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Davis, California

Monday, April 15, 2024

Cockroach infestation causes Davis citizens to struggle

In recent weeks, students have noticed a higher concentration of cockroaches in their homes, restaurants downtown and on campus. The concentration is particularly high near downtown, but they can be seen in almost any deserted area in Davis at night.

Max Moazzam, a fourth-year economics major, sees cockroaches in his apartment every day.

“The worst thing about cockroaches is they can be anywhere. In your bed, in your food, in between the pages of The Aggie; they can really surprise you,” Moazzam said.

Visitors to Davis have also experienced the infestation. Roberta Dousa, a third-year English and anthropology major at UC Berkeley, took the bus to Davis to visit her friend. In the two days that she was in town, she noticed the problem.

“I saw tons of them in my friend’s apartment. I was concerned for her health and that of her housemates. I believe they had a cockroach problem because her summer housemates made the grave error of killing a mouse behind a stove and not picking up its decaying carcass. Her apartment was located downtown and I saw many cockroaches in the streets next to restaurants downtown as well. This was particularly disgusting and repulsive,” Dousa said.

Students often describe cockroaches as “disgusting and repulsive” but the question remains as to whether or not they actually cause a health issue or if their appearance is simply unappealing.

The U.S. Department of Health website states, “When cockroaches that live outdoors come into contact with human excrement in sewers or with pet droppings, they have the potential to transmit bacteria that cause food poisoning (Salmonella spp. and Shigella spp.) if they enter into structures.”

Cockroaches are of particular concern when considering all of the local restaurants, especially the ones located in downtown Davis. This area accommodates large masses of people which creates an enormous amount of waste. When the trash sits outside for long periods of time in open containers and is not disposed of properly, it attracts cockroaches. This makes it nearly impossible to keep the pests from entering restaurants.

Therefore restaurants in downtown have to be extremely attentive to health regulations and have to make concerted efforts to keep cockroaches out of their restaurants. Some restaurants are successful at keeping the pests out of the kitchen and away from customers.

A former employee of Woodstock’s Pizza, Joshua Ross commented on the lack of cockroaches at his workplace.

“I never encountered a cockroach in the restaurant in the several months that I worked there,” Ross said.

While some restaurants are persistent in keeping cockroaches out of their buildings, others have lapses.

“I have never seen them at Bernardo’s but at Bistro 33 I did,” said a former employee of Bistro 33 and Cafe Bernardo. “However they really tried to control it. Whenever there was a big problem they would bug out the restaurant. I believe they did that at least once every month.”

The Yolo County website has records of all health inspections for  restaurants in the area. Bernardo’s has had at least two health inspections a year and has never had an investigation due to  complaints. However, Bistro 33 only has one routine inspection a year. The years in which they had more than one inspection were due to complaints or were follow up inspections.

If some of the restaurants located in the midst of a cockroach haven are somehow able keep their restaurants cockroach free, it must be possible for students in apartments downtown to do the same.

Leah Boodrookas, a third-year design major, has a hard time living with cockroaches.

“Dealing with the stress of college is difficult enough without the stress of having your apartment bombed every other weekend,” Boodrookas said.

Boodrookas and her roommate made their landlords spray their apartment complex until they no longer saw cockroaches on the premise. The U.S. Department of Public Health states that while spraying apartments can be effective it is also the responsibility of the residents of an apartment to restrain cockroaches.

The U.S. Department of Public Health’s report on cockroach management states, “Although baits are a highly effective method of control, if cockroaches have access to stored food products, if pet food is left out or dirty dishes are left in the sink overnight, this method of control will have limited effect.”

“They are everywhere in Davis, I have even seen them on campus in Haring [Hall]. So there is no escaping them,” Boodrookas said when asked how she prevented the cockroaches from once again encroaching on their home. “But, what helped me and my roommate the most was keeping everything spotless. Maybe that’s hard in college, but I think it’s most definitely worth it.”

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