Astoria’s Unwanted Guests!

Anyone who has lived in Astoria for at least one summer knows:

LaGuli has the best Italian ices,

To get to Astoria Pool early before all the bridge people get there,

And uninvited guests will inevitably show up in your home; and I’m not taking about your college buddy or an ex that needs a place to crash.


I’m taking about waterbugs (just typing the word makes my skin crawl, so let’s refer to them from here on out as Wallys).  Most people have one of three reactions to Wallys:  dislike, hate, and panic attack.  I once saw one of these mutants in my bedroom. I ran to the window, opened it and began climbing out, even though I lived on the third floor.

So having lived most of my life in Astoria, here are my must-haves for the summer:

Boric Acid: (sold at most discount stores for around $5 a bottle) Pour it behind the toilet, under the bathroom and kitchen sinks, behind radiators, and around any pipes that run through your home.  If you have a basement, pour it along the baseboards and by the back door.  If you have pets, never place it in areas where your pet can reach it.  BTW, pets are great to spotting the wallys before you do!

White Vinegar: (about $8 for a one gallon bottle) Pour it in all your drains, wallys hate it.


Bug Spray:  (Walmart sells the one gallon Ortho Home Defense Max, with an attached wand, for about $14; or try the 30oz. Raid Max Bug Spray with auto trigger at most grocery stores for about $11)  Spray before you see anything, and always keep it handy in case you do.

Vacuum:  Keep it handy and plugged in.  It’s the best way to get rid of a dead wally. And it works for live ones too, just be sure to spray bug spray into the hose afterwards. And keep the nozzle plugged up with a paper towel to ensure its dead.

Exterminator:  You can try the big guys like Terminex or Ortho but they can be pricey, and want you to sign yearly contracts.  Try searching on-line for local exterminators, or ask around and get a recommendation from a friend or neighbor, because if you have wallys, they probably do, too. And when you call, ask if you can get a deal for referring other customers.


Here’s hoping you have a wally-free summer!


Jenny Montalbano is a third generation Astorian. She works at HBO, is a freelance writer, a film buff, and her favorite part of Astoria has always been the Hell Gate Bridge.  You can reach Jenny at [email protected]