All of the jokes have been made – Even Wall-E has shown that cockroaches are tiny, indestructible little insects that even a car wheel cannot hinder. Gross. Even worse, they may be growing even more hardy.
Recent studies have shown that cockroaches, some of the most feared pests, can grow resistant to modern pesticides. You can go Kill Bill all you want, but just like anti-bacterial soaps, the more you use them, the harder to kill what’s left over.
And what’s left over will come back stronger, and reproduce, and reproduce, and reproduce.
Thanks to a study conducted at Purdue University, we now know more about how indestructible roaches can really be. It was published by Nature Research and focuses on b. germanica, the german cockroach. It’s the most prevalent in American homes, with 85% of inner-city homes testing positive for the little bugger’s leftovers. They aren’t just icky to look at, they are dangerous. Cockroaches can induce asthma and carry nasty illnesses like E. Coli, Enterococcus, and Salmonella. The fact that they’re becoming impossible to kill with pesticides means that we’re playing a dangerous game. Who doesn’t want to lessen asthma related deaths?
The fact that they’re becoming impossible to kill with pesticides means that we’re playing a dangerous game.
The study focused on low income housing, where the problem is rather prevalent to begin with. They used multiple strategies and found only one in the trials had any kind of effectiveness. Because cockroaches breed rather quickly, immunities spread from generation to generation, just like how using too many antibacterial soaps and medications makes it harder to fight the next time you get sick.
Michael Scharf, an entomologist on the study, promises that this is not “a doomsday scenario.” The same way that we have reduced the number of antibacterial products in our lives to make diseases easier to fight, lowering the direct number of pesticides can make cockroaches easier to squash like the little critters they are. This immunity evolution is focused in cockroaches – they only live a hundred days and they breed quickly. This means they pass their genes down faster than other bugs.
Luckily, that also means they could re-evolve the susceptibility to insecticide. Once this happens, we just need to be careful to not cause this problem, again.
Scharf expresses property owners need to cut down their use of insecticide, and then they can become useful again.
The best way to cut down the number of pesticides you use in your properties is to not invite the bugs in the first place. Educating tenants is a must, according to Scharf. Tell them to take out their trash once a day, don’t leave food out – even pet food, as apparently, it’s a cockroach favorite. This is good for both the tenants and the pets, too, as it lowers their beloved buddy’s chance of eating pesticides. Lay down sticky traps and get cockroach specified vacuums, too.
When you’re vetting future tenants, don’t forget to vet their cleanliness. The best way to nip the bug in the bud, is to never have them in the first place.
How do you vet your tenants' cleanliness?
Let us know in the comments!