Japan Apartment Maintenance: How to Deal With Cockroaches

Living in Japan means you’re going to encounter unwanted pests at some time, from cockroaches to mosquitoes to ones you might not even be able to identify. To be fair, this isn’t a Japan-specific problem, but if you’re coming to Japan from another country, it might be in your best interest to learn about the various bug-busting methods available here. At any rate, you don’t want to be walking through your kitchen one night just to see/hear that unmistakable skittering of insects across your floor. Keep reading to find out how you can stay prepared against unwanted insects in your apartment!

Cockroaches. It’s an awful reality of living in Japan. Yes, there are a few criteria you can add to your apartment search to make dealing with cockroaches a bit easier: new apartments, apartments not on the ground floor, and apartments not above a restaurant or convenience store, etc. But the cockroach is nothing if not persistent. And it is with this same vigilance that we must guard our homes against unwanted invasions of these pests!

Summer is when you’re likely to see the activity of adult cockroaches since the weather is hot and humid. But the threat is always on the horizon: just because you don’t see adult cockroaches doesn’t mean that there aren’t eggs waiting to hatch in a balcony corner, etc.

It’s handy to have some sort of cockroach spray in your possession on the off chance that a cockroach wanders into your living area. Without a spray, you’d be left to stomping it out which can prove to be a difficult task with how nimble cockroaches are (not to mention how unnecessarily unclean this process would be).

Sprays come in a variety of types and sizes. Make sure to get one that fits your needs.

Let’s take a look at a few of the main options.

Gokiburi Jet Pro, a pesticide that shoots a targeted stream of chemicals at the intended target. Photo: Earth Corporation website

Insecticides with potent chemicals like imiprothrin and phenothrin are extremely lethal against cockroaches. However, these are toxic chemicals and can also harm fish or other cold-blooded animals. So, those who have pets or are sensitive to chemicals/pesticides might want to try a different option before these

There is also a difference between liquid spray and gas spray insecticides. If you are finding that the cockroaches are in hard to reach areas (under furniture or behind cabinets, etc.) then a more wider acting gas might be more effective.

Foam sprays (the kanji 泡 will most likely be on these types) can be effective in areas where you do not want to spray toxic chemical into the air. Most foam sprays are made with synthetic detergents, so while the stopping force is weaker compared to aerosol and gas sprays, the cleanup is easier and can even be used around kitchen areas.

A freezing spray uses cold air to temporary freeze cockroaches so that it is easier to deal with them. Could be an option for those who are sensitive to the chemicals found in pesticides. Photo: Earth Corporation website

Freezing spray doesn’t rely on pesticides, but uses a blast of very cold air to freeze cockroaches in place. Since this type does not use pesticides, it’s rather safe to use around pets and children. Denoted with a 凍 in this case.

This spray is intended to be used in areas where you think there is cockroach traffic. It creates a chemical barrier that cockroaches will avoid. Photo: Earth Corporation website

The above sprays are effective when you see a cockroach in your vicinity, but what do you do when you’re trying to be proactive about pest control?

Traps and cockroach bait are two ways to deal with cockroaches when you’re trying to thin the herd when you don’t see any in your immediate vicinity. Keep in mind that traps are not generally supposed to be used as an immediate agent in exterminating pests. The poison in the bait takes some time to kill the cockroach, but the goal is for this cockroach to interact with others around its nest, thereby spreading the poison to areas that humans can’t reach.

Hopefully this article gives you some insight on how to combat cockroaches this summer. If you have any other tips or tricks for dealing with pests like these, feel free to leave us a comment!