More homeowners in the Sacramento region are reporting cockroach infestations. Experts say it’s a result of the drought.

More homeowners in the Sacramento region are reporting cockroach infestations. Experts say it’s a result of the drought.


Have you noticed a growing number of cockroaches in your home, your garage or your yard lately? If so, you’re far from alone, pest control professionals say.

Cockroach infestations are becoming more common in the region, stretching from South Placer communities such as Lincoln and Granite Bay to Sacramento.

Stressed by the rising temperatures and drought conditions, cockroaches that typically live in the municipal sewer systems are making their way into homes, seeking moisture and cooler temperatures, said Rich Sartain, general manager of Rocklin Pest Control.

Sartain said it’s been a widespread issue for months. He and others in the pest control industry reported an increase in new clients looking for help in ridding their homes of cockroaches.

“They’re really driving business right now,” he said.

The phenomenon has become so problematic for some Placer County residents that Supervisor Suzanne Jones, who represents the Granite Bay area, said at a June 22 Board of Supervisors meeting she received messages of concern from her constituents.

One constituent, she said, wrote that the lawn in his backyard appeared as if it were moving at night from all the “creepy crawlies.”

“The cities are experiencing it more than the country,” Sartain said. “We are getting more calls from South Placer to Sacramento than, say, Auburn and Loomis because those people are on potable tanks as opposed to the public sewer system.”

Sartain has a client who lives in Loomis and hasn’t seen a cockroach on his property in months. But his business in Lincoln had to be treated for an infestation, Sartain said.

The infestations are not fueled by native cockroaches, but by an invasive species, the Turkestan Cockroach, said Dustin Whitehead, owner of White Line Pest Management.

Whitehead said he started seeing the Turkestan Cockroaches in the area about five years ago, and they have quickly become the largest cockroach species in the area.

Drought conditions are exacerbating the problem, he added.

“They’re looking for water … and the high temperatures are stressing them, so they’re looking for a cooler spot, which is often homes because of the air conditioning,” Whitehead said.

Turkestan Cockroaches breed at twice the rate of native roach species, Sartain said. The males are red in color and the females are black in color, imitating the appearance of other native species, he said.

“If you have a sink, toilet, bathtub that you don’t use that frequently, they can climb right up that plumbing and into the bathroom,” Sartain said. “The exterior of your home is more dry so they’re trying to get into your garage or your bathroom where it’s more cool or more damp.”

Homeowners often first notice the pests in their garages, he added.

“It is carrying bacteria on their legs when they come in your home,” Sartain said. It’s not as bad as a German roach infestation, but it’s still not good.”

Whitehead said homeowners can mitigate the problem by sealing crevices, cracks and other ways pests might enter their home. People can also replace mulch on their properties with products that use less water.

Sartain agreed, saying people need to seal up their homes by filling cracks and repairing door sweeps. He said a pest control professional can treat around the home and property, too.

“But there’s no magic wand that’s going to make them disappear and make you not see them,” he said.

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Molly Sullivan covers Folsom, Roseville and Placer County, as well as police accountability, for The Bee. She grew up in Northern California and is an alumna of Chico State.

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