Saturday, April 09, 1977

Anti-Roach Weapon: The Lizard

Like Thousands of New Yorkers, Wendy Fuller, Mariene Matarese and Lawrence Goldstein had to share their two-room Greenwich Village apartment with battalions of cockroaches. All kinds of chemical sprays seemed to have little effect, except on the roommates. “The fumes were so bad we had to leave the apartment ourselves. But it didn’t seem to bother the roaches.” The three college roommates turned in desperation to a bug-control device well-known to southeast Asians, but little appreciated in urban America – the bought a Tokay Gecko, a foot long lizard with beady chartreuse eyes, garish orange polka dots and a voracious appetite for insects. The roommates paid $10 for “Geeko.” “We had so many cockroaches the kitchen sink was black at night. There were hundreds and hundreds of them. We had such a gene pool of roaches here that we were getting mutations. We had albino roaches.” “It took 3 months but Geeko finally got the population down to very manageable proportions. We used to hear him crunching them at night. I wanted to get about four more Geekos but we were afraid we’d end up with baby lizards.

Excerpt from April 9th 1977 NYT

A nocturnal creature, it can, like many lizards, change somewhat, but it always looks more or less like a cheap gaudy necktie.

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