Freaky Bizarre ‘News’: Cockroach Trapped in an Acorn

My favorite lil’ newspaper, the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, inexplicably published a brief item online about a cockroach with its head trapped in an acorn. There’s a photo, but it’s not that exciting and it’s pretty gross — exactly what you would expect, basically.

The posting immediately made me recall my youth: Stepping into my parents’ garage at night was always a nervous affair — would one fly up at me in the dark (they are fantastic flyers) and land in my hair? Would I have to squish one scurrying across my bedroom floor, and see the green guts splatter all over my orange shag carpet? I remember once trying to chase one with a broom, scared to death it would turn and make an aerial assualt at me. Purely haunting. And inescapable. Man, Texas has some big bugs.

Still, I have no idea why they felt this roach-in-a-nut was news. It’s not. I think they knew it was more like “easy page views,” a term in the online biz that we kindly call “page view whoring.”

Yet, I also have to admit: The mere act of them posting the item led to a lengthy email debate between my husband and me about what people think of when they hear the word “cockroach.” Brendan maintains that the gigantic cockroaches that flourish in South Texas (and sometimes get stuck in acorns) are actually “palmetto bugs” and that when “most people” think of cockroaches, they think of the (much) smaller German cockroach. He can be such a snooty Minnesotan.

I disagree with him, although, admittedly, there is no correct answer when you’re debating people’s perception of the word cockroach. The American cockroach — which, really folks, could the name get more generic? — is the same breed that is sometimes called the “palmetto bug.” I grew up around cockroaches as big as a deck of cards. And so did anyone who grew up in the South – from California to Florida. So, I think I win: There’ s more people living in these states than in German cockroach land, aka the states that stretch from Washington to Maine, including Minnesota.

(and folks, I’m not really serious about this being an important issue to me, but I am curious of what you think of when you think of a cockroach. Gigantic and capable of flying? Or small and incapable of flying?)

12 thoughts on “Freaky Bizarre ‘News’: Cockroach Trapped in an Acorn

  1. mmalan says:

    If I thought of those gigantic, flying monsters as cockroaches, I would be terrified to set foot anywhere they might be. There’s something about combining “cock” and “roach” with enormity that is too scary even to contemplate. Let’s call the little ones cockroaches. I can deal with cockroaches if they’re small, and even with palmetto bugs/tree roaches if they’re not called cockroaches.

    Thank you for the opportunity to address this pressing issue.

  2. dregina says:

    I think small and not flying. It’s just a matter of where you are raised. Now that I live here, I know that if I see one it’s going to be big, and it’s going to fly.

    I have to ask, are you secretly trying to scare Marty away from Texas forever? Becase I wasn’t going to mention the giant flying cockroaches until I got her to Austin, and had put a couple margaritas in her.

  3. Joy says:

    Dana, the cantaloupe margarita I had at Polvo’s was the second-best ever, trumped only by a pineapple margarita (yes) served at Maya on the Upper East Side. Still, the cantaloupe version wins for being so much like a smoothie, albeit a grown-up smoothie.

    And Martie, trust me, a visit to Austin is in order. My brother lives there, too. 🙂 Perhaps the holidays or sometime soon, we can all make it there.

  4. Don Victory says says:


    Joy failed to mention that these large Texas cockroaches prefer areas with clutter and trash all around. Anyone who ever saw her room in her teen years would understand why she developed this fear she would “squish one scurrying across my bedroom floor”. As for the ones in the garage, they were mostly my collection of the cockroaches who were recovering from too long a stay in her room. They all agreed that if I would let them recover, and get back on their 6 feet, they would leave the house.

    (joy’s) dad

  5. DKN says:

    When I think of “cockroach” specifically, I think of the little kind that don’t fly. I would assume that just like any species (is that the right term?) of anything, there must be many different kinds of roaches. I remember in Missouri that we had both flying and non roaches, but that we’d see the flying kind more and they were called Timber Roaches because they lived in trees. They would fly onto our screened in porch and mate *shudder* Anyway, they didn’t look anything like the palmetto bugs I’d see in Texas as a kid – those were BIG and scary. And those don’t look anything like the big or little cockroaches I see out here that don’t fly. And then there’s the “water bugs” out here, too. I don’t understand what makes those “water bugs” except I’ve noticed that they don’t have wings, really, just big scales down their backs *shudder*.

    And don’t get me started on the hissing cockroaches from Madagascar. I had to save one of those once that was wandering around in my bio lab in college. It was sitting under my stool, just like “Whats up?”. I scooped him up with a piece of paper and he hissed at me when I put him in a paper cup for the prof to deal with. I was proud of myself for holding it together.

  6. Don Victory says says:

    The roaches Joy is talking about are usually tree or “outdoor roaches”, so in a sense, my son -in-law is correct. Often, they overwinter by burrowing in the ground or in trees. They usually don’t proliferate indoors. They will come in to eat and hang out, especially when they don’t like the weather. They are especially fun at 2:00AM when you open a cabinet to get a glass for milk!!!!! Could they hear me at the end of the street??? I think so. On the other hand, the small “German Cockroaches”, that don’t fly, love to have babies in your house. Consequently, they are very hard to get rid of, even though they don’t fly. ………….And, finally, do all of you realize that Joy gets the most responses from crucial stories like this??? mom/Betty

  7. Don Victory says says:

    PS, I doubt Martie is that fearful of roaches. She knows that I have survived around them. If I can, then she certainly can. Besides, they don’t hurt or ambush you like them Wisconsin river Black Flies !!!!!!

    Betty Carol

  8. FIL Bob says:

    I understand the Mexican cockroaches (senirous aerofloatis) pilot their own planes and drop green snot bombs that stick like putty to whatever they hit.

    They run on 15 legs and kick the ass of little doggies with the 16th.

    Buena suerte!

  9. laura richardson says:

    I am from South/Central Texas and the definition of a cockroach down here is the giant, sometimes flying cockroach you are describing. Somehow thinking about them makes everyone shudder…and yes they really do fly, making it difficult to just smash them with the broom as they crawl across the top of a wall. And spraying doesn’t do much as they are usually inside because of the weather more than “invading” your home-but they can invade. The small German cockroach can be found in Texas too but they are usually just “roaches” to us and are the true invaders-nasty dirty little things. And no they dont make me shudder like the big ones.

  10. zzzz says:

    Thse little german ones.. everyone in Texas scared me before coming to Ausin.. telling me that they were HUGE. Here’s the consequence: housesitting, I saw these small ‘german roaches’ and thought ‘oh no, that isnt a roach, it’s too small’. SPrayed it til it was coated white and it kept walking on the floor.. one leg twitching! Oh my oh my oh my.. is it worth giing up sxsw conference and Austin all together because of these?? The fact that it was out during the day means major infestation.. what do u think? its not my house so i cant just say to the owner ;’clean your house and get exterminator’ she refuses to pay the money to exterminate.

    PLEASE let me know!

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