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Lincoln Neighborhood Battling Cockroach Problem

A Lincoln neighborhood is combating a nasty problem - cockroaches. Neighbors say property in the 500-block of Maple Street is overrun with the pests. So much so, the entire neighborhood is being impacted. The cockroaches are traveling into neighbor's homes. The building has been condemned, but the problem is far from over.

"They're nasty. They're insidious creatures," said neighbor Thomas Eimer.

Those creatures have infested the home right next door to Eimer. The tenants have since moved out. Eimer said in the 38 years he and his wife have lived there, they've never had a cockroach problem, until now.

"They went in and done a little spraying and then they mass migrated out of there to my house. To other neighbor's house, six neighbors around the neighborhood," said Eimer.

Darrel Cummings is one of those neighbors. He says the infested home began attracting cockroaches when the tenants started leaving piles of garbage in the backyard.

"In colonies they come across the yard, into the neighbor's yards," Eimer said. "Some of the neighbors actually have to stand outside and spend half the night killing them to keep them from going into their homes."

Not only are neighbors concerned about their homes being invaded by cockroaches, but Carroll Catholic School located directly across the street.

"If I was the school--the board over there--I would be concerned that they might be heading that way," said Eimer.

Both Eimer and Cummings have expressed their concerns to the city, begging for the situation to be resolved.

"That we wasn't going to live like this in our neighborhood and nothing did we feel was the proper stuff being done to correct this problem, and that we were going to stop this problem," Cummings said. "That we weren't going to put up with this in our neighborhood three blocks off the square."

Lincoln's Building and Safety Official, John Lebegue, said cockroaches are carriers of numerous types of bacteria and diseases--and the infestation on Maple Street is being addressed.

"As of next Monday night, there will be changes relevant to this type of situation in the future," Lebegue said. "New ordinance language is being brought to the council that evening for a vote. Hopefully it will get passed and adopted and we can put it in the code right away."

We spoke with the landlord and purchasing buyer, Darrell Benedict. He said he's spent thousands of dollars to have the property treated for cockroaches. Benedict said he signed a one-year contract with an exterminator to continue the process for getting rid of the insects.

City officials said Benedict has until September 23 to remove the building's interior walls and ceilings, and treat the home until all traces of cockroach infestation are eliminated.