New Strain of Cockroaches Don’t Like Sugar
A new strain of mutant German cockroaches have been found to have developed a way of avoiding glucose based baits. Researchers at North Carolina State University collected 19 populations of cockroaches from the US and Puerto Rico finding that 7 of them had evolved different sensory mechanisms that made sugar taste bitter. Glucose is a popular ingredient in many poisonous baits and the new strains ability to avoid it will be of concern to pest controllers.
George Beccaloni from the Natural History Museum sees the change as another example of natural selection, “This is the same process that has led to the evolution of antibiotic resistance in disease-causing bacteria, and warfarin resistance in rats.” He said. There are approximately 4,600 species of cockroaches with less then 30 being considered as pests the most common being Blattella germanica the German cockroach.
The mutation discovered causes neurons in the insects brain that would usually register a substance as sweet to be replaced by messages signaling that the taste is sour. Scientists are now looking to expand their research to look at other species of cockroach, trying to obtain samples from populations that have proved particularly difficult to treat.
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