May 31st, 2008

Sachi and I are getting really, really tired of the bugs. Ever since we’ve moved in, they’ve been around. When we started spraying them, they receded for a bit but never disappeared. Now, they’re back with a vengeance.

0508-Bugs 1

0508-Bugs 2

I don’t know the specific type of bug they are (maybe someone out there can help), but they are small, noiseless, gnat-like bugs. While a friend claims they come out of the drains (we’ve never noticed them around the drains), my own theory is that they came in with the potted plants. When you disturb the dirt, you can see bugs of various sizes (but mostly the same shape) crawling around in there, and there are quite a few of them buzzing around the plants. They’re attracted to moisture, too–when we leave out a damp cloth on the kitchen counter, they tend to zero in on it. So I think they are drawn to the moist soil of the plants, lay their eggs there, and reproduce in that way.

While they tend to buzz around the windows and other light sources, they also have the massively annoying habit of flying right up to your face every minute or so. I just killed one that buzzed my glasses a moment ago, and as I write, Sachi is using our dustbuster (it has a sealed dust compartment) to snap up the ones buzzing in her part of the room. But what is amazing to us right now is just the sheer number. Although you never see more than a few at a a time, there seems to be an endless supply. I smush about a dozen every hour around my computer station, and a trip to the balcony window every hour can lead to your catching a dozen or so. I must have killed 30 or 40 yesterday, and Sachi and I zapped twice that many today, easily–and still they keep coming. It can’t be from the outside, we’re too high up for that.

We spray bug poison in the plant dirt, and will be resorting to a bug bomb on Monday, but if anyone knows of a solution we can use, we’ll be happy to hear it!

Categories: Focus on Japan 2008, Ikebukuro Tags: by
  1. Bobbeh
    May 31st, 2008 at 18:14 | #1

    Can’t tell for certain from the picture but they look similar to boxelder bugs.


  2. matthew
    May 31st, 2008 at 19:22 | #2

    Hi Luis,
    always read and enjoy your blog. Tough about the bugs but if they are coming from the plants the only way is to get rid of the plants. Tough but I would rather do that than bug bomb my house. That stuff is nasty.

    BTW–congratulations on the wedding and the upcoming ceremony. Looks like you have a nice venue picked out with some nice food. Any of your guests going to serenade you with wonderful karaoke selections from Morning Museme or Glay?

    have a blast!

  3. Luis
    May 31st, 2008 at 19:58 | #3

    Bobbeh: thanks for the guess, but we’re pretty sure that’s not the culprit. These are plain black or dark brown, no colors or patterns They seem to gather in the dirt and base of the plant stem, not on the leaves of plants.

    Matthew: well, we’re kind of hoping not to have to get rid of the plants–we have a lot, and many are ones that Sachi has invested a great deal of care and attention to….

    Actually, I think I know what they are: fungus gnats.



    They fit the description. Lay eggs on soil, are attracted to carbon dioxide of rotting plant matter (hence the reason they fly in your face), are short lived, but lay 100-150 eggs at a time and can infest a household. Also are attracted to moist areas, proliferate with over-watering.

  4. ykw
    June 2nd, 2008 at 02:18 | #4


    Put plants on porch, place in plastic bag, seal bag, place poison of some type in bag (clorine?) .

    Place packing tape on drains, face down, and see if anything sticks to sticky part exposted to drain. Include air vent at top of sink.

  5. charles
    June 2nd, 2008 at 21:12 | #5

    Luis, Those guys are not at all like the ones I have seen around the drains. I think I agree with the consensus that their presence is related to the plants. I also agree that the Barsan or other bug bombs are not necessary and highly undesirable. Master of the Web that you are, I beseech you to find a good organic killer and let ’em have it.

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