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Long Term Infestment

Bugging out about everyone’s least favorite houseguest.

Few things on this beautiful gross Earth can make my skin crawl at the mere thought. One of those things is roommates. As an introvert who places a high value (the full price of rent) on having my own space to do weird annoying stuff and not wear pants while I do it, the idea of another being living where I live sounds like a living nightmare.

Perhaps that’s why I feel such a visceral ick toward nature’s worst roommate, the one that makes me instinctively clutch my security can of Raid. It’s God’s little freeloader: the cockroach.

Now, that’s a bold claim, because nature’s got some terrible roommates. There’s the cuckoo bird, which kills its roommates for their parents’ insurance money; there’s the cordyceps fungus, which bodysnatches ants and makes them explode; there’s, uh, tapeworm.

Roach roommates (roachmates?) are worse than all that. Roaches aren’t rare or easy to deal with. They are inevitable. They are legion. They are pound-for-pound three times faster than cheetahs (true facts, I looked it up), so you have to reenact a whole Tom and Jerry episode to catch them. And then the post-kill paranoia kicks in, and suddenly every speck of dust and tickle in your shirtsleeve has six thorny limbs and a grudge.

Needless to say, I speak from experience. Like all Florida natives, I have a history with roaches, particularly our regional brand of Deluxe Roach—excuse me, “palmetto bug”—which has all the features of the Original Roach with the bonus of being actual Alien facehuggers that could wrestle your cat.

But if all my years of roach wrangling taught me one terrifying thing, it’s that roaches are never “just passing through.” I don’t call them bad roommates because they’re filthy, or they steal your food, or they die in your bathtub without asking. I call them bad roommates because they are roommates.

Think about it: when’s the last time you saw a roach outside? Never, because they don’t come from outside. They may not even know an “outside” exists.They live with us. And they have the audacity to think we’re the bad roommates. If you ask them, they were just chilling at home when their giant, loud roommate barged in without knocking and rudely Raided the shit out of them.

Sorry, roomie; you’re not on the lease.

Bugs In Your Rugs

Rheya’s extended guide to this dumb pests-as-guests metaphor.


Garbage roommates. Literally just wrote a whole big thing about it.

Snakes, (evil) Spiders:

Armed Intruders. Call the cops.


Party Crashers. Snuck in to raid the hors d’oeuvres and judge your decor. Can be ousted easily—once you spot them.

Lizards, Frogs, (nice) Spiders:

Housekeeping. Just stopped over to pick up any bugs you weren’t using. Escort politely in a little cup.

Termites, Rats:

Hooligans. Brought their friends over to ruin your stuff for a laugh. Call the cops and probably your insurance agent.

Possums, Raccoons, Misc. Vermin:

Drunk Trespassers. Have no idea how they got here and are just as surprised as you about the whole predicament. Whack with broom.


It’s over. Burn your house down.

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