Thursday, September 6, 2007

An ethical dilemma

I am not proud of this picture, which shows the contents of my kitchen and pantry. I have so much kitchen stuff. You see why I was talking about simplifying a few posts back!

Why has my kitchen relocated to my guest room futon? I've had roaches for a few months and it's really been wearing me down. There's nothing like walking in the door at 8:00 (the time I get home if I work out) and dealing with roaches on the floor and counter. Hence my dilemma. I believe in animal rights but I don't consider roaches animals. Still, I dislike killing things and a roach bloodbath lowers my spirits. What does an aspiring vegan with a roach problem do?

Reader, I chose annihilation. Yesterday I bought a $500 roach extermination package which includes an initial sweep, a follow-up visit, and monthly visits for a year. I almost consider that cheap for my peace of mind. Before the first "treatment," I had to clean out my entire kitchen so the exterminator could access the deepest crevices of my cabinets. It took over an hour to move everything out, and that was even with the help of HS and my future mother-in-law (thanks, guys!).

Animal-rights-inclined readers, what do you do when you have an insect infestation?


Anonymous said...

Are you sure that's not a picture of my kitchen?


bazu said...

I had a mild ant-infestation once, and I found many folk remedies that worked: "erasing" their tracks, bay leaves, mint, etc. They were gone in a couple of days and never came back, but in the meantime, I'm sure I killed some.

Katyola said...

Wow! Thanks for the honesty. When I had severe ant problems in C-ville (to the point where I dreaded entering my kitchen), I wound up using ant sand, which keeps them from coming in the house in the first place. This worked really well, and in some ways I think it was a more humane solution because before that, I was spraying bug spray around window sills and the door — not good for anyone, including me and the cats.

Vegetation said...

I must confess that I don't kill ants in my kitchen but I draw the line at weevils and roaches ::shudder::

As for your kitchen, don't worry, if I had to empty mine out I'd have 3 times that amount of stuff (plus a whole heap I know I don't know about!).

For roaches, I lay the trusty old roach baits around the kitchen. If they want to live in the laundry where they're not bothering me that's fine, but I don't want them near my food!

Theresa said...

Roaches and ants are a given here... when it gets warm, they will infest your kitchen. I've actually had ants drag sand and dirt from somewhere and start to build nests in corners. They currently keep trying just behind the sink (on the counter top... seems like there'd be a better location).

When that happens, we make sure ALL our food is in airtight containers. We take out the trash every night, sweep the floor every night, and make sure no dirty dishes are left around. You can always tell when you've missed a spot when wiping the countertop, because there will be an orgy of ants on that one little spot.

Aside from trying to make life inhospitable for the little pests, Andy will sometimes kill them to feed to the fish. We've also had roach baits in the past, but I feel quite bad about that.

Ethically, I think a line can be drawn between killing needlessly and protecting your food from diseases that bugs can carry. When killing is necessary, just try to make it as quick and painless as possible!

Theresa said...

wow, sorry for the ridiculously long comment!

Tofu Mom (AKA Tofu-n-Sprouts) said...

Roaches spread disease. Allowing the other humans and pets you feed and cook for to (potentially) become sick from the roaches, or subjecting them to roach germs is NOT compassionate in the least!

Get rid of the suckers. Any way you need to do it. And don't feel bad about it in the least.

sarah.lawrance said...

total annihilation!!!

no, seriously i really don't like bugs. yick. my roommate's old apartment had a bedbug infestation (yes, they're real, and yes, they bite) that apparently started in her neighbor's apartment, and within months they'd spread to most of the 20-storey building.

to get rid of them she had to wash and dry on high heat every piece of fabric she owned (clothes, linens, etc) and freeze everything else. So pretty much everything she owned either got thrown out or put into storage over the winter to kill the little buggers and their eggs. the landlord got an exterminator to treat the apartment, but they hide in the walls and come back when the chemicals are gone! so she moved out and had the new apartment (ours) exterminated to take care of any stow-aways. these critters are hardier than roaches! it's really gross. we haven't seen any since, but every time i see a flax seed out of place or a dark piece of fluff my heart jumps into my throat!

Amy said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone. I think roaches are harder to get rid of with "natural" remedies than other pests (like mice and ants). I have a bad-karma kind of guilt over killing them, but no pity for the roaches in particular.

I saw the most roaches when I'd been out of the house for several days, so I don't think the problem was related to food preparation or having food out (I've gotten into the habit of cleaning up immediately after a meal anyway). Luckily, I never saw them in an actual package of food in my pantry.

Sarah, your bedbug story sounds absolutely horrendous. I knew some people that got them from our volunteer hostel when I was in Africa, but luckily I never got them.

urban vegan said...

I'm so sorry about your problem! That has to be hard and I can totally empathize. Unfortunately for you, roaches are the dinosaurs of the insect kingdom and are very adaptable. If I were in your shoes, I am sure I would fight back with all I had, too.

I found these natural remedy sites--hope hey help (Soem remedies are kinder than others):

Good luck.