Your Worst Nightmare – Cockroaches That Bite
I think we can all agree that cockroaches are generally loathsome. However, in their favor, they don’t actually do anything to hurt us. They don’t bite or sting like some other insects out there. They are just generally gross and disturbing…right? Well, I’m here to tell you that, while it is not common, cockroaches have been recorded biting people. What makes me want to gag, though, is finding out that they enjoy eating little bits and pieces of dead humans.
Cockroaches are omnivores, so I guess it is not all that surprising to discover that they would consider munching on us. For the most part, you are safe from their hunger, but if you have an extreme infestation with a large cockroach population, they can end up outgrowing their food source. This is when they turn to nibbling on human fingernails, eyelashes, feet, and hands. These bites can cause irritation, lesions, and swelling, and can sometimes lead to infection.
Apparently the most serious cases happened on ships. In such a confined space the cockroaches are able to keep growing in numbers, while sources of food do not. So, they begin biting the fingers and nails of the people on board. There are even reports of sailors wearing gloves to protect their hands from being bitten.
Did you know that in these extreme cases cockroaches will bite humans? How many cockroaches are living in your house?
When most people think of allergy and asthma triggers, they likely think of pollen, dust and animal dander. Hulett Environmental Services however, warns that cockroaches can also pose a threat to those that suffer from allergies and asthma. The saliva, droppings and decomposing bodies of cockroaches contain proteins known to trigger allergies and increase the severity of asthma symptoms.
Children are especially at risk for suffering allergic and asthmatic reactions to cockroach infestations. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences reports that one in five children in the U.S. have severe sensitivities to cockroach allergens. And, according to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), cockroaches spread 33 kinds of bacteria including E. coli and salmonella, six parasitic worms and more than seven other types of human pathogens.
The threat for accumulated cockroach allergens is elevated in the winter because not only is there a greater chance for cockroaches to invade homes in search of warmth, but families are also spending more time indoors and increasing their exposure to these indoor allergens. Hulett Environmental Services encourage homeowners to take proactive steps to prevent cockroach infestations this winter to help keep their families healthy and safe.
To help prevent infestations, we recommend that homeowners seal cracks around the outside of their home, vacuum frequently and keep counters and floors clean and free of crumbs that can attract the pests. Extra attention should be paid to kitchens and bathrooms – especially under appliances and sinks – as these areas are particularly vulnerable to cockroach infestations due to the presence of food products and moisture in plumbing fixtures.
If you suspect you have an infestation, contact a licensed pest control professional who will be able to recommend a course of treatment. To learn more about cockroaches and the health threats they pose, please visit www.bugs.com
Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches
I can’t say that I am a particular fan of cockroaches. Usually when I see one I slowly back away and call out for someone else to handle the disposal of the creature. Their encroachment on my territory is not something I look forward to. However, even I have to recognize when a critter is truly unique and fascinating. I wouldn’t necessarily want to come face to face with a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach, but I do find them to be a more interesting example of their species.
The Madagascar Hissing Cockroach has a segmented body like other cockroaches, but has evolved to use its body in a unique manner. By squeezing its body together and contracting the segments, this cockroach can make a hissing sound to warn off predators. It can also flatten its body and make it more difficult for predators to eat it. As a final defense measure, if the cockroach does end up in the mouth of a predator, it has spiny legs to help it make its way out. And the hissing combined with those thorny legs can be pretty annoying when they’re inside an animal’s head, with the sound ringing in its head.
What do you think of the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach? Would you want one of those inside your mouth?
Remote Control Cockroaches
Researchers from Case Western Reserve University have discovered that understanding the neurons in a cockroache’s brain that make it walk may help scientists improve remote-control technology. By stimulating each neuron separately, scientists can make cockroaches walk according to which neuron they are stimulating. The central complex of a cockroache’s brain controls their movement, acting a bit like a joystick. This joystick controls the insect’s speed and direction. This may help us design more accurate control in our own remote-control technology.
Researchers were able to control the movements of the cockroaches without providing visual stimuli by sending electrodes through the central complex. Even in cases of complex movements such as turning, researchers were able to control the insect’s movement by stimulating their neurons. Researchers think that this descending motor control works the same in all mammals. So, researchers can understand movement in complex animals other than insects through this study. This could extend to helping the handicapped walk, building better robots, and making better self-driving cars and drones.
What do you think of the implications of this study? What do you think the biggest benefit would be?
How cockroaches are different than humans
There are many ways of course that cockroaches are different than humans, but mostly lets discuss bodies. For instance why do cockroaches die on their backs with their legs in the air?
To know the answer to this question is simply to look at them. Cockroaches have rounded backs that are greasy, with a body that is able to be flat. That flat body is what allows them to squeeze in through the cracks in your walls. Commonly used insecticides induce muscle spasms and can confuse the cockroaches, which of course makes them look like a turtle stuck on their back.
Their body oddities are also what allows them to walk up walls whereas of course we humans cannot. Cockroaches have three sets of legs which allow them the ability to go places and do things we can’t like walking up a wall or across glass without slipping. Each set of these legs is controlled by their own nerves with a foot like claw at the bottom of the leg. There is no central nervous system like and brain in a human. Cockroaches can live without its head because there literally is no brain in there. If left in the wild, cockroaches typically will stick in groups of up to 50 to try to secure safety.
For more information on cockroaches, please click here
Cockroach Exhibit in Japan Features Man-sized Trap
When you think about an animal exhibit, you usually imagine it displaying something as typical as bears, elephants, seals, giraffes or lions — the usual public favorites. But in an an act of unprecedented, innovative insight, a zoo in Japan has come up with a cockroach exhibit, complete with man-sized cockroach trap, as an alternative to the usual animal fanfare.
Interestingly, the zoo already has experience with featuring less-than conventionally savory types of animals in their repertoire. Tokuyama Zoo has already held special exhibits featuring a variety of insects and reptiles before and, due to popular demand, have decided to focus solely on the surprisingly well-patronized cockroach for their next exhibit.
According to the zoo’s spokeswoman, Tokuyama Zoo, located in Yamaguchi prefecture, will display a total of 100 up to 200 cockroaches at its event, with a kickoff event featuring 15 kinds of cockroaches sourced from different parts of the world — with rare kinds among them such as the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach.
Now, regarding cockroaches in a controlled environment from a spectator’s, even a pseudo-scientist’s perspective may seem like a worthwhile enterprise, but if you ever come into contact with the same party cavorting around unchecked in your home, then a call to your pest control experts should be the proper — and immediate — recourse.
Robot Design Copies Sleek Roach Shell
In robot science, even tiny inventions can change the shape of things. A simple seek-and-find type of robot has been fitted with one small but powerful addition to overcome obstacles in its path.
Clutter is the enemy of robots, because each new and different obstacle must be overcome with a different feature. Sensors are often used in complex ways on robot bodies to keep the artificially intelligent creature moving toward its goal, without being derailed by something as simple as a steep hill or drop of water.
Most robots are designed to avoid obstacles by sensing their proximity and moving around them. But a team at Berkeley, led by postdoctoral researcher Chen Li, has developed a robot that can scamper between obstacles.
The breakthrough in design came after observing a common roach, species Blaberus discoidalis, make its way through an obstacle course resembling tightly crowded sticks of grass. Researchers then ran their rectangular-bodied robot through the same course, and noted how it got hung up on the pillars, or became stuck, or even collided with the pseudo-grass.
A new robot with streamlined “roach” shell was built, and made its way much like the real thing through the course, traversing and rolling through the fake grass pillars rather than bumping into them.
Researchers in Belgium have discovered that cockroaches have personalities. At the Universite Libre de Bruxelles scientists tested the behavior of the American cockroach by strapping microchips on 300 roaches and placed them in an arena of bright light. Because cockroaches have developed an aversion to light, they were observed in order to see how quickly they sought shelter. Roaches that immediately went under the cover of a dark circle were considered cautious, while the ones that explored the arena were considered to be more daring.
Scientists also observed the cockroaches to see how they sought shelter. If all cockroaches had the same undifferentiated personality then they would exhibit identical behavior. Researcher Isaac Planas-Sitja reported that the cockroaches’ “amazing ability to reach a consensus could be explained by the bugs affinity for protection of the group. The cockroaches that sought shelter sooner could have been signaling to others what to do,” he said.
Continued collaboration and research could explain the cockroaches’ apparent inability to die out. Some explore the group’s surroundings while others hang back to see if it’s safe. Further research could also explain how so many roaches can invade a cramped New York City apartment at once. Cockroaches have no queen or solitary leader. This, in turn, suggests they have no followers either. They are individuals able to make their own decisions just like us.
This research has uncovered, once again, what extraordinary insects cockroaches are. Cockroaches are very resilient and exhibit odd behaviors and survival methods. For example, cockroaches spend 75% of their time resting and can withstand temperatures as cold as 32 degrees Fahrenheit. A cockroach can live for a week without its head. Because of an open circulatory system and the fact that they breathe through holes in each of their body segments, they do not need a mouth or head to breathe. Most cockroaches can hold their breath for 40 minutes. They can survive being submerged for half an hour. A cockroach can run up to three miles in an hour, which means spreading germs and bacteria throughout a home can happen quickly.
Over the years there has been much attention given to the idea of personality. Among human beings, having a unique and attractive personality is important and the key, in most professions to be being successful. And while the idea that human beings all have their own personality that is different from all other humans may not be 100% true, we all have our own individual characteristics that make us who we are.
Researchers studying the behavior of insects have recently discovered that cockroaches have individual character traits. This discovery might help explain why the cockroach have had a greet deal of evolutionary success.
Isaac Planas Sitjà, one of the researchers from the Université libre de Bruxelles who studied the personalities, said that the observed personalities have been categorized as “shy or cautious and bold or explorers.” According to Sitja, “shy roaches are those that spend more time sheltered and do not explore their surroundings as much, while bold individuals spend more time exploring and less time sheltered.” The findings were published in the Journal Proceedings of the Royal Society.
Different personalities assist in the survival the species because they increase the chances of that some in the group will survive. The personalities of individuals can also affect the behavior of groups of cockroaches. Cockroaches used in the study were measured for the speed with which they found shelter and the time they spent exploring and seeking out new supplies of food. In their natural environment, the differences in personality could lead the more adventurous cockroaches to find new supplies of food but could also increase the chances of them being preyed upon.
During the experiment, researchers attached radio tags to American cockroaches in order to monitor their movements. The roaches were kept in darkness during the experiments and were released in groups in areas surrounded by electrified wires to prevent escape.
We know cockroaches as those tiny, annoying bugs that always gross us out. Whenever we try to get rid of one, it always scurries into those little nooks or crannies that our broom just can’t reach. However, scientists intend to turn this irritating aspect into something useful, as they prepare to modernize these insects in order to help mankind.
Surprisingly enough, cockroaches are extremely easy to ‘hack’, and recent studies have shown that we’re able to override their senses by implanting different types of electrodes or sensors. This means that we’ll be able to use these tiny critters to explore disaster scenes, such as rubble produced from an explosion. It’d be much easier and faster attaching a microphone and pushing a cockroach to go through debris, instead of using human manpower to sluggishly move it out of the way. We’d be able to find survivors and focus on key points of interest rather than having to clear everything out piece by piece.
Researchers at Harvard already are beginning constructing robotic cockroaches, which they hope will be used to gather data about ecosystems, or test for pollution. A basic ‘DIY Robo Roach Kit’ has already reached its Kickstarter goal, and hopes to available in the coming years for a low price of $99. This means that with controlling cockroaches to be more accessible to the general public, for a relatively cheap price, we’ll hopefully be able to begin using cockroaches to benefit our future.