Watch out -- a Level 4 gokiburi alert has just been called!


Misery loves company, an old saying goes. And with earthquakes, tsunami and now nuclear radiation creeping into our food supply, you'd think things were bad enough. But Aera (Aug 1) has discovered a peculiar side-effect of the government's "Cool Biz" campaign to promote setting of thermostats at 28 degrees Celsius: that temperature also happens to be the most hospitable for the odious "gokiburi" (cockroach).

Last April Varsan, a maker of insecticides, even launched a cockroach forecasting service on the web called "Gokiburi Tenki Yoho" or "Gokiten" for short, at -- and up to mid-July, it had received over 1.8 million page views.

The site categorizes cockroach activities around Japan on a scale of four, based on temperature and other factors. The highest, Level 4, is issued on days when the temperature peaks over 30 degrees Celsius and the low remains above 25 degrees.

Apparently cockroaches, like humans, also suffer from "natsu-bate" (heat exhaustion), according to Hiroki Kamezaki, a researcher at Lion Corporation.

"They become sluggish over 30 degrees and become debilitated over 35. And 40 degrees is enough to kill them," he says, adding that the 25 to 30 degree range is the most hospitable for the repulsive bugs.

Unfortunately, the government-recommended thermostat setting of 28 degrees provides "gokiburi" with the coziest of conditions.

"We recently received a request from someone on the 12th floor of a building, who suffered from a large infestation," relates Hisashi Sato of Albatross, a Tokyo-based 24-hour extermination service. "I thought it was a bit strange to have them so high up, but when we checked things out, there were a large number of decorative plants.

"If water is present, roaches can survive. Water present in soil also contains nutrients. The "kuro gokiburi" (Oriental cockroach) was originally a species that thrived in the wild, and it will often nest in the soil of potted plants," says Sato.

In households obliged to summon the exterminator, a number of common factors can be found. One is that they tend not to open their windows. Recently, fears over airborne radiation may be one reason, but in any case this serves to create a moist, fetid environment that the "goki" find particularly inviting.

"A lot of people believe that the roaches fly into their house, but in most cases they invade buildings via crevices," says Sato. "They instinctively sense that places lacking air currents are safe. In human habitations, this is a necessary condition for harboring them."

It's therefore effective not only to keep windows open, but to set up an electric fan to circulate air into "oshiire" (closets).

The two most common species in Japan are the "chabane gokiburi" (German cockroach) and "kuro gokiburi" (Oriental cockroach). When population density of the latter becomes too high, they move on in search of food and more hospitable habitations. The reason they are more noticeable in summer is because that's also the time when they engage in reproductive activities and their population rises further.

The oriental cockroach has another interesting characteristic. "When they begin moving around and their activity intensifies, their feet part from the floors or walls and they take wing," says Kamezaki.

Makio Takeda, a professor of entomology at Kobe University, has observed the "goki" in flight, and notes that while takeoffs from the floor tend to be infrequent, it's been known to happen.

In any event, as the summer heat persists you can expect to be hearing more screams of terror, Aera predicts.

© Japan Today

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I can't get rid of these guys no matter what. I even found one in my ice cream in my refrigerator once. He was frozen solid on the frozen dessert.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I just do the normal fumigation and repeat after 2 weeks(to catch any new hatchlings). Lots of products out there but you need to choose careful as each product affects different critters. Living on the 1st floor of an old-style buildings we can get many different types of Visitors.

Storing food in tight containers, etc cleaning the place well(like under the gas-table, etc), will keep them down.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I can't get rid of these guys no matter what. I even found one in my ice cream in my refrigerator once. He was frozen solid on the frozen dessert.

How the hell did it get there!!! Freakkky

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

keep an eye out for Redback spiders too...they still persist in Japan and especially love to live in rubble.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Never seen one in my house.Don't know if that is because it is a modern western style house and i live in the sticks, or maybe because i have 5 cats.

-1 ( +4 / -4 )

Goki can't exist without water, so the best strategy is to cut them off at places like sinks and drains in the bath where they pass through in the late night and early morning hours in search of refreshments.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Just like Steve, have never seen one either in my house and I don't have any cats. Maybe they just prefer to party in the city. When I lived in indonesia there were plenty too and one day I caught one and put a glass jar over it. So, the beast didn't get any water nor food. After 5 days, I thought it was dead and lifted the jar. Surprise, it just ran away. So, Virtuoso, my question is how long can they survive without water. Certainly the most resilient creatures on this planet.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Only get 1 or 2 in my house in summer. Maybe that's because my Japanese wife isn't gullible enough to believe that setting the thermostat to 28 is the best thing to do! 17 Celsius during the day, 22 at night, nice and comfortable and no gokiburi!

1 ( +4 / -2 )

My Japanese wife cleans our house properly so we don't have any roaches in our place. A friend of her told me a recent bbq party though that their house is infested. She blames it on her husband who leaves hi boogers everywhere. Didn't have any bbq after hearing that...

-7 ( +3 / -9 )

That's another good thing about living in Karuizawa: they don't come up here, the air is too thin, lol. Or, maybe, it's because in the winter it's freezing cold even inside the house, not to mention in the dark places inside the walls or below the floor. But we do get other critters, esp. kame-mushi, shield/stink bugs, inside the house.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Try a pyrethrum spray or even get a few pyrethrum plants. -safest way. Boric acid.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"the repulsive bugs"

That's one opinion - I think they're adorable little critters, I keep a whole slew of 'em in my place, making sure they have enough to eat by not cleaning spilled food off the floor.

Seriously, I haven't seen one in my place for at least 3 weeks now, and there are no new ones in my gokiburi hoi-hois either. They seem to be suffering from natsu-bate or radiation or something...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

How about Godzilla-sized gokiburis after all this radiation?

I hate those bugs...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Easy solution. Turn up the air con!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I keep my air conditioner @ ~ 20 degrees through the summer Never had a cockroach in over 5 years. Well worth paying the electric bill each month.

1 ( +2 / -2 )

If you see the little ones, you may as well just move. There's not getting rid of them.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

☆Haven't seen a goki in over 20 years. When we bought our house we paid to have it goki-proofed - some stuff they paint on the foundations, supposed to keep termites and other nasties out. Guaranteed to last 10 years or so, but here we are 20 years later and still no sign of any gokis. Very rarely use the aircon during the day unless it's really hot, so it isn't that that's keeping them away.

☆touch wood☆

steve - with 5 cats, I'm sure that if you had any gokis they'd have brought you a 'gift' once or twice.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

We have goki-chans running around our place... If I leave a piece of Styrofoam tray out on the counter by the sink, we can sometimes hear them gnawing on it. It is a really annoying sound, so can't miss it. The noise can even wake you from a dead sleep. Any goki-chan that chews the foam ends up swimming in the toilet, or worse.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Two things goki (and ants) hate: white vinegar and bleach; use one of those to clean your floors, kitchens and bathrooms and the goki (and ants) stay away! Also, keep your sink holes closed when you are not using them.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Solution is collective. 80% of a mansion/street has to put stuff and no invasion. If you are the only one, you do it for your place, but it's like taking water from the sea with a teaspoon, as new ones are "produced" next door.

Here, we all renew regularly hosu-dango (boric acid), just in case, prevention. No goks around in 10 years. I have no air-con, my neighbours rarely use theirs and we prefer keeping doors open 24/24 half of the year, we water our balconies (for cooling and for the sake of plants). As I don't put my mosquito net doors, so far, invadors are : newspaper and religion salespersons, stalkers (but this mansion is equipped to deal with them), birds, cats, itachis. OK, the 2 last didn't come into my flat, but I met them in the stairs.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Easy solution. Turn up the air con!"

In my former mansion, that was what my neighbours did. And we had tons of gokiburis. Actually they loved the cool rooms and ventured in my (non-air con ) place only in the hours were neighbours were not at home and cooling.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I remember many years ago I lived in a communal situation where other people would leave food out and the like. That will attract them. Anyway, we put out roach motels. They had pictures of roaches with smiley faces on the outside waving. I called mine "Hotel California"... "You can check in anytime, but you can never leave...".

Anyway, after a week of putting out fresh motels daily we pretty much got rid of the problem.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"bookowis" wrote above: "Maybe that's because my Japanese wife isn't gullible enough to believe that setting the thermostat to 28 is the best thing to do! 17 Celsius during the day, 22 at night, nice and comfortable and no gokiburi!"

Hey ... while we're trying to be helpful to everyone else and cut down on electricity by keeping our stats set at 28 degrees, people are still setting their stats much lower. I surely hope they don't live in areas that could be blacked out for use of excessive electricity. They definitely are not cooperating with the conserving electricity thing.

Meanwhile, our cockroach hotels are doing a booming business ... as usual. Still trying to figure out a way to charge those dudes for their long-term stays ...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

we rarely have gokiburis, maybe 2 or 3 a year, small ones. One can of spray and they die. disgusting little critters. but I think the higher you live the less you get? we live on the third floor and I bet a million rupies that the neighbours downstairs have TONS of them. Either way, just make sure you close off all the nooks and cranies and openings in the house and you should be safe but theres no guarantuee as they can also come from the vents. yuck

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Just finished a round of fumigation here.

Now we don't get many of the Kuro-Goki(maybe 2-3 a year/none this year) but we do get the brown(smaller) german ones as well as the small roundish black ones(they love spilled coffee grinds/hint).

So what we did today is use the GREEN smoke fumigator as they get rid of 3 types of our Goki buddies.

Been sweeping them up for hours(not too many) now even after we stopped the fumigation, which will be repeated within 2 weeks.

Ones we get love to live within small cracks like between sliding doors and their posts, etc. Another hint for infestation is small black dots in confined areas, those are eggs.

1 ( +1 / -0 )


How long can they survive without water?

Put it this way: They can survive up to ten days without their head! Seriously, these beasts are Satan's minions.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Put it this way: They can survive up to ten days without their head! Seriously, these beasts are Satan's minions.

Boy, you got that right!! If there is anything on this planet that repulses me more than anything else is the dreaded Goki!!! I will jump higher than the Hulk, I'm a big guy, but I am not ashamed of my inner whimpiness when it comes to these loathsome bastards! Luckily this year, haven't really seen any, (thank god) I live in a new high rise mansion, keep the A/C about arctic 20 degrees on the balcony, I keep a mixture of boric acid, baking soda and powdered sugar in the corners and not a crawl or even a roach Ninja dance. But I have to admit as bad as my fear...phobia is of these monsters, they are not as bad or as big as when I was living in NY. I have no idea what they eat, but these guys are humongous, not to mention everywhere. Living in NY being an exterminator must be a good living. Also, I got a little lucky bought some RAID from the military base, just in case, always does the trick for me.

I can't get rid of these guys no matter what. I even found one in my ice cream in my refrigerator once. He was frozen solid on the frozen dessert.

Jeez! I don't even know what to say or where to begin after reading that comment....Wow!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Worst Goki I have seen are the "Natal Ferraris", those guys are bigger(bout 6-7cm) than the Kuro-Goki, also fly and are fast as lightning on their Feet.

The Smoke fumigators usually tend to do a good job getting rid of them, just repeat after 2 weeks as said. Next fumigation round will be soon and they will dance the death "La Cucaracha" on the Floor. ;)

There is also a good powder out(comes in a yellow tin that works similar to boric acid and will kill a lot of critters(incl geji-geji, etc) on contact. Very handy if you got a bit of a garden outside, etc as we do.

And as was said many/most actually don't live in the apartment but come in mostly for water and/or food.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Forgot to add.

At times I do find dead goki inside the fridge and freezer, freezer tray has a few holes in bottom so they come in and get stiffed by the cold. Similar for the ones inside the fridge. Just keep your food containers well sealed and closed.

Worst story I heard (JT Forum) guy had a water purifier below the sink(those that hook into the water-line). When he disconnected it to put a new one in(once a year) he had goki spilling out of the Filter.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Roaches love wine, but do not handle it very well. Put some in a saucer and let them drink their fill. They do not know when to stop drinking and can be found dead either in the wine or within a foot the next day.

I expect sake would work well, too.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Not at my best this morning but great party last night. :p

If you live in a high-rise/mansion also fumigate the spaces where your meters are kept outside the apartment and similar spaces. Usually in the hallway behind some steel doors, very much temp controlled and the piping often allows them to sneak in as there is a gap between the Pipes and the concrete.

Ditto for aircon pipes/conducts.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They do not know when to stop drinking and can be found dead either in the wine or within a foot the next day.

Used to live next door to some Scottish was the same with them :)

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It's summer time, enjoy it ! Bugs, rodents, flies, it's wonderful, God created them all ! Birds and other forms of life need food too ! If you didn't have them, this would mean you're right at the doorstep of death !

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Well, it has been proven in the past, and many jokes made about it...the only real way to kill cockroaches are to squash them. Pesticides don't do it. Extreme cold won't do it...they just thaw out again....and they're the only thing that hasn't changed since the dinosaurs roamed the earth. And I hate hate hate them

0 ( +0 / -0 )

We'd have to go back 50 million years in time and kill the very first roaches, then we wouldn't have this huge problem all over the world... And Shintarou Ishihara would have never hatched in the first place.

^O^ (couldn't resist)

But seriously, fumigation is just terrible. The residue and mist from those toxins hang around for weeks on end and probably do more damage to the returning residents than they do to the roaches - which always manage to come back anyway.

Biological control can be extremely effective, but not many people would want to live with small snakes or field mice (or an army of praying mantises) running/crawling loose in their homes.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

We went to a restaurant once and as the waiter was escorting us to our table, a huge one ran straight across the table. I shrieked, and the waiter checked under the table, said "Its ok, its gone now, please, have a seat"!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

greapper1 - How much is your electricity bill each month if you have the aircon set at 20~ everyday? Just curious

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I hate COCKROACHES, cucarachas in Spanish. So this summer I bought myself this great new product, instead of using pesticide to kill these cucarachas, it uses a COLD SPRAY MINUS 85 degrees celcius! Boy oh boy, did I have a fun time freezing the crap out of all these disgusting gokuburis! My wife yelled and screamed before entering our shower, I was ready with my spray, cornered the lil bastard, it ran to the right then back to the left and as a last resort it jumped or flew right straight up and SPRAY!!! SPRAY!! SPRAY!! Yes I sprayed the hell out of it until it was all white from this super cold spray that you can get here in Japan at your local pharmacy, I felt just like John Wayne or Rambo, saving my wife and kids from the nasty, dirty CUCARACHA!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If anybody here is in Hiroshima, I just want to??? Is that cockroach infested OKONOMIMURA building, the older, greasier one full of cockroaches still around?? I went there about 20 years ago, big mistake, had about 5 or 6 cockroaches dancing around my OKONOMIYAKI on the hot teppan grill! Killed them off with my cold bottle of beer, but when I started to imagine how many more cockroaches must be there after the lights are turned off I almost vomited and swore never ever to go there again!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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