Monday, July 16, 2012


Image:  Wikimedia Commons

I had a disturbed night, dreaming of cockroaches.  I've only seen two in my entire life, one on the Island of Elba many years ago and one here, in a drain, but last night, when Simi the dog became convinced that there was some sort of creepy intruder in the flat and that it was in the bathroom, I thought of cockroaches. This was partly because, well, everything seems worse at night and partly because last week on twitter I had read of a supposed "cockroach invasion" in Naples:  

Having no wish to be instrumental in spreading panic and discouraging tourism to that lovely city, I did not retweet the link to the article, whose accompanying photo had seemed to me a little contrived.   This it may or may not have been, for, as I am terrified of all creepie-crawlies, I did not linger over it.  The article told of a plague of American red cockroaches, each over an inch long, which had apparently finished off the city's native black ones.  It also suggested that the creatures had arrived in Naples on ferries from the Aeolian Islands, a possibility which I immediately doubted.

Then the news began to spread, particularly, says Luigi de Magistris, the Mayor of Naples, via the French press.  The BBC picked up on it too but today a more balanced article appears in the New York Times.  Mr de Magistris is, understandably, upset and sees the spreading and exaggeration of the news as both a manifestation of a political grudge held by those who do not particularly want to see his city cleaned up - at least, not by his administration -  and as yet another indicator of the tension between North and South in Italy.  It has to be said in his defence that few locals or tourists seem to have seen the "giant" cockroaches.

Meanwhile, Marco Giorgianni, the Mayor of Lipari, is also upset, as the Aeolian Islands are economically dependent on tourism and they do not need this rumour. He says that of course there are some cockroaches on the islands, but no more than anywhere else.

Disinfectation procedures are regularly carried out in Naples as in other big cities and, at the moment, the situation seems to be under control.  Now there are reports that the cockroaches have reached Rome but most people I have spoken to here merely shrug their shoulders and say that, in temperatures of up to 49 C, the appearance of a few cockroaches would hardly be surprising.  Provided people are careful about when and how they put out their rubbish and councils continue to carry out disinfectation, they believe that all will be well.

As for our nocturnal intruder, it turned out to be a small moth.


CherryPie said...

Not the sort of thing you want to be thinking about when you are trying to get some sleep!

jams o donnell said...

Ugh I hate cockroaches

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Exactly, Cherie! Me too, jams.


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