Wildlife Wednesdays: The Rise of the Cockroach | weatherology°
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By: Meteorologist Megan Mulford
Updated: Feb 7th 2022

Wildlife Wednesdays: The Rise of the Cockroach

Cockroaches are awful varmints that can reek havoc in or around homes, as they eat away at wood and other structures, causing for home damage. They have always been powerful creatures, very resilient, and they can also carry nasty pathogens. Well, a new study has found that German cockroaches are evolving to become more resistant to bug sprays, insecticides, and even chemicals! This is making them near impossible to eliminate. 

The study published in Scientific Reports mentioned that cockroaches could even develop resistance within a single generation! Other cockroaches in the study developed a "cross-resistance" meaning they gained a tolerance to toxic substances just through contact with a similar type of insecticides. “We didn’t have a clue that something like that could happen this fast," lead author Michael Scharf, of the Department of Entomology at Purdue University, said in a statement. We would see resistance increase four- or six-fold in just one generation," he goes onto mention. 

The study consisted of researchers testing out different insecticides: abamectin, boric acid, and thiamethoxam in cockroach infested apartments across Illinois and Indiana over a period of 6 months. The results showed that researchers were unable to reduce the size of the cockroach population. "Populations grew around 10 percent as individuals started to evolve resistance. Even with the two insecticide treatments, the cockroach populations actually skyrocketed. The three-pronged attack managed to maintain the number of cockroaches but it was ultimately unable to reduce it." This concluded that the cockroaches and their offspring had become "essentially immune" to a particular class of pesticides," the study mentions.  

This study suggest that us humans need to find something that can kill these cockroaches and it may take combining chemical treatments with traps, improved sanitation, and vacuums to control these pests.