Published: Thu, July 04, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Study proves cockroaches growing immune to pesticides

Study proves cockroaches growing immune to pesticides

The bugs carry deadly salmonella and E. coli can also spark asthma attacks in people with the condition.

These cockroaches, found exclusively in human environments, are becoming resilient to nearly all kinds of insecticides according to the study published in the journal Scientific Reports. "Cockroaches developing resistance to multiple classes of insecticides at once will make controlling these pests nearly impossible with chemicals alone".

"We had no idea that something like this could happen so quickly", said Michael Scharf, co-author of the study.

Researchers from Purdue University in IN spent six months trying to eradicate German cockroaches (Blattella germanica L.), one of the most common species of household cockroach in the US, Australia and Europe, from three low-rise apartment buildings in IL and Indiana.

You've probably heard cockroaches can survive a nuclear bomb. This approach aims to ensure that, even if a small percentage of roaches is resistant to one class of insecticide, insecticides from other classes will kill them.

The researchers tested three methods of professional-grade insecticides on German cockroaches at multi-unit buildings in IN and IL over a six-month period in 2016.

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While exterminators frequently rotate the types of insecticide they use on the job in case some roaches in a population are resistant to one class of chemical, the experiment's results indicate they will have to step up their game enormously if they want to have any impact on Blattella germanica. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall.

None of the three methods fully exterminated the cockroaches - an outcome the researchers said they did not expect.

Regardless of which treatment was used, most of the cockroach colonies did not decline in size.

But, Abamectin Gel Bait, a type of insecticide, is capable of wiping out one cockroach colony. And, in the third, they used a single pesticide to which cockroaches had low-level starting resistance and used it the entire time. The way to combat this, says Scharf, is to diversify pest treatment methods.

Household cockroaches have been developing resistance to common insecticides since the 1950s, but infestations of insecticide-resistant super-cockroaches are a new problem.

Scharf stresses that "integrated pest management" is crucial, whereby chemical treatments are used alongside traps, improved sanitation and vacuums.

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