The Sorrows of Young Werewolf (eyeteeth) wrote,
The Sorrows of Young Werewolf

Fuck yeah

A little while ago I found a very large insect on my bathroom floor (the tiles of which are about half an inch square, just to give you a sense of scale). This insect is of a type known in New York City as waterbug, but to anyone but a New Yorker that word seems to indicate either a) nothing or b) some different insect or insectile invertebrate, usually either this thing, which is properly called "giant water bug," eats fish and frogs, and is creepy enough to have been written about by Annie Dillard, or those things that walk on the surface of the water, which I have always vaguely thought of as water striders.

The waterbug of New York City is not frequently seen in apartments, probably because IT'S AS BIG AS A FUCKING HOUSE. Imagine, therefore, my surprise. But the truly interesting part came later, as I Googled around in an attempt to discover whether this waterbug had in fact been the scout for an invading waterbug horde that I was going to need some kind of huge farm machinery like a backhoe to combat effectively. I learned the following facts about order Blattodea:

1) The term "waterbug," in New York, anyway, used to refer to any kind of cockroach. Probably this is because they need an available water source in order to live.

2) Speaking of needing a water source, did you know that boric acid kills cockroaches by causing them to dehydrate? It's true! My parents used to put boric acid around the apartment before the advent of Combat discs. (I don't know if this identifies me positively as being four million years old, but be assured, I am.)

3) What in America is sometimes called the German cockroach (Blatella germanica) is in Germany called the Russian cockroach and in Russia called the Polish cockroach.

4) That supersized thing I found on my bathroom floor? Outside New York City, it's known as the American cockroach.
Tags: annie dillard, fortheloveofgodmontresor, urban wildlife, vermin
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