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Cockroaches! All you need to know about these creepy crawlies

Published on 16 May 2018|
2 min read

To all fellow katsaridaphobes out there: look away!

by Stanley P, Carrybeans

I’ll say this up straight; I hate cockroaches with a passion. I say, “Nuh-uh,” whenever I see one, and would go to great lengths to avoid being near one. And the flying cockroach? That is stuff made from nightmares.

But like it or not, did you know that these insects might save the humankind from drowning in our own filth? Or that the cockroach can survive without its head (again, they are made from nightmares)? Read on to know more!

Saving the earth by eating our food waste

According to The Star, there is a farm in Zhangqiu district in Jinan, Henan province that houses cockroaches. The cockroaches, which are of the American cockroach variety, are being used to get rid of kitchen waste–to be exact, 15 tonnes a day. Since China produces more than 60 million tonnes of food waste per year, the cockroach can provide a greener alternative in the disposal of the waste.

“These cockroaches are not afraid of anything soft, hard, sour, sweet, bitter, or spicy,”

– Li Yanrong, the farm’s owner

In recent years, cockroach farms had become a craze in China in order to fulfill the demand for various purposes, including medicine and protein source in livestock feed. The industry is so big that the largest cockroach farm in the world breeds 6 billion adult cockroaches annually and uses artificial intelligence to manage the colony.

The wonders of the yucky insect

Apparently, cockroaches are pretty useful after all. But that is not the only thing that makes cockroaches so… interesting. Here are a few facts about cockroaches that might make you love (or hate) them even more.

1.  They can reproduce without the help of male cockroaches

Yes, male cockroaches aren’t needed in their reproduction, or at least in a dire situation. Female cockroaches are capable of parthenogenetic reproduction (science-y words for asexual reproduction), but only when no males are around. Girl power, I guess?

2. They can continue living even without their heads

Not even the mighty guillotine can stop the cockroach. The pest can survive without their head for a week, granted that they aren’t eaten by a predator (or you smacking it with a rolled-up newspaper). Since their respiratory and circulatory system is different from ours, they have no problem continuing to live and scurry around our homes. Just imagine encountering headless, flying cockroaches–ugh!

3. They can (somewhat) withstand nuclear explosion

We all heard it before: cockroaches can survive nuclear explosions. However, it’s actually only half true. In an experiment by Mythbusters, it was found that half of the tested cockroaches were still alive when exposed to 1,000 radon units (rads) of radiation and only 10% when exposed to radiation strength of 10,000 rads.

However, all cockroaches die when exposed to 100,000 rads. So, cockroaches do survive a nuclear explosion, unless the radiation levels are too high.

P/S: To compare, 1,000 rads of radiation will kill a human in 10 minutes, while 10,000 rads is equivalent to the atomic bomb dropped in Hiroshima.

Getting rid of the pest

Despite the wonders (ugh) of cockroaches, we still cannot deny the fact that they are still pests. If left unchecked, your house can become a breeding ground for the insect, which carries various diseases. So, if you’re want to banish your house from cockroaches, here are the tips that you need:

1. Make sure your house is spick-and-span

Every living creatures needs foods and drinks in order to live, and this includes cockroaches. As they say, prevention is the best cure. Keeping food and water away from cockroaches is the best way to avoid them from starting a family in your house. So, fix any leaking pipes, keep your foods properly sealed, throw your trash regularly, and keep your house clean at all times.

2. Insecticides, baits and traps

Most supermarkets will sell the things you need to rid yourself of cockroaches once and for all. Buy according to your needs. If you want to DIY your cockroach-killing concoction, there are many online tips to get you started.

3. Pest control

If all else fails, a pest controller might just be your answer. Yes, they might be a bit pricey, but they are experts in killing pests. The peace of mind knowing you won’t be terrorised by any flying cockroach may be worth it.

We hate that we (have to) love you

This goes to show that even the most disgusting insects have their own purpose in this world. Even if we despise it, the cockroach is crucial to the ecosystem and can provide us with great benefits. Despite that, it is still important to make sure that your house does not become a breeding ground and home to infectious diseases the cockroaches carry.

Featured Image Credit: Los Angeles Times

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