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UB student reports cockroaches in Sweethome apartment

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Michael Juszczak saw cockroaches crawling inside his sink, over his stovetop and across his kitchen counter in his University Village at Sweethome apartment.

Juszczak, a freshman finance major and member of the men’s soccer team, and his three roommates first noticed the cockroaches in October 2016. He and his roommates told Sweethome officials about the problem and an exterminator tried to get rid of the cockroaches with pest control spray.

The cockroaches returned within a few months and are still present. Others in building four, where Juszczak lived, have also seen cockroaches but did not want to speak with The Spectrum.

Juszczak is no longer living at the apartment, but still pays $679 a month because he cannot terminate the lease with American Campus Communities, the company that owns University Village at Sweethome. Employees at Sweethome were unable to comment because of company policies and referred all questions to their media contact, Gina Cowart. Cowart is out of the office for the week and did not answer in time for print.

“I was hoping that over winter break they would take care of it, since no one’s living there and they have a month to do what they need to do,” Juszczak said.

Juszcack checked for the cockroaches again earlier this month and saw they were still crawling around his apartment. He commutes every day from his parents’ home in Buffalo for his morning practice and classes.

Juszcack’s roommates are not from Buffalo, so they don’t have the option of living at home. All three of them still live in the cockroach-infested apartment.

Juszczak said he and his father spend roughly three hours a week “dealing with the issue.” He has tried calling the Erie County Health Department to see if the building can be deemed “uninhabitable,” which he said would be his best chance at ending the lease.

Juszczak and his other roommates first asked to move to another American Campus Communities-owned property, like the Villas at Chestnut Ridge or the Villas on Rensch, but he said the process took too long. He said he has not dealt with the same person at American Campus Communities throughout the process.

Juszczak spoke to an attorney at the Sub Board I, Inc. (SBI) Legal who told him to either “stop paying and see what they do” or take the matter to a small-claims court.

John Sorgi, market development representative for Erlich Pest Control, has been involved with exterminating for eight years. Sorgi said cockroaches, like bedbugs, are considered “nuisance sanitation pests” and are not known for carrying diseases.

“If you have anyone with breathing problems, then there’s something that could cause asthma or something... what they’re secreting in their fecal matter is what the problem is,” Sorgi said. “So in urban areas where you see more [cockroaches], you’ll have higher numbers of asthma or breathing problems in kids.”

Sorgi said the best way to exterminate cockroaches is to use toxic bait. He said the issue with sprays is they tend to kill the cockroaches you see, but the scent sends cockroaches into hiding so they won’t be affected and the problem will continue.

Sorgi recommends maintaining sanitary conditions to prevent cockroaches, such as keeping food and garbage away and out of reach.

“If the conditions are conducive to that activity, that’s just going to help them breed faster. So if you’ve got college kids who aren’t taking care of their apartments – food, garbage, nobody’s cleaning up – that’s a great area for the cockroaches.”

Follow-up treatments are also critical for getting rid of cockroaches, Sorgi said. The process of getting rid of cockroaches is not just one treatment. Exterminators have to identify the spot of infestation so they know where to target.

This isn’t the first time Sweethome has had cockroaches. In March 2014, residents reported dealing with cockroaches and in 2015, residents complained about having bed bugs.

Sarah Crowley is the senior features editor and can be reached at sarah.crowley@ubspectrum.com


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