Ugh, just reading the title is enough to make me shudder.
Let’s face it, cockroaches are gross and iffy creatures. These six-legged abominations of nature carry with them dozens of bacteria. Think E.coli and salmonella, for starters. Don’t even get me started on the flying sort. Eep.
Furthermore, they are so damn hard to kill. Sure, you can squash one with your foot, but eliminating an entire horde is a different story. Just ask anyone who’s ever tried to rid their house or their apartment of an infestation.
But why is this so? And are we standing at the precipice of a cockroach apocalypse?
How Cockroaches Develop Cross-Resistance to Insecticides
According to a Purdue University study, our efforts to kill off roaches could be backfiring on us. Apparently, German cockroaches, the sort we find in our kitchens, are quickly developing a cross-resistance to a lot of insecticides.
“This is a previously unrealized challenge in cockroaches,” said Michael Scharf, Purdue University’s Department of Entomology chair and the study’s main proponent. “Cockroaches developing resistance to multiple classes of insecticides at once will make controlling these pests almost impossible with chemicals alone.”
Basically, a certain percentage of cockroaches are resistant to a particular pesticide. Hence, these tend to survive a treatment with the said pesticide and pass the trait onto their offspring. Even more disturbingly, these cockroaches gain immunity to other kinds of insecticides over time, whether they were exposed to it or not.
In addition, each female cockroach can spawn fifty offspring in a three-month period. So, if just one pesticide-resistant cockroach were to survive, she’ll give birth to an entire horde that can do exactly that in a short time.
What Can We Do About This?
Fortunately, we still have options. Scharf particularly recommends combining several methods.
Thus, along with pesticides, we can also employ traps, vacuums, and of course, improve overall sanitation. Rotating different kinds of pesticides may also be helpful. If one insecticide fails to kill off the remaining population, you can try to finish them off with another type.
Proper waste disposal is another factor. Uncovered food, crumbs, and other edible debris attract cockroaches like nothing else, so it’s best to keep these at a minimum. Regularly cleaning out cool, dark areas like cupboards helps too.
Bottomline: let’s keep our surroundings clean. Fingers crossed, this all prevents indestructible cockroaches from being more than just an April Fools’ Day joke.