Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Bad Roach
Good Roach
Yummy Roach

One of the more horrifying interesting things about living here in subtropical China are the insects.  At present I have the dubious pleasure to share my bedroom with a termite infested book case/ desk.  It's your basic particle board flat pack Ikea style piece of furniture that was here when we moved in.  As the spring has progressed, the offspring have emerged flying about looking for a new home.  They are small and harmless to people, but very annoying.  I'm not sure there is a good way to rid myself of them.  I think an exterminator would need to drill into the offending wooden furniture and inject insecticide into it.  I've seen a lot of marginal work here.  Amateur plumbing, paint splattered all over nice tile work, and welding with no eye protection.  I have little faith in dangerous poisons being sprayed in my home in some slapdash Third World fashion.  I would probably get sick, and the termites would still infest my book case.  I have found that opening the window for a short period during the day allows the little critters to "go to the light" as insects are prone to do, and exit the premises.
Mosquitoes also abound, especially in this wet time of year.  They have not been a problem in my place because I live in a rare place, an apartment with screens on the windows.  For some reason, homes here lack window screens.  They are available, and are very affordable, but no one seems to be interested in having them.  Even the kids at my school, the offspring of well off people, come to school with mosquito bites all over their legs, arms and faces.  I'm sure there is some superstition involved in this strangely negligent behavior.
These bugs are nothing compared to the T Rex of insects here, the cockroach.  These creatures grow to be as long as 3 to 4 inches.  They fortunately only come out at night, but that can be a big thrill when you need to get up in the middle of the night to pee.  You shuffle to the bathroom, half asleep and turn on the light, only to see a mouse sized insect scurrying for cover.  It's a great wake me up, but it takes some time for the adrenaline to dissipate enough for you to get back to sleep.
The local name for these literally translates as "small strong", and they are durable creatures. I fortunately only have an occasional roachie visitor.  They thrive in drain pipes.  Most homes have floor drains with flex hoses going to them from the sinks.  Roaches love this habitat.  My drains are sealed and I have no open floor drains.  My sinks have baskets recessed into the drains which blocks any egress. We also keep all food put away and take out the trash every night to deny any dining opportunities.
In some parts of Asia, and even in China, cockroaches are part of the cuisine.  I'm a little surprised that in this area, where people are known to each just about anything that moves, they have not caught on as a great delicacy.  Oh the mysteries of the Middle Kingdom!

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