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Cockroach Frequently Asked Questions

Where are They Coming From?

Cockroaches are natural to most environments and often live in close association with human activity.  Cockroaches like dark, damp environments and constantly seek out water sources and decaying organic matter to feed on.  As a result, they may be found in homes and all manner of building structures, landscaping, piping, parks, and natural spaces.  One of the things that makes them so successful is that they are incredibly adaptable and mobile, always seeking out new environments where they can thrive.

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Why do they like sewers?

Cockroaches are drawn to damp, dark spaces, including crawl spaces, storm drains, floor drains, and all types of pipes.  Sewer pipes can offer both a source of water and decaying organic matter, so as cockroaches move about, they may try to invade sewer pipes in search of the most ideal habitat.  It is a misnomer that these are simply “sewer roaches”, but because cockroaches take shelter in damp dark places, the sewer system is one of many ideal environments.   The cockroaches are most active in seeking out water sources and shelter when the weather gets hot and dry.

What is SPMUD doing when cockroaches are found in sewers?

SPMUD crews are continuously inspecting the sewer system as part of our ongoing maintenance program.  If a crew observes cockroaches or when a customer calls with a concern about cockroaches in the sewer system, we’ll come out to investigate.  If our investigation confirms cockroach activity in the District’s sewer pipes, pest control treatment of our pipes and manholes will be scheduled.

Are the cockroach control treatment methods safe?

Yes.  SPMUD’s mission is to protect public health and the environment.  As part of that commitment, SPMUD only uses products that are naturally occurring in the environment to treat for cockroaches.

Can cockroaches get from sewer pipes into my home or business?

If your P-traps and indoor plumbing are well maintained and regularly utilized, it is highly unlikely that cockroaches will enter your home through sewer pipes.  Floor drains may provide access to cockroaches if left unused for some time.  To prevent this, floor drains should be flushed every week or so to recharge the trap, or the drains can be outfitted with closable lids or rubber stoppers.  More commonly, cockroaches tend to enter the property along the outside of plumbing, so make sure to seal any holes around pipes where they may enter structures.

Are there different kinds of cockroaches?  If so, what kind is impacting the sewers?

There are an incredible number of cockroach species.  In our area, while the American cockroach is commonly found to invade sewers, storm drains, and other piping systems, local pest control companies also report finding Oriental, German, and Turkestan cockroach species.

Resource:  University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program

What is SPMUD doing to control cockroaches?

SPMUD has a proactive maintenance program to keep sewer pipes in good working order.  Should you have any issues, call us first at (916) 786-8555 anytime.  A SPMUD representative will respond promptly.  When a customer calls with a concern about cockroaches in the sewer system, we investigate within 30 minutes during business hours and 60 minutes after business hours.  

What if I see cockroaches after SPMUD has already come out?

Please allow 7-10 days from the date SPMUD treated the sewer system for cockroaches before calling to report cockroaches.  While this method is effective, it may take several days to work completely.

SPMUD does not address cockroach issues on private property.  If you see cockroaches on your property or in your home, please consider performing pest control treatment or contacting a pest management company, just as you might do for any other property-invading pest like ants, wasps, termites, or ticks.

How can customers help reduce cockroaches?

You can help by eliminating potential food, water, and shelter sources that attract cockroaches, while also sealing cracks and crevices around your home.  Follow these tips to reduce cockroaches around your property:

  • Seal cracks or other openings in exterior walls and foundation
  • Pick up pet food between feedings
  • Remove trash daily from home and keep lids closed on outdoor cans
  • Create a rock barrier between mulch or soil and the home’s foundation
  • Consider enlisting the services of a pest control company

Sac Sewer Cockroach Factsheet