A metropolis of roaches living inside a cat food bag, noticed only when an accidental kick to the bag sent them flooding out. Fearless cockroaches charging toward you in your own bedroom. Bugs in the pillowcase, bugs in the coffee pot, bugs in your ear. Bugs during sex. Stop reading if you want to sleep soundly tonight. These are Gawker reader’s most skin-crawling cockroach encounters.
Yesterday, we used this traumatizing video—and the warmer thus more roach-friendly weather—to ask: What’s the worst cockroach encounter you’ve ever had, in NYC or otherwise? You came through. We’re so very sorry.
“The fucking New York City of Cockroaches”
It’s an old, typical NYC apartment, i.e., no storage. 2 closets total, no pantry, the usual.
I also had two cats. So! I bought these cool looking, nut-brown wicker baskets — big ones, big enough to hold various shit that needed storing. Cleaning supplies, the dustbuster, whatever. And — and this bit is key — the 5 lb bag of cat food I favored. It looked nice — I liked the look of pretty wicker baskets to mask the Crap One Must Store, when one has Stuff but no closets. I felt like my house was ‘put together’ and, mid-personal-life-trainwreck, that mattered to me. The cat-food-basket lived in a odd anteroom between the front door and the kitchen that wasn’t exactly a foyer, but sort of acted like one, and was not in the kitchen but too close to it for what happened next to be emotionally survivable.
I was in that apartment some months. One day, I happened to kick the cat food basket as I passed it. I have no idea how this hadn’t happened before, but it hadn’t. I jostled that motherfucker, just walking by.
That thing came alive with cockroaches. The thing was, the cockroaches were the same nut-brown color as the basket. Every single little twist of wicker? Had a couple roaches nestled within it. For every kernel of cat food in that 5 lb bag, there were 2 cockroaches. It was the fucking New York City of cockroaches. It was insane. I have no idea how I missed this, as I scooped the daily cup o’food off the top for poor Niki and Fiona, who were probably eating around those fuckers for weeks. I have never, and hope to god I will never again, see that density of cockroaches in one place. At my jostle, they lit out for the territories, and those motherfuckers covered the wall that separated my kitchen from the living room, in seconds. They. were. everywhere. Some? Were visibly pregnant.
When I could move, I bolted for the spray-roach killer and the dustbuster (in, by the way, a different fucking basket — I will never forgive wicker baskets). I sprayed that shit like I was an old testament god on a bender. Now it was the Hiroshima of cockroaches. And then the dead ones were...you know...there. The dustbuster? became clogged with their carcasses.
I got rid of my couch that day (it was too close, proxmity-wise). After the dustbuster clogged, I went out to a cheap upper-broadway hardware store, to get a second one. When I finished the job, I threw that one away too. I called my mother, crying like a teenager, when it was over. I was still seeing ghost roaches out of the corners of my eyes. My mom, back home in Kansas: “Oh, honey. I .... I...did you get rid of the dustbuster?” Me: “FUCKING YES OF COURSE WHAT THE FUCK.” Her: “...ok...that’s...good...honey [breathing deep]...I...I think I’d just move if I were you...How much would it be to move? I could... you know, how much to just leave and never come back?”
My mother the Kansas schoolteacher with no money straight up offered me $2k if it meant I could walk away. I was a grown ass woman, so I refused, but. Holy shit. I never slept well in that apartment ever again, but I’m telling you what: my housekeeping? Has never, ever gotten ignored again. Nope. My shit is vigilant.
There’s no way to number the cockroaches I faced that day. The amount was more than a human number. I can still see it.
A little tickle
Let me shut this comments section down. My ex lived in a roach nest. I refuse to call it a house. I had never seen roaches before I met him and I thought they were just big beetles. Well one night while having sex we got on the floor and he was pounding me out. I heard a clicking sound near my ear. Then I felt tickling on my nipples then I heard the dreaded “oh no” from my boyfriend. He immediately pulled out of me and turned on the lights. ROACHES EVERYWHERE!!!! Roaches in my hair! Roaches on my tits!!! Roaches in his hair! Then I looked at him and the face I saw I will never forget. He was looking at my freshly waxed vagina as if I had.....ROACHES ON MY VAGINA!!!! I jumped up ran out of the house butt naked ran around his yard and never returned. It took months of vaginal ultrasounds to calm my OCD.
“I started praying that it was just a hair tie...”
I had just moved to NY and was living with a friend in Crown Heights. I had seen cockroaches in the kitchen, but I’m not too scared of bugs so it didn’t really bother me, and the super said he was taking care of them anyways. No big deal.
Then one night, I came home and got in bed, and started to fall asleep. I reached my hands under my pillow (stomach sleeper) and wrapped my hand around something. I started praying that it was just a hair tie, but nope. Big ass cockroach, crushed in my hand. After that, I started shaking out my bed sheets every night before getting in.
That wasn’t enough to make me move out, since the rent was cheap and finding an apartment in manhattan was a pain. A few weeks later, I got home late one night and was sitting in the kitchen alone eating a snack, when I saw a cockroach crawl up my coffee pot. Being a curious person, and a little drunk, I got closer and watched it crawl around. Now here’s the bad part; the cockroach POOPED on my coffee pot! Just a little poop! That was it. That is the reason I moved out of Crown Heights. Not the lying super. Not the guy at the pizza place who pulled a gun on another guy and yelled “I’LL KILL YOU, UNCLE!” while I ordered a slice of pepperoni. It was the cockroach pooping on my coffee pot.
Four out of five dentists recommend...
Grew up in New Orleans as a kid. Must have been like six, was rinsing my mouth out with mouthwash from my bathroom cup. Felt different this time.
Spit out the mouthwash, voilà, a large roach. Nightmares for years.
And the other thing about the roaches in NOLA, they love to fly. Fucking disgusting.
What’s for breakfast?
As someone who once rented a room in a Section 8 apartment in Washington Heights soon after NYU, this video gives me both pangs of anguish and warm feelings of nostalgia.
Worst story: I once threw a pan on the stove to cook eggs, turned on the gas, drizzled some EVOO, ran to pee while it heated and came back to a sauteed cockroach.
“Like walking on potato chips”
Taking the dog for a walk after sundown in Houston in the summer sounded like walking on potato chips. They would come crawling out of the manhole covers and sewer grates.
Out of the sleeve...
I used to work in an old crappy hospital. Notorious for creepy crawlies of all times (think mice falling through the ceiling during a pipe leak). Anyhoo, one lunchtime I heard a lady nearby yell out “Lord a MERCY, LORD LORD LORD a MERCY!” Turns out a giant humongous fast moving freak of nature cockroach had fallen into her hair and sped down her neck, INSIDE HER CLOTHES, only to pop out from beneath her sleeve with a “howdy doo, glad to have ya!”
Did I mention it was her very first day?
...and up the pant leg.
I think our office building has finally gotten the roach problem under control, but a couple summers back we constantly saw them crawling on the furniture, scurrying across the bathroom floor, and, most often, dead and turned on their backs. It was a few a week for about a month straight. The worst, though, is that one of them crawled up my coworker’s pant leg - yeesh. I’m cringing just remembering it, and it didn’t even happen to me. This is a fancy corporate building in Midtown East, mind you.
“It looked like the wallpaper was alive”
That’s nuthin’. In Hawai’i, I let my 100 unit apartment manager talk me into helping his cleaning guy on weekends; steam cleaning carpets and carrying junk to the dumpster, mainly. $100 an apartment under the table for a few hours work. The third apartment we had, I walked in and turned the lights on in the kitchen. I literally heard the roaches running for cover; it looked like the wallpaper was alive. The whole apartment was degenerate-junkie, rotting-trash-never-carried-out filthy. I apologized to my coworker, walked down the management office and quit. I had lasted one weekend. And it also changed the way I thought about my neighbors forever.
“Dang, that is a fat bass line...”
(German) roach in my head phones, late at night, pretending to be a fat baseline that made my ear tickle. But only on my right. “Dang, that is a fat baseline,... hold on, this is weird, whaaaaa...fuckkkkk!!”
To make this a bit more real for you: These were the kind of phones. Little bug, about 5 mm or so. Really felt like a heavy bass tingle at first. Only too heavy, sorta like a stage monitor kinda heavy. That is why I ‘listened up’. And it kept tingling, also during silences....until it dawned on me. I took’em off, looked, and then screamed (in an empty, dark office space) and dropped the fucking things. Yeah, it made my skin crawl, too. Still does.
Like a chicken with its head cut off
One time, while visiting a friend in NYC, three of us had a contest for grossest cock roach story. Mine: hitting a roach with a shoe, having the back half explode in white goo and the front half run away into the closet. One friend’s: a group of people were eating around a table when a roach appeared at shoulder level. One person flicked it away, only to have it hit another of the group in the face. Third friend’s: she was turoring a kid who had one—I swear it’s true—crawl in his ear.
Naked, blind, and carrying a sink
Not my story (thank God), but my mother’s. She and my father lived on Majuro, a small atoll in Micronesia, for several years before I was born. One night, she and my father have houseguests staying over. Everyone has gone to bed, and my mother needs to get up to use the bathroom. If I recall this story correctly, she is naked and not wearing her contact lenses (because of course). Something catches her eye in the bathroom, a dark shape on the floor. It suddenly scurries quickly towards her, and she realizes it’s an enormous cockroach. She screams and pushes herself up onto the edge of the sink to get her feet off the floor... And the sink is torn completely off the wall. She then has to stand there in the bathroom, naked, blind, with a massive insect running around, holding up the sink so it doesn’t crash to the ground waking up everyone in the house.
The unkillable cockroach
One day i was walking home from work and saw a large roach. I mean this was not a typical large red or black NYC roach. It was bout 4” long and 1.5” wide. And the shell had ripples and iridescent colors. Well any who I skipped over it and went home.
Later that night I was on line and I heard under the table something so I quickly looked and holy mother of god. This thing was in my apt. Trying desperately to climb the wall but it could not get a grip. Must have jumped on me when I skipped over it and clinged on to my jeans.
The noise it made, it was as if I could feel its desperation. It made me anxious, I got scared, I just wanted the noise to stop.
So I grabbed a large knife, and I hit it, but the shell made a crunch sound, it was tougher than I imagined. I was shocked, so I chopped it again and again it didn’t kill it. It just got more desperate and it made more scared. So I grabbed a large exercise metal bar and wacked it.. It made that crunch sound again. It got more desperate, the noise got louder, it made his ng noises I yell at it to die, it wouldn’t.
I kept hitting it and hitting it until it stopped.
Until this day I don’t recall what happened after that. Did I kill it? Ist it around someplace? I don’t remember...
To this day I don’t know what happened to that Buick of a roach.
Maybe its roamng your neighborhood, your building, your apartment... Maybe your bed..
Shit I gotta go to bed.
Summer in New York, which made me leave the city for good nearly 11 years ago. I was walking in Brooklyn Heights (Clark/Henry area) one early Tuesday morning (Monday nights were garbage nights, then) and the stench of the garbage juice on the sidewalk was strong. My friend and I noticed something odd about the sidewalk about 20 feet in front of us—it appeared to be moving. We moved closer to investigate. Mistake. Turns out it was thousands (millions?) of roaches covering a 5x15’ area where the garbage bags had been placed overnight near the corner. It was horrifying.
“You get the big delight in every bite”
I once saw a girl take a big bite out of a hostess cupcake and watched her fall backwards over her chair when she saw a big cockroach crawl out of the filling. Still makes me giggle thinking about it. Good Times...Good Times...
ya, currently living in apt that has cockroaches (did not know until i moved in). so once day i went to the doc, i had to change into one of those paper robe things. so i get undressed, put on the robe, and drop my dress onto a chair. I am waiting for the doc and i notice something crawling away from dress...it was a goddamn baby cockroach. that muther fucker hitched a ride from my apt on my goddamn dress. i was wearing that fucking dress for 4 hours and didn’t feel a fucking thing. unfortunately, the fucker was too fast and i lost it. sorry doc! i feel much shame and grossness.
My roommate’s boyfriend was visiting from out-of-town, and she wanted to cook a special dinner for him. So she bought an expensive, fancy steak and all the trimmings and put the steak in the broiler. We had an old-timey stove that had a special broiler drawer. When she pulled the drawer out to check on the steak, it was covered in dead cockroaches. Apparently, they had been living in the stove (which we never used) and when the heat started, they fled to the coolest surface, which was the steak, before being broiled to death. Needless to say, that was the last time we used that stove.