Lindsey Arent, Tech Live
To you, that big, wired box on your desk may look like an ordinary computer case. To a bug, it can be a five-star hotel.
Real computer bugs -- not the digital kind -- are causing serious damage to hardware, thanks to humans' bad habits. On tonight's "Tech Live" we'll show you how to prevent these creepy crawlies from entering your PC. After all, a real spider web could be preventing you from getting onto the World Wide Web.
Just ask Joseph Wise, an independent computer consultant who's seen it all. He can list a number of disgusting problems he's seen in people's PCs.
"It was so gross to see," Wise says of one computer he was assigned to fix. "You know, these dead roaches, live roaches, roach eggs... cat urine on the motherboard, that was disgusting. It was foul. It was right after lunch too."
According to the 2002 Dust-Off Survey of PC Hygiene, computer technicians found that nearly 70 percent of home computer failures is due to poor PC hygiene, which in turn can cause infestations of bugs.
So of all the places for a cockroach to get cozy, why pick a computer?
"It's a home," says Denis LeBreton of pest control company Western Exterminator. "There's a heat source, and it's close to a food source. That's a good place for a cockroach."
A food source? If you ever eat while working at your computer, chances are you're dropping crumbs, and bugs like crumbs.
"Cookies, chips, crackers, anything like that that's very flaky is going to fall apart, and is going to go right down inside this keyboard," Wise says. "The bugs just find the buffet of their lives."
But there are ways to combat real computer bugs. First, you want to monitor what might be infesting your workspace and PC. Then, set the bait. Common bug traps should work fine.
"You can stick them anywhere on the computer," LeBreton says. "The cockroaches go in there and feed on the bait and they die."
If you don't like the idea of a roach motel atop your PC, try smothering the roaches by unplugging your PC, and covering it in plastic.
"If the temperature inside gets up to and over 120 degrees, and you hold it for 30 minutes or more, they will die," LeBreton says.
Or you could make matters easier on yourself by practicing better PC hygiene.
Otherwise, you might have to resign yourself to living with a buggy computer. Just remember: This is one problem a software upgrade won't fix.
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