Ahh summer in Japan; blazing heat, nampa at the beach, crushed ice and … bugs. There’s much to love about ‘sweaty’ season over here but unless you’re an elementary school kid brandishing a new catching net, bugs probably isn’t one of them!
Tough, bug season it is and we’d better accept the brutal truth that we will probably receive at least one unwanted visitor into our homes!
Still, Japan is nothing if not a country that likes to be prepared so there are plenty of bug busting products on the supermarket shelves.
Here we guide you through some of the essentials.
Dealing With Cockroaches
I don’t know where you’re from, but the roaches in Japan make those from this writer’s native land look pathetic in comparison. Better bring out the big guns.
A fearsome name for a, quite frankly, disgusting product. But it works!
COMBAT comes in the form of little plastic disks containing poison disguised as stuff that cockroaches like to eat. And eat it they do, before heading back home. Here’s the disgusting bit; the poison kills the guilty suspect, but not before they’ve had chance to, err, poo some of it out for family members to eat, and then die themselves. Oh, then those that are still alive eat their dead mates and consequently, well, you can figure it out. It’s morbid stuff but this writer can vouch for the effectiveness.
Each disk lasts for up to six months. The packaging recommends one - two disks per space of 10 m². They are small enough to be tucked into corners, and slipped under furnishings and appliances. No preparation needed, just take them out of the packaging and pop them on the floor.
The pack in the picture contains four disks and retails for around 700 yen.
バルサン (barusan) (No.2)
If you want to give your quarters a thorough detox without having to call in the professionals, you’ll want to try this one out.
バルサン works by emitting some kind of cockroach killing smoke (whilst you are out of the room). First you need to do some prep. Open up all your cupboard/cabinet doors (particularly in roach prone areas). Cover up any kit that you don’t want to come into direct contact with the smoke; plates, dishes etc (using newspaper or plastic bags will be fine). If you’ve a smoke alarm, cover that, too (some versions of バルサン contain special covers for this).
When you’re ready, open up the packaging, take everything out and fill the remaining container with water up to the black line. Place this in the middle of the room. That can you took out, put it into the water container with the arrow pointing up. After about 30 seconds, the smoky bit will start. Get out of the room.
Wait for two - three hours. Poke your head round the door to check things have calmed down. If they have, you’re free to enter the room. Open up all your windows to give things a bit of an airing, vacuum the floors and wash any dishes that may have come into direct contact with the smoke.
バルサン is also effective for mites (ダニ/dani) and fleas (ノミ/nomi). The pictured version is suitable for rooms of 12-16 畳用 (a measurement for tatami, 1 畳 = about 1.7 m²) and retails for around 750 yen.
ゴキブリいなくなるスプレー (gokiburi inakunaru spray) (No.3)
For those that like to spring to more direct action upon sighting a roach, a spray might be best. ゴキブリいなくなるスプレー works in two simple ways …
… spray directly onto the roach.
… spray onto paths/areas where you’ve seen roaches before.
Packaging boasts of effectiveness for two weeks. You can also give it a blast on/in/under those hard-to-reach areas. The pictured item was retailing for 700 - 800 yen.
Dealing With Mosquitoes And Other Bugs That Fly
虫コナーズ (mushi konazu) (No.1)
Despite a psychotically annoying TV commercial, 虫コナーズ is popular and very easy to use. It’s essentially some kind of repellent encased in a flat, plastic ‘plate’. Hang it outside (usually the veranda) and it keeps flies (ハエ/蠅/hae) and mosquitoes (カ/蚊/ka) at bay.
It’s effective for up to 5 months and can handle all kinds of weather. The product pictured retails for around 1,000 yen.
ウナコーワ虫よけ当番ポット (unakowa mushi yoke touban pot) (No.2)
Another simple but popular choice for all-round insect prevention. Remove the cap, unscrew the top and replace the cap to emit some insect repelling vibes in the form of a nice scent. ウナコーワ虫よけ当番ポット comes in a cute, hand-sized casing to be put anywhere in your room.
These products last for one season (about three months) and will set you back about 700 yen.
キンチョウリキュッド水性 (kinchou liquid suisei) (No.3)
水性/suisei means water-based. This product emits an insect repellent vapor which can be scented or scentless. It specializes in mosquitoes.
Take it out of the packaging, untwist the cap and replace with the dome cover. Plug it in and switch on.
The packaging says you’ll get up to 60 days use (you can buy separate liquid replacements).
The product pictured is for rooms 12 畳 in size and costs around 900 yen.
虫がいにくなるスプレー (mushi ga inakunaru spray) (No.4)
This product’s main brag is that with only one spray (or one ‘push’), your room can be insect free for a whole day. It’s not strictly true. For mosquitoes the smaller print recommends one ‘push’ every 12 hours. For flies, every four hours. With a single spray, the packaging says, those mosquitoes loitering on your walls and ceiling will fall down dead.
It sounds like strong stuff but you’re free to remain in the room immediately after a spray. Kids, dogs, and cats will be safe, too.
Expect to pay 1,000 - 1,500 yen for this kind of product.
If you’ve got any bug busting products that have worked for you, be sure to drop us a line in the comments box below.
Disclaimer; City-Cost has no relationship with the manufacturers of the products discussed here. They come to us from personal experience and recommendations from locals.