Lethal Cocktails: Why cockroaches are more than just a visual pest
Humans have long waged a war against “unwanted” pests. But if evolution has taught us anything it is that insects aren’t going anywhere in a hurry and that cockroaches are now stronger than ever.
In fact Periplaneta Americana has maintained an unhealthy presence in our lives since time in memoriam. They’d been on earth 199,800,000 years before we came along so it’s easy to imagine, given the lack of sanitation and hygiene back in the day, that cockroaches creeped out our ancestors in much the same way as they do us.
Image: The Virtual Fossil Museum
Roman author and philosopher Pliny the Elder made some of the first pest-control recommendations in the First Century AD. He observed that, “dressing seeds with the ashes of a cat or weasel or steeping the seed in ox-gall” was an effective home defense against cockroaches; he also said that storing grain in airtight containers would prevent infestations, which by modern-day standards seems quite insightful.
Why are cockroaches so tough?
There is a solid basis for saying that a cockroach is one of the most resilient creatures on the planet. They have a tough exoskeleton, incredibly adaptable DNA, they don’t have blood, they have a different immune system to us and they have a primitive nervous system which renders them less susceptible to radiation damage. Couple this with their famed resilience to periods without food and water (some roaches can last more than a month without food and over a week without water) and you have a true SUPERBUG.
Image: Chambers Pest Solutions
However, even super powers have their limitations and weaknesses. According to a study in 2007 by Vanderbilt University the beasts don’t function very well in light and are better able to learn at night; in fact, they seemingly have, “a total inability to pick up anything new during the daylight hours.” So too are they the easy victims of natural predators like frogs and iguanas. Roaches are also susceptible to some fungi, all in all suffering a practical form of karma.
As well as their unpleasant look and smell, roaches have the potential to spread deadly diseases through cross-contamination, as well as cause major allergic reactions.
They have disease-ridden bodies because being omnivores they will eat anything. That includes poop, discarded food and rotting meat. All of this organic matter harbors bacteria potentially harmful to humans and it takes just one cockroach to walk across fresh food to contaminate it. It is believed roaches transmit a host of diseases in this way such as dysentery, cholera, leprosy, typhoid fever, and salmonella, all of which can make us either very poorly or can even kill us.
And it doesn’t really make a difference (Pliny) if the food is covered. Agreed, sealing food in proper containers will stop direct infestations but if you have roaches in your house the germs they carry will have been traipsed across floors and furniture. The fact that you can’t see any markings where the critters have been doesn’t mean the surface is clean.
So how is it possible to eradicate them?
Being so resilient to baits and poisons cockroaches are notoriously difficult to eradicate but not impossible. However, shop-bought chemical insecticides aren’t the answer; they kill only the roaches you can find…if you can even find them!
Image: Pest Control Swindon
Antworks’ professionally trained employees use slow acting, non-repellent material or bait for cockroaches but follow up with a cockroach treatment because of their feisty nature. It is imperative that when you first see a roach or smell an odor you call Antworks pest control service straight away because it’s highly likely you already have a problem. What’s more as well as being impervious to most man-made pesticides, roaches have the ability to reproduce quickly.
So don’t delay, otherwise they will take over.