There is nothing in the world more hated, and perhaps feared, than that bane of mankind—a cockroach infestation. Long the annoyance and fourth class unwanted resident of major urban cities, the cockroach resists even when resistance is futile. Cockroaches carry germs and disease, as if they weren’t already repulsive enough to have around. Capable of flight, six-legged, reproductively active and hardy to the point of (organic) invincibility is the dreaded roach. A threat to human health, cockroaches have few redemptive benefits except to displace and trigger tropical and subtropical forest floor elements into a mishmash. Even the Greeks had a word for the cockroach - "blatta." Cockroaches are most common in tropical and subtropical climates, usually living close to human-occupied buildings or high urban living densities with food and room to grow. Some species such the American or Chinese breeds are present in large populations when supported by food and water from human dwellings and are routinely found in and around garbage or in kitchens or food storage areas. |
Cockroaches live up to a year and are mainly nocturnal, but when singly present may run away when exposed to light. However, infestations increase boldness and daylight activity. Cockroach infestation in cities as populous as New York were long the fodder of spoofs on "Saturday Night Live," mocking the freakish size and boldness of the cockroach and its place it American domestic life. The female may produce up to eight batches of multiple offspring in a lifetime. These foster batches of 30-40 odd clear roachlings turn darker within hours. A roach female can produce in her lifetime 300-400 offspring. So the presence of many cockroaches implies an exponential threat for future infestation. The "one" that got away may return a million fold. The female cockroach can be impregnated only once to lay eggs for the rest of its life. Molting and birth rate characteristics affect this reproductive rate with functions of food and room to lay eggs unimpeded. Allowing one single cockroach to live means perpetuating possibly a million eggs. Roaches are capable of living for a month without food and remaining alive headless for up to a week. The Olympic steeplechaser of insects, the roach can hold its breath for 45 minutes and can slow down its heart rate. Cockroaches have a much higher radiation resistance than vertebrates, while a lethal dose of radiation in a nuclear attack or bioterror wave burst might be 6 to 15 times that for humans. Natural death of cockroaches probably occurs due to predation by larger animals. Since insects are engineered as vertebrates, nerve gas and toxins from pest control elements affect muscular coordination.
The cockroach eventually dies in its upside-down position caused by muscular spasms which often result in the cockroach flipping on its back. Cockroaches have been around for more than 350 million years with about 4,000 species of cockroaches existing. Only about 22 species, 4 specifically cause all the trouble. The German, American, Brown-Banded, and Oriental cockroaches are the Earth’s Most Wanted urban pests. Cockroaches often are a health threat. Habits and high reproductive rate of pest cockroaches can lead to large populations spreading disease organisms, contaminating food, causing allergies, and even worsening asthma.
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