Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Another thing no one tells you about living in Manhattan

There are tons of things you should know about living in NYC that no one ever bothers to tell you and lucky me, I get to discover all the gross ones! I should warn this post isn't for faint stomachs.

So here the tip is, you can thank me later: if you live in Manhattan, you will see a water bug at some point. Maybe outside. Maybe in the hallway. Maybe in the laundry room. Maybe (gulp) in your apartment. Water bugs are aka co...cockro...gawd, I can't even say it. Just read. They are everywhere! There's a reason why they say after the Apocalypse there will be those things and Cher. My building is quite clean but I live on the southern tip of Manhattan, aka part that used to be underwater. When you expand the island via dirt and trash and then build on top of it these things will happen. Could be worse I suppose...it could be rats. *shiver*

Last year I only saw one in my apartment. I learned the hard way that they crawl up the side of my building and come in through the window. I saw the damn thing come in and then it scampered behind my media center while I screamed in horror. I didn't see it for a few days so I hoped it was dead or crawling across someone's else's floor. But these things live to be over 100 so I was just fooling myself. One night I was having a private iPod concert while working. I was singing Sinatra's "I've Got You Under My Skin" when I saw the water bug crawl by my bedroom door. Oh the cruel coincidence of that moment. I managed to trap it and kill it (thank you, Raid!) but the creepy-crawly effects lasted for days afterwards.

Since then I don't really open my apartment windows during the warmer months. They are old windows in my nice old high rise so they have no screens. It's OK -- if I want a breeze I just go up to the roof deck. Unfortunately the maintenance staff doesn't know my neurotic rules so while working on my apartment the other day (after my closet rack collapsed under the weight of all of my clothes, hee) they opened the windows. I came home and gave my best horror film "Noooooooooo!" as I slo-mo ran to the windows. It was too late though! It was too late.

For the other morning, what did I see? You guessed it. Another damn water bug scampering by my bedroom door. Once again I managed to trap and kill it. The thing was huge! Practically the size of my Apple remote. Bleh! Bleh! Creepy crawlies. Not a fan.

So how do you keep your apartment water bug-proof? Well, you can't. But there are some things you can do to minimize the risk. This article has a good rundown. They're attracted to cold, dark and damp spots. So keep your floors clean, your sink empty and your garbage tended to. Don't store cardboard in your apartment either -- this is one of the most common mistakes. Critters are attracted to it. You can get new moving boxes when you move. It's so not worth it. Hopefully your neighbors are clean too.

A few of my friends had infestations and let me tell you it's not pretty. So be warned. You will see one; it will be gross and you will have to deal with it. My apologies in advance.


goldenmeans said...

Oh my gosh! I knew there were...uh..bugs...in New York but I didn't actually know they were *that* prevalent. Okay, and I just typed "water bug" into Google (because I didn't actually know that was a synonym and was wondering how widely used it was) and the GROSSEST picture just popped up at the top courtesy of their suggest images. *My* skin is crawling now! Sigh, I love NYC, but I don't think I will be leaving California anytime soon -- I will take my earthquakes over creepy crawlies any day.

I have to say, crawly subject matter and all though, your writing totally made me crack up here, several times :)

tres tippy said...

ick, ick, ick! In the 3 years that I lived in the East Village I never came across any in my apartment (astounding, I know!). However, after living with a particularly messy roommate (damn you Craigslist and your random roommate ads), I learned how to trap fruit flies, which was pretty gross too.

On that note, hope you enjoyed your vaca and that it was waterbug free :D

xine said...

There aren't cockroaches in California? I am so excited I'm going there soon then! Haha

This post is pretty funny/interesting to me though, because being from Houston you see cockroaches EVERYWHERE. It's the heat and humidity. I avoid running outside at night in the late spring/summer because that is when the cockroaches come out and hang around the sidewalks and randomly fall out of trees.

My house is extremely clean and I have an exterminator come every 3 months to keep it bug free, and even still I'll find dead cockroaches in the garage that attempted to make it past the poison barrier.

One time my friend and I came home late at night and the entire side of her house was covered in dozens of cockroaches.

Okay I'll stop with the horror stories now. But if you want to hear more, I have dozens. Hahaha

Inspiration DC said...

Oh my gosh in DC we have nasty nasty centipedes that are a couple inches long with about 30 creepy crawler legs. My worst encounter was when I was getting ready in the morning and saw it crawling on my ceiling...above my bed. I watched it frozen praying to god it didn't fall. What did it do? Fell right on my pillows and scamper under my sheets.

I never found Dilbert (my nickname for him to try to humanize him and make him less scary). It was probably 4 months ago that happened and I still get the shivers when I crawl into bed at night.

camera obscura said...

i'm a tried and true new yorker and it never fails to surprise me how gross the city really is; the cool parts anyway. rats scamper across your feet at night, roaches invade even the cleanest apt (on the third floor!) and flying things have been seen here and there.

spending the summer in chicago has really made me appreciate one thing about this city: alleys. it has alleys for its refuse and rodents. if only manhattan had been so designed...

gigiofca said...

OMG we have these, too. I hate it, hate it, hate it. I think there is a difference between regular you know whats and waterbugs. At least I like to think so. We have our home perimeter sprayed, but I still have to kill or G Money has to kill the one or two that make it inside. I'll take ants over these jokers any day.

Susan said...

Totally agree with Xine. I live in Houston as well and you can't make it through the summer without seeing a roach in your house/apt. If you aren't super diligent about spraying it's not uncommon to find a roach or two running around every day! In Texas, all the bugs try to get inside to get away from the heat. I always assumed bugs were the norm in NY apartments lol I can honestly say though that I've never seen a rat scampering around the streets of Houston (although, strangely, I have seen rabbits). Anywhoo- Raid Bug Barrier is your answer. I sprayed it around all the baseboards of my apt and haven't seen a roach in over a month.

LuLu said...

I get waterbugs,too, and damn I cant stand them!! One of my biggest fears!! I just learned recently that they do indeed come from outside crawling in between windows, as I saw one inside my venetian blinds and then it went back outside the window as I pulled the shades up, ickkk! they are so gross!! So what I did was take an old towel, cut it into strips and literally have those strips sealed on top in between my window gaps, and havent seen one since!!!\