Time Warner Delivers Modem, Cockroaches

Maybe Time Warner needs to include a decontamination protocol when it transfers reusable equipment between customers. Natalie writes:

On Tuesday, April 15, 2008 a Time Warner representative came to our home to install the digital telephone modem which would also provide our internet service.
My husband observed an insect walking on the modem box and asked what it was and the employee seemed dazed and confused.

After the installer left, my husband and I saw cockroach after cockroach emerge from the modem. We killed them as quickly as we could. We have never seen roaches in our house before. Our house is free-standing and many yards away from neighbor homes.
I called Time Warner insisting that they come to remove the modem. The woman I spoke with insisted that I had to be wrong and that it was impossible for cockroaches to be in the modem. She refused my request that Time Warner come on the following day to remove and replace the offending modem, which housed a swarm of roaches.
We wrapped the modem up in plastic and duct tape.
On Saturday, April 19, 2008 when the representative came to replace the modem, we had arranged for a witness to be with us. We took the modem to the front porch, removed the plastic bag, and a number of cockroach bodies fell out. The Time Warner worker agreed that modems sometimes came from other people’s homes and were reused. He suggested that the modem may have first been used in a contaminated home or that it was possible that the first installer may have had cockroaches in his truck.
In the meantime, cockroaches of all sizes and ages are in our study. We try to kill them as we can. We would not have had this infestation were it not for the Time Warner modem.
Yours sincerely,
Columbus, OH

(Photo: Creepshow)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Parting says:

    Wow! First bedbugs, now cockroaches. It doesn’t give me any taste to ”recycle/reuse” by buying used stuff.

    Now I’m going to have nightmares.

    No used modems for me!

  2. Manok says:

    love the pic. Ceepshow was the best.

  3. jefffromNY says:

    Thats really gross. Ugh, I feel badly for this person, some filthy person used the modem and now she is paying. Jeez Time Warner, do something right!

  4. HalOfBorg says:

    “They’re Creeping Up On You” was good, but I liked “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill” more. Good part for Stephen King.

  5. juri squared says:

    Wow. I think it would be appropriate to request Time Warner pay for an exterminator.

    This is one nightmare story, ew.

  6. Techno Viking says:

    Fell sorry fro you that you had to deal with roaches. My advice, buy your own cable modem as I have and you will have no worries. Make sure it’s DOCSIS 2.0 though.

  7. KogeLiz says:

    oh man. this is nasty.
    i have seen roaches get into everything (Thanks to Dirty Jobs)… so I wouldn’t doubt that it came that way.

    Question. OP states the CS rep refused her request for a technician to come and get the modem (which is rude)… but then OP says someone came to get the modem.

    Although, not really Time Warner’s fault… because they did come and remove the modem and I doubt they planted roaches in the modem… it’s still nasty.

  8. forgottenpassword says:

    cockroches CAN get into just about anything. Unless the modem is completely & utterly sealed.

    I work at a company that has had a serious cockroach problem for as long as I can remember. They spray every week. The tiny, young cockroaches are so small…. that they can just about get into ANYTHING that isnt completely sealed.

  9. Starfury says:

    They’re not bugs, they’re a feature!

  10. Manok says:

    when i lived in hawaii, ants got everywhere. One day I was playing with my dreamcast and it wouldn’t turn on. I opened the cover and ants started poring out of it. Bastards made a nest out of it.

    i took it apart and cleaned it and it was fine. I guess bugs like electronics for some reason.

  11. arkangel318 says:

    Ugh! That modem would be achieving escape velocity if that happened to me.

  12. Falconfire says:

    I have seen roaches come out of telephone mouthpieces so yes, they CAN get into anything, even as small as a 1 mm hole.

  13. lonewolf333 says:

    Just get some Raid.

  14. mmejanvier says:


    creepy crawly

    I’m going to have nightmares now

  15. ninjatales says:

    Creepshow! My favorite was FATHER’S DAY but that cockroach one was equally as bad.

    But sick. Cockroaches coming out of the modem. *pukes*

  16. Daniel says:

    Wow, that is one of the worst things I’ve seen on here. And for them to deny a common practice was in use.

    Reminds me of my old school… (the cockroaches, not cable modems.)

    I wish the victim the best luck =/

  17. omyard says:

    How could this happen? Modems usually don’t have any openings other then small opening for the cables. Cockroaches are pretty big, for insects, so how could one climb inside let alone multiple?

  18. Heresy Of Truth says:

    She’ll need to get an exterminator in. They use a great fungal based past, that poisons not just the insect that eats it, but the others in the nest. It works well, and fast.

    Barring that, boric acid powder will work.

    All the sprays and bombs in the world will just move them around.

    I feel for her. I learned all this the hard way.

  19. magic8ball says:

    @Starfury: +1

  20. Yuck… the greatest cockroach fact: they’ll live for a week without their heads when they eventually die of thirst… mother nature and evolution at its finest!

  21. Candyman says:

    You either must be thinking of another insect, or have never had any experiences with roaches. If the latter, lucky you. Roaches can get pretty big, under the right circumstances like living in the wide outdoors. But indoor roaches tend to be quite a bit smaller, usually around a centimeter or two tops, and the babies are well under a half millimeter.

  22. Candyman says:

    @dorksandlosers: Not true. Tear the head off one for yourself and you’ll see. :-)

    Roaches have gathered a number of urban myths about themselves. Another myth is that they’d survive a nuclear explosion. They’re much more resistant to radiation than we are, but not THAT resistant. And other insects are more resistant than they are, so they wouldn’t be the “only survivors” either.

  23. Copper says:

    Wow, that is disgusting. While I’ve personally never seen small enough cockroaches that could crawl out of a modem, I don’t doubt it. Those things are insane…and disgusting. Hire a pest control person and send the bill to Time Warner.

  24. Since all the cable cos recycle equipment this is not uncommon. When I was a neighborhood tech I used to bomb my van monthly to get rid of the roaches from boxes. YOUR NEIGHBORS ARE DIRTY, GET USED TO IT. That’s where the bugs came from!

  25. bben46 says:

    Some years ago I worked in a shop where I repaired VCRs. We kept a can of bug spray on the bench for the occasional box that came with a roach infestation. You would be amazed at how many roaches can fit in a small piece of electronics with holes so small you can’t see how they got in.

  26. leprofie says:

    Now that’s “buggy” hardware!

  27. Nighthawk Foo says:


  28. biikman says:

    @Techno Viking:

    Timewarner requires use of modems they supply. You cannot purchase and use your own, at least where I am in Central NY.

  29. sabrinad says:

    OH OH OH So so nasty! Man, I hope you can get the roaches before they spread. That’s horrible. Get an exterminator now and start spreading boric acid around, don’t wait for Time-Warner to get its head out of its ass with regard to whose fault this is. Then take them to small claims court to recoup your costs. The most important thing is getting rid of those roaches!

  30. @biikman: Wouldn’t that be nice? I’m in central NY also… god that would make life SO much easier, if we could…

  31. STrRedWolf says:

    As many would say: Get an exterminator now and take care of the roaches. Bill Time Warner for the cost, and have a lawyer handy.

  32. tosshin says:

    Cockroaches aren’t something you can just kill as you see. You are going to need to take action otherwise you will be in the middle of a full blown infestation. Call your local exterminator (ehrlich is pretty good and comes with a guarantee), or diy ([www.doyourownpestcontrol.com]).

    German roaches are the worst since they reproduce the fastest and have more resistances. One german roach egg can turn into a full blown infestation within 6 months. Don’t wait, act now. Seriously!

  33. mmcnary says:

    I have to second the boric acid powder idea. I cleared out a kitchen that way and never feared for my safety or that of my 4-legged pets. The secret is to ‘puff’ out the powder where ever you see the roaches. They don’t usually travel more than 6 feet from their home, and they will track the powder back there where they will lick it off their legs and die. Then the other roaches will eat the body and die also.

  34. chrisjames says:

    Any local Time Warner offices? What about the dispatch center for the tech? I could think of a few better ways to have returned that modem.

  35. try updating the firmware, i’ve heard that’s known to remove bugs

  36. ElizabethD says:

    Cockroaches respect no socioeconomic class or hygiene habits. Calling someone with a cockroach problem a “filthy person” is just wrong.

  37. @ElizabethD: While that may have been an unfair generalization, it is true that keeping a neat house goes a long way towards avoiding getting cockroaches, especially in Northern areas (such as Columbus).

  38. Illiterati says:

    Back when Ma Bell was the only phone company and your only option was to rent your phone from them, my mom worked at the counter where customers returned their used phones. She and her coworkers wore rubber gloves and held open a plastic bag for the customer to slide their used phone into. They would then tie the bag shut. Mom would tell horror stories of cockroaches filling some of those bags after they’d been sealed off for a few minutes. After years of hearing those disgusting tales I’m not surprised that cockroaches are emerging from cable modems. I’ve been lucky so far with cable boxes and such, but one day I’m sure I’ll host a few dozen uninvited guests for tv and snacks.

  39. tdatl says:

    I’ve seen something similar. My company has mostly remote workers, and we received a desktop PC at the office from one who quit. It was full of dozens of dead roaches and a few live ones. Some got out before anyone opened it, and we’ve had a cockroach problem in the office ever since.

  40. scoobydoo says:

    @Techno Viking: You can’t buy phone/internet cable modems anywhere. They are provisioned specially for the cable company.

  41. Vastarien202 says:

    Yeah, it dosen’t matter how wealthy or poor you are, or even if you clean like your hair’s on fire. If there are bugs in the walls, they will stay there, no matter what you do. My apartment has plenty of these six-legged invaders; we have tried everything we can to get rid of them, but the whole building is infested, and has been for at least ten years before we ever set foot in it. I did get most of my kitchen back by using a spray made of Garlic, soap, and Cyenne red pepper powder. Non-toxic, smells great, and the bugs hate it. Works for me!

  42. KogeLiz says:

    Why would she bill Time Warner?
    Did they plant the roaches in there?
    Did they not have someone come and pick up the modem?

  43. flipx says:

    O M F*ING G Eww

  44. Pink Puppet says:

    The game shop I work for buys back just about anything after we look it over, and we’re shocked by where some roaches can get into things. PS2s, VHS tapes, DVD cases… the list goes on. It’s a miracle our shop hasn’t been infested just from people trying to sell us stuff.

  45. Elvisisdead says:

    @lonewolf333: Or, get some Martin’s Viper. Awesome stuff if you’re not scared of handling chemicals and doing your own extermination. It will kill them, not drive them to other parts of your house (which they’ve already explored, anyway).

  46. The Porkchop Express says:

    @Manok: warmth and tiny crevices that make them feel safe.

  47. farker says:


    If it were completely sealed, that thing would overheat. Obviously the critters got into the vent holes/slots of the modem. Disgusting. Hopefully TW rectifies the situation and offers/agrees to pay for extermination.

    Would it be unreasonable to expect them to open up the modems and blow out all the dust in there? If that was part of their protocol, they would have discovered all the baby cockroaches/eggs inside.

  48. farker says:

    If you clean your house often enough and use baits/traps you will see less roaches. Sure they live in everybody’s home, but you’re less likely to see them scurry about if you keep your place clean.

    I’d say we clean our house somewhat regularly and only see a roach every three or four months or so.

  49. Camon says:

    This is not the first instance I have heard of this. I used to work for CableOne and we had several instances where customers recieved digital boxes and they were infested with roaches. Apparently one of them also had a dead rodent in it as well.

    Thanks to those stories from working there I always pick up any equipment with Cox at their offices and inspect it before leaving.

    I feel bad for this person because roaches are a pain in the ass. Once you got ’em you will never get rid of them.

  50. econobiker says:

    Roaches liked the electronic warmth from the modem. It was probably on the floor of some other nasty person’s home/apt. I would have bagged it and brought it to the local cable office and pulled it out on the front desk for them to see.

  51. Daniels says:

    Why would she bill Time Warner?
    Did they plant the roaches in there?
    Did they not have someone come and pick up the modem?

    So it’s not Time Warner’s job to make sure they give you a clean modem?


  52. stezton says:

    Yeah, I agree with econobiker about them liking the warmth. My brother left his PC at a friend’s not-so-clean house because he had a cable modem. After a few months he opened it up to upgrade it had a bunch of roaches in it. I’m glad I wasn’t there. NASTY!

  53. Shark1998 says:

    @Manok: There are ants that love electronics for some reason. I had a problem with them in Florida, they got into my computer and shorted the thing out. I am glad they didn’t cause a fire…