Do You Want to Hear a Cockroach Story?

“Do you want to hear a cockroach story?”

This is the way my friends and I would sometimes begin phone conversations. We were all Western 558263906women, stay-at-home moms married to Arabs. We were happy with our families and our status as expatriates in Saudi Arabia, with the exception of a certain issue —the country had a cockroach problem.


When I first arrived as a single woman, I had lived in a lovely Western compound. The only roaches I ever saw wiggled respectfully out of the way as I walked along the sidewalk. I didn’t even know how to say “cockroachin Arabic.

Only after I “went native”, married an Arab and moved into the city, did I realize that cockroaches claimed carte blanche in Riyadh households. I carried a rolled up newspaper with me from room to room, ready to strike. My husband objected to this method because of its fallibility. Cockroach bodies are hard and elastic; they don’t squash easily.

“Here!” he said, “I’ll show you how to do it.” He grabbed a shoe which was parked next to the door, and brought it down with enough force to make pudding out of the roach and all its cousins.

“That’s disgusting!” I said. “How are you going to clean it?”

My new husband didn’t care. The roach was dead, and he was calm. He knew he wouldn’t have to clean it up; I would!

I continued to use my newspaper method, which didn’t always kill the wretched creatures, but at least didn’t leave roach pudding when it succeeded.

“See!” I said to my husband, “you can kill them without making a mess.” I slid the body on a torn piece of paper and dumped it in the garbage.

“It will come back to life,” he said, and sometimes it did.

We moved into a newer apartment, at my insistence. Our new home was clean, and I kept it even cleaner, yet roaches appeared as if by spontaneous generation. I wondered if some of them hadn’t crawled into the boxes we’d brought from the old apartment. Someone once told me cockroaches like cardboard boxes. I would not have seen so many had I not looked, and I blamed myself for psychically attracting them, so diligent was I in my campaign to eradicate them. Then one day, a new friend phoned me and said, “Would you like to hear a cockroach story?”


My goodness! I was not alone. Suddenly, I wanted nothing more than to hear a cockroach story. I had been so ashamed and so reluctant to talk about the problem because I thought it was my fault. Even though I saw many different brands of roach killer in the stores, which should have tipped me off, I felt somehow inferior because I did not have a maid to help me with housework. Now, my new friend, who lived in a squeaky clean villa, with a maid, not only admitted to having cockroaches, but wanted to talk about it!

She then told me that the previous day her toddler had been spending more time in the bathroom than necessary. When Asma investigated, she found the child chasing a huge roach all over the bathroom, laughing and trying to catch it. “My kid is going to grow up with roaches! I don’t believe it. This is definitely something I can’t write home about.”

Yes, indeed, one did not write home about roaches, but with each other, we spoke about them all the time. It wasn’t long before I felt comfortable enough to phone one of my friends and say, “Would you like to hear a cockroach story?”

“Yeah, I’m listening!”

“Well, this morning I was mopping up the bathroom floor, and I was slopping the water down the drain. I felt a tickle on my leg, but I ignored it, thinking it was a drop of sweat, but the tickle traveled upward instead of downward…”

“Eeeuuuuu!!! Grrrosssss! DisgusSSsting!” my friend replied indulgently, but I later learned that this particular story was not unique. Turns out that most women in the same circumstance experienced the same indignity when they first opened the circular drain covers on Riyadh bathroom floors. What seems at first like a wonderful way to mop up a floor turns out to be a wonderful way to let roaches into the house. From then on, I opened the drain cover with care, stiff broom at the ready. I learned how to slop them back down the drain as fast as they came up… Drain roaches were particularly large and active. In fact, bathroom roaches in general were the most aggressive.

Little roaches occasionally entered as passengers from the vegetable suq. The little, light brown ones had an affinity for green herbs. We, too, liked green herbs. Fat bundles of coriander, parsley, dill and mint made such a wonderful aroma in the kitchen, but I learned quickly to shake them out with care, in the sink, rolled newspaper at the ready.

3677697364The problem was unavoidable in that hot climate, and did not indicate particularly filthy conditions. Even my friends with drivers and maids had houses full of roaches.

“Do you want to hear a cockroach story?” It was a morning question, to be asked after the husbands had gone to work and the kids to school.

Asma: “I caught my daughter in the bathroom again, laughing and trying to catch a big roach. She cried when I pulled her out of there. My mother would roll over in her grave if she knew my kid was in the bathroom chasing cockroaches.”

Layla: “I’ve gotten used to them. They’re like relatives. You cannot escape from them, so you might as well embrace them.”

Sara: “I picked up a roll of toilet paper and felt something tickle the palm of my hand.”

Maryam: “Just as I turned out the lights, I caught a glimpse of a huge cockroach running across the floor. It escaped into my closet. I couldn’t catch it, so I tried to sleep with the light on but my husband got mad and turned it off.”

Sharon: “The cockroaches have already moved into our new villa. We met them last night at the construction site.”

Me: “My daughter and I were cleaning the bathroom when a huge cockroach flew directly at us. We backed up so fast we got stuck together in the door. We squeezed through just in time. I barely pulled the door shut, and it slammed into the other side.”

After several years of this, Asma and I decided to write a book entitled Cockroaches I Have Known —with chapters for The Albino Cockroach, The Hissing Cockroach, The Flying Cockroach, etc. Our favorite movie was Joe’s Apartment.

Those days are gone, and we never wrote the book, but I 3677697364still watch Joe’s Apartment from time to time. I still laugh like crazy, remembering our efforts at eradicating the disgusting insects. My method worked best; I developed it myself, and it will be the subject of another post.

About Marahm

At first glance, I may appear to be a middle-aged American woman with kids, grandkids, retired from a job in a hospital, gratefully relieved from the responsibilities that come with all of that. Behind the image, which is true enough, I am fairly unhinged from much of American mainstream living, having spent twelve years in Saudi Arabia, years that sprung me from societal and familial impositions, and narrow bands of truth. I have learned to embrace my identity as a seeker, an artist, and a writer. I study Arabic and Italian language, because I love them, and I love their people. I still dream of spending more time in the Middle East and Italy, though the dreaming now seems more real than the possibilities. I am a photographer. I write, and sometimes publish, flash memoir, and now a blog or two.
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59 Responses to Do You Want to Hear a Cockroach Story?

  1. iMuslim says:

    No, I don’t want to hear a cockroach story! Aaaaaaah! *runs away screaming*

    I hate hate HATE bugs – cockroaches are the worst! Flying ones. Eek!

  2. Marahm says:

    You got it, iMuslim. Cockroaches are the WORST. Sometimes I wonder why Allah made them. I can see no redeeming grace in their existence.

  3. delhi4cats says:

    To answer your question, in arabic they are known as “sarsoor.” And I am finding that with this intense heat we are having I have had to have my kitchen sprayed three times in the past two weeks. This is my first experience in being here 2.5 years to find a sarsoor in my kitchen….anywhere. For any other Saudi readers following, I have since learned that there is a gel one can purchase, manufactured in Germany that does not stink up the kitchen like spray and is guaranteed to terminate these buggers!

  4. Umm Ibrahim says:

    Yuckkkkkkkkk! Thank God I haven’t had any problems with cockroaches (live on a compound and it’s ‘fogged’ regularly) although my son had the best fn chasing a cockroach around outside the house and tried beating it to death with his little shoe. It survived the attack! He kept telling his dad alllll about the cockerel later that day! 😆

    Note to self: Never open the drain cover in the bathroom again.

  5. Solace says:

    Groooossss! I always wished to live in Saudi, but now I might reconsider.

  6. Jay Porter says:

    Large cockroaches emanating from drain openings . . . I thought this was unique to North America!
    Here is an interesting point:
    An albino roach is one that has just shed its skin so that it might continue to grow. These growth phases are called “instars.” The dark coloring or pigmentation will over a period of hours become a characteristic of the new skin or exoskeleton. Okay . . . no more entomology!
    I am concerned. The spraying and fogging of insecticides is not good for human beings. Prolonged or chronic exposure (especially for children) can lead to a number of physiological problems or diseases such as leukemia.
    Here are two recommendations for your friends who reside in Saudi who may have problems with sarsoor:
    The gel product from Germany is probably a bait containing as an active ingredient, boric acid. The gel formulation is for an arid environments where water or other liquids are not plentiful. Drain systems have plenty of water.
    I would guess that the drain roaches would rather be dealt with in the drain rather than out of the drain!
    There are a number of cleaning agents here in the USA that contain high concentrations of bacteria as well as enzymes that are living organisms capable of consuming proteins or carbon-based matter. The agents are not caustic like Draino, etc. and will not harm people; however, it seems that the agents will irritate the sarsoor exoskeleton and repel it! For the agent to be successful, the environment in which it works cannot be in excess of 140 degrees Fahrenheit and water or a high degree of humidity must be present. I can recommend a particular product once I understand what the diameter of the drain is and where the water in the drain goes or more specifically, where does the drainage system have its end (this is where the real problem exists).
    In addition to the cleaning agent there are insect growth regulators (IGR) that will disallow procreation by the female of the species. Again, there is a particular product that I have in mind that is not harmful to human beings and will lend itself to placement in a drain.
    In summary, by repelling the sarsoor, it will secrete a pheromone or odor telling others not to progress. Simultaneously the repelled sarsoors will nonetheless contact and therefore carry the IGR back to their harborage and share it with the females therein (where the drain system has its end).
    If an insecticide is needed in the human habitat for the little cockroaches brought home from the marketplace — use a LIGHT DUSTING of boric acid (it is comparably toxic to sodium chloride or table salt). I say “light” only because a heavy dusting will be detected by the cockroach and therefore avoided. Baits can be created by combining a grain-meal with sugar and a small amount of boric acid (approximately 5 percent).
    Pass the word if you are so inclined!♠

  7. Marahm says:

    Carol, since you do not have experience with the saroor issue, let me warn you that for every roach you see, be sure that there are ten others you do not see!

    Umm Ibrahim, I remember the fogging when I, too, lived on a compound. They did it at fajr, and for several years I thought it was for nourishment of the foliage.

    Solace, please don’t let a few saraseer dissuade you from living in KSA. The blessings are far greater than the annoyances.

    Jay, thank you so much for this interesting and informative comment! We are pleased to learn of these points, so feel free to pass along more entomology. I’m sure your comment will be of great help to my readers who must deal with saraseer.

  8. Shahrzad says:

    They say one should kill insects in a way that insects dont feel pain so much!

    grrr..Cockroaches.. I can say the only creature that i just HATE it.. I do not have same feeling for mouse even, blv me..

    Cockroach is just DISGUSTING.. ugh..

  9. ~W~ says:

    This was not a cockroach story. This was many cockroach stories!

  10. Marahm says:

    Why are cockroaches the most detested of insects? EVERYBODY hates them vehemently. Do they feel pain? Good question. Surely the more developed life forms feel pain, but I don’t know about roaches. Maybe Jay can tell us, if he is still reading.

    You’re right, ~W~, this was a many cockroaches story! That’s because where there is one, there are many!

  11. Jay Porter says:

    The pain that is in dying is holding on to life.

  12. Jay Porter says:

    When exhaustion overtakes the will to live, death is without pain and the transition thereafter is peaceful. I believe this is true for all the living (including cockroaches).
    Incidentally, I don’t kill cockroaches because they are ugly, I kill them because they don’t wash before attempting to come to the table or into the bed.
    My wife has often commented that I am ugly but very clean (I suppose I shall see another day).

  13. Aafke says:

    I always heard that if you squash a roach, and it’s female, it will spreadout eggs allover making for a big infestation.
    and , they do like to crawl into small spaces, also things like radios, so it is very possible you moved your roaches with your family and belongings.

    I always think that dates look very much like roaches, same colour shape and sheen. 😉

    I love roach-stories! 😀

  14. Jay Porter says:

    Few cockroach species carry their egg capsule or ootheca attached to their abdomen through gestation. An egg capsule can contain as manay as 40 eggs. If a female cockroach is squashed it will be very unlikely that nymphs will emerge from any of the eggs.
    Some cockroaches do like small, warm, dark quarters in which to reside (a radio would certainly meet this description).
    I’m going to go now and return this blog to its rightful owners.

  15. Marahm says:

    Jay, thanks again for your insightful contribution. You are not only an entolmologist but also a philosopher. I appreciate your comments on death.

    My father died four months ago after a series of chronic illnesses that the whole family fought with him. Finally, he did lose not only the will but the strength to live, and his passing was peaceful, painless, and very,very sad for us.

    Yes, Aafke, dates do look just like roaches! I love to eat dates, but I must brace myself for the association every time. I’m glad you like roach stories. Have you seen the film Joe’s Apartment?

  16. OK I gotta post my own sarsour story now heheh glad I’m not the only who felt shy to do this.
    Oh yeah I learned fast the shoe works better and would keep a “shahata” sandle ready in every room. I loved this post!

  17. jewaira says:

    What a delightful post and certainly the most entertaining discussion I have ever read on cockroaches.

    In Kuwait, they are called “zhaiwi” (sarsoor in our local dialect being the annoying cricket like insects with a reputation for invading ear canals of sleeping victims).

    An Indian colleague once informed me of a supposedly very effective non-toxic method of deterring cockroaches.

    This concoction or paste was made up of boric acid, honey, and some brown wheat flour and stuck like gum under kitchen or bathroom sinks and other cockroach paths.

    It seems that only certain quality boric acid samples will do the job though but others seem to think it works too

  18. Marahm says:

    AMW, Good idea of keeping a shahata shoe in every room. I’m curious to hear your cockroach stories, now. Yes, I was shy to post this, but other respected bloggers within our sphere have posted on other (shall we say?) gross subjects, so I took the chance.

    Juwaira, welcome and thank you for your comment. Your boric acid recipe looks simple and natural, and if anyone tries it, let us hear how well it works.

    Jay’s suggestions were good, too, and he’s an entomologist, so I’ll expect reports soon.

  19. Aafke says:

    Marahm, roaches just happen, it is nothing to ashamed about. Depending a bit where you are.
    I had the yearly roach in the decripit crumbling ruinous building where I rented a room while at art college.
    When I was in Salamanca studying Spanish I was lucky to be in a roachfree building. but other students had them by the dozens; you’d turn on the light, and they’d be scurrying away for cover! Brrrr.

    Jay, thank you for all your excellent information, You set my mind at rest on some points. Glad to hear the explanation of an expert, thanks for sharing.

    Jewaira: that ear-crawling insect sounds much more creepy than a roach! The recipe sounds good and easy!

  20. Jay Porter says:

    Marahm, I too have lost loved ones to that which we call death and it is those who are left behind that grieve such loses. This may seem foolish but even when the will and strength to remain with loved ones is lost — the peace transcends all that is lost and tells us that where your father was entering, therein he found all that perpetuates peace.
    On to a much less serious note. Jewaira’s recipe will most certainly eliminate a fair number of cockroaches — just be sure to use no more than about 5 percent boric acid in the recipe; otherwise, the roaches might be repelled. It may be of interest to know that cockroaches are cannibalistic and when a poisoned cockroach is consumed by another of the species, the likelihood of the cannibals dying is excellent.

  21. Marahm says:

    Thanks again, Jay, you’ve given me another wise concept upon which to meditate. During his last few hours, my father said something and saw something of the afterlife. What he saw, no one knows, but what he said was this: “People upstairs are waiting for me.”

    We live in a single family house; no one lives “upstairs”.

  22. Umm Ibrahim says:

    I wish I didn’t come back to see the additional comments now! 😆 I am travelling tonight and that prospect always makes me a little nauseaous. That has now been compounded by the comparison of dates and cockroaches and the thought of cockroaches eating other cockroaches! 😕 *vomit* 😆

    On another not though, I very much appreciated reading your philosophical thoughts on death Jay. 🙂

  23. Hina says:

    Years ago, I remember how I was forced to dissect cockroaches with blades, spatula, etc, and oh bare hands (no gloves), in our college lab ='( It was horrible.

  24. Marahm says:

    Cockroach cannabilism is good news, but why mus they mooch off humans when they can turn to each other? Maybe their purpose for existence is to plague humans and give us an outlet for homocidal urges.

    Hina, I can hardly imagine having to dissect a roach, and with no gloves. What a nightmare, but why did your teachers choose roaches? Were they sadistic? The teachers, I mean, not the roaches– we already know that roaches are sadistic.

  25. darvish says:

    Cockroaches existed before the dinosaurs, and will be here long after humans are gone. They have survived ice ages, famines, floods, and meteors that wiped out most species.

    I look forward to the next post 🙂

    Ya Haqq!

  26. coolred38 says:

    I hate the similarity to dates as well…I cannot eat dates for this reason…eeewww!

    Ive had large cock roaches climb up the inside of my pant leg…not once…not twice…but three times. I dont know how to dance but I can do a pretty good impression of a old girl on fire given the right motivation…yick!

    Something I want to know…how come u cant nuke a roach in the microwave…it works on liquid and roaches have liquid in them right…i mean when u squash em they are mushy….gag!

  27. Aafke says:

    Roaches are the first things that survive a nuclear blast.

    Every date looks like a roach to me, and I eat them happily 😀

  28. Jay Porter says:

    Greetings Coolred38!

    Even today’s microwave ovens produce a non-uniform disbursement of microwaves, thus the reason for most ovens featuring a carousel to keep the food uniformly radiated upon. When a cockroach is found to survive an ordeal in a microwave oven, its cells escaped a direct hit of microwave energy and therefore, did not explode as a result of its innards being brought to a boil and with the expansion – burst.

    Hello Aafke!

    My opinion is that cockroaches as well as other arthropods are somewhat resistant to the radiation of a nuclear bomb. Their growth is predicated upon shedding their skins or molting. Typically during a molting cycle the cells of a cockroach will divide only once.

    Cells are most sensitive to radiation when they are dividing. That is the basis on which radiation is used to kill cancer cells. Cancer cells tend to divide more often than the other cells of our body; therefore cancer cells are more readily destroyed by radiation.

    If a typical cockroach molts on a weekly basis, it has been determined through experimentation that cellular divisions will be confined to a 48 hour period within the week’s timeframe. In essence, approximately 70 percent of the cockroaches would not have cells that are particularly radiation sensitive at any one time.

    If lethal radiation from an atomic bomb blast fully blanketed a metropolitan area, 70 percent of the cockroach population in the city might survive while none of the human beings would survive because as examples, our blood stem-cells and immune stem-cells are dividing all the time.

  29. Aafke says:

    Jay, you are scary! You are a bigger nerd than my brother!
    Thanks for all that information!

  30. Jay you’re amazing me and creaping me out big time. SubhanAllah maybe HE put them here with us to humble ourselves that something as lowly and disgusting as cockroaches can out live us in a nuke blast (caused by us)…..

    I remeber the first time i saw a date…. hmm another post be right back…

    Marahm I applaud you, this is the weirdest and most interesting post because of it’s disgusting yet fasinating topic and the fact that it applies to nearly everyone in the whole world….

  31. Marahm says:

    You have a good point, AMW. Maybe Allah made the cockroach to humble humans. I often said to my kids, “Cockroaches will inherit the earth!” when I couldn’t kill one. Idon’t believe roaches have any natural predators. Jay?

    Me, too, Aafke, I eat them with gusto. Dates, that is. It’s kind of like eating meat. When you see the life cycle of cows and chickens, and then witness the mess of the butchering, you think strongly about becoming a vegetarian, but you don’t. I don’t, that is.

  32. Marahm says:

    Coolred, after three ordeals of up-the-leg roaches, no wonder you cannot eat dates! If you like the taste of dates, however, you can cut them, or soak them in laban, or bake with them. I have a wonderful date cake recipe I’ll share.

    BTW, I’d like to write comments more on your blog, but it does not permit me to post with Open ID, like other Blogger blogs. I opened a Blogger account, but am lazy to sign in when I am writing on WordPress. I’m sure you have more than “four readers” if you’d enable Open ID.

  33. Aafke says:

    She’s got five readers.

    I once enrolled at a special course at the Natural History museum in London, and one evening they showed us HUGE tropical cockroaches (who eat lettice) thay were as large as you hand and very broad. if you stroked them they started a beautiful purring singing sound. I thought they were cute.

    Roaches outliving us easily in the case of nuclear disaster… gives a whole new perspective on humans as God’s last word doesn’t it?
    I mean it is quite possible that God has no interest in us, but has plans for the cockroaches, and has developed humans as a means to provide congenial living surroundings for roaches, and has planned we will all destroy each other in a nuclear war, so the roaches have a clean, empty earth to play in, and develope into something amazing which was the plan from the very beginning.
    Now that ís a humbling thought…

  34. coolred38 says:

    Aafke…now thats some circular thinking if I ever heard it…and Im sure the roaches are applauding your comment…amazed that one of us “humans” finally figured who really runs the planet…lol

    marahm…I had no idea I was preventing people from posting….my bad…will look into that shortly.

  35. Marahm says:

    Purring cockraoches! Just like cats, no? That would make another chapter in the book: The Purring Cockroach.

    I must compliment you on your ability to take the roach-as-survivor scenario to its logical conclusion. I hadn’t thought it that far through, but you could be right. The bright spot is that maybe all the humans that have died throughout history have been reincarnated as cockroaches. That would explain the eteranal march of the roach parade.

    Coolred, you seem to be someone who has seen “Joe’s Apartment”!

  36. UTP says:

    Well…the wretched cockroaches get more attention than many celebrities around…AMAZING!!!

  37. Marahm says:

    You got that right, UTP. Not only celebrities take a back seat to cockroaches– roaches get more attention here than all my other posts to date.

    Welcome to the blog!

  38. Aafke says:

    More than attention, if roaches really are the reincarnations of the people who went before us, we should stop squashing them with slippers, but be kind and welcoming…..

  39. Man Of color says:

    Roaches & flies are attracted to garbage and shit. so mathematically to get rid of roaches and flies just get rid of garbage and shit.

  40. Marahm says:

    There is no getting rid of garbage and shit. There is only the development of more sophisticated measures for returning refuse to its natural state.

    I don’t think we’d eliminate roaches even if we found a way to transform garbage into gold. Roaches have already gotten the upper hand.

    Aafke has a point about about maybe we should treat them better; however, I only meant that roaches, having virtually everlasting life, might be our final reincarnation.

    They’ll flourish no matter how we treat them. They are one of those ultimate mysteries, essentially impenetrable. Maybe we’ll understand everything after we die, but certainly not now. The conflict continues, human vs roach, and guess who is winning?

  41. coolred38 says:

    Ive read many times that roaches actually prefer a clean environment over a garbage dump etc….considering I see them in my relatively clean house more often then in the garbage piled in the alley makes me think thats a true statement.

  42. Jay Porter says:

    Sanitation & Cockroaches:

    Roaches prefer a wide range of liquid and solid nutriments, an ambient temperature in the mid-70’s F., and procreation that is restricted only by biological impediments. Whatever meets these requirements will suffice as a cockroach habitat. One thing can be said about good sanitation: limit the foods upon which cockroaches feed and procreation will be stifled.

    On Reincarnation (the human soul given unto a cockroach):

    If those souls who went before us have become cockroaches, what does it say of their previous lives? Does not the tenet of reincarnation embrace a kind of upward mobility?

    “I died as mineral and became a plant,
    I died as plant and rose to animal,
    I died as animal and I was man.
    Why should I fear?
    When was I less by dying?”

    I think it is only natural for we humans to assign our persona to other creatures and in the assignment we blanket the uniqueness of creation, hiding that which is of the creator.

    Might I humbly submit:

    “How can you deny Allah, when you were dead and Allah gave you life? Then Allah will cause you to die, and then revive you, and then you will be returned to Allah.” (Quran 2:28)

    And FYI Aafke . . . I embrace all nerds as brothers!

  43. Jay Porter says:

    P.S. I didn’t put the “happy face” at the end of the verse from the Quran — it just appeared with my posting. This is not to say that such a verse shouldn’t bring happiness to one’s soul; I just find the happy face to be disrespectful in this instance.

  44. Jay Porter says:

    A brief note to our hostess, Marham:

    First and foremost — thank you for the opportunity to share with so many interesting bloggers that frequent your website!

    I noticed that I had overlooked a question that you had posed as to whether there are cockroach predacious creatures. There are numerous wild as well as domesticated carnivores that will eat cockroaches including rats and cats!

    Just as we will not eat dates exclusive of other foods, rats, cats and the like will not limit their diets to cockroaches (pretend I never said this) 🙂

  45. Marahm says:

    Jay, you are absolutely right; the idea of reincarnation does involve upward mobility for those who deserve it by leading good lives. I don’t know much about the theory. The comments about humans being reincarnated into roaches were made flippantly, but I failed to realize that serious nerds will naturally think deeply into the matter.

    In doing so, you took anthropomorphism to another level. You said, “I think it is only natural for we humans to assign our persona to other creatures and in the assignment we blanket the uniqueness of creation, hiding that which is of the creator.”

    Yes, by projecting what we see of overselves on to other creatures, we risk limiting our apprehension and appreciation of Allah’s unique creation. This idea can probably be extended, but I am now approaching the boundary of my element, so I will await further comments on that point or on the subject of cockroaches.

    My next post will be about my most successful measure for cockroach control. You’ll like it!

  46. Jay Porter says:

    On Anthropomorphism:

    Several summers ago while waiting for my morning coffee, there upon the kitchen countertop walked a tiny jumping spider. Its eyes reflected the overhead lighting as it slowly almost cautiously moved toward me. Then it stopped. The drip coffeemaker continued to gurgle without tune or rhythm.

    With little to do except to wait, I thumped my forefinger upon the countertop. I expected to see the jumping spider jump and it did not disappoint me. Again I thumped but this time the tiny spider rolled over on his back and and frantically kicked all eight of his legs. He righted himself as quickly as he rolled over and kicked. The spider’s antic brought a smile to my face (even without my first cup of coffee)!

    Thumping and kicking continued until a cup of coffee could be poured. I spared the tiny spider and we met each morning for a number of days to play our silly little game.

    I would like to think that the tiny jumping spider found another way to muse away the time we spent each morning. I cared too much for the little guy than to think anything else.

  47. Marahm says:

    Thank you for this anecdote. It brought peace and hope to me after a particularly rough day— peace, in that all of Allah’s creatures exist by His will, and hope, in that those creatures may live together harmoniously, after all.

  48. Jay Porter says:

    The thing I like best about a rough day is that it soon becomes yesterday!

    Allah is the all in all and by Him there is nothing that is not sustained. In the time to come all of creation will bow to the creator and in that there will be perfect harmony.

  49. Marahm says:

    A rough day soon becomes yesterday, indeed, but so do all of our days, and in that realization, one’s rough days might seem not so rough after all. All is from Allah. AlHumdullilah fi kulli haal.

  50. Jay Porter says:

    Should the valleys become planes and the mountains the same little will be remembered to navigate the way. Truly, all is from Allah and Allah is in all. AlHumdullilah fi kulli haal?

  51. Marahm says:

    “Alhumdulliah fi kulli haal” is poor Arabic transliteration. I never learned the official method, prefering instead to concentrate on learning proper Arabic script. Now I need to figure out how to write Arabic script on the computer.

    Anyway, the expression means, “Glory to Allah for every condition.” The idea is that we praise Allah for everything, whether it feels good, bad, or painful, because all is from Allah, and all is to be accepted as His will.

  52. 8bitsofcoffee says:

    I honestly think, those of us who live in Saudi Arabi, should just tame them and house them as pets! I once wore my sneakers while a roach was hiding there! Gosh, how disgusting that felt. I’m glad I had socks or it would’ve felt even worse.
    I enjoyed reading your post 🙂 Thank you.

  53. Marahm says:

    Hi, 8bitsofcoffee, and welcome to the blog! Wow, you’ve got a good cockroach story there– a new one, too; I’ve never heard it before!

  54. tassnem says:

    wow that was fun to read… roaches are some what interesting after all. There are one of the most disgusting creatures on the face of the earth. I stayed with a family once for couple of weeks and their house was fested with them it was horrible at night you see them by the thousands literally. My roach story comes a bit late but now is better than never.

  55. Yuliya says:

    WOW!!!!!!I am amazed how similar is thinking of people despite they are living in different countries and societies.I am not sure if somebody will read my post here,since the last one I see was couple of years ago.Anyways would like to share my cocoroach story.Chasing these bastards for a week,first experience in Dubai with them.In my native country they have disappeared many years ago,have only child recalls in my mind.I killed them in different ways to my house,on the entrance,beside the basin,bath tub and so on.But this fajr time was smth different.One was walking just under the ceiling all the way to the kitchen(forgot to mention am talking abt small ones),when I woke up my husband he was abt to kill him,but the slipper he used was too soft,so our enemy disappeared.Later on I found that roach chasing another one on the edge of kitchen cupboard.I was about to get them both when the scenery stopped me.I saw his friend(definitely it was her)opened her wings, straightened tail and started acting as if she will fly when other roach jumped above her!!!!!!WOW……Sorry,but I’ve never seen saraseer doing that,I felt so much uncomfortable to disturb them….and I left them to enjoy the moment.When I came back home in the evening I opened that cupboard and found them sitting from backside of the door….they were separate…I couldn’t hold it and killed her….feeling very sorry now….but I can’t leave them at home,because I have a baby….I came to ask Google why Allah has created cocoroaches?there should be some reason….

  56. Dana Defrancesco says:

    In 1975 when I was 10 years old my mother and I moved to Riyadh. Sleepily I began my first days of school waking up slowly, getting dressed and putting on my shoes. No one knows the true horror of having securely tied your desert boots and heading downstairs to breakfast when you realize that your toes were not alone inside those 1970s tan swede shoes. In gut-wrenching disgust I kicked off my shoe, saw it fling into the air while simultaneously I watched as the HUGH brown bug emerged in midair and half flew down, albeit somewhat flattened, to the floor! In another Riyadh cockroach story I opened the dust closet looking for a broom to sweep up said cockroach, when I saw another cockroach on top of a (what I found out later was an already dead) mouse. I was convinced that the cockroach killed the mouse, but my mom insisted it was already dead even though I saw that the mouse’s ear had been chewed off. That year I think I killed a dozen of those monster half-flying bugs, and 100 flies, One time I slapped the fly swatter down so hard on that fly a puff of smoke emerged. No kidding!
    Love your blog!!!

  57. ashley says:

    it is so unfortunate that boric powder is not available in saudi arabia.
    small balls of boric powder with sugar is the best cure to eradicate cockroaches.
    I had searched on many chemist shops in Riyadh but none of them have it.
    Its pathetic.

  58. Ushna says:

    i just hate them!!! m scared to death of these ugly creatures 😥 😥 i feel my feet and fingers freezing when i think about one….

  59. Raeesa says:

    Subhanallah I did’nt really think that a lot of people here in Saudi exprience this.

    But before we lived here,it was normal for me to see roaches and rats even though they’re really annoying lol. Then we had this big problem after we moved here in Saudi (it was worst than roaches) And Alhamdulillah we manged to move into another apratment but after a few months since we moved (and its summer right now)small roaches are showing up. They really grow in number and im really worried coz they’re in the kitchen I just hope they stay there before they infest the whole house.

    Now Im trying to look for solutions to this but using natural and non chemical stuff. I just want to ask If its haram to put a trap or poisom for them cause that will cause the suffer a slow death and not die right away?

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