In Japan, summer season is BUG season. I can handle the occasional fruit flies and the blood-sucking mosquitoes, even the centipede-looking hairy thing that turns up every now and then. But one thing that definitely gets my hackles up is the La Cucaracha, the bane of every household, the vermin that appears out of nowhere, and that can make unsightly appearances in the most unexpected places.
Baggy not only hates them; he also fears them. A cockroachaphobia, if you will, although no such term exists. According to him, when he was a child, he was “attacked” by a flying cockroach while he was alone in the house one day. Yeah, and I bet the cockroach also wore a helmet and brandished a sword, and was excessively menacing. So if he chances upon a roach anywhere in the house, he could never bring himself to kill it. He always calls on me to do that grim job.
Sorry to destroy your image of Japan being all clean and antiseptic, with no traces of bugs anywhere. Bugs will always be there, surprise. Most especially in rundown, old buildings. In fairness, one can be amazed at the variety of pest control gizmos that can be bought at the local drugstore. Looks like they take their bug control seriously.
Fortunately for us, save for summer, the vermins are nowhere to be seen during the other seasons. We suppose that they are somewhere under the ground, recouping their losses, happily mating for all we know, and planning their strategic attacks to be carried out next bug season.
I, on the other hand, have my attack weapons ready. I don’t like the idea of fumigating the whole house just to get rid of these pests. It’s not like they would be found crawling in broad daylight across our room, you know? But they’re most definitely around, always hiding in places seldom used or opened, locked up in shoe boxes or other containers, just waiting to surprise unsuspecting people.
Once I bought a pest-control chemical which you only have to pour water on in order to emit smoke. But the instructions also indicated that all furnitures must be covered or removed from the room in order not to be contaminated with the chemicals. After giving it some thought, I decided not to use it anyway — too tedious. I don’t want chemicals settling on any part of our furniture or clothes because we have a young toddler in the house.
Anyway, my two tried-and-tested weapons are these:
1. Cleaning sprays – my so-called “active” weapon. Any cleaning spray will do, as long as it produces a lot of foam. Spray on sight. The マジッククリン (Magic Clean) sprays work marvelously. The foam can effectively contain the enemy, and reduce its mobility to zero with succeding sprays. It’s actually more effective than the usual “pamalo” or bug whipper (is this the right term for it?). Watch in grim satisfaction as the bug dies a slow death while trapped in this deathly foam. Wipe clean with a tissue afterwards. (Ok, I’m really taking this bug business way too seriously, haha.)
2. Gokiburi Hoihoi – my so-called “passive” weapon. “Gokiburi” – this tongue-twister is actually the Japanese word for cockroach. Try saying this ten times, haha. “Hoihoi” on the other hand, is a trap. I don’t know when this contraption was first invented, but it appears that this was a registered, maybe original product of A-su Seiyaku, the same company that sells household pest controls. Basically it is just your usual sticky paper with bait. It is extremely easy to setup. Its slim body can be inserted especially in those narrow areas they usually crawl in.
I’ve set out the traps today. It’s a buggy bug world, after all. (And I write this to end this post, for lack of anything more creative or witty to quip, heheh.)