Categories: Sci/Tech

Cockroaches Are Starting to Become Immune to Insecticides

Imagine a future in which ALL cockroaches cannot be killed by insecticides.

  • The cockroaches in the study developed resistance to the insecticide they were exposed to AND developed resistance to other insecticides.
  • This resistance will make pest control almost impossible.
  • Diversifying pest treatment methods is the solution.

Despite its small size, cockroaches are one of the scariest animals around. These small and brown creatures can make the most manly man cower in fear, especially if it starts flying towards you.

It’s not just their creepy crawly appearance that scares humans, it’s also the health threats that they bring. Cockroaches carry E.coli, salmonella, and many more types of bacteria that can make us sick.

As if the mere existence of roaches are not enough, something has happened to make them even more terrifying to us humans – they are starting to develop a resistance against insecticides.

This is what scientists from Purdue University discovered when they exposed German cockroaches to different types of insecticides. The roaches developed resistance to the insecticide they were exposed to AND developed resistance to other insecticides.

What makes matters worse is the fact that the roaches can pass this immunity to their offspring.

So imagine a future in which ALL cockroaches cannot be killed by insecticides.


According to Michael Scharf, who led the study at Purdue University, “”This is a previously unrealized challenge in cockroaches. Cockroaches developing resistance to multiple classes of insecticides at once will make controlling these pests almost impossible with chemicals alone.”

Exterminators eliminate insects by using a cocktail of different insecticides. These insecticides are divided into classes based on factors such as toxicity and chemical composition. This means that if a roach can’t be killed by one type of insecticides, there’s another type that can do the job.

The scientists spent six months testing the methods. They were able to keep the population level of cockroaches but they were not able to reduce the numbers. Scharf added that resistance within a single generation of the roaches sometimes increase four to six fold.

Add this to the fact that a single female cockroach can produce up to 300 offspring within her short lifespan, which makes the situation scarier.

Diversifying pest treatment methods is the solution, says Scharf. These methods include traps and vacuums. Practicing preventative methods such as sanitation is also key.

More details of the study are published in the journal Scientific Reports.

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