The BugZooka Is My Favorite Unnecessary Purchase

I blame SkyMall catalogues for my most ridiculous purchase ever: the BugZooka WB100 Bug Catcher Vacuum, a device that is about a foot-and-a-half long and sucks up insects like a vacuum without your having to extend your own arm or squish the poor bugger with a tissue. I came across this appliance while up in the air and never forgot about it. I saw the SkyMall version and laughed at the thought of someone buying something so unnecessary. But years later, when I found myself in an apartment building with an insect infestation, I decided to seek a similar contraption. Enter the BugZooka.

It was fall of 2016. I was beside myself at the very thought that my building, the one in which I had just purchased a tiny apartment, had a problem with bugs. I understand that I moved in as the weather shifted, and I do have a modicum of empathy for the poor creatures seeking crumbs of sustenance and shelter from the cold. But still. The very presence of critters indicated that there was something unsavory going on in the infrastructure of the building. As a new stakeholder of the building, I felt a little aghast that this would be the first (of many) issues I’d have to contend with.

I wasn’t sure what my role was in eradicating the unwanted guests. I was given the option of bringing in an exterminator, paid for out of our reserve fund. But as much as I hated sharing my space with vermin, I hated the idea of bringing strangers into my home even more. Also, what of the environmental impact? I’ll readily admit my ignorance to the workings of these solutions that rid homes of pests, but the very idea made my hippie soul cringe.

My first tactic was to do it the old fashioned way — deft movement, tissue paper, and my hands. This was a fruitless endeavor. The motherfuckers are fast, and I, squeamish. After much angst at losing the war for dominance over my space, I ceded control and did what I do best and employed my favorite coping mechanism — avoidance. I tried not to be too bothered by the problem and did my best to ignore it, but my mental health slowly-but-surely eroded. Something had to be done.

After some research into the mechanics of the BugZooka, I learned that, for the reasonable price of $25, this gimmicky product separates you from the insect and does the work in capturing and securing them in a little chamber. You are free to indulge your sympathy and set them free, or to take the path of least resistance and flush them down the toilet. (I’m reluctant and a tiny bit ashamed to inform you that I did not in fact leave the warmth of my apartment to set them free.)

I purchased the apparatus and awaited its arrival with great expectation. What I didn’t anticipate was how much joy this contraption would bring me. It was by far the most satisfying activity I engaged in at the end of the work day. I loved unwinding by chasing insects around my apartment armed with my BugZooka; I felt a rush of adrenaline and endorphins apprehending the unwanted pests. I cock the suction portion of the tool, aim the appendage towards the offending insect, and press the red button that opens the trap door and sucks in the unsanitary creature. The first time I successfully trapped an unsuspecting insect, I laughed maniacally with glee. It was glorious.

It was an effortless undertaking to vacuum up the pests. The tool was intuitive and was designed to appeal to my baser instinct to protect myself, my domicile, and to come out victorious. Over time, the problem abated and I am happy to report that I am no longer engaged in this pastime on an ongoing basis. I do, however, welcome the stray insect that should be unlucky enough to cross my path. I will waste his ass.

I sometimes wonder how this is my life — that a favorite hobby consists of sadistically eradicating insects. But then I remember that I am single so every task is my responsibility and I’m unwilling to feel the crunch of tiny exoskeletons between my fingers. I am also surprised by how beneath my generally affable self lurks a savage and perverse instinct; and if I’m being more honest, how surprised I am to learn that I kind of like it. And suddenly, my trusty BugZooka no longer seems so ridiculous after all.

Michelle Song does things including writing, editing, and nurturing a Meyer lemon tree. She is an older Millennial unlikely to be found anywhere but her inbox at

Photo by Armen Chlchatian on Unsplash.

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