What Do Cockroaches Eat and Where Do They Live When There are No Houses Around?

What Do Cockroaches Eat and Where Do They Live When There are No Houses Around?


Sneaky and skittering, invasive and indomitable,
the disgusting peridomestic cockroach is a formidable enemy for anyone unlucky enough
to live among them. Interestingly, however, they are surprisingly
delicate, and at least one species is utterly dependent on humans for its survival. Of the 5,000 known species of cockroaches,
those that most plague people are the American cockroach (Periplaneta Americana) and the
German cockroach (Blattella Germanica). American Cockroach Americana is the largest cockroach encountered
in human constructions, growing to an average length of 1.5 inches (4 cm); it is not common
in homes in the northern U.S., preferring a warmer environment, although it will be
around – especially in larger, particularly commercial, buildings like grocery stores
and restaurants. Unlike their German counterparts, the American
cockroach will live outdoors (in warmer climates), and in places like Florida, they can be found
around garbage, in trees and in woodpiles. During periods of heavy rains, this species
is known to “mass migrate,” and overrun a building. The bugs are managed around homes by caulking
cracks, removing rotting vegetation and keeping areas around the structure as dry as possible. Indigenous to Africa, the American cockroach
was introduced across the pond in the 17th century and is usually found below ground
in drains, steam tunnels, sewers and basements. Prolific, one community of Americana that
was discovered in a single sewer manhole consisted of 5,000 members. On average, each female of the species will
produce 150 eggs over a 10-month period and will deposit them, in clusters inside a hard-shelled
case, near a food source – sometimes “gluing” the case to the source with her spit. After hatching, the American cockroach goes
through several stages of development, but during each it actively forages for food. Opportunistic, they enjoy whatever is at hand
and will eat decaying matter, as well as bread and fruit, paper and clothes, hair and even
shoes. Because of their proclivity for sewers and
human waste, the American cockroach spreads over 22 species of organisms that cause disease
in humans, including protozoans, viruses, fungi and bacteria, as well as several species
of parasitic worms. German Cockroach Americana’s cousin, the German cockroach,
is the jerk you’ve probably met at one point or another if you’ve ever had a cockroach
problem in your house. Adults of this species reach on average about
0.5 inches in length (10-15 mm). Secretive, the German cockroach spends most
of its time (about 75%) in hiding. This is likely due, at least in part, to the
fact that Germanica cannot live without humans and our modern comforts. So if they didn’t stay hidden, they’d
quickly find themselves squished in most homes. In fact, at least one study has shown that
the species will die out in the winter in northern climates in homes that do not have
central heating. Inside of a residence, the German cockroach
lives in large groups, clustered in dark places often in the kitchen; favorite haunts include
the walls and cabinet voids as well as under and behind the stove, dishwasher and refrigerator. They find each other by scent, which comes
from the poop that they deposit in set areas (called “fecal focal points”). Like its American counterpart, this species
eats pretty much anything it can sink its mandibles into, although they particularly
love garbage, sweets, grease and meat. Females of the Germanica species hold onto
their egg cases for far longer American cockroaches and only drop them within 24 hours of the
eggs hatching; additionally, each case has more eggs, holding anywhere from between 30
and 48 at a time. A single female of the species can produce
over 200 eggs within her lifetime, and according to Penn State University’s College of Agricultural
Sciences, “in one year over 10,000 descendants can be produced…” As with its cousin, German cockroaches go
through many stages of development, although from the time they hatch (appearing in nymph
form), they also forage for food. Continuously breeding, any particular community
of this species will usually be comprised of only 20% adults and about 80% nymphs. Since Germanica also transports pathogens,
things like diarrhea, food poisoning and dysentery may be transmitted to humans where there is
an infestation. In addition, the German cockroach’s excrement
as well as its molted skin (with both species, each stage of development is marked by molting
– or a sloughing off of the old skin), have been known to cause allergic reactions in
some people, including triggering asthma and the development of skin rashes. German cockroaches are notoriously hard to
get rid of due to their secretive nature and prolific fertility. Nonetheless, preventative measures such as
maintaining a fastidiously clean home (e.g., not leaving dirty dishes out overnight), storing
food items in bug-proof containers and emptying garbage cans frequently can greatly help. Common methods of killing the German cockroach
include using chemicals like hydramethylnon and fipronil, as well as shaking poisonous
dusts like boric acid into the crevices and spaces where they congregate (although be
careful, these can be toxic for children and pets). Surprisingly, the entomologists at Penn State
University say that foggers not only don’t work, they may make the problem worse by temporarily
dispersing the roaches, only to have them return later.

Why Do Wasps Attack? – Reactions Q&A

Why Do Wasps Attack? – Reactions Q&A


We’ll folks, you asked and we’re answering. That’s right, we heard you. This, week we’re answering a burning
question that KJudera had for us. Why do wasp become more aggressive when you try to kill one of their “friends”? Well… here’s why. It’s not so much that you’ve killed
a wasp, but that you’ve threatened the other wasps or their wasp home. Both social wasps and honeybees use
what are called “alarm pheromones” to warn their buddies about nearby dangers. Pheromones are chemical messengers
that travel through the air and affect other animals’ behavior. So if a hive or nest is disturbed, guard wasps will send out these small molecules to rally the troops. Then the wasps will all swarm out
of the nest and attack the intruder. These “social insects” like bees
or wasps all have molecularly different alarm systems (Onscreen: Wasps pop up — we have ADT). The first molecule identified in
the honeybee mixture was  isopentyl acetate, also known as banana oil. Ask any beekeeper, and they’ll tell
you stressed-out bee colonies will often smell like bananas–a telltale sign
they’re ready to attack. So how can you break up the fight? Beekeepers often use smoke from a
special dispenser to disguise the pheromone smell and trick the bees into not attacking. But to avoid getting stung all
together, better to leave them alone, or if you must, call a professional. If you have any more quick questions
that you’re dying for us to cover, drop them in the comments section.

What is the Difference Between Bees, Wasps, and Hornets?

What is the Difference Between Bees, Wasps, and Hornets?


There are many similarities and differences
between our little wing-whipping friends. For starters, all can sting you. That said, you may derive some solace in the
fact that when certain of them sting humans, they die- not so when they sting many other
animals. The barbed stingers on honey bees particularly
end up getting lodged in our soft flesh, ripping out their backsides when they try and get
away after stinging you. When they sting most animals, this doesn’t
happen. Further, all three live in hives or combs. These humble abodes are always in cooler and
sheltered areas, often within the shade of trees. Bees, wasps, and hornets all proliferate in
warm weather, their hives growing in the spring and early summer. By late summer, food becomes scarce and that’s
when they, especially wasps and hornets, start finding their way to human food and your picnic. While the colors are all pretty similar (brown/black,
yellow, with some white) on bees, wasps, and hornets, the markings differ. This is where the insects we all tend to lump
in the same category (flying, stinging, and scary), begin to show their differences. We start with the humble bee. Bees are furry pollen collectors, who rarely
have any need to interact with humans. As the expression “as busy as a bee” insinuates,
worker bees (usually the only type of bee most people will see) spend their lives going
to and from the hive, acquiring nectar (and pollen on their bodies) during their trips. They play an integral part in the pollination
of various plants, and some of them provide us with tasty honey. bumblee2They feed the acquired nectar to their
young, developing the new generation of bees. They also protect the queen bee, allowing
her to lay the eggs. There are over 25,000 known bee species, but
the two most common types of bees are honeybees and bumblebees. Both produce wax, but only the honeybee produces
honey. Another big difference between the two is
that the bumblebee is nearly double the size of the honeybee. Bumblebees are fat (at least in bee terms)
and hairy, their size relative to their wingspan giving rise to the myth that science can’t
explain how they are able to fly. Honeybees are more sleek. They both are yellow with black stripes, though
the bumblebee often has a red/orange or white tale. Additionally, honeybees live in large colonies,
topping out at 25,000 bees. Bumblebees tend build their nests underground
(though they have been found in walls), and sometimes in tunnels constructed by other
animals. Their colonies are much smaller than bumblebees,
only numbering into the hundreds. waspWasps, unlike bees, are aggressive and
predators. There are over 30,000 species of wasps and
they are distinguishable from bees by their pointed lower abdomens and narrow “waist,”
a petiole, that separates the abdomen from the thorax. They also have little to no hair on their
bodies (as opposed to bees) and don’t play much of a role in the pollination of plants. Their legs are shiny, slender, and shaped
like cylinders. All wasps hunt for their food and build nests
for shelter. What exactly they prey on and how they build
their nests depends on the type of wasp. There are two general types of wasps: social
and solitary. Social wasps build colonies and start from
scratch every spring, never nesting in the same spot twice. They design their home sweet home out of chewed
up wood fibers and their own saliva. The nests may hold up to five thousands wasps
and are typically found in protected spaces, like attics, inside of walls, or under decks. Social wasps eat many different types of things
(they are omnivorous) including fruits, plants, human food, and other insects (flies, bee
larva, caterpillars, etc.) Solitary wasps do not form colonies and live
under ground or in tubular mud nests. There’s no caste system, as in the queen
cares for it’s own young. The queen seeks out prey – flies, bee larva,
cicadas (there’s actually a species of wasp known as “cicada killers”), and paralyzes
it with its sting. They take the still-living insect back to
the nest and feed it to their larva. It’s during the late summer when wasps begin
to get aggressive. This is due to the fact that the worker wasps
job is done for the year and they’re, literally, waiting to die. After taking care of the queen and feeding
the new generation of worker wasps, the old ones are now useless. They become disoriented and begin to venture
away from the nest, in search of food and something sweet. As absurd as this sounds, these wasps have
nothing left to live for besides satisfying their sweet tooth. So, they become aggressive, bold, and persistent. They land on a human hand that’s holding
an ice cream cone. They dive into a can of soda. They munch on a half-eaten apple. In fact, in September of 2013, the British
Red Cross warned citizens that wasps were getting “drunk” on fermented fruit and
were going all out in search of more. Said Joe Mulligan of the Red Cross to the
British newspaper, The Independent, in 2013: It’s hilarious that, now worker wasps have
finished their life’s work, all they are doing now is feasting on fermented fruit and
getting ‘drunk’. All that being said, wasps aren’t just pests,
but benefit humanity in some ways. They prey on many other “pest” insects
and have actually been used by the agricultural industry as an effective means to control
crop pests, resulting in a much more environmentally friendly way to do this over many pesticides. giant-hornetHornets are actually a species
of wasps. Hornets differ from other wasps in that their
stings are more venomous (they contain more acetylcholine); they tend to attack for food
as a colony, and their nests are all aerial (as opposed to many wasps species). The Giant Asian Hornet, native to parts of
Russia, China, Vietnam, and the mountains of Japan, can grow to be about 2 inches long
with about a 4-5 inch wingspan. It is the world’s largest and most venomous
wasp. It is colloquially known as the yak-killer,
due to the venom’s ability to dissolve the tissue of even the largest of mammals. Because the honey bee is on an individual
level incapable of harming the Giant Asian Hornet and just a handful of Giant Asian Hornets
are capable of decimating an entire hive of honeybees, the Japanese Honeybee has come
up with an alternate strategy to stopping the mass-destruction of their populace by
the hornets. When the Giant Asian Hornet is detected, first
the honey bee will emit a pheromone that the Hornet can pick up on that’s basically an
“I see you” warning. The scouting hornet then may leave in this
case. ball-hornetIf not, and the hornet continues
towards the hive, the honey bees will ball the hornet– essentially surrounding it completely
with as many bees as possible. They will then exert themselves as much as
possible to raise their body temperatures. Inside the ball, the temperature will rise
rapidly, while simultaneously the carbon dioxide levels will also increase. Once the temperature inside the ball passes
115 degrees Fahrenheit or 46 degrees Celsius, it exceeds what the hornet can tolerate, but
is still well under what the honey bees can handle (around 50 degrees Celsius). The combination of heat and low oxygen level
will eventually kill the Giant Asian Hornet. Several of the honey bees will likely die
before the hornet and this means of defense isn’t effective against a large number of
Giant Asian Hornets, but it works well at eliminating the scouting Giant Asian Hornets,
which can potentially stop a large scale attack from happening in the first place.

Cockroaches Are Indestructible, And the Secret Is in Their Genome

Cockroaches Are Indestructible, And the Secret Is in Their Genome


Once, when I was in college, I saw a cockroach
crawl out of the sink drain in my dorm. Like, out of the depths of the sewer, and
into my dorm room. I have never been the same. Ever. But it turns out, roaches could do some good
in the world because their genetic code, which was recently fully sequenced, provides surprising
insight into their seemingly eternal survival. Now we have a better idea of just why cockroaches
are so freaking hard to kill: THEY’RE EVOLVING. Not only can cockroaches multiply seemingly
infinitely, regenerate from traumatizing wounds, fit into any crevice, survive incredibly forceful
physical extermination, evolve to evade chemical apocalypse…but despite their inherent gross
factor, they may also hold an important key to help us understand how to improve our own
biology. Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences
have sequenced the entire genome of the American cockroach for the first time ever, and their
genome is surprisingly huge. The research team found genes indicating that
when under stress, female cockroaches can lay unfertilized eggs that will still hatch
due to parthenogenesis–which is quite literally virgin birth. (This gives a whole new meaning to, “Jesus,
cockroaches!”) This is observed in other insects too, like
certain kinds of wasps, bees and ants, as well as some reptiles, and only requires one
parent’s genetic code. No sex required. Just crazy science coolness. This reproductive method means that when mom
detects an environment she suspects may not allow her to live much longer, she’ll just
plop down some ready-made eggs to make sure her genes survive. You may think you’ve killed one cockroach,
but unbeknownst to you, there are more spawning elsewhere…. Additionally, the research team uncovered
the genes and genetic regulation pathways responsible for the cockroach’s ability
to regenerate limbs. Offshoots of this research have lead to the
development of a drug in China that’s based on an ethanol found in cockroaches, and is
being touted as potentially useful in human medicine for wound healing and tissue repair. They also identified the genes responsible
for in-body anti-microbial production, which keeps cockroaches safe while they’re rooting
around in the sewage and trash. This could be part of the reason that cockroaches
have a tendency to become resistant to our extermination methods. While the genome that was recently sequenced
is that of the American cockroach, other research has indicated that its cousin the German cockroach
has evolved to dislike the taste of the poison bait we’ve been putting out to kill it–instead
of tasting irresistibly sweet, it now tastes bitter to them, and they avoid it, so we’re
having a hard time finding something that could kill it. Now that we have a better understand the cockroach
genome, we might be able to kill them more effectively which is something we’d like
to do because they’re gross and they spread plague. No seriously, they carry hella disease. But, another point in the cockroach’s favor, they can help us improve our robotics. These tiny bugs can withstand over 900 times
their body weight in crushing force, and are able to squeeze into so many places (LIKE
DORM ROOMS) by compressing themselves to almost a third of their full size. Both of these superpowers are due to their
exoskeleton, which is hard but also “jointed” and flexible. Experts say that if we could make bots with
these features, we could revolutionize fields like search and rescue, with the bots able
to access areas of disaster zones that humans and other traditional search animals could
never penetrate. There’s still a long way to go in this area
of research, but it’s going to be interesting to see what we can learn from animals like
this, and what we can take from their genetic mechanisms to use for our own benefit. For more exciting facts about our arthropod
friends, make sure you subscribe, and check out this video on the bugs that may be in
your food. Turns out, people who seem allergic to chocolate
or coffee may just be reacting to the pieces of cockroach that find their way in there
during the manufacturing process. Yup, I just ruined everything. Thank for watching!

Cockroaches

Cockroaches


This cockroach belongs to the order Orthoptera,
family Blattidae, and genus Periplaneta. This insect is commonly called the American cockroach.
We mostly know cockroaches as pests. Only a small number of all known cockroach species,
however, become pests by invading houses and other buildings. Cockroaches are more common
in warm climates. They live in many different terrestrial habitats, such as among dead and
decaying leaves and wood, under stones or bark of trees, and in tall trees. They are
active and fast-running insects. Cockroaches may have one pair of thick, leathery wings
covering their bodies for protection. It has another pair of membranous flying wings underneath.
Cockroaches are ancient and highly successful insects. They have been on Earth for at least
350 million years! Their closest relatives are believed to be the mantids.
Like all insects, cockroaches have three body parts: a head, a thorax, and an abdomen. Cockroaches
have three pairs of legs. The legs, which are adapted for walking and running, are attached
to the thorax. In the adults, the wings are also attached at the thorax.
The head is covered by a plate-like structure called a pronotum. The antennae are very long
and are used for detecting food, predators, and changes in temperature. Watch the cockroach
cleaning its antennae. Cockroaches are omnivorous which means that
they eat just about anything. A cockroach’s mouth organs include jaws that are used to
chew food pieces. Cockroaches like other arthropods have compound
eyes. Compound eyes have many lenses for each eye and human eyes have a single lens for
each eye. The compound eye is excellent at detecting motion. Therefore, insects respond
better to moving objects than to stationary ones.
Cockroaches are hemimetabolous insects. This means that they undergo incomplete metamorphosis.
Cockroaches have an egg stage, several nymph stages, and an adult stage.
The insect’s hard exoskeleton makes it difficult for the insect to grow. This is because the
exoskeleton can’t get larger. Insects must molt in order to grow. Molting is the process
where an insect sheds it outer skeleton. The insect emerges from the old skin, and a new,
larger exoskeleton develops.

How Are Ants So Strong?

How Are Ants So Strong?


We all know that ants are strong. Like really
strong. Like can lift objects 50 times their own body weight strong. But why are they so strong? Well the answer
is actually in their shape and diminutive size. Generally speaking, the smaller the critter,
the stronger it will be. An elephant for example has to carry around 15 tons of its own weight,
which is a whole lot of mass to carry while also fighting gravity. An ant on the other
hand only weighs about one milligram, which means that its relative strength is much greater. Another reason ants are so strong is their
body shape. They’re built really well! The design of an ant’s body is great for lifting
huge amounts because of it’s compact form. In fact scientists recently found out that
an ant’s neck can support up to 5000 times their own weight! How did scientists do this?
They glued ant heads to a centrifuge and then spun it until the ant’s heads broke off.
One of the many reasons why science isn’t one of the Humanities. So ants don’t have super human strength,
they are just super tiny. Like this video on ant strength? Well you
might enjoy this video on butterflies that tells you how they go from caterpillars to
primordial soup to butterflies. That’s right primordial soup, mmmm….