I nearly fell off the chair.
It wasn't from the shock of a bug creeping up on me. It was from laughing at online reactions to a car-crash cockroach story posted on The Straits Times Facebook page.
Readers responded to a report of a driver who crashed her car when scared by a cockroach with wacky advice.
Now, a car accident is a serious matter. The Jan 29 report said she suffered minor injuries. Her vehicle was damaged. It could have been so much worse, and we're grateful it didn't end up so.
"It's fortunate that nobody is standing near the foot of the bridge at that moment. It'll be a tragedy if someone died just because of a cockroach and it's not a laughing matter." - ST Facebook page reader Riku Hakugen
The nervy humour partly reflects the fear we have of ending up like the driver. Many readers related to the creepy-crawly anxiety, and the cockroach post was shared thousands of times.
"Most costly and written about ka-chuak in Sgp for now." - ST Facebook page reader Ch Tn
"I have never seen people come together more closely in National union than in this comments section." - ST Facebook page reader Stephanie Michelle de Souza
Our country, our cars and our cockroaches. Brings a tear to the eye. Read on to find out how we came together for a bug, only to back away in horror.
Eat, drink, man, woman, bug
There was a chorus of "don't eat or drink in the car" type of advice from lots of readers.
Cockroaches are food-lovers. When there's a good buffet in town, they're there. For some people, though, the roaches themselves are on the menu.
"smack or step on it or grab and eat it!"- ST Facebook page reader Chua Kim
"Hehe u dont know meh? In TCM, cockroaches are caught, dried, sunned then pounded into powder to add as ingredient into soup with herbs." - ST Facebook page reader Lloyd Sam
The Straits Times found out from a cockroach farmer that his roaches' favourite treat is the potato, which is only second to their love for food that has gone slightly bad.
Feed them and, later, they can be fed to you: They are boiled and dried for use in traditional Chinese medicine.
They are also used on people's faces in an attempt to improve their appearance. They have been used in Korea for cosmetic facial masks.
Cockroach farmers sell the bugs to cosmetic companies that value the insects as a cheap source of protein as well as for the cellulose-like substance on their wings.
Fight fire with fire (frogs, lizards, chickens and cats)
Readers helpfully suggested keeping other creepy-crawlies to deal with the roach. We're okay with spiders in our hair and lizards on our faces as we drive, as long as there are no cockroaches, right?
"A huntsman spider would do the job for free." - ST Facebook page reader Sean Vitug Sarmiento
"i keep lizards in my car, they keep the car roaches free." - ST Facebook page reader Derek Xie
Here are cuter options:
"Keep a chicken in the car, that'll work." - ST Facebook page reader Gerry Yeap
"My cats would hunt them down. I always see dead cockroaches the next morning. I would just chuck my cats at the cockroach instead." - ST Facebook page reader Estelwen Nadia Jinguji
"...bring along a pet frog, gecko etc natural predators..." - ST Facebook page reader Henry Ang
Dried-up pandan leaves more a love nest, less a repellent
If you prefer your anti-roach agent to not drop a tail on your lap, or cluck and peck at your feet, there's the time-honoured pandan-leaves advice.
"Place pandan leaves, lemon grass and ginger in your car. After some time it will smell like chicken rice. You can thank me later." - ST Facebook page reader 戴澩圲
However, experts warn that when pandan leaves dry up, they could turn into a meal for the roaches. They could even become, eww, a love nest.
"I can confirm that cockroaches are not afraid of pandan leaves. I have an unused bathroom in my house. So I put pandan leaves at a few corners. One day I went to use the toilet and heard some sizzling sound. I removed the pandan leaves and guess what I saw? Two adult cockroaches mating behind it." - ST Facebook page reader Monica Tigris Lee
Ah, getting down and dirty in the backseats of our cars. Isn't it hot when cockroaches find our crumb-covered seats a turn-on, then make babies?
It gets even more romantic.
The next time we're cuddling loved ones in our cars, think of how a loving touch triggers cockroaches into making babies faster. A study said that female cockroaches make eggs more quickly if they get antennae touches from other roaches.
The girl roaches don't need boy roaches to do the cuddling.
When three female American cockroaches - commonly found in Singapore - were placed together in a study, their egg cases formed more quickly than when a single female was observed, according to a study in Japan.
The girl bugs don't need the guys in order to reproduce either.
Researchers from Hokkaido University isolated 15 virgin female cockroaches in a study. Within three years, the female-only colony had bred five generations and showed only small signs of slowing down.
"...I scratched and scratched for probably 5 minutes... I thought a strand of my hair fell onto my hand... I looked over intending to take away that strand of hair, but... A big cockroach was harassing me with its fillers. The unwanted touch and pervertic look of the cockroach sent chill down to my body. For a moment I lost my sanity and virgin of fillers-touching-me to this small creature. I can never see cockroach the same way again. It was one of the most emotional overwhelming time of my life." - ST Facebook page reader Jean Jean
It was probably an emotional moment for Roachie too - reaching out, then being rejected. Cockroaches have feelers... I mean, feelings too.
This Valentine's Day, throw away the chocolates and forget "love is in the air". Think, "insecticide is in the air".
Fight fire with fire… actual fire
Quite a number of readers abandoned all hope and went straight to the nuclear option.
"Should have stopped safely by the roadside. And then burn the whole car. Don't leave it to chance." - ST Facebook page reader Stanley Woo WeiXian
"Do not show fear (Showing fear will endanger your life in the presence of a cockroach).
Safely park the car.
Search for cockroach.
Cockroach cannot be found.
Burn whole car.
Take MRT home.
Same cockroach found in MRT.
Call Star unit."
- ST Facebook page reader ALi Imron
"Change n scrap car every year la. Sure no problem." - ST Facebook page reader Francis Gemuk Teo
"Buy a new car." - ST Facebook page reader Muhammad Fikri Bin Rohaizan
Other readers hoped to buy new spaceships.
"I want to leave this planet." - ST Facebook page reader Dureshika Rana
Well, future astronauts, roaches born in outer space are apparently faster and tougher than their terrestrial brethren.
According to a Russian news agency, the super-roaches conceived aboard a satellite were also said to have grown more quickly than ordinary earth-bred cockroaches. And the earth-bred ones are already hardy survivors, and have been around for hundreds of millions of years.
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