Sunday, November 29, 2015         


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In simpler times, roaches weren't such finicky eaters

By Lee Cataluna


The cat turns up his nose at "ocean buffet" kibble and only wants that stinky wet stuff in a can.

The kid eats only round chickie nuggets, not chickie fingers or chicken strips.

The tailgate buddies only want imported beer, not the stuff that's on sale.

We weren't so hard to please when there were fewer choices. But when did cockroaches get finicky?

The packaging on Hawaii's beloved Hoy Hoy Trap-a-Roach bears a line I hadn't noticed before:

"Even picky roaches can't resist Hoy Hoy special bait."

Picky roaches?! Since when! They got their nerve!

Remember the stories about roaches eating all the insulation off stereo wires and chewing the handgrip of the gearshift in your grampa's Toyota? Eating copy paper while it was still in the copier and riding out on a sheet into the out tray like they're surfing? Munching the buttons off the VCR? It didn't seem like roaches had much discretion.

Wait until talk radio gets wind of this. There are going to be serious tirades about government handouts, the sins of entitlement and the way fast-food corporations are conspiring with drug companies to mess up everyone's diet, including roaches'.

Hoy Hoy Trap-a-Roach is like Roach Motel, where the elements of roach eradication are an open cardboard box, a layer of glue and stinky bait that attracts roaches like, well, roaches. The bait is in a little pouch. It looks like fish food or the little balls of stuff in furikake. Ingredients are listed as animal protein, animal fat, vegetable protein, vegetable fat, vegetable carbohydrate. Roaches come for the bait, get stuck on the glue, pau. Just throw the whole box away.

It was developed in Japan and distributed in the U.S., and some of the marketing material happily gets a little tangled in translation:

"Get a Trap-A-Roach Hoy Hoy Hotel for them and Stick-Em till they die! Yes! That's right, get a mini roach trap hotel for all your roaches to stay in."

The company website goes on to describe how today's modern roach is too savvy to fall for the old tricks like Borax or poison bait. Apparently, they need processed bait with enhanced flavor and aroma. They turn up their antennae at other stuff.

"Like many others, we have tried those baits that claim to kill roaches all the way to their nesting place but they simply don't work! Cockroaches build up resistance to chemical sprays and poisons and over time most of the baits become useless against these smart insects."

A few generations ago, moms would cut the moldy part off the bread to make sandwiches for their kids. They'd shrug it off like, "penicillin." Today, even the roaches might be like, "Moldy bread? You expect me to eat THAT?!"

Lee Cataluna can be reached at


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