An ominous new study has found that Cockroaches will soon be impossible to kill with standard pesticides, as they can develop cross-resistance to poisons they’ve never encountered within a single generation.
German cockroaches – the small, quick-scurrying type whose traces can be found in 85% of US urban homes – are rapidly becoming impervious to pesticide chemicals, developing cross-resistance to a variety of insecticides within a single generation, a study published in Scientific Reports has demonstrated.
And even the researchers who conducted the experiment are creeped out by the evolutionary capabilities of the ubiquitous six-legged natural cleaners.
Michael Scharf, chair of the Entomology Department at Purdue University and co-author of the study, said in a statement last week. “Cockroaches developing resistance to multiple classes of insecticides at once will make controlling these “pests” almost impossible with chemicals alone.”
One experiment in which 10% of cockroaches started off resistant to a particular pesticide actually saw populations grow over the six months during which the researchers sprayed, a disconcerting result in itself.
But it was the multi-chemical experimental groups that really caused a stir – cockroaches who survived treatment with one insecticide developed immunity not just to that chemical, but to other chemicals they hadn’t even been exposed to – increasing their resistance “four- to six-fold in just one generation,” Scharf marveled.
Cockroach populations targeted with multiple chemicals also tended to spread out, infesting adjacent apartments to those being tested – so not only did total population numbers not decrease as they were expected to, but entire buildings fell to six-legged armies that were once content with smaller domains.
Female German cockroaches may lay up to 400 eggs in a lifetime, and the insects’ 60-day lifespan makes for a quick-evolving species. They thrive in human habitats – particularly where food is left behind – and rely on humans for shelter in cold climates.
They also have wings – but at least the humans can take some small comfort in knowing the species “very rarely flies,” according to Orkin?
RT Science / Crickey Amigu di Natura Foundation News 2019.