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Cockroaches are virtually indestructible. A flip-flop will not kill them. Not even a sturdy trainer, or a stiletto heel can do the job. Cockroaches are said to be the only creatures that would survive in the event of a massive nuclear holocaust.

Living with Cockroaches

I have just come into contact with a higher form of life, and being both xenophobic and neurotic, my first reaction is to try and murder it. No, it is not just a spider, beetle or an ant. It is that scourge of mankind, that king of evils, the cockroach.

This is no ordinary cockroach, it is approaching almost four inches in length, maybe as a result of all that atomic testing in Rajasthan. He is gigantic and has a mind of his own, flying all the way from my bathroom and settling on my desk. He is the only cockroach in my home (that I know of) and he manages to evade my futile attempts to kill him with bug spray. I watched him grow up: he was a just a baby, but over a short span of three weeks he has metamorphosed into a hulk.

I am scared to hit him with anything. This is not your usual beat-it-up-with-a-magazine style of roach and he continues to eat with apparent gusto the poisoned aata placed strategically in a corner for him. Every day only shreds are left, and although it contains enough poison to kill an army of normal roaches, it only seems to make him bigger. I am afraid to hit him; he may beat me up.

I have noticed him watching me, with those two opposing wands of his that seem to move at will. Is he plotting his next move - just like me?

Killing Cockroaches

Cockroaches are said to be able to survive a nuclear holocaust, but I have yet to see a cockroach that can survive being smashed by a heavy work boot.

Failing that, there are plenty of sprays you can get to eradicate cockroach infestations. They generally work without creating a mess, which can't be said for the work-boot approach.

The Texas Bird Roach

When talking of power in the cockroach community, I think it is worth a mention that in Texas there exists a special type of roach, often referred to as the Texas Bird Roach. Its evolutionary trajectory is significantly different to the common scavenging roach.

The Texas Bird Roach is recognisable by its:

  • One- to two-inch-long wings, that span nearly twice its body length
  • Sharp teeth

This roach will do things that common house roaches do not do. Firstly bird roaches can fly, and in moments of panic they take to the air. Secondly, bird roaches grind their way through plastic bags and boxes to feed, so no loaf of bread or box of cereal is safe.

The Texas Bird Roach is equally at home in nature as in the bathtub or sink. As a result, they are not confined to any single domestic environment: they roam. It is not uncommon to find them in bed with you at night, crawling on your face. However, the destination was probably not your face but the outside flowerbed: you just got in the way.

A Succulent Cockroach Recipe

The New Zealand Y2K Readiness Commission has given new meaning to the phrase 'millennium bug'. The commission employed Ken, a computer-generated cockroach, to urge New Zealanders to hoard essential supplies in case the world ended on New Year's Eve, 1999. In the event that you found yourself starving, however, the commission helpfully included the following 'succulent' cockroach recipe in its press kit.

Simmer cockroaches in vinegar. Then boil with butter, farina flour, pepper and salt to make a paste. Spread on buttered bread.

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