Roaches invade east end

By Frank Lewis -

You could poll every homeowner as to their worst nightmare and the answers would vary greatly, but one thing that would most likely be in their top 10 would be a roach infestation, but that is precisely what has happened to some innocent people in the 1600 block of Sixth Street in Portsmouth.

Portsmouth City Manager Derek K. Allen said he has received emails about a house with roaches, but he is not the person responsible for dealing with that problem.

“To clarify, this involves the (Portsmouth City) Health Department, not my office,” Allen said. “I guess there has been a complaint, I think it’s on Facebook that they called my office and didn’t get results or responses, and I had not gotten any contacts to my office. As far as I know any contacts with the city were directed over to the Health Department.”

City Health Commissioner Chris Smith said his department has already gotten involved.

“We’ve got a couple of houses on the east end that have an extreme roach infestation,” Smith said. “They (roaches) are actually coming out in the daytime and they’re nocturnal.”

Smith said two houses were condemned. He said there are two houses that need to coordinate the efforts of their respective pest control companies, so that one house does not exterminate and send the roaches to the other house. He said the work should be done simultaneously building a perimeter around the properties.

According to the Terminix website there are four ways to know you have a roach problem

  • Physically seeing a roach

The most obvious sign you have a roach problem is actually seeing one. The best time to spot roaches is during the night since they are nocturnal insects. You’ll typically see them scatter after you enter a room and turn on a light. If you spot roaches during the daytime, it can mean the infestation has been going on for some time or that it has progressed to the point where drastic action must be taken immediately.

  • Spotting roach feces

Roaches eat everything from plant matter to people food, dead skin cells, garbage and even feces, but their high metabolism turns this appetite into one of the most telltale signs of roaches: a considerable amount of roach droppings. Depending on what type of roach you are dealing with (e.g., German roach, brown-banded roach, etc.), as well as the size and level of infestation, the appearance of roach feces can vary to resemble anything from tiny specks of pepper to brown stains to coffee grounds to oval pellets.

  • Finding oothecae (aka roach egg cases)

Infestations continue to grow because roaches are aggressive breeders. While this is bad news for your home, it’s good news as far as finding evidence of cockroaches goes. Roaches don’t lay singular eggs – they produce oothecae. Oothecae are oblong, brown casings that house many eggs. When roach eggs hatch, the oothecae are left behind, providing undeniable evidence roaches have taken a liking to your home and don’t plan to leave on their own.

  • Smelling roaches

Finally, roaches can produce a pungent, musty odor that gets worse the longer the infestation goes on. This oily smell can come from large numbers of roaches, but just one German roach can produce this smell on its own.

By Frank Lewis

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.