Hypothetical Quandary of the Day: Rats/mice VS roaches/bed bugs–one must go, you decide

Okay, so here is a hypothetical quandary for you to ponder upon.

Let’s say that you are the head of a large science foundation. You have two proposals on your desk for funding. One would develop a technology that would rid the Washington, DC region of all rats and mice. The other proposal would develop a technology to rid the Washington, DC region of all cockroaches and bed bugs.

Times have been tough at your large science foundation–and both these proposals are wildly expensive. Therefore, you can only fund one of them.

Which do you chose? Rodents or insects?

As always, there are some complicating factors…

First, do to a number of complex side effects of both technologies, getting rid of one group might (but is not guaranteed to) increase the strength and number of the other group (in other words, get rid of the rats/mice might increase the number of cockroaches and bed bugs, and vice versa).

Secondly, doing nothing is not an option. Both populations are on the verge of an explosion and inaction won’t cut it. I know you all are accustomed to working in Washington, DC, but we ACTUALLY HAVE TO MAKE A DECISION AND DO SOMETHING (hypothetically, of course).

No hair-splitting, nuanced answers, or clever alternative solutions–one choice: rodents VS bugs. You have to chose one or the other.

What do you do? And why?

58 Comment

  • No contest. Kill the bugs!

  • Agreed, bedbugs and roaches! NO question.

  • You can fight bugs with chemicals and flush them down the toilet. But rodents are a nuisance dead or alive.

  • Definitely bedbugs and roaches. They just gross me out WAY more than mice and rats (and my cats have always done a good job of keeping my apartments rodent-free)

  • We kill the bugs, decreasing the rodents’ food stream, in turn decreasing the food stream of the feral cats of 9th Street, in turn decreasing the food stream of the radical pastors and homeless on 9th Street. All social ills cured!
    AND, mice are more cuddly than bedbugs or cockroaches.

  • This is easy. Kill the bugs! I kind of hope this is an “Ender’s Game” scenario and we’ll wake up in a city free of bugs tomorrow. I think I’m going to pick up some mouse traps tonight just in case.

  • houseintherear

    I miss PoP.

  • Are you people serious? Rodents. They carry diseases, eat your ish, and leave droppings everywhere. Kill them, then spray for the bugs.

  • Are you kidding, AT? The rats/mice in DC don’t eat bugs, they eat the food in my pantry!! and in the trash cans in my alley…get rid of the DC mice, they are too smart for their own good and keep getting out of the traps I set

  • I’ve unfortunately shared a home with both bed bugs and rats and the answer couldn’t be more clear. Get rid of the bed bugs! When a rat made a home inside my apartment, I had to live with rat droppings under the couch– otherwise I rarely saw the rat or thought about it. And it didn’t take much work to get the rat out of the apartment permanently. With the bed bugs, I itched constantly– 24 hours a day. And it was incredibly hard (and expensive) to get rid of them. Bed bugs = The Worst Misery on the Planet. Kill the bed bugs.

    • I’ve also unfortunately had both.

      Bedbugs – 1.5 years, thousands of dollars and countless hours of sleep lost, 12 sprays and still coming (due to neighbors refusing to treat their massive infestation). I’m moving

      Rats – 1 visit from the exterminator and fixing a small hole in the basement wall.


      • Good lord! Where do you live, Sue? I think we’d all like to stay very far away from those neighbors of yours.

  • Bedbugs! I will even keep the roaches along with the every annoying rats and mice.

    Besides, my friend Rat Man Green is building a rat killing machine as we speak!

  • The BUGS!!! Without a doubt.

  • Easy – the bugs. Rats and mice are easy to dispose of by standard means. Roaches and bed bugs will require some sort of next gen solution, because they are becoming resistant to what we have now.

    Also, rats and mice dont spread disease. Unless you mean the plague and that hasnt really been an issue for a couple years.

    • And the plague was not started by the rats but a mite that lived on the rat. So bugs win gain for my vote.

    • Actually, if I’m not mistaken, neither bedbugs or roaches carry diseases that harm humans… any bug experts out there that can clarify that for us?

      But still, yeah, the bugs gotta go!

      • I didnt say roaches or bedbugs carry diseases. From the CDC: Although bed bugs could theoretically act as a disease vector, as is the case with body lice, which transmit Bartonella quintana (the causal agent of trench fever) among homeless persons, bed bugs have never been shown to transmit disease in vivo.Hepatitis B viral DNA can be detected in bed bugs up to 6 weeks after they feed on infectious blood, but no transmission of hepatitis B infection was found in a chimpanzee model. Transmission of hepatitis C is unlikely, since hepatitis C viral RNA is not detectable in bed bugs after an infectious blood meal. Live HIV can be recovered from bed bugs up to 1 hour after they feed on infected blood, but no epidemiologic evidence for HIV transmission by this route exists

        From careful watching of Billy the Exterminator, I know that Roaches are a big trigger for asthma. I think they can cause other problems too.

    • Bedbugs are a nuisance but do not carry any disease that harms humans. http://www.americanpest.net/pest-identification/bed-bugs

      Rodents have a long history as a threat to human health.

      I am completely gobsmacked by the votes for bugs over rats and mice.

      • What diseases do rodents carry? Anything involving mites, ticks, fleas, etc dont count. Feral cats, homeless people, a runaway dog, squirrels, and deer all carry those.

        • And none of those things is in my house…

          • Right, but presumably you go outside…?

            Since mice/rat infestation hasnt led to an increase in Lyme disease, I think its safe to say the risk of disease from rodents is minimal, maybe nonexistent.

  • Bedbugs and roaches. One summer muggy night in August was all it took. Roaches were out in droves almost like they were partying. Literally whenI stopped to look at the hundreds of them on the pavement they started to chase me!

  • The bugs have got to go, no question.

  • Kill the bugs, definitely. With a cat, I have no worries about mice or rodents in my house, but bedbugs(!) and roaches give me the shudders.

  • Since, except in some bizarre urban legend cases or in horror movies, rats and mice don’t generally crave human blood, then I say the bedbugs have to go. They’re just digusting.

    Roaches too. What Sully said is absolutely true! In the hot, sweltering August nights in New Orleans , they will literally get up on their hind legs and challenge you, tentacles twirling! No lie. Bleh!

  • It’s not too hard to train almost any dog to hunt/kill rats and mice, and it can be a lot of fun to watch!

  • I can kill rats and mice easily. Take care of the bugs for me.

  • Nthing the bugs. They’re real pests. Mice and rats don’t bother me one bit (and, c’mon—they’re a little cute).

  • Bugs. I had roaches in my bedroom this summer and it was HORRIBLE. I couldn’t sleep because every little noise I heard sounded like a roach rustling around. I’ve never had mice in my house, but if I did at least I wouldn’t be terrified of one climbing up my comforter onto my bed…

    • Emmaleigh504

      I had one of those big mofo Louisiana flying roaches crawl under my shirt and down my back in college. I screamed and went back to sleep, no problem.

      My cat kills a mouse and I can’t sleep for weeks b/c every little noise is a mouse, any movement from my cat is her hearing mice, and I live in fear of them crawling up my comforter and into my bed. My foot hit a cold spot on my sheet last night and I jumped out of bed b/c I just knew a dead mouse was in there with me.

  • None of them, you Nazis!

    A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy. They’re all animals.

  • If you kill the roaches, you cut off the food supply for Rats. If you kill the bedbugs, the news media will STFU about bedbugs. Win-Win either way. LOL.

  • Kill the rodents, if you are careful about keeping your home clean, you wont get roaches. Rodents on the other hand, will go anywhere with food.

    My previous home got attacked by rodents and even pest control failed. I finally decided to take matters in my own hands and placed sticky glue traps and the regular snap traps at every corner around the house. one day later 8 mice of all sizes and a rat free home, but the memories still haunt me. I was so disgusted with their crap all over the house and didnt cook for almost a month!

  • Emmaleigh504

    Rodents! B/c my cat likes to bring me mice so we can play with them together and rats seek me out on the street and attack. Rodents must go!

  • Bedbugs.

  • No way! Get rid of the rats. They chew through trash cans and spill trash all over our alleys and streets. Plus their so gross. You can just pick up a shoe and smash a cockroach. Get rid of the rats!

  • Kill all the bedbugs

  • Kill the bugs – and then everyone will want to have a cat to keep away the rodents, and apartment buildings will be forced to allow cats because they won’t be able to find enough non-pet owning tenants to fill their vacancies, therefore increasing my rental options exponentially.

  • Bugs! If you have ever experienced bedbugs then you know they are WAY worse than rats and mice.

  • Bugs! If you have ever delt with bedbugs then you know they are WAY worse than rats and mice.

  • i’m terrified of rats, so them, hands down. i screamed just looking at this picture.

  • Bed Bugs need a completely separate category. Evil.

  • Gotta get rid of the bugs. YUK.

  • Bedbugs, hands down. They have no natural predators. Here anyway. Cats can get the mice, and small dogs (ie. my papillon) will rat out the rats.

  • its a trick question.

    it is impossible to get rid of bedbugs!

  • In 1994 Valerie Straus wrote a story for The Washington Post about a graduate student at GW (living in GW housing) who awoke with a horrible pain in her ear. They went to the hospital, flushed it out and out popped a ROACH. I’m not making this up (trying to find a good link to the story).

    So I say get rid of the bugs. (btw, did anyone else find themselves itching just reading about this?).

  • Rid me of the bugs, leave me to deal with the rodent mammals.

  • New York has better vermin.

  • Until some of these building management companies address the over-occupancy in some of their units, my vote goes to the bugs.

  • BUGS definitely…i am so scared of bedbugs…

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