A teenage girl has earned plaudits online after dumping a collection of over a hundred cockroaches on her parents’ bed.
The 16-year-old’s actions may have initially appeared extreme to an outside observer but, as she explains in a post shared to Reddit’s “Am I the A**hole” subreddit, they represent a last resort after a prolonged period of personal torment.
According to the post, the problems began a while back.
“I started having asthma symptoms a couple years ago but only when I was trying to sleep, I would be unable to breath,” she wrote. “I’ve been brought to all sorts of specialists and put on various allergy drugs because the best they could tell us was that it must be an allergy.”
Around the same time, she said she also began seeing “an occasional cockroach” in her room. She initially thought little of it, however, she then noticed the air coming from the vents in her room had “started smelling musty” and she began seeing “more and more cockroaches.”
Since then, she said she estimates seeing anywhere up to 20 cockroaches a day in her room. Yet when she told her parents about the issue, they apparently accused her of “being dramatic” and refused to call out an exterminator to deal with the problem, even though she suspects that their presence is linked to her ongoing respiratory problems.
The young teen paints a disturbing portrait of her life living alongside these insects. “I can hear them crawling in the walls of my room,” she said. “They’re in my bed, I feel them crawl on me while I’m trying to go to sleep.”
She said she tried to once again alert her parents to the situation by “taking a photo of every one I killed” and sending it to them but they got angry and castigated her for “bothering them at work.”
Desperate times called for desperate measures.
“Over this past week I’ve been keeping the dead ones in bags marked with the date and then the number of cockroaches,” she explained. “There were 118 of them over seven days. I dumped all the little bags on my parents’ bed.”
She said her parents have been left “livid” by her actions. While they have agreed to lay some “traps” in her room since the incident, the teen said she has been grounded as a result, with her parents expressing disappointment at her for “overreacting” to the issue.
The situation has left her feeling guilty because, as she notes, they are “otherwise good parents.” Yet the majority of people responding to the Reddit post, which has been upvoted 15,000 times, felt she was right to react in the way she did.
Mari_Toujours urged the teen to “tell a teacher and show them the photos so they can call DCF [Department of Children and Families]. That’ll surely make your parents take some action.”
GoodGirlsGrace agreed, writing that it was “time to get a trusted adult involved.”
“Cockroaches can be harmful for your health,” they said. “They’re especially bad for asthma. You don’t want to get sick just because of your parents’ refusal to get an exterminator.”
DrBoomkin slammed the girl’s parents over their lack of response. “Having cockroaches crawling all over a child at night and the parents doing nothing about it, is a clear sign of child neglect and endangerment,” they commented. “This isn’t some minor issue, it’s very serious.”
Laurelinn, meanwhile, expressed sympathy that the teenager has had to endure something that “sounds absolutely horrible.” “I’m feeling sick to my stomach just reading this post,” they commented. “So sorry you had to go through that.”
Elsewhere, Fantastice-Love-6080 noted that the “sad part” was that ultimately for every cockroach she does see “there’s a dozen you don’t.” “They clearly already have a serious infestation that won’t be easy to get rid of,” they warned. “It’s only a matter of time before they are in your food, alive and dead.”
According to the American Lung Association (AAA), “cockroach allergens behave like dust mite allergens and stick to heavier particles that quickly settle.”
“These allergens do not remain airborne for long,” they add. “Activities like vacuuming may stir up allergens that have settled in dust or fabrics.” They say the most common way in which cockroach allergen is inhaled is through the breathing in of dust or allergens “collected in pillows, bedding or other dust-trapping fabrics.”
The issue of cockroach allergens is of particular concern when it comes to young children, according to the AAA. “Not only do cockroach allergens trigger asthma and allergies, researchers are exploring evidence that early exposure to cockroach allergen can actually cause asthma to develop in preschool-aged children,” they warn.
Newsweek has contacted the original poster for comment.
Parenting has been at the center of several notable social media controversies of late. In one instance, a mom and dad earned the ire of the internet after forcing their teenage daughter to do yard work despite the fact she was laid up with a sprained knee.
In another notable incident, a mom earned praise after threatening to go on strike this Christmas if her demanding step-daughter came to stay.