There are no cockroaches in London. I’ll just gloat about that for a second. There are however an abundance of rodents, and apparently, you’re always six feet away from a rat. I should know; I’ve just forked out £300 on pest control. Nonetheless, I’ll take on the Pied Piper’s legion of rats over one cockroach from the infinite colony that spawns in Malta every summer. Aside from needles, roaches are my nemesis, my bête noir, my Achilles’ heel, and I think many a Maltese person can say the same for themselves. See if you can relate to the following scenarios:

For those Maltese-ers who are katsaridaphobic, we’re all familiar with the nauseous dread we experience round about May, right before the start of the sweltering heat that festers a ripe and humid environment for the bacteria-smothered pests, whose presence will terrorise us in every corner of our islands.



At the start of summer, we’re lulled into a false sense of security; they don’t pop out altogether from behind the sofa and shout ‘surprise’ on the 21st June. It happens when you least expect it. Their emergence goes unannounced. You’re walking through the corridor, or lounging in front of the TV, or walking up the stairs, or lying on your bed, when from the corner of your eye, you sense a subtle movement…



… And your insides plummet. After years of experience, you’ve equipped every room in the house with a can of Baygon at arm’s reach. But as is the case with mosquitoes, the b******* have grown stronger and more immune to its toxicity, so your weapon is somewhat futile.



What’s more, spraying them carries the risk of making them fly.



Being short-sighted – or half-blind in my case – lessens your chance of survival. If you’re caught without your specs or your lenses, all you’ll see is a blur scuttling past. Their presence is enough to make you s*** your pants, but it’s worse when you can barely size them up.



When you do see one running past, in your state of panic, you forget to follow its path to track it down and just scream Madonna Madonna wirdiena Madonna. So unless you flee through the escape route, you just stand there frozen, terrified as to when it might come out again.



You make sure that you’re never left home alone without a brave adult, for fear of having to battle a cockroach by yourself, which you won’t be able to handle under any circumstances.



Once a cockroach has been slain by your very gallant daddy from Marsa who fears nothing but your credit card bills, you become paranoid and restless, examining every crevice of your chair before sitting down, scanning the room before entering the zone, kicking your shoes to see if anything’s been hiding in there… Just the one sighting leaves you disturbed with nightmares all week.



But it’s the end of summer now, and they’ll start to return to their dwellings beneath in the bowels of the earth.



At least, we’ll now have some peace of mind… till next time.



Are you afraid of cockroaches? How do you handle them?

Let us know in the comment section below.