I’ve never been that bothered by cockroaches, unlike my wife, whose scream sets our dogs off every time she sees one. They don’t scare me, make me feel sick, or even put me off my cornflakes, but after seeing what I saw this summer, I’ve been marked by the blighters.
It all started back in June, when an increasing amount of cockroaches began to creep out each night for a midnight feast. They knew exactly what they were doing. Once we’d prepared the dinner, got the kids to bed, and were in the lounge eating, they would scuttle out into the kitchen looking for scraps of food.
Every night when I went back in for my yogurt, or a top up of wine, I’d catch one, or two, or even five cockroaches playing rounders with bread crumbs. They’d shift round the edge of the kitchen floor, hoping to score a rounder, while the others watched and clapped. My wife kept going on at me, saying we must have had a nest somewhere. At the start I told her they would get bored and go away, but when they started to crawl into the lounge, we called in Roberto.
Roberto could have easily been a flamenco dancer, if he had been carrying a guitar, wore slightly cleaner, and more polished shoes, and wasn’t covered in dead skin from various animals. He was so up for finding our cockroaches and getting rid of them that I thought he was going to pay me for doing it, not the other way round.
When he first turned up he came in the house, leaving traces of dust and dirt on the floor as he hunted out the cockroach nests. It didn’t take him long. After my wife explained just how many startles she’d had, plus the noises in the ceiling and walls she’d been hearing, then he somehow figured out that we had quite a few of the buggers hiding in the drains.
Out in the patio we have three drains, all mysteriously sealed up with cement.
“This just isn’t right,” Roberto said, as he was staring around the floor, looking for a way to open the drains. “I’m going to have to bash them open.”
“If it means I can have a meal without worrying that a crunchy creature might fly into my sandwich, then do whatever you want, mate,” I said, in my own Spanish way.
As Roberto started smashing his way into the cracks of the drains, it became clear exactly why we were having two or three visits during the night. When he lifted the first one I was nearly sick. A huge ball of cucarachas were scuttling about in the corner, gasping for darkness and dirt. Once the light hit, they tried to escape, heading up and out onto the patio floor. Roberto slammed down the drain.
“There they are,” he said, as if he’d been hunting all night for a shoal of great white sharks.
“Perhaps we need a bigger boat,” I said, but the joke was lost.
I’d been expecting maybe ten or twenty to be sitting about, checking their What’sApp messages, but no word of a lie, there must have been over a forty, in each of the four different nests.
When my wife popped her head out the door and saw me nearly gagging, she guessed that we’d found the problem.
“How many were there?”
“You don’t want to know.”
Roberto was loving it though. His face lit up when he discovered the nests, as if his long quest had finally come to an end.
“I’ll be back,” he said, in true Arnie style as he whizzed off to his van and came back with a huge canister with a squirty pipe thing attached to it.
“What are you going to do?” I said, worried for my baby daughter in the other room, and son when he got back from nursery.
“Don’t worry, this is harmless,” he said, holding the pipe up to his face. For a moment I thought he was going to squirt some in his mouth and swirl it round like mouthwash, just to show us how undeadly it was. Then he ordered us to cover over all the sink plug holes downstairs, and he went up and put some of the gas / liquid / poison, down the plug holes upstairs.
Then came the fun bit.
“Your wife better stay in for this part,” he said, to which I nodded for her to close the front door.
“What are we going to do?”
“I’m going to spray this on the nests, the cockroaches will try to come out, so get ready to stamp on them. They like the shade, so will run to the corners. Then in a couple of days they’ll all be dead.”
“Sure thing,” I said, grabbing my cheap, plastic, blue fly squatter.
So I watched him open the drains again and spray the liquid over the little munchkins. We both proceeded to stamp on and squash any which survived the lethal dosage.
“Oh my God,” my wife cried as she finally opened the front door.
“Yeah, that was quite gross,” I said, grimacing as I scoured the floor for any sign of a living cockroach, there were about a hundred scrunched dead into the floor.
“Did you kill them all?” she asked.
“Of course,” said Roberto, pleased with his mornings work (can you imagine being set up on a blind date with him? Hi, My name’s Roberto and in the morning I kill cockroaches). I was dubious, from the amount I’d seen though. I was expecting them to just run into the house somewhere and set up base in our bedroom or something, but, as Roberto had said, within 48 hours there was no sign of another one.
The next morning there were a few dead ones outside, and we did hear funny noises in the ceilings and walls now and then, but when he came back and opened the drains, there was nothing in sight. Well worth the 100 euros we paid him, and I haven’t seen one all summer.
I did actually see one a couple of hours ago though. It crawlled down the hall into the kitchen. I just hope it got lost from his tribe and there isn’t another nest out there forming. I didn’t tell my wife either, so this is a test to see if she does actually read all my blogs. Have you ever had a rendezvous with a group of cockroaches?