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Tips for Handling Roaches in your Home

Updated on August 17, 2012

It never fails. It always happens when you're at your most vulnerable.

  • You just crawled in bed.
  • You're changing clothes.
  • You're chilling on the couch.
  • You're about to take a shower.
  • And the worst: you're sitting on the toilet.

And then there it is.

Your worst fears all rolled into that one brown bug of doom and destruction. The roach. And I'm not talking about any roach here. What I'm taking about is the dreaded palmetto bug. A spiky legged creature bigger than your thumb with wings. Wings! You thought wasps were jerks for flying after you? Try having one of these aiming for your head:

"I will eat your soul!"
"I will eat your soul!"

What? Look, you can Google real photos for yourself. I'm not looking at them. They give me the heebie jeebies! Anyway, how to deal with them. That's the real question. Well, fortunately for you, I've dedicated many years fighting these formidable foes and I'm willing to share my techniques with you. Pay close attention.

Rule #1: Always keep eye contact

I cannot stress the importance of this first rule. Once you spot the enemy, do not take your eyes off of it. There are a few reasons for this. First, you have to establish your dominance. You've spotted the litter bugger and he knows it. Long antennas twitching in recognition of you presence. You stare him down like the insect he is! Or, you know, you could just be frozen in terror. Either option will work. The second reason for keeping eye contact is because, somehow, bugs have mastered teleportation. There's just no other explanation for it. You've got your eyes glued to the target, you get distracted by a noise in the background, and then...


Gone. It could be anywhere in the room now. Heck, it could be anywhere in the house. You're better off just sleeping in your car tonight.

Rule #2: Trust no one

This is your battle and you gotta fight it alone. Some reinforcements are fine every once in a while, but do not trust them with the big jobs. Do not have them watch the roach while you run off to go get weapons. You'll run off and I guarantee the exact conversation will follow:

You: "Okay, so where's the roach?"

Friend: "Oh, somewhere over there."

You: "Somewhere? What do you mean somewhere?"

Friend: "Somewhere over there."

You: "You took your eyes off of it!"

Friend: "Only for a second. I'm telling you it's....Oh, where'd it go?"

You: "Ah!"

Friend: "It couldn't have gotten far!"

And then the roach uses this moment of confusion to attack, catapulting itself onto your friend's face who is now cursing him/herself for not watching the roach as you beat them mercilessly with whatever blunt object you could find. You want to save your friendship? Go send them to get the weapons. But not just any weapons.

Rule #3: Use what the roach will least expect

Bug spray? A fly swatter? *pfft* Yeah, like the roach has never come across one of those before. Plus, this isn't your everyday normal roach. This is Mecharoach: Destroyer of Homes! Your puny swatter and weak spray will do squat diddly against this beast. So maybe you're thinking "That's ok, I can still go old school on it" as you roll up last week's penny saver. No. Just no. It's laughing at you now as it chases you around the house.

So what do you use? Well, if you're alone and following Rule #1, you'll just have to use whatever is within your reach. A t-shirt and maybe some sort of spray will do; cleaner if you're in the bathroom or maybe some perfume/cologne if you're in the bedroom. What you want to do is stun and then spray. If it's in a difficult location, spraying then stunning may be a better option. Whatever gets it out in the open for maximum onslaught from your attacks.

If you're not alone, send someone else to get you something heavy. No, not even the Sunday paper is enough. I like to use a phone book. You may laugh, but that's because I'm sure many of you have never dealt with a Florida bug before. Those micro-musclemen could lift a brick if they tried hard enough. Which brings me to my next rule:

Rule #4: There's no such thing as "overkill"

Look, you just spent the better part of your evening chasing after this thing. I once chased a roach around the house trying to kill it with whatever method I could for over an hour. My friend thought I was crazy, but when I finally got that roach on the floor and out into the open, I chucked that phone book with all my might and it landed perfectly on top of the creature. I wasn't done there though. Oh no. I knew of their incredible strength and healing powers. I threw myself onto the phone book as well.


Even after all that, I knew better than to lift the book. I know it may be tempting. I know you want to be certain, but that one little inch will be enough for that escape artist to shoot on out. Then you have to start your chase all over again. Even if you're certain it's dead, it doesn't hurt to add a bit more security. Just leave the book there for a while. 48 hours should cover. Heck, don't have any company coming over? Try a week! Whatever makes you feel safe.

Rule #5: Disposing of the body

Hey, no one said war was pretty.

When you're finally ready to clean up the remains, choosing a proper burial ground is very important. First off, dispose of it no where in your home. Unless you're planning on taking out your trash right away, don't throw it into the trash can. Then it's body remains in your home as a constant reminder. Haunting the very home you fought to protect.

And don't flush it down the toilet either. I have this awful vision of it coming back to life and up the drain. Or living in the sewer and turning into a giant roach like the alligators in NYC.


Nope. Dead or alive, my enemy must be as far away from my home as humanly possible...or at least what I'm willing to walk. If you're like me and live in an apartment complex, drop off the body in the dumpster on the opposite side of the complex. If you live in your standard home, you may just want to take the trash can to the curb a little bit early. Your neighbors will understand.

Offer some words for the departed. He fault valiantly after all. Then return to your den of victory, basking in the warming glow of safety. For now...


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    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      6 years ago from Central Florida

      Too funny! I live in Longwood. I know those flapadoodle nasties all too well! They're so big my cats won't even mess with them!

      Well written and very funny. Welcome to HP, Missy!

    • MissyGear profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Billy, if they get any bigger here, I'm going to have to start charging rent! My apartment is not big enough for these mammoths. I can only pray phones books will continue to work.

    • MissyGear profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Whoops. I suddenly wish I hadn't given out my location so quickly. And that's rule #1 on the Internet...

    • rcrumple profile image


      6 years ago from Kentucky

      This is just too funny!

      I lived in Alabama for 14 years (and admit it...I have to, my wife's from there) and had constant battles with the little brown la kookerwrenchers. Lights on, they're gone, lights off you could hear them crawling the walls. They were everywhere. They laughed at bug bombs, smiled at sprays, and had throats too small to eat the big roach pills you'd buy in grocery stores. Couldn't come up with enough cash to stay in those special hotels made just for them, either. I finally gave them the house and moved. Last I heard, they'd put in a pool.

      Great humor & great hub! Up and ROFL (Roaches on floor laughing)

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 

      6 years ago from UK

      RIA ( Roach Intelligence Agency) Memo#748:

      Commander C. Roach, it has been brought to our collective attention that there is a human who goes by the codename 'MissyGear' who has written a manual on eradicating our kind. App'roach' with extreme caution as she seems to systematically constructed a 'kill code' that is not only practical but also laced with so much humor that it is likely to go viral among humans. Take your Black ops roach team immediately to her residence and launch an attack. We expect collateral damage but I'm sure the team will take this for Roach and country... oh and watch out for the double tap. Report back after your mission is completed.

      General Roachario

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      I laughed and laughed and laughed. Great Hub. :)

      Sadly, we have then here in Georgia too. :( ASharing/

    • Anamika S profile image

      Anamika S Jain 

      6 years ago from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India

      That was hilarious! They are my worst enemies too! Thankfully, I have none at home as I do pest control every year to keep pests away. Good hub, voted up!

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 

      6 years ago from Deep South, USA

      My face is hurting from laughing--in spite of the fact that I recognize some of those tactics! (Or, perhaps, because I do.) Funny, funny, funny!

      By the way, welcome to HubPages, Missy...I'll be following you in hopes of some more good laughs.


    • Curiad profile image

      Mark G Weller 

      6 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

      Laughs, hilarious, here in the central valley we have millions of these pesky little tanks and I have spent hours spraying the yard, fences, buildings etc.

      I can say that I have eradicated 99.9% of them them and every morning when I venture outside, I see one or two upside down dying horrible deaths from the spray I used. The birds love me though as these bugs are apparently a delicacy.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      Once again, hilarious. Palmetto bugs are definitely the enemy. Georgia is full of them especially if you have a lot of trees in your yard. They can make you hurt yourself and you're right, friends are useless in the attack. They always miss and then shrug their shoulders about it. Thanks for the laughs.

    • Julie DeNeen profile image

      Blurter of Indiscretions 

      6 years ago from Clinton CT

      Absolutely hysterical. Following you for sure!

    • mejohnson profile image


      6 years ago

      Telephone books are great, without them humanity might have lost the war against these devious foes. Voted up & funny.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I had tears in my eyes I was laughing so hard. Oh, I'm so glad I found you. I have only had one run-in with roaches....we don't see them very often on the west coast. However, I was at a workshop in D.C. and there was one in the hotel room...scared the hell out of me...I had no idea they could be that big. I used your telephone book suggestion and it worked beautifully after I had jumped up and down on the book. Dead but not forgotten.

      Great hub young lady! Shared!

    • Sinea Pies profile image

      Sinea Pies 

      6 years ago from Northeastern United States

      This is the funniest hub I've read in a long time. I chuckled all the way through it.

      Happily, I have only had one encounter with a roach. I was living in an old mansion on a college campus...a sorority house. Beautiful house but old! We'd turned one of the larger living areas on the third floor into a casual lounge. Lo and behold, one evening two roaches came out into the light (unusual, I've heard, for roaches) but they weren't doing very well. Creeping slowly across the room, we were easily able to track them but we just couldn't kill them. No one had the courage to go near. We could only hope they'd died on their own! LOL

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 

      6 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      A most excellent roach killing hub my fine friend! Loved it! And I will be sharing! :)


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