My cockroach problem began following some renovations. My old rotten timber window frames were nearing the end of their life and had to be upgraded to aluminium. The builder managed to partially destroy my home in the process. Removing one of the frames revealed a bird nesting site under my eaves. The bird and several generations of collected twigs and grasses in various stages of decomposition suddenly found themselves loose in my apartment. You can imagine the mess.

A little while later, following a second window replacement I noticed a few cockroaches around the house and assumed a similar disruption occurred only with a different species. Unlike the bird, removing these new visitors has proven far more challenging.

More bug spray than it is safe for a human to ingest hasn’t solved the problem, nor have various home remedies of times past. Short of commercial pest control I find myself at a loss.

Then this morning I had a rather crawly experience. Whilst readying myself for work a felt a tickle on my neck. I had just seen a cockroach scurry across the floor so they were front of mind. I reached to remove it.

I’m not sure how experienced you are with manually handling cockroaches of late but they tend to be firm little creatures with sharp scratchy legs. This felt different, and not only due to the increased size. It was soft, squidgy, even velvety as it fought against my fingers. Which was also odd. Again, I’m not sure how experienced you are with handling cockroaches but they are rather resigned to being caught. This is not because it suspects its fate: to a cockroach the worst thing is being exposed, a tight, dark, secure grip is as good as any hiding place to its primitive survival system. So why was it fighting?

I brought my hand into view to see several dark legs probing from between my fingers in search of an escape route. I threw the big black spider instinctively, then squished it, managing to avoid a bite through pure luck.

But then it occurred to me that perhaps I should be embracing that nice velvety spider. After all, this is Australia. She could have been the natural solution to my other bug problem.

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