Neighbors concerned after ‘thousands’ of cockroaches crawl out of manhole, swarm street

PETERSBURG, Va. (WTVR) – Folks who live in one Petersburg neighborhood made a startling discovery in the middle of their street Friday: thousands of cockroaches.

What ensued was an epic battle neighbors said they realize people who did not witness may not believe.

But Sharon Mason said she is not exaggerating about seeing “thousands” of bugs filling her street.

"It looked like a cartoon," Mason said. "There were thousands of roaches."

Mason said she and another neighbor saw the bugs swarming from a manhole in the middle of the street late Friday afternoon.

"They were generally flooding out, some were going in that direction and they were flowing over this way," Mason explained.

The pair stomped and sprayed as the bugs fanned out on the pavement in the tidy and quiet neighborhood.

RELATED: Roaches swarm street: 'It looked like a cartoon'

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Roaches swarm street: 'It looked like a cartoon'
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Roaches swarm street: 'It looked like a cartoon'
Residents in Virginia say they are not exaggerating when they say thousands of cockroaches swarmed their neighborhood Friday.
Residents in Virginia say they are not exaggerating when they say thousands of cockroaches swarmed their neighborhood Friday.
Residents in Virginia say they are not exaggerating when they say thousands of cockroaches swarmed their neighborhood Friday.
Residents in Virginia say they are not exaggerating when they say thousands of cockroaches swarmed their neighborhood Friday.
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Walter Murphy, who lives nearby, was very concerned.

“These are some very nasty, disease-carrying individuals,” Murphy said. “We want them nowhere near our home."

When city crews arrived Saturday to flush the line, Mason said the water slowed down the bugs.

"As long as they were having the water go, it slowed them up,” she said. “And as soon as the water stopped, they started coming back out again.”

What caused the swarm to venture from the sewer is unclear, but Mike Farmer with All Seasons Termite & Pest Control said the bugs may have felt endangered.

"Their life being threatened, which could have been by rodent,” Farmer explained. “It could have been some odor, possible a chemical that got into their environment where they were harboring and caused them to basically swarm to protect themselves."

After flushing the sewer Saturday, crews installed an insert in the manhole to keep roaches from escaping. Officials are also conducting daily checks in the area.

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