Household Pests, Ranked By Ickiness

The weather is warming up, every available surface outside is dusted with pollen, and here in beautiful New York City, cockroach season has begun in full force. Amelia killed a giant flying monster [It was a moth-sized flying roach and I took that bitch DOWN. — Amelia] that came into her apartment the other night. A week ago, I sprayed the shit out of a skittery cockroach that waddled down my hallway, determined to eat my face or at least take a nap on it while I slumbered. Household pests multiply in the spring, and I don’t care how not squeamish you think you are, bugs are still gross. How gross is gross? Let us show you the way.


Ants: A task I despised as a child was getting on my hands and knees and scrubbing the tile entryway of my mother’s house every Sunday. I relished in the act of killing the hundreds of ants that would invade our house every spring, gleefully aiming Simple Green at the slow-moving line and wiping away their bodies. This felt unnecessarily draconian, but that is my mom in a nutshell. However, ants are, for the most part, fine.


Moths: Harmless yes, but TERRIFYING JUST THE SAME. Ever since I saw “The Mothman Prophecies,” moths have acquired a new sheen of terror. I don’t like that they’re powdery, or that they flap in panic when you turn on a light. I hate the sound of their soft bodies slamming in vain against the screen of the porch late at night. Yet, I let these live. I don’t like looking at them, but they haven’t done anything to me.


Fruit flies:  Fruit flies are disgusting!! You must have left some fruit out for too long, or the garbage is rank, but, dude, something is just OFF. Find the source. Eradicate the source. Set out those gross little traps people tell you to make with apple cider vinegar and dish soap, and then chill. Easy, no-muss, no-fuss. A pest, but not pest-y.


Spiders: I was mid-conversation with my roommate when I saw something small and grey strolling on the wall above his head. “It’s a spider, get it!” I screamed with the urgency usually reserved for situations involving free food and/or cosmetics. “Oh, spiders are fine,” he said. “They eat bugs.” I watched as the spider went along its way. So, do what you will. They may eat bugs, but if they are big enough, spiders make me want to die.



Silverfish: These are neither particularly silvery or fish-like in appearance, but they are horrible, slithery things, with alien-esque carapaces. The first time I saw one, it wriggled out of a book that I had taken off my shelf. It met its demise shortly thereafter.


Centipedes and their evil play-cousins, millipedes: No. Nope. If you see one, kill it. Or ask someone who is not afraid of what looks like a slinky with one billion legs to take care of it while you hide on the couch. Your call.


Flies: What, pray tell, is worse than tucking yourself into bed in your air conditioned room, turning off the light, and hearing the buzz of one of those giant, slow-moving FAT flies go past your face? Nothing. Killing these things takes a feline-like concentration, and the ability to move swift and silent, clutching a month-old Fitness magazine, and swatting them before their horrible, beady eyes senses you and they zip away to roost on top of your bookshelf.



Mosquitoes: Take the irritation you feel by the housefly and multiply it by 10. Sleeping with a fly in the room is fine, but a mosquito needs to be killed immediately, lest it feast on your blood while you slumber. Also, if you come across the wrong one, it’ll give you malaria. Or West Nile. So even though those trucks that spray DEET in great clouds throughout the suburbs are terrible for the babies, they kill the mosquitoes, and that is more than fine by me.


Cockroaches: Ugh. I mean, on the one hand, they’re big enough that you can see them from across the room, giving you enough time to spring into action and kill them dead with a combination of the stuff you clean your countertops with and a well-placed shoe. On the other hand, they are prehistoric monsters, they will survive the nuclear winter and are prone to skittering. Approach with caution, kill with swiftness.


Mice: Not a bug, but the worst kind of pest. I am irrationally terrified of mice. Were a mouse to stroll across my desk right now, as I write, I would throw this computer across the room and leave the office, returning only when the mouse had been eradicated. Dealing with them is easy, but traps are horrible and then there’s the mess of dealing with the body, which is another shitshow entirely. Pray that you live with someone brave enough to handle this scourge, and if not, godspeed to you.

All images via Shutterstock.