats can get it, but I haven't heard of any testing regime for felines.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If you really want to crap in your pants, go to NYC, they have some of the largest cockroaches, damn near the size of hissing cockroaches, they fly, they come out of every hole, even the sink, I would consider myself a pretty tough guy, but I'm just squeamish when it comes to roaches and I will scream and run and I don't care who sees me run. Just can't stand them.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Thanks for the comments. I was quite up for buying a rice cooker because the old one was 5.5 cup and only does 3 cups of brown rice at a time. My kids won't eat it, so I like to make big batches and freeze it. With my wife eating it too (but never making it), three cups goes in no time. I've put mesh over the vents of the new cooker to keep the roaches out.

When I lived in the city, hot water was very effective at killing big roaches. It stops them dead with no mess. I used to hate it when they would start flying around.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Oh yes I forgot. Japanese cockroaches fly like kamikaze pilots on a death mission.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Roaches are, in a sense, the comic side of the coronavirus tragedy. They’re ugly, slimy, noisy and not fragrant; we don’t want them in our cities, homes, workplaces and places of recreation. But they are harmless,

I have not seen a slimy roach and it is not true they are harmless. Although they don't bite, they can carry harmful bacteria on their legs/tarsi after coming in contact with bacteria laden areas, such as animal feces, and then transfer it to food. Also, they can also be dangerous as an allergen source and asthma trigger, just like dust mites.

GBR48Apr. 15 12:51 am JS

Any increase is likely due to climate change.

Be more worried if roaches can get Covid as that would be a fertile reservoir for new variants. We know cats can get it, but I haven't heard of any testing regime for felines.

No, not climate change. Every problem in the world does not originate with climate change. It is more likely food left around in one's kitchen and not sweeping the floors. Ants will also find the food on the floors, and that is not due to climate change.

As for roaches getting Covid, that's absurd. I would not lose sleep over it. It is quite a different scenario as compared to species of Anopheles mosquitoes that transmit malaria.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Whether or not it is COVID-19 or Gokiburi, it is important to keep good sanitation, regular cleaning of home and community areas.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In food eating areas people discard used food boxes and leave open bags of garbage attracting cockroaches. Bin it, or take it home.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Personally, I don't mind roaches. I don't know why everyone gets in such a panic about them. Same with spiders.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

cockroaches spread diseases:

Salmonellosis.

Campylobacteriosis.

Listeriosis.

E. coli infections.

Typhoid fever.

Cholera.

Dysentery.

Leprosy.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@asiafriend, roaches DO bite. I’ve been bitten a few times.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In my home, it's hisashiburi since I've seen a gokiburi

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Cockroaches Spread Diseases" ......

and yet the Chinese love them - deep-fried cockroach-cluster with a side-order of bat-wings anyone ?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

and yet the Chinese love them - deep-fried cockroach-cluster with a side-order of bat-wings anyone ?

Actually there is a species of cockroach used in traditional Chinese herbal medication for treatment of joint inflammation. I've seen them for sale in pharmacies there.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I hate roaches, mukades, spiders and suzumebachis !!.

KILL'EM ALL !!!!!!....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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