FW-94 -- Frugal Cockroach Killers

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J@pan Inc Magazine Presents:

* * * * * * * * F R U G A L W A T C H * * * * * * * *
A weekly roundup of how to be frugal in the world's most
expensive country to live (unless you read this!), written
and compiled by Wendy J. Imura.

Regular edition, June 3, 2006 Issue No. 94

- Frugal Cockroach Killers
- Credits

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***** Frugal Cockroach Killers *****

Dear Frugal Readers,

It's coming. The rainy season. And there's nothing you can
do to stop it! You can, however, take some actions to avoid the
number one nasty sign of summer - cockroaches.

First, let's learn a little bit about our resilient friend, the
cockroach. They like dark, wet, warm, and narrow places. They eat
anything that humans eat, plus paper, hair, animal food and poop -
in short, just about anything. They particularly, according to my
sources, like beer and onions. Cockroaches are extremely hardy and
can, it is said, survive on one drop of water for two weeks. As
tropical bugs they become more active at above 18 degrees Celsius,
and particularly "genki" at 30 degrees C or more.

There are three main methods to avoiding cockroach infestations,
particularly in Japan. The first is simple: avoid getting cockroaches
in the first place. Leaving doors or windows open just invites critters
inside your house. If you must leave your doors or windows open, at
least close the screen. Small cracks in walls, doors, or floors are
one way many cockroaches infiltrate a home. Find, and cover up, these
areas as much as possible. In apartment complexes or condominiums,
a whole building can host infestations even if your apartment is clean.
Are there cracks in the ceiling or the "oshiire" (futon closets)? Another
often overlooked entry for roaches is pipes and drains. Plug your sink
and bath faucets and drains when not in use. Roaches can also enter the
house through your exhaust fan or air conditioner exhaust hose: use
a filter for the exhaust fan and old pantyhose or a net to cover the

The second major tip is to keep your house clean, particularly in
the kitchen where food is stored. Dirty dishes in a sink are a waiting
feast to cockroaches, and leaving dishes out overnight is particularly
dangerous. Make sure no crumbs are left on the floor or table either, and
it's best not to leave food out (even under plastic wrap). Pet
owners would also do well to clean up pet food at night too. Rinse
out empty beer cans well, and be sure to close the lid on garbage tightly.

Method three is also simple: avoid giving cockroaches a place to nest.
In particular, avoid having potted plants or flowers inside your home.
Cockroaches often use them for nests or lay eggs in the dirt. Also,
cockroaches particularly like spaces generally one-centimeter wide (such
as a one-centimeter gap between furniture and the wall) to nest in.
Try to leave larger gaps. Finally, cockroaches also love cardboard
boxes, as they also remain warm in winter. If possible, try and avoid
using cardboard boxes for storage, choosing plastic instead.

But what to do if you already have cockroaches? Well, there are a few
pointers. First of all, note that most aerosol sprays, bug bombs, roach
hotels, and other traps are quite expensive (as you may have figured
out already). In terms of safety and cost value, adhesive traps like the
Gokuburi Hoi Hoi traps (http://tinyurl.com/pglqu) are recommended. They
work well in dark, moist places like the bathroom or kitchen. However,
be sure to move the traps around occasionally: roaches are smart creatures
who quickly learn where danger is. Boric acid traps are also available
commercially, but you can learn how to make them cheaper here
(http://tinyurl.com/qgyxb) using, oddly, onions as a lure.

You can choose to fight the roaches head on. An aerosol roach
spray may be an effective weapon, but experts advise actually spraying
the roaches, waiting until they weaken, and then whacking them for
the best effect. In fact, kitchen cleaners, toilet cleaners, mold
removers, and antibacterial sprays are all more handy, cheaper, and
more effective roach killers. When whacking a roach, always approach it
from the front. Roaches have a special sensor for detecting wind changes
on their rear ends, making you easy to spot.

Finally, for those of you that vacuum up cockroaches in the vacuum
cleaner: while they may be stunned by the initial suck, they usually
emerge fine at the end. Be sure and throw away your vacuum bag
immediately afterwards. Some people vacuum up bug poison after vacuuming
a roach, but that can damage your vacuum cleaner motor. Also, at the
very worst, sometimes female roaches can actually breed when they die,
turning your vacuum cleaner into a mobile roach nest. Yuck!
Good luck avoiding roaches this year!

Frugally yours,
Wendy J. Imura

PS: Find this article interesting? So did I, in the intial Japanese.
Much credit must go to the original author, Yuki Wada.
She is a rather famous "setsuyaku expert" in Japan who appears frequently
on television, and I owe her a debt of gratitute for the original
information in Japanese (here: http://allabout.co.jp/family/yarikuri/)

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Written by: Wendy J. Imura (frugalwatch@japaninc.com)
Edited by: JI

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