The wild, icky world of cockroaches
By Don Rush

I’ve ridden round enough revolutions of this earth that I am pretty confident in my abilities. I lived, loved, laughed and cried. I’ve survived lows and highs. I can even walk alone at night in a deserted building and not be too scared.
However, at this point in my life, I also know Clint Eastwood was right — but not when he tried to have a conversation with an empty chair a couple of years ago. The Clintster was correct when he growled these words in the 1973 Dirty Hairy movie, Magnum Force: “A man’s gotta’ know his limitations.”
I’ve lived through spooky-as-heck old homes; saw part of an autopsy — live and in person; I’ve squatted down next to a police cruiser for cover and then had the local copper I was with show me how to use his sidearm, if the situation deteriorated and I needed it. I’ve survived some wild and crazy things which have helped harden my meddle against most of life’s travails.
But your hero (that would be me) doesn’t do bugs. Creepy crawly things wig me out, dude! Bugs are ookey, and if I am completely honest with you, on more than one occasion I have shrieked like a school girl at the unexpected encounter of the insectoid kind.
Bugs just harsh my buzz, man.


I know I am being a hater here, and will be labeled by some as a roachaphobe, but cockroaches are right up there in the creepy crawly, icky rankings. Early last month the USA Today newspaper ran a story headlined, “Researchers tried (and failed) to kill cockroaches for six months: ‘We thought something was going to work’
You get the gist of the story, la cucaracha would not go away, no matter what poisons the Purdue University researchers tried. Further, the article stated, “Not only did two of the methods not work particularly well, but . . . (the scientists) could watch the roaches develop resistances ‘in real time.’”
Crap. Real time is fast.
The articled ended with this real time, uplifting note: “Survivors passed on resistances to their offspring.”
One of the things that kinda bummed me out about this study was its location, and proximity to Michigan. From the article, “(the study) was conducted over six months at two low-rise multi-housing units in Indiana and Illinois.”
Shivermetimbers and get me a Xanex we need to build a wall on our southern border, STAT!

* * *

My boys have had different “exotic” pets in the past — things like rats and salamanders. (I was cool with the amphibs, but the rats made me squirm. “Wanna’ hold one, Dad?” The answer was a quick and resolute, “No.”) However, at one time they mentioned getting snakes and, yes, even the Hissing Madagascar Cockroach. I may have squashed their dreams with unabashed harshness and a firm, “Oh, hell no. Not in this house.”
I know, I was ‘sposed to nurture their hopes and aspirations, blah, blah, blah. They can tell their psychologist how I screwed up their lives by denying them their right to a hairless rat and/or hairy spider. Roaches can sneak into my home like the rest of the bugs do, but I’m not willingly going to hold open the front door and invite them in. Nope. No. Never.
Whatever. I am already over it.

* * *

So . . . enough of my prejudices against Roach Nation. According to the a fore mentioned USA Today article, the most common roach in these parts is the German Cockroach.
Hmm. Didn’t know that.

* * *

Did you know, some of them give live birth like humans. Scientists say there’s a very intimate association between the cockroach egg inside certain female cockroaches … as there is to humans and human birth.
I didn’t — but I can see a SyFy original movie script taking shape in my imagination.

* * *

Cockroaches have a bacteria inside of them, an endosymbiont bacteria allowing them to recycle nitrogen. Which means, they don’t need to eat a lot of protein to survive. They can keep growing and growing and growing without ingesting large amounts of protein.
Another fact that was unknown to me. I’m starting to feel stupid.

* * *

You know what? After reading all this cool stuff about cockroaches, I’ve come to the conclusion that maybe I was wrong about them.
Nope.
They’re still creepy and if there is ever an earthquake where billions erupt from the bowels of hell, it would not surprise me.
Send comments to, DontRushDon@gmail.com

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