Cockroaches Are Getting Stronger And Soon Poison Won't Stop Them

Science | By Jamal Mack | July 8, 2019

Are you a fan of bugs? The answer is most likely no, though that can greatly depend on what kind of bug we're talking about. Butterflies are universally loved, for example, while spiders are feared. Still, there is one type of bug that is universally hated by everyone. The cockroach.

Cockroaches are horrible bugs that don't belong on this Earth. Cockroaches can quickly infest an apartment or home once they're introduced, or they end up already being there when you move in. Especially in big cities, cockroaches can be a major problem that sometimes seem impossible to get rid of.

The one hope that all of us cockroach haters have when in the face of an infestation is that an exterminator can come by and eliminate those pesky bugs. There's one big problem with that. It appears that cockroaches are becoming more immune to our poisons, which is incredibly alarming.

German Cockroaches are Adapting to Poison

Suffering from a cockroach infestation is no fun at all. Once you see one, you know it's all over. That means they are already everywhere. The one bastion of hope we all have against them is poison. Sweet, sweet poison. Unfortunately, a new study is here to burst our bubble. As it turns out, cockroaches are becoming resistant to our pesticides. They are evolving and adapting against them.

The study comes from Purdue University researchers, and it focuses on German roaches. German roaches are the most common type of roach found in England, and it appears that once they build a resistance to chemicals, they can pass that resistance off to their grimey little bug children. Their results can be found in the journal of Scientific Reports, though you won't like what you read.

Cockroaches Can Cause Health Problems

Michael Scharf is the study's co-author, and he said, "We didn't have a clue that something like that could happen this fast. Cockroaches developing resistance to multiple classes of insecticides at once will make controlling these pests almost impossible with chemicals alone." The fact that the cockroaches can pass the resistance to their offspring means that we could see entire generations of cockroaches who can't be killed by traditional poisons.

Unfortunately these bugs aren't just gross. They also carry bacteria like salmonella and E. coli which are dangerous and even deadly. Another unusual problem with these bugs is that their saliva, feces, and body parts can cause allergies, and even asthma. There are many reasons not to want cockroaches in your environment, but the fact that they could make you or your children sick is enough.

More Tactics Will Have to be Employed

Despite the name, German cockroaches exist all over the world. Even if their population has been decimated, one female can produce more offspring every couple of months. You might be thinking that different poisons could be used to kill these resistant roaches, but the study tested three different types. The study tested apartment buildings in the United States and found that their populations didn't diminish, and some even increased.

Our only hope, according to the researchers, are traps, vacuums and more hygenic environments where the roaches can't thrive. Scharf said, "Some of these methods are more expensive than using only insecticides, but if those insecticides aren't going to control or eliminate a population, you're just throwing money away." Make sure to keep your living space clean and then think about traps instead of poison.



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