Can You Hear the Bugs Tonight?

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.

Once they’re stuck, there’s no escaping, har har har.
Ok, I’ve yet to see a roach playing baseball or wearing a backpack. But you really have to wonder what they do with their spare time, eh? πŸ˜›
Open wide! Here’s the inside of the hoihoi. The brown paper must be removed to uncover the sticky surface.
Ashifuki matto = mat to wipe feet. Yeah, wipe those essential oils for more efficient sticking! I think of them as “welcome mats.”
Here’s the bait, placed at the center. The corrugated pattern, apparently, makes it more difficult for the roaches to “slide” their way out of their sticky doom.
Join the flaps at the top, and you’re done!
Well, do come in, won’t you? πŸ˜‰

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.)

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21 Responses to Can You Hear the Bugs Tonight?

  1. Belle says:

    Bugs are everywhere even here in the US. Every now and then, I would see crickets inside my house. Don’t know how it got in. They must like to be around people. We used to be badly troubled by ants but my husband bought the steel round poison bait that he set here and there, and around the house and outside and it did the trick. No more ants.

    My husband is also scared of cockroach and he always asks me to get rid of it.

  2. kaoko says:

    Hi! Ran into your post from

    The La Cucaracha part amused me so I clicked. I must say, I found your Gokuburi Hoihoi pics amusing, hehe. Now that, is a Roach Motel / Mansion πŸ˜€

  3. Gina says:

    Awww, what a cute and inviting little house! πŸ˜‰ I just find it amusing how the japanese often come up with cutesy things and characters such as hello kitty,My melody, kerokeroopee, etc. , and now this!
    I hope that thing will work so poor Baggy needn’t be frightened anymore!

  4. dimaks says:

    I also started seeing some bugs crawling into my apartment.. now i got all corners with insect repellents, hehe

  5. paolomendoza says:

    you’re right, i always thought that japan was like the coolest place in the world! it was surely nice to read something from someone who lives there. nice that you put tips too…

    anyway, it’s still one of the places i hope to visit soon.

  6. niceheart says:

    Nakakatuwa naman yung cockroach trap. :) We used to live in an old house and we would also get bugs and those roaches.

    Summer time here is also mosquito time. And mosquitoes here are huge and give you nasty bites.

  7. Gypsy says:

    Cockroaches in Japan?! Talaga? I thought super linis dyan…anyway, I have this cool injection type with white gel inside. I woudl just put a spot of this white gel in certain corners. The cockroaches are attracted too the sweet taste (not that I tasted it..) and take a bit of it and voila, dedbol sila. :) And it lasts quite long too.

  8. verns says:

    hahaha this reminded me of the rats in our toilet bowl lol :)

    anyway if I’m gonna use that hoihoi thingy in our apartment, it will probably catch a lot of roaches hehe

  9. kathy says:

    At least there’s no ants around here. In our old house in the Philippines, a few crumbs of bread on the floor would attract a lot of ants – they were everywhere! It makes you wonder why they don’t ever drown during floods – e lagi namang binabaha bahay namin non hehe.

    LOL @ our scaredy hubbies! Mga takot sa ipis. πŸ˜€

  10. kathy says:

    lol @ “Roach motel/mansion” πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€
    Complete with welcome mats and food. And actually, the first versions of the hoihoi which I viewed on YouTube resembled small houses, with slanted roofs and all.

    Thanks for dropping by my site, kaoko. :)

  11. kathy says:

    Gina, sometimes I do wish a roach would really crawl on his feet one day so he can get off his butt and stop working on his pc. *evil grin*

    But hey, the hoihois really do work. My sister brought some with her when she went home – andami raw huli sa apartment nila, lol.

  12. kathy says:

    It’s the food, dimaks. Your experiments in the kitchen are attracting your new visitors, lol.

  13. kathy says:

    A little dose of reality there, eh? But I think it really does depend on the locality. When I lived further up north, I didn’t see cockroaches nor flies there, even if I lived at the first floor of the building. Anyway, just steer clear of the summer season, and you won’t have bugs bothering you.

    Thanks for dropping by! :)

  14. kathy says:

    Ugh, I hate mosquitoes, too. Every summer, Aya goes home from the daycare with lots of insect bites. During summer, the kids spend a lot more time outdoors, hence the bites.

  15. kathy says:

    Cockroaches are probably the most resilient bugs ever because they can eat virtually “anything.” So I guess, they will always be in our habitat, no matter how sophisticated or advanced.

    “not that I tasted it” – lol!!! Good one, Gypsy! :)

  16. kathy says:

    Hey Verns, I think you also wrote something about cockroaches before, and if I remember right, that was the post I commented on when I visited your site for the first time. :)

    Gusto mo i-try yung hoihoi? Dalhan kita pag-uwi ko! :)

  17. SexyMom says:

    oh, gosh! those cockroaches. imagine how my daughters would freak out, shout and run when they see cockroaches flying out to get them (LOL). that is why as much as possible, i told them, not to leave food crumbs in their rooms.

  18. dimaks says:

    haha.. possible

    perhaps i have been cooking so good that even the bugs’ attention were called..

  19. kathy says:

    SexyMom, your comment reminds me of my sisters, who would shriek and go ga-ga whenever roaches are around. It’s even worse with spiders, lol. πŸ˜€

  20. raul reyes says:

    donde puedo encontrar estas trampas en MΓ©xico gokiburi hoihoi

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