Will Cockroaches Inherit the Earth?


gocomics.org

❝ Acknowledging that many inspect species might continue to decline in the 21st century — a time when extinction rates are about 1,000 times that of natural, expected levels — I asked Dini Miller, an urban entomologist, if the stubborn, stalwart cockroach might really inherit the Earth if other species were to bite the dust. The answer isn’t simple, but in large part it comes down to the continued success of the human race: The seven or so cockroach species we call pests, the ones we view as indestructible, have learned to thrive in our human society. That means they will continue thriving, as long as we do.

“If it wasn’t for us they wouldn’t be flourishing,” said Tim Kring, the head of the Entomology Department at Virginia Tech. “But certain species have flourished because we’ve given them nice homes, food, and water…”

❝ …We’ve certainly tried to annihilate them, using insecticides to unleash large-scale, nation-wide warfare against any roach that enters our homes.

But the roaches have resisted. “They defeat the countermeasures we deploy,” said Rick Santangelo, a cockroach control research specialist at North Carolina State University.

Our chemicals might knock out 99 out of 100 roaches, but the remaining one percent will prove resilient. Then, they’ll breed. “The more you’re exposed to something, the more tolerant you become to it,” said Santangelo. That’s not to say the resilient critters can’t be exterminated from your house. With the right strategically-placed poisons — like placing bait in hundreds of places around a kitchen — the roach dwellers can be expunged. But that’s just your house.

You can get rid of them in a single structure, but we’re not gonna eradicate roaches,” said Santangelo.

Life might become tougher – for roaches – if we succeed in eradicating ourselves. They’ve evolved in symbiotic fashion alongside human beings. Regardless of whatever your particular bible tells you. Frankly, I’d bet their hardiness will prevail in the face of incompetent politicians and ignorant, uncaring populations of human beings.u

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