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Cockroaches are one of the most commonly noted household pest insects. They feed on human and pet food, and can leave an offensive odor. They can also passively transport microbes on their body surfaces including those that are potentially dangerous to humans, particularly in environments such as hospitals. Cockroaches infestations have been shown to be linked with allergic reactions in humans. One of the proteins that triggers allergic reactions has been identified as tropomyosin. These allergens have also been found to be linked with asthma. American cockroaches have been known to live up to three months without food and a month without water. Frequently living outdoors, although preferring warm climates and considered "cold intolerant," they are resilient enough to survive occasional freezing temperatures.
Wasps in the family Evaniidae are perhaps the most effective insect predators, as they attack the egg cases, and wasps in the family Ampulicidae are predators on adult and nymphal cockroaches (e.g., Ampulex compressa). The house centipede is probably the most effective control agent of cockroaches, though many homeowners find the centipedes themselves objectionable. Bait stations, gels containing hydramethylnon or fipronil, as well as boric acid powder, are toxic to cockroaches. Baits with egg killers are also quite effective at reducing the cockroach population. Additionally, pest control products containing deltamethrin or pyrethrin are very effective.
In Singapore and Malaysia, taxi drivers use Pandan leaves as a cockroach repellent in their vehicles.In Russia, some people, after opening all cupboards, leave a saucepan half-full of sulfur burning on a gas ring, then quickly come back in to switch it off (with gas mask) and leave the residence for a few days. This is said to be protective for ten years.
Recently, a method called the Vegas roach trap has gained popularity as a successful way to control a cockroach infestation. It's an easy and almost free way to keep the nasty critters out of your house. All you need is a glass jar, and some used coffee grounds and water. The bugs love the smell and the moisture. The homemade trap is made from any glass jar containing used coffee grounds and water. Placing the mouth of the jar next to the wall, the roaches are able to crawl up the wall and into the jar, to drown, or at least never escape since they are unable to climb the glass walls. Apparently, only cockroaches are attracted to it.
The world's largest roach (which lives in South America) is six inches long with a one-foot wingspan.
Roaches By the Numbers
6 -- Number of legs on a cockroach
18 -- Number of knees on most cockroaches (at least!)
40-- Number of minutes cockroaches can hold their breath
75 -- Percentage of time that cockroaches spend just resting (how lazy can you get?)
5,000 -- Number of species of cockroaches worldwide
Some female cockroaches mate once and are pregnant for the rest of their lives (bummer).
Cockroaches can run up to three miles in an hour. (Hey, it's no marathon, but it's not bad.)
A cockroach heart is nothing but a simple tube with valves. The tube can pump blood backwards and forwards in the insect. The heart can even stop moving without harming the roach.
Most species of roaches live in the tropics. But roaches live all over the world, including the North and South Poles. Pest cockroaches can withstand temperatures as cold as 32°F (0°C), but will die if the temperature goes much below that. In extremely cold places, however, they survive by moving in with humans.
Cockroaches can climb walls because they are equipped with a set of little claws on their feet designed for that very purpose.
Cockroaches are among the hardiest insects on the planet. Some species are capable of remaining active for a month without food and are able to survive on limited resources like the glue from the back of postage stamps. Some can go without air for 45 minutes or slow down their heart rate. In one experiment, cockroaches were able to recover from being submerged underwater for half an hour.
It is popularly suggested that cockroaches will "inherit the earth" if humanity destroys itself in a nuclear war. Cockroaches do indeed have a much higher radiation resistance than vertebrates, with the lethal dose perhaps 6 to 15 times that for humans. However, they are not exceptionally radiation-resistant compared to other insects, such as the fruit fly.
"A penny for your thoughts"
Friday, March 13, 2009
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