Roach infestation closes portion of Cuba’s Main Street

CUBA, N.Y. (WIVB) — A portion of East Main Street in Cuba’s business district was closed Wednesday to allow workers to hose down sidewalks, trees, even light poles in an effort to flush cockroaches that had taken hold in that end of the village.

The size of the infestation — and it’s broader impact that forced the closure of some businesses and the village street — is something the Allegany Department of Health has never seen, according to its director.

Representatives from the village and the health department said the bugs migrated from a second-floor apartment at 15 E. Main Street. Residents said the tenants were hoarders, who left the apartment on Friday. It’s not known whether they were evicted.
“This really didn’t become what we determine an infestation until last Friday,” said Lori Ballengee, public health director of the Alleghany Department of Health. “There were, of course, so many (roaches). As of Friday they were in other buildings, they had migrated to other buildings, they were out on the sidewalk, in the street so that’s definitely an infestation.”
Ballengee said health workers and village code enforcement have been aware of the problem for months. However, every time they called on the tenant, they were prohibited from entering or no one answered the door. Ballengee said her staff observed nothing out of the ordinary in the common areas of the building.
On Wednesday, most buildings in that block of East Main were surrounded by a white chalky barrier of roach pesticide. A dumpster in the apartment building’s rear — the second of the day — was fully loaded by the apartment’s contents and covered by a blue tarp. It, too, was surrounded by a line of white powder.
A strong foul odor hung in the air.
“I believe there are people that are upset about how could it get this far,” said Kevin White, the Cuba Chamber of Commerce president. “Those are questions that will dig into answering once we get this problem solved.”
Among those looking for answers are the owners of the Kopper Keg, a staple of the village’s business district for decades. The owners closed the business voluntarily, because they’re located next door to the offending apartment building.
The could be closed until sometime next week.
White said despite his and other business owners’ frustration, the village and county health department have worked to help eradicate the problem.
“What bothers me the most is that a cornerstone of the Cuba community has been impacted by this, by the grace of their own hand to close and do the right thing, and there’s another business, and we have a village hall that’s interrupted and the daily functions of the village are brought to a standstill while we deal with it,” White said. “You don’t know what goes on in a private apartment, you don’t know what transpires up there, and when something like this happens your blindsided.”
Cuba Village Mayor Michele Miller toured the closed street and businesses with members of the health department on Wednesday. She, too, was frustrated by the village’s inability to address the problem tenant. In addition, the village hall — where Miller and her staff work — is also next door to the offending apartment building.
“When we tried to gain entry, when our coding enforcement officer tried to gain entry with the health department, the door was not open for us, or they weren’t home,” Miller said. “We were not able to gain entry.
“Now, we have an entire business district on edge and we have to incur expenses in order to stem the tide of infestation,” she added.
Miller said she and the village council will come together in the days ahead to address the financial fallout from the infestation. The village has a slim budget, and Miller said they may need a short term loan to help cover the costs of exterior and interior extermination, which could be several thousand dollars. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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