If you have ever had a pest problem, you know too well what a nuisance it can be. I’ve been there and done that, but little did I realise how out of hand it could get until it happened to me.
I was living in a share house while studying and working a part-time job, as you do when in your early 20’s. The house was an old Queenslander in the near the heart of Brisbane city in a suburb called Spring Hill. It was the perfect location for a bunch of young bachelors with their first taste of freedom.
Of course, being young bachelors, we weren’t the most domesticated animals as of yet, and were constantly arguing over cleaning duties. If was a battle of wills to get the dishes done and it was usually a case of who could stand the mess the longest would win the battle and the dishes would get done by the “weaker” of the housemates. The weaker of the housemates was actually the smarter one, as we would learn later down the track.
The house’s location meant that we lived in a densely populated area with cafes, shops, and high rises in the area. It was the perfect grounds for vermin and pests to live in cohabitation with the humans. I’m sure every house had a few stray pests running about at night, but once word in the pest community got out about our house, every rat and cockroach must have thought it was a party and decided to take up residence.
At first, we noticed a few dead roaches during the day and occasionally see a mouse or rat scurry across the porch. Then as time went on, we would notice this more and more. One rat, two rats, three rats…
Then one afternoon two of the housemates were wrestling in the lounge room after a few drinks at the local. They were thrashing about knocking over furniture until eventually one of them went flying through the wall. We were all laughing because we were young dumb and didn’t really care about the old run-down Queenslander.
The laughing soon faded as a swarm of cockroaches started flooding out of thehole that had been made in the wall. No one knew what to do and we were all a bit shocked at the sea of bronze cockroaches scurrying out of the wall. They soon dissipated and went into hiding somewhere else. We were perplexed what to do, too scared to call the landlord because of the hole in the wall.
We didn’t know about the dangers that a plague of cockroaches can create. When I say dangers, I mean the diseases they spread such as salmonella (and all the rest) can be very harmful to humans. Luckily, we were young and healthy enough and none of us were infected – although I do remember that at one period of time everyone had a bout of the vomits and diarrhea, which could have been related to the infestation.
So, we ran out to the supermarket and bought nearly every roach killing device available. Traps, baits, sprays, and sticky strips to try and solve the problem without getting the landlord involved. The thought of getting professional pest control had never entered our minds.
That night we set the traps and baits, we sprayed the spray in hope of getting rid of the infestation.
The next morning, to our surprise, there was an army of dead roaches in every trap. The next night, the same thing, we set the traps and baits, sprayed the sprays and when we woke another army of dead soldiers appeared. This carried on for the rest of the week. Every time there was an army of dead roaches on the ground in the morning. It felt like we were barely making a dent in the population. The problem almost seemed to be getting worse, as in the morning, we would have live roaches scouring the battleground amongst the dead.
We finally caved in and called the landlord. We cleaned the house a bit first and put a poster over the big hole in the wall. The landlord called in the big guns. The professional pest controllers. And even they were horrified and dismayed at the severity of the problem. We had to vacate the premises for a couple of days and of course, the landlord gave us a month to move out.
It was definitely a learning curve and I have since picked up my act and have become more domesticated and it’s never happened again. Looking back, we could have avoided all this by taking a few simple measures and maintaining a clean and food scrap free household, but we were young and dumb. If you do feel you have a roach problem, call in the professionals as soon as possible to avoid a similar situation. It was hell and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.