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Rodents. Mold. Bad neighbors. Cockroaches. All of the annoyances that New Yorkers must inevitably face in their apartments or homes. After almost one year of city living that was relatively bug free (minus the occasional small spider or trail of ants — I have become a seasoned ant squisher) I thought I had lucked out and avoided the worst.

One morning this summer, on my way to the kitchen in the unlit hall I saw a two inch shadow scurry across the floor. You’ve got to be kidding me, I thought. It’s a freaking cockroach. I ran to the kitchen.

I immediately yet tentatively told my landlady that I thought I saw a cockroach and she pretty calmly replied that it was probably a water bug. Nothing to worry about. Ok.

Her boyfriend then eliminated the said water bug. We were safe.

Only moments later, as I was about to leave for work, another “water bug” scurried near the front door. My landlady heroically brought it outside. Eliminated. We were once again safe.

Well, two nights later I was up late reading, and during my trip to the bathroom before going to bed, I found myself trapped in my bathroom by a water bug that stood between me and the toilet. My reaction was something like this.

My plan of action was simple. First, scream. Second, attack.

I grabbed the plunger (never used) and went after it. It scurried behind the toilet and then behind my cleaning supplies under the sink. The bugger then ran back around the toilet and toward the door to exit the bathroom. Oh no you don’t. I continued to attack with deadly intent. These not-so-little shits are fast and tough.

It escaped the violent thrashes of the plunger and scurried out of the bathroom and toward my bedroom. No. NOT HAPPENING.

I shut my bedroom door and cleaned out the area outside of my bedroom quickly so it had nothing to hide under, except I couldn’t exactly move the radiator and it disappeared out of reach of my weapon, thankfully closer to the bathroom than my bedroom. I sat there poised for countless minutes. But I couldn’t wait around all night for it to come out and meet the plunger. I did have to go to work in the morning after all. So I retreated to my bedroom where I barricaded the door with towels so it couldn’t crawl in while I slept.

For some reason, I thought that this (2 am, after failing to kill the bug) was as good a time as any to look up “water bug” online. I found out that “water bug” is the nicer name that New Yorkers give to the American cockroach: a bug that averages 1.5 inches in length and can FLY. Good news, I learned that there is also a German cockroach and those are the ones that infest. Phew. I could rest assured that my bug was not an infesting bug. (Know that that night was not a restful night by any means)

Thanks to Wikipedia, I can provide you with this lovely image of a water bug. (Trust me, I was NOT taking the time to find my phone or camera to capture my own picture.)

For the next week there was no sign of the water bug. My barricade of my bedroom door remained and I thoroughly inspected the bathroom every time I entered. I was losing sleep. Finally, I came home one afternoon to news that the water bug had been found and eliminated. And I have not seen one since.