Cockroaches are some of the peskiest creepy crawlers out there. They’re sneaky, sly, and definitely super gross. We’re all ashamed to admit that these guys have found their way into our homes at one time or another. They’re most found of our beloved pantries and refrigerators. While we hate the things, the pest control business loves them. Roaches are some of the most exterminated bugs in the industry. However, in the 1990’s of sunny Florida, exterminators seemed to have run out of cards against these unwavering opponents. The roaches had a new trick up their sleeves; losing their sweet tooth.
In the 1990’s exterminators were baffled by the critter. Exterminators used a poison mixed with sugary juices as bait that was sure to catch the cockroaches, but when the roaches weren’t biting, it seemed the epic battle against these nasty bugs would never end. However, in recent years, researchers Ayako Wada-Katsumata, Jules Silverman, and Coby Schal from nearby North Carolina University decided to investigate the invincible cockroach.
The Investigation Yields Results
Instead of taste buds, cockroaches have taste hairs all over their bodies. In order to determine why roaches have lost their love of sweets, researchers focused on the hairs around the roach’s mouth along with two types of nerves cells. These two types of nerve cells are responsible for transmitting to the roach the taste of sweetness and bitterness. When the sweet signal is sent the bug goes in for the kill, but when the bitterness signal is sent the bug scowls away. What the researches discovered in the common German cockroach was that glucose, which is a common component in sugary sweets, sparked the bitterness receptor. This newly evolved trait in the roaches is the reason they’ve been able to outsmart the pest control industry.
This discovery stirred up quite a reaction in the scientific community. Walter S. Leal, the head of the entomology department in the college of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at the University of California, Davis and entomologist at Purdue University, Grzegorz Buczkowski, who were not involved in the study, were quick to remark on the findings in North Carolina.
“We lose baits all the time,” said Buczkowski. He also commented on how new poisons are constantly being developed to in order to maintain the effectiveness of the pest control industry. Bugs become resistant to the poison, just like bacteria become resistant to antibiotics.
Thanks to the research and its discovery, the market better understand how the roaches are surviving. It isn’t that their poisons are ineffective; it’s just that the bugs are changing their genetics and laying off the glucose. The cockroaches then pass off this trait and evolve into the monster roach that never seems to die.
“Sometimes the science is beautiful but you don’t know whether there is going to be an application fie years from now, 10 years from now or 100 years,” said Walter S. Leal.
So these results are definitely a breakthrough for the pest control market, and a great contributor in the mankind vs. roach battle.
Author Bio: Heydi Ruelas is a journalism student and blogger for Bulwark Exterminating, an industry leader in providing high quality roach control services. When I’m not playing with my two adorable nieces, I’m on the tennis court chasing that little green ball around.