Why California’s cockroach population is ‘magnificently huge’ this year
A population boom for cockroaches is reaching its crest in California and, depending on the kind you’re seeing, there may not be too much you can do to get rid of them.
By Eric Escalante
“You go out [in] Downtown Sacramento or Downtown Davis… on a nice warm summer night, and they are everywhere. You don’t see them during the day much, a few maybe. If you see a few during the day, it means your surroundings probably have hundreds,” said Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis.
The problem trio has been the Turkestan cockroach, Oriental cockroach, and the American cockroach. In the Homeshield Pest Control’s service area, a representative said there has been an increase in calls for about a year. They’ve found these bugs in areas like Folsom, West Sacramento, and Vacaville.
“This is just what we see with exotic species like this… you’ll get these huge pulses a few years after they’ve gotten introduced,” Kimsey added. “Their populations will get really enormous and then they’ll die down again, but I think we’re getting to sort of the crest of the wave right now.”
One reason the Turkestan cockroaches have increased is because of wet weather, said Chris Reardon, executive vice president of the Pest Control Operators of California, in an email to ABC10. He said Turkestan cockroaches live in damp cool spots like in the cracks of concrete and under leaf litter.
Reardon and Kimsey both said Turkestan cockroaches are displacing Oriental roaches throughout the valley.
Depending on the roach you see, there may not be a whole lot you can do to get rid of it. But it’s still a good idea to identify the type of cockroach you’re seeing.
“In homes, most of what I’m hearing [about] and seeing are these two outdoor roaches [the Turkestan and Oriental roaches], and you can spray all you want but it’s like trying to stop the tide with a broom,” Kimsey said.
Even if you see one indoors, it might not be a cause for concern. Kimsey said these are typically outdoor roaches, and, if you bump into one indoors, it’s likely because it just blundered its way inside. There’s not necessarily a need to spray your house.
It’s the American cockroach and other smaller species that would be more problematic since they pose a contamination issue.
“The reason why we get concerned about American cockroaches and the two small ones – the Brown-banded and the German cockroach – is because in food preparation areas… they will move back and forth between the kitchen and the bathrooms,” Kimsey said.
Some best practices would be to just pick up food sources outdoors like fallen fruit, keep the garbage cans clean, and don’t leave the pet food out.
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