The D.C. Department of environmental Services, which brought you the war on [WORD ILLEGIBLE] proud to announce [WORD ILLEGIBLE] solid volunteers for the war on roaches.
Admittedly, the [WORD ILLEGIBLE] got less chance against [WORD ILLEGIBLE] roaches than the [WORD ILLEGIBLE] against the Spanish-roaches been around for about [WORD ILLEGIBLE]years and scientist, they're the No. 1 candidates survive a nuclear holocaust.
THere is something so esthetically upsetting about the little brown monsters that even inevitable defeat never seems to prevent than from going into combat with them, whether with broom or bug bomb, tricks or traps.
The current campaign against the various local members of the Blattidae family is citizen inspired. "We've gotten about $2,000 complaints about cockroach in feastation since the beginning of the year, five times the usual number," said Dr. Bailus Walker, director of the Department of Environmental Services.
"We're getting the complaints from all parts of the city," he said, from the poorest areas of Shaw and Anacostia to the richest area of Geogetown and upper 16th Street NW.
"Hereto for the complaints have been from tenants in substandard apartment buildings, but now we're getting them from single family homes and all areas. The storage and collection of solid waste materials" - garbage to the uninitiated - "seems to be one of the major contributors," he said.
Most of those 82,000 callers have been wasting their time calling not only because the cockroach seems to win all the wars, if not every battle, but also because environmental services does not run an extermination services.
"Many of them are under the impression we run an extermination service," said Walker. "We don't. We will treat an entire neighborhood or block for rats, for instance. But, we will not go inside a private dwelling. We try to provide as much advice as we can and we have a pamphlet we send out."
What the department can do, and will do starring next week, is check on the way citizens are putting but their garbage for pick-up.
According to Walker, some of the soldiers in the war on roaches "will be moving along with the collectors" - i.e., garbagemen - "on collection day. If there's an inadequate number of containers, or if they're not in a good state of repair, we'll issue citations calling for" correction.
Anyone who is "drafted" by one of Walker's inspectors and refuses to fight the good fight, will be taken to court where they will face a possible $300 fine and 10 days in jail. Where cockroaches are believed to them as they scurrey about kitchens and bathrooms, there is some evidence that they can trigger asthmatic attacks and cause allergies in children.
The best way to rid a home of cockroaches is to avoid getting them in the first place. They are attracted to food, garbage and glue, such as that found in book bindings, as well as to the insides of televisions.
THe finest bit of soda or beer left in an empty can, or bits of garbage left unflushed in the bottom of a disposal, are enough to draw one of the pests. One pregnant cockroach will present you with your very own colony in less than a week.
"These are run-of-the-mill, typical American cockroaches," said Walker, which means they are probably German cockroaches, the variety most commonly found in this area. "This is the type you see scampering around at night, but one of the things we've noticed is they-re scampering around during the day, which means the infestation is worse than normal.
So pack your old kit bag with your bombs and sprays and prepare for war. BUt keep your sense of humor and don't forget who's had the last laugh for at least 300 million years.