While a pervasive and persistent pest in most places, cockroaches are a rarely seen phenomenon in Iceland, but their numbers seem to be on the rise, if recent exterminator callouts are any indication. RÚV reports that exterminators are reporting twice as many callouts to remove roaches this year than last.
Cockroaches can’t survive long outdoors in Iceland, but they manage just fine inside. Exterminator Steinar Smári Guðbergsson has been responding to roach calls all over the country of late, from Akureyri to Vesturbær, on the west side of Reykjavík.
“There’ve been quite a few calls due to cockroaches in the last six months,” he said. “I’d say they’ve increased considerably.” Steinar Smári reminds Icelanders unfamiliar with the scuttling scourge that roaches thrive in warm environments where there’s plenty of food—so people should avoid leaving dirty dishes in the sink or leftover food on counters.
Indeed, cockroaches are the only insects Steinar Smári can think of that enjoy filth, and he notes that this is a good encouragement to keep one’s house clean. (He himself seems relatively unbothered by roaches, but actually became an exterminator because he was afraid of spiders when he used to live in the countryside.)
Asked if he thinks cockroaches are here to stay in Iceland, Steinar Smári said, “they’ve got a foot in door, I’d say.”